What is it about May that weaves such a spell over us?  There is such enchantment in the air!  And what beautiful air it has been.  Can you believe the string of sunny days we have had?  I am thoroughly enjoying them.  So is everyone else.  It is nice to see that many people have gardening on their mind.  We have been very busy with customers in the last two weeks.  We thank everyone for their continued patronage.  We are as excited as you are that spring has finally arrived, with summer nipping at its heels.

The latter half of May is the time to plant our gardens and flower beds.  That is what I am seeing our customers purchasing and that is what I most want to plant.  I started beans indoors and it is now time to transplant them outside.  I didn’t provide enough light and they are stretching out.  If I don’t get them in the ground in the next 2 days I will never extricate them from my orchids, or one another.

Tonight, our family was discussing what we wanted to plant in the large container garden by my parents’ house.  I have 2 small raised beds at home.  Each year I plant the vegetables that I like to harvest and cook on an almost daily basis.  These include beans, zucchini, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and lettuce.  Throw in some kale and swiss chard and I am set.  I always have veggies on hand to eat.  The “other garden”, where there is more space needs to be planned out a little better.  For a few years it was in ground.  However, the weeds were impossible to rise above.  One year we tried a weed barrier and drip irrigated cloth over the area.  That worked better.

Last year we were persuaded to plant in pots.  It had been awhile since I had done a container vegetable garden.  The last time I did, I planted a cherry tomato, a zucchini and some basil.  Maybe a pepper, too.  I think I must have aspirations of being a country woman: growing my own food, cooking and preserving, then writing about it.  Anyway, I seem to have bigger dreams than I can turn into reality.  So I looked at what my dad was planting and what I wanted to grow and I planted 4 different varieties in each pot.  Some things worked well and some things didn’t.  I actually harvested a head of cabbage (a first for me) but I never ate it.  Pretty pathetic.  Many plants didn’t do as well in the containers.  Was it being planted in pots, overcrowding, or the generally miserable growing season we had?  I missed my tomatillo crop from the previous year (although I still have some frozen).  The tomatillos did not fare well in the containers.  So this year, I am determined to cut down on the number of items that I grow and to plant more sparsely in the containers.  Perhaps I will even manage to find a stray corner of weed free garden space to plant a few tomatillos.

My husband and I have started to add more vegetables to our diet and at the same time decrease the amount of processed grains.  Okay, it’s called low carb, but what’s in a name?  I’m not sure why it gets the bad rap that it does, but the low carb/paleo diet thing has worked well for us.  Still, I am looking for ways to get the flavor of foods that I enjoy, while still being low carb.  I love spaghetti and pizza.  I have found green beans and zucchini peels to be a great substitute for pasta.  The pizza thing is another matter but I do enjoy tomatoes, basil leaves and mozzarella cheese.  It’s a good thing that I genuinely like vegetables.  My other favorites are greens such as Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale and Collards.  You can steam them, sautee them and even bake them.  Add a little garlic or onion and finish it off with vinegar or rice wine.  Yum!  Of course salads are the ultimate diet meal.  I am funny in that I like a contrast of colors in my salad.  I like Buttercrunch lettuce and red leaf lettuce combined.  I just love the punch of red color in my salad.  It is hard to find all red lettuce in the grocery store.  So I like to grow my own.  I will admit to never having successfully growing head lettuce.  Often, I will buy buttercrunch or romaine lettuce in the store and add my own colored lettuce that I have grown.  Throw in some slice carrots and a few tomatoes and you have a great side dish to a grass fed beef steak.  Delicious and healthy.

Now that I am thinking about it, I need to remember to plant eggplant.  I quite enjoyed making baba ganoush last year.  It was wonderful.  Also, I enjoyed trying out various salsa recipes, my favorite being a green salsa with tomatillos.  Plus I really should try out something new this year.  What should it be?  Celery perhaps?  Or spaghetti squash?  What about…We’ll see what happens.  I hope you have as much fun planning and planting your vegetable garden as I do!  Happy Gardening

About Brenda Powell

I'm one of the owners of a family-owned retail nursery. I have a degree in horticulture from Oregon State University. I love to garden and read. My technically savvy but horticulturally challenged husband, Mitch, spends most of his time as slave labor in the garden. Thank goodness he adores me! My goal in this blog is to share my enjoyment of gardening, my love of nature, and my addiction to books. Did I mention I like to cook, too?
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