Spring Planting

Garden plot May 24
left side (from front): peas, spinach, onion, tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, butternut squash, pepper, flowers
right side: radishes, Swiss Chard, head lettuce, cauliflower, beets, leeks, garlic, potatoes, onions, asparagus, rhubarb, flowers

Here are my actual spring planting dates for this season.


  • March 16: started eggplant (Fairy Tale) and hot Thai pepper from seed indoors
  • March 23: started eggplant (Ping Tung), tomatoes (Break O’Day, Paul Robeson, Dr. Wychee Yellow, Green Zebra, Baker Family Heirloom), curly kale (seeds from 2017) and head lettuce (Kagran Summer) from seed
  • March 30: basil (sweet Italian) – six compartments in egg carton from seed
  • April 8: shipment of seed potatoes arrived. I put them out to sprout.
  • April 20: repotted tomatoes and some of the lettuce
  • April 21: I lost most of my seedlings tonight. I still have some tomatoes (one each Break O’Day, Dr. Wychee, Green Zebra) and the basil. I re-sowed one pot each of pickling cucumber, and slicer cucumber as well as one Paul Robeson tomato. No home-grown eggplant or peppers this year. It is too late to reseed. I also still have some head lettuce and kale.
“Hot Thai” pepper and “Fairy Tale” eggplant seedlings, 2 weeks old (March 30)


  • March 19: started mâche in a big flat on our back porch
  • March 31: sowed two rows of sugar snap peas, one row of spinach in between in plot; also two rows of carrots (Bolero) and one row of radishes in between (French breakfast)
  • April 6: the mâche did not germinate. I sowed arugula and spring greens in the same big flat
  • April 28: resowed carrots (rainbow) and sowed lettuce (Kagran Summer and Bronze Beauty) and some more peas in plot
  • April 28: sowed Swiss chard and leaf lettuce “Great Salad Bowl” in two separate pots on the back porch
  • May 7: trip to Allendale Farm. I purchased herbs for the plot and the back porch (basil, parsley, sage, thyme), cauliflower, head lettuce, lavender, dahlias and Osteospermum plus fertilizer and other supplies. I potted up the flowers, sage, thyme, 2 lettuce plants, 1 parsley and two basil cells for the back porch. The rest will go in the plot in the next couple of days.
  • May 11: planted fingerling potatoes and sowed more carrots, Swiss chard and peas as well as sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos in plot. Also planted dahlia tubers (only 3, they were supposed to be two each, but one bag only had one bit tuber in it). Transplanted the 6 cauliflower plants, 4 lettuce plants and the parsley I bought a few days ago.
  • May 18: planted eggplant (Fairy Tale), one tomato (Paul Robeson) and hot pepper (Jedi Jalapeno) in pots on the back porch
  • May 23: planted potatoes in grow bags on the back porch
  • May 24: transplanted seedlings into the plot: 6 tomatoes, 1 pepper, 2 cucumbers (1 pickling, 1 slicer), 1 butternut squash and a six-pack each of golden beets and leeks
  • June 15: transplanted two cucumber plants (Marketmore, a slicer and Little Lemon, a pickling cucumber) into the plot
Tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce, basil seedlings on April 20

More Seedlings

My local farmers market opened last weekend and at this time of the year there are a lot of seedlings on sale by Neighborhood Farm. I bought: leeks (six-pack), 1 eggplant Fairy Tale, 1 butternut squash, 1 Early Jedi jalapeno, 1 mini bell pepper (forgot the name and the label only says “Flavor”, so I am banking on that), and 4 tomato plants: Paul Robson, Pineapple (late-season), Green Zebra and Cosmonaut (early/mid-season). I planted the eggplant, the Paul Robeson tomato and the jalapeno in containers on my back porch. Everything else will go in the plot.

Tomatoes: I now have 7 plants for the garden plot. The remaining three plants I bought today and three surviving home-grown seedlings: Paul Robson (the Sand Hill variety, they can’t vouch that it is the exact variety and call it Poll Robson), Dr. Wyche Yellow, Green Zebra. I also started another Poll Robson very late, but it is still very small. Not sure if this seedling will make it. This will give me 6 or 7 tomato plants for the plot, which is plenty. I also staggered the varieties to prolong tomato season and will have 2 or 3 early-season, 1 mid-season and 3 late-season tomatoes.

