I know it seems crazy to be thinking about Summer vegetables right now because it is freezing cold and the middle of winter, but hear me out! Gardens take a little bit of planning. You can’t just whack a few seeds in the ground and pick tomatoes two weeks later. A little bit of time is needed.
What do you want to grow?
Start planning your summer garden by listing what you would like to grow. Don’t forget to think about how much space and time you actually have to grow vegetables. Even if you’re only going to manage a couple of tomato plants, that is a great start.
Consider also your climate. If you are lucky enough to be able to grow tropical fruit, go for it. Around here, we get frosts into November and even our summer nights can be cool, so we need to choose plants that will tolerate those conditions.
Consider too, what vegetables you will actually use, and how much. We grow a large amount of vegetables, but we preserve a lot to use through out the rest of the year, as well as selling some of our extras. Clearly most people do not need to grow as much as we do.
What we are planning to grow this year
Now, if you have been reading CLE for a while, you might remember that Country Boy loves to grow vegetables. We have a huge garden, and he spends most of his free time in it. I don’t know many people who are as enthusiastic (crazy) about their vegetable garden. He also seems to have a more is better attitude to vegetables. If you are just starting a vegetable garden, begin with just a few plants and go from there!
However, if you are interested in our garden plans for this summer, here is what Country Boy is planning.
First up on our summer garden are tomatoes. This year we are going to plant several varieties, including some of our favourites, as well as a few new varieties, just for the fun of it.
The varieties we have planted before include Legend (medium red), cherokee purple (large dark purplish salad tomatoes), sunrise (small yellow – not cherry tomato size), green zebra (these are my favourites), yellow pear (small pear shaped cherry tomatoes), lemon drop (cherry tomatoes with a hint of lemon in their flavour), brandy wine (large red slicing tomatoes), Jaunne Flammee (a small orange tomato), and camp joy (red cherry tomatoes).
Some new varieties we are trying include Rouge de Marmande, Red colossus, Roma, and Napoli Paste. All of them are meant to be good for making into tomato cooking sauce.
Carrots are also on the agenda. I’ve put in a request for multicoloured carrots, just because I think they look so beautiful
Of course we will be putting in some corn zucchinis, capsicums, and cucumbers, silverbeet and lettuce, as well as beans and snap peas.
Radishes, watermelon, potatoes, beetroot, and several varieties of pumpkins will all be planted while chilli, egg plant, and squash will also make an appearance.
Decorative gourds and sunflowers will be thrown in the mix just because they are pretty.
Herbs are a regular feature of our garden. Many don’t survive the frosty winters so need to be replanted each year. Parsley, dill, basil, chives will all be added to the garden
Order your seeds
There are lots of different places you can get your vegetable seeds from. Your local nursery will probably have a small variety of common vegetables, however if you’re after something a little more unusual you will probably have to get on line and order some from specialists seed companies.
We like to buy heirloom varieties of vegetables, both because of the incredible variety available, and also because we can collect the seeds to grow again next year (which you can’t do with hybrid plants). We also prefer the ethics associated with these type of plants (which is a whole other post sometime).
We tend to get most of our seeds from Eden Seeds, and occasionally from The Diggers Club. Both companies produce yearly seed catalogues that have pictures, descriptions of the plant, and fruit, and information about where it will grow. You can also check their websites out for information and orders. There are several other companies that also produce heirloom seed varieties.
Once your seeds arrive, read the packets, follow the instructions and get going. Depending on where you live, you may be able to start planting your Summer garden in the next month or two.
If you want to know more about how we have laid out our garden, and how we manage it, check out this post.
Do you grow your own vegetables? Have you started planning your summer garden?