Hope Springs Eternal

Kitchen Gardening, Nature

It’s been a while, but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my kitchen garden dreams. I’ve just gotten quieter about them, since certain issues (chickens! dogs! deer!) kept getting in the way of my ambitions.

I feel a sense of deja vu as I write this, but, at last, finally, for real this time, I think I’ve gotten all the pieces in place for serious success. (Until something else comes along, of course. But let’s look at this as a series of learning experiences, okay?)

Now, since it’s taken until yesterday — the first official day of spring — for me to begin in earnest, I’m starting with transplants, rather than with seeds, for the most part. But now I’ve got nearly two additional raised beds ready to go, along with an “automatic” drip irrigation system and — most importantly — a fence to keep out pesky critters.

Pesky critter who likes dust baths.

Pesky critter who likes dust baths.

So far, so good. Fingers crossed. I picked up my transplants at a farmer’s market this weekend, where a local organic farm was selling a variety of options — everything from an heirloom tomato mix to grapevines.

I decided to keep it simple and mostly non-experimental, so here’s what’s on the list:

  1. JBG red tomatoes
  2. Sun Gold cherry tomatoes
  3. Genovese basil
  4. Eggplant (not sure of the variety)
  5. Jalapeños (not sure of the variety)
  6. Red Pontiac Potatoes (though I think I might have actually gotten blue potatoes)

They stiffed me on my tomatillo order and threw in some cilantro to try to make it up to me. Meanwhile, I already had a few things going — cilantro, chard and an artichoke — and I’m going to give watermelons and tomatillos from seed a try. They seem like good bets since they are very happy in warm temperatures.

As I’ve said before in my tips for new gardeners, I want to ensure everything I get is well adapted for our climate and, in the case of transplants, I want them to be started nearby and accustomed to the weather hereabouts. I haven’t had a good experience with potatoes in the past, but everything else has thrived before and I hope it will thrive again.

Since frost was promised despite this whole “first day of spring” nonsense, I’ve only planted the cilantro thus far. And, given that I woke this morning to 27-degree temperatures, it seems like even that may have been premature — though cilantro is supposed to be hardy in such conditions. We’ll see.

It’s such an invigorating time of year and there’s so much promise in the air, so I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as I can without worrying about the disasters that might befall us as time goes on! When it comes to vegetable gardening, every year is a new year with a fresh start, and that’s one of the reasons I enjoy it so much.

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