May plantings

Today I put a few tomato seedlings in the ground (2 Momotaro and 1 Brandywine) and also direct-sowed butternut squash (Waltham) and cucumbers (Longfellow). I planted my dahlias (four out of the five I overwintered in the basement survived) and sprinkled cosmos seeds in between.

The basil plants had some damage from something/someone chewing on them, there were some big holes in the leaves. I hope they will recover.

Mid-May Harvest

Rhubarb, asparagus and a giant overwintered leek.

I planted basil and sage in the plot and checked on the progress of my vegetables I planted from seed: the peas, radishes, lettuce and chard came in nicely. The beets are just starting to show. So does the kale but the flea beetles are hard at work here this spring. The carrots are a no-show.

The seedlings – Brussels sprouts and leeks – are looking good.


Back Porch

Over the past couple of days I finalized my back porch plans. As usual there will be lots of herbs, which will make it easy for me to put the final touches on our family dinners. Specifically, I planted cilantro, Thai basil, Greek oregano, mint, sage, lavender, German thyme and rosemary. The sage and the rosemary are leftovers from last year that I overwintered in our kitchen, the sage is slowly coming back to life after I had chopped it back to a small stump. The mint is from my community plot, where despite my best efforts to eradicate it, it keeps coming back every year.

I also have basil in a big pot growing together with a hot pepper (Jedi) and flat parsley growing with a Japanese eggplant. In addition, there is a pot where I sowed butter lettuce and another one with rainbow Swiss chard. The last big pot is empty and will likely have a patio-style tomato.

First Harvest

With help from my plot neighbor David who generously offered to share his bounty. About a third comes from my asparagