Friday, April 30, 2010

What to Grow?

Last year's garden in late June

Okay, putting on my gardening hat now. I'm a bit at a loss over what to do with my vegetable garden this season. We are splitting a CSA (community-supported agriculture) share, so we should have plenty of produce all summer and I'm a bit afraid of having too much if I plant much myself. The only perennial foods in my garden are rhubarb, chives and sage, apart from no doubt some self-seeded tomatoes from last year's overflow of fruits that split on the vine, and maybe a few other volunteers. I'd like to establish some bunching onions, but the rest of the bed is available.

So, what else would you advise planting at this point, either direct-seeded or with purchased seedlings? If I act very quickly I could get some asparagus plants and plan a permanent row, but I suspect I won't.

Maybe this is the year to have a riotous bed of annual flowers, but that can get expensive, and it feels a bit late to start anything from seed.

Maybe I should plant a cover crop and let everything else lie fallow for a year.

What would you do?


Erin said...

I'm kind of in the same boat - we have half subscriptions to two CSAs (one bigger, one smaller and mostly salad vegetables.) So we usually reserve the backyard garden for things that we really enjoy and don't get enough of through the CSA.

For us, that's LOTS of different kinds of basil; dill, thyme, chives and other herbs; and lots of different kinds of heirloom tomatoes. I adore our blueberry and raspberry plants. We've also tried growing a few other things that are priced surprisingly high during the summer at the grocery store but are great for grilling (eggplant, sweet colored peppers) but with limited success.

Conversely, there is not one shred of lettuce, cabbage, bok choy, etc in our yard garden. We get LOTS of that through the CSA!

Hardly a comprehensive approach, but hope that's useful!

Anonymous said...

Why not start a few native prairie plants? Or you could try seeds. Depending on what you decide to do next year, you can add more prairie grasses and flowers if you keep doing the CSA or go back to your vegetables.

Penelope said...

Thanks for the comments! I should clarify that just last year we cleared a lot of day lilies and spiderwort out of the back of this bed to make room for more veggies, so I don't want to plant perennial ornamentals there quite yet (we'll see how the CSA experience goes). I love the idea of blueberries and raspberries, but again I want to keep the bed fairly free for potential future use at this point. Maybe we could put in a small group of blueberries in the back -- that would be awesome, and they wouldn't sprawl too much.

Michael Moore said...

Why not plant a bunch of something you can preserve? Canning is a lot less of a headache if you can do it all in one go, and all for the same type of veggie.

If you did that, I would recommend either cucumbers or tomatoes.

Homemade dill, sweet and bread-and-butter pickles are awesome.

Homemade stewed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce and paste are also a delight.

Penelope said...

Michael - That's an excellent idea! Sort of like having my tomatoes and eating them too, to paraphrase the old saying.