Crop List 2019

Tulip this morning, poking her head out on my back porch

Here is my final crop list for 2019. (SHPC=Sand Hill Preservation Center):

  • Cucumbers: Longfellow slicer (have)
  • Tomatoes, early: Break O’Day, Paul Robson (all ordered from SHPC)
  • Tomatoes, mid-season: Dr. Wyche’s Yellow (ordered from SHPC)
  • Tomatoes, late: Green Zebra, Baker Family Heirloom (all from SHPC)
  • Eggplant, Pingtung Long (ordered from SHPC)
  • Eggplant, Fairy Tale (ordered from Johnny’s)
  • Hot pepper, Thai Bangkok (ordered from Johnny’s)
  • Butternut squash (have)
  • Basil, Genovese (have)
  • Carrots, Bolero (have)
  • Carrots, Rainbow (ordered from Johnny’s)
  • Radish, French Breakfast (have)
  • Garlic, Russian Red (hardneck, saved), Transsylvania (soft neck, Burpee)
  • Beets, Golden beets (have)
  • Potatoes, Banana fingerling (ordered from Fedco Moosetubers)
  • Swiss chard, Bright Lights (have)
  • Kale, Tuscan (have) and Curly (have)
  • Lettuce, butterhead, Kagran summer (ordered from SHPC)
  • Lettuce, leaf, Bronze Beauty (ordered from SHPC)
  • Greens, fall green mix (ordered from SHPC)
  • Peas, sugar snap (ordered from SHPC)
  • Pole beans, Kentucky Wonder (have)
  • Bush beans, Tendergreen (have)
  • Spinach, Bloomsdale (have)
  • Bok choy (have)
  • Leeks (buy seedlings)
  • Rosemary, sage (have)
  • Parsley, thyme (buy seedlings)
  • Nasturtium, Dwarf Jewel (have)
  • Cosmos, Versailles mix (ordered from Johnny’s)
  • Dahlias (have and/or buy tubers)
  • Zinnias (have)
  • Marigolds, petite mix (ordered from SHPC)
  • Sunflower Hopi Dye (ordered from SHPC)
  • Ornamental kale, Crane Feather Kind White (ordered from Johnny’s)

I placed my Fedco order on January 31, my Johnny’s order on February 4 and my order with Sand Hill Preservation Center on March 9.

Garden Plans

It is cold outside today. Perfect time for a hot cup of tea, my seed box and a stash of seed catalogs. Time to plan the next gardening season.

The first step is to take stock of the previous season, which I kind of do as I go along. I take notes throughout the season and then make a summary in late fall. I reflect on what worked well in the garden and what did not, and take note of what vegetable varieties I would like to grow again this season and in what quantities (same/more/less). Are there any new vegetables or varieties I might want to try this year? Are there any that I will definitely not grow again (because they did not do well, I did not like the taste, they took up too much space, required too much labor, were decimated by pests etc.).

Second, I take inventory of my seeds. I store all my seeds in a single cardboard box and use simple card stock dividers to sort the seeds by vegetable. Every winter/early spring, I go through the box and discard the old seeds and make a list of vegetable seeds I need to buy for the next season.

I then plan the layout of my plot and draw up a planting diagram for the year. I like to rotate crops and this is this year’s plan:

Here is my general plan for the garden plot for 2019:

  • tomatoes (6 to 8 plants total: 3-4 early, 3-4 mid/late)
  • eggplant (2-3 plants)
  • hot pepper (1-2)
  • cucumber (1 cell of 3-4 plants)
  • butternut squash (1)
  • basil (5)
  • carrots (2 rows spring, 2 rows summer/fall)
  • radishes (2 rows)
  • garlic (5 rows)
  • golden beets (1 row)
  • fingerling potatoes (1 large hill)
  • Swiss chard (1 row)
  • kale (4 plants)
  • leaf lettuce (1 row)
  • head lettuce (1 row)
  • peas (2 rows)
  • bush beans (2 rows)
  • pole beans (1 tipi)
  • leeks (2 rows)
  • fall greens (1 row)
  • bok choy (1 row)
  • spinach (1 -2 rows in the fall)
  • flowers: dahlias, cosmos, sunflower, zinnia, nasturtium, marigold
  • parsley
  • sage

For my back porch, I am planning: 1-2 tomato plants (I will select varieties that are suited for containers), 1 hot pepper, 1 mini eggplant, chard, head and/or leaf lettuce, herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, mint) and flowers.

Now comes the fun part — I browse the seed catalogs (paper copies and online) and make a preliminary list of interesting varieties to consider. I will then narrow down the varieties and prepare my final seed orders. I have yet to start saving my own seeds. Maybe this is the year?