Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's New in the Veggie Garden?

veggies1   For various reasons, vegetable gardening seems to be more popular than ever before. You just can’t beat the great taste and the sense of accomplishment of growing your own vegetables. I grew up helping my dad in the garden. Laying out the rows, weeding and planting were some of my main duties. Not all of it was fun (especially the weeding), but as I got older it began to grow on me (pun intended).

Now, growing and maintaining my own vegetable garden has become one of my most enjoyable hobbies. I’m blessed to own a large lot in the country that allows me to have a big garden; although sometimes maintaining it feels like a curse because of my tendency to overdue it.

One of the big differences I’ve noticed between gardening then and now is the variety that’s out there to choose from. Back in the day gardeners were limited to what was sold locally. There were a few seed catalogs available like Burpee and Parks, but from what I remember we never really ordered much from them except for the occasional flower seed packet. Now, thanks mostly to the internet, there is access to a whole slew of companies with all sorts of vegetable plants and seeds. I often find myself experimenting with new varieties almost every spring. In fact, I try to make it a point to grow something new in the veggie garden each year. If I like it and it grows well, it may find a permanent home in the garden year after year. With that said, I want to share some new varieties that I’m trying this summer.

(1) I'm growing a different type of corn this year called 'Peaches and Cream'. it's a bicolor sweet corn with yellow and white kernels. I've tasted 'peaches and cream' and it's super sweet. I planted my corn a little over a week ago and as you can see it's on its way!


(2) I'm excited about a new variety of tomato that I'm trying this summer. It's an heirloom tomato called 'Amish Paste'. I ordered the plants from Appalachian Seeds Farm & Nursery.  I've never mail ordered tomato plants before so I hope those delicate babies aren't too banged up when they arrive. This nursery has a good reputation so I'm sure they'll be fine. They should arrive next week. I can taste the salsa now...


(3) I'm also trying a new variety of cucumbers called 'Satsuki Madori'. I first learned about these cucumbers from Willi over at DigginFood. Since then I've heard from a couple different sources that these are a delicious slicing cucumber. I'll definitely let you know! I ordered them (seeds) from Seeds of Change.

(4) Something new I'm trying this year is eggplant. I never cared for the taste of eggplant when I was growing up so understandably I never grew it in my garden...until now. I saw a cooking show sometime over the winter and the chef was making eggplant parmesan. Wow, it made my mouth water. So that's when I decided that I would try my hand at growing some. I did a little research and learned that eggplants require a somewhat long growing season and do best if started indoors (seeds) 8-10 weeks before that last frost. Since I didn't start them indoors I bought some transplants locally. Here are some good tips for growing eggplants:


(5) I'm also going to try butternut squash for the first time. I purchased my seeds recently and will be planting them soon. I've read that butternut is a good squash to grow if vine borers are a problem in your garden. Evidently, the stems on butternut squash are too tough for the borers to penetrate. We'll see...

So, what's growing in your veggie garden?


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Unknown said...

Great job here. We have tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, beans, peas, struggling potatoes.....and of course fruit trees. Oh and lets not leave out the 600 different types of flowers I have, at least that's how many my husband says I have.......LOL

Dave said...

Looks good Alan! We've got squash, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cilantro, basil, peas, beans, hopefully corn, cucumbers, eggplant, broccoli, and soon I'll plant cantaloupe and watermelon. Oh I shouldn't forget the strawberries, they are forming as I type!

Jan said...

You're doin' a great job, Alan! I'll plant tomatoes (soon) but other than that, nothing! SOOO, we'll be making a trip down your way with a huge basket for gathering up some of your sweet corn, and more;-) mmmm!! What are your prices??!!

Chandramouli S said...

Veggie gardening sounds fun and I did get started with radishes and supposed-to-be Fennel, but it turned out to be something else :P So much for trying. It sure makes you excited to have so many choices! Wonders of technology!

DaveABirding said...

Good luck Alan, my college job was running a nursery/ fresh produce stand in Minnesota in the summers. Oddly enough when it is not a full time job my stuff always whithers in the mid-summer heat. I like the blog and will check back - enjoy that Eggplant Parm this fall!

Adrienne Zwart said...

Oh, this makes me miss veggie gardening! We have some red raspberries and hopefully, this year we'll harvest more than a handful at a time. They are wonderful. I'll be trying to grow some tomatoes on the deck. Any suggestions for a variety that does well in pots?

Dawn Fine said...

Nice stuff you are growing..I look forward to seeing the fruits or ha..vegetables of your labor.

I am here at my sisters and we are eating some great lettuce blends that she planted, Arugula is one of my favorites ..she has an amazing herb garden...and is growing potatoes and a few other things.
I used to have a huge garden when I had a plot of land..but now I eat everyone elses veggies...

Alan Pulley said...

Hey Darla,
Sounds like you have a lot growing as well. I'm sure your husband meant that in the nicest way! LOL!

Dave, thanks! I grow cantaloupe as well. You just cant beat fresh cantaloupe flavor. Forgot to mention that I'm going to try pumpkins this year too...

Hey Jan,
Come on down, I would be glad to share my corn!! My prices are very reasonable! LOL!!

Thanks Chandramouli! It is a lot of fun. Good luck with your garden.

DaveABirding, thanks for stopping by. Come back anytime!

Hey Adrienne,
I know a lot of people that grow tomatoes in pots. Most any variety of tomato should do fine. Just get a fairly deep pot with a good quality potting mix and keep it staked as it grows. Also, another option is to grow your tomatoes upside down - Dawn,
Fresh lettuces are great! I have some that I need to pick now. There's nothing wrong with eating everyone else's veggies, LOL!