So, now that I’ve spent an afternoon mentally strolling through last year’s garden and decided what to leave out of this year’s, it’s time to pick things to take their places. This starts with one very simple question: What do we eat?
It’s no secret that John and I love to cook, and we love to try new things. But when considering which veggies to choose for my garden, where space is limited, I should think first of the things we eat the most. After all, lack of interest is what got the peppers and squash thrown out! In the summer months, that would be mostly things that require very little cooking, or can be done on the grill – no air conditioning in my kitchen, remember? Slaws and salads of every hue grace our summer plates, along with 6 or 7 variations on gazpacho. Cast-iron pans work great for making roasted veggies on the grill, potatoes, carrots, beets and the like. So the spring/summer line-up is peas, beans, salad greens, cukes, carrots, beets and tomatoes. Corn and potatoes take up too much space. Fortunately, they’re also the major cash-crops on the island, so they’re easy to come-by.
What about the cooler months? Carrots and beets are still on the menu, more beans than in the summer – they freeze so well! – along with heartier greens like kale and Swiss chard. Winter squash is another favorite. I make a lot of soup, too. Leeks, I love, but have yet to try growing. Ditto for brussels sprouts. Those are on the ‘possibilities” list. We love spinach, too, both raw in salads and cooked, but I’ve yet to have any luck growing it. It always bolts if it’s spring-planted, and refuses to grow in the fall. Still trying, though.
There are several things I’d dearly love to plant that are completely out of the question. Asparagus is my absolute favorite , but there’s no room for a permanent bed (yet!). Melons – plenty of water, not enough heat. You guys down south remember that when the summer gets too hot – better for the melons and tomatoes! Broccoli requires more attention than I’m currently willing to give it. One of the vendors at our farmer’s market has offered to teach me – she says it’s not nearly as hard as I think it is. Maybe I’ll take her up on it in a couple of years.
Looks like leeks and sprouts win for this year. I’ve gone through the left-over seed packets from last year and made up a couple of orders for my favorite seed houses. It’s still a long way from planting time, but the plan is in motion!