I took last Friday off from work in order to get a jump on a projected busy Memorial Day weekend, as subsequent posts will attest. The immediate goal Friday was completing the planting of Garden 2022.
The first order of business was getting the Nightshade plants in the dirt. Three varieties of tomatoes, six King of the North bell peppers and six Gaudi eggplants were installed without issue. Last year I was only able to bring one eggplant successfully to harvest, and the yield from that single plant was pretty good, and delicious. So, this year more are planted with the hope of generating enough of the purple fruits to last into 2023.
Experimenting a bit last year I developed a solid process where the skinned and sliced eggplant is breaded and lightly sautéed before freezing on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Then the frozen eggplant pieces can be bagged, and used in a parmigiana as needed. They tasted great, and once the parm was built and baked, that could be individually portioned and frozen with no discernable loss of flavor. I guess you can tell I enjoy eggplant parmigiana.
The next task was planting the green beans and cucumber seeds, both Marketmore slicers and National Pickling varieties. These were planted directly below their respective trellis, discussed here earlier. Two rows of pickling cukes, and one of the slicers.
The squashes then went into the beds. Three Gentry summer squash plants now share the bed where the beets were planted. The final empty bed received eight Waltham butternut squash plants, and two Diablo pumpkins.
I finished off the vegetable work by completing the clean up of the “herb bed”, adding two each of parsley, thyme, basil and rosemary seedlings. The final touch was sprinkling some dill seeds in one corner. The only use we have for dill is the seeds used in pickling (which are expensive!), although many folks use the plant itself, especially with seafood.
A final touch was distributing the marigold and nasturtium plants throughout the beds, here and there as room permitted. I like them, as they add color to the garden. Some say that these two flowers bring other benefits to gardens, specifically repelling bugs and critters.
Here’s the garden after everything got a good watering-in:
By Sunday everything still looked good, with a couple of minor exceptions:
- The butternut squash plants looked stressed, as did the pumpkins. To be fair, the pumpkin seedlings were rather leggy, but I planted them anyway. I also stuck a seed in the ground near each of them just in case.
- The tomato plants started to look sketchy, which is nothing new for me. I’ve always had trouble with tomato seedlings. My approach over the past few years now is to stick them in the ground regardless and hope for the best. Tomatoes are basically a viny weed, and they are tough. More often than not this approach has worked out fine in the end.
On the chance that the problems are based upon a particular nutrient deficiency, I worked in some 7-7-7 bone meal around each plant and watered it in.
Garden 2022 is out of the starting gate. After plugging in the planting dates to the tracking spreadsheet, I’ve now got some target harvest dates. I am very curious to see how those calculations work out.