brandywines_051214
The Brandywine Tomato plants are already producing blossoms, looking forward to good tomatoes!

Its been a fantastic year so far, I have missed this for so long! What a difference a couple of weeks make. I have the beginnings of a tomato jungle, and my beans are all coming up slowly but surely. We have planted radishes and most of them are doing well, but the Swiss Chard I sowed has refused to germinate. Perhaps a recent rain crusted them over too much. Once I take up the radishes, I have some Ping Tung eggplants that are raring to go. I’ll stick those in the slot where the radishes and chard were. I’m thinking ahead to next year’s crops and how to best space out the plantings in time for food production, but this year I am also considering canning. If all these beans and tomatoes come in at once, that’s prime canning food. I’ve always wanted to do some pressure canning.

Potted plants doing well. That big one is a Poblano pepper plant.
Potted plants doing well. That big one is a Poblano pepper plant.

My pepper plants from seed, round 2 (actually round 3 but hey, who’s counting), are doing fantastic, almost 100% germination on most of them. I’ll have those peppers, I am determined! I am keeping many plants in pots and containers with the intention to transplant some, but I’ll see how I can do with 5 gallon buckets as planters. I put some eager Poblanos in containers just yesterday. I really enjoy roasted Poblans, a great stuffing pepper, but its delicious roasted on a burger or as a better tasting substitute for green bell peppers. Once I get some crops, I’ll begin doing articles on how we use the produce, both successes and failures.

Ping Tung eggplant seems to do well in this bucket.
Ping Tung eggplant seems to do well in this bucket.

I sprouted six okra plants, three I gave away to a friend (it pays to befriend seed starters!), three are now on the north end of my western bed, they have begun producing delicious seed pods. My daughter and I love fried okra, so guess what we’ll be doing with these?

I also planted some mammoth sunflowers on the side of the house, halfway hoping they would draw the squirrels and jays away from the garden. We shall see. But I also like sunflowers. I had to thin them, they are doing very well in rather poor soil. I toss my leftover fertilizer solutions on these plants or on my fig tree after I treat my seedlings, they seem to enjoy that.

Mammoth Sunflowers doing well, thriving with minimal care.
Mammoth Sunflowers doing well, thriving with minimal care.

Overall, I can’t be more happy with the garden’s status as of early May. I’m behind most everyone else in the region who claims to be a serious gardener, but I’m happy. I need to install my stakes beside the tomato jungle, I’ll be doing a modified “Florida Weave” using bamboo poles as cross-pieces instead of twine. I only need to go pick up the posts I intend to use. Its a great pleasure so far!

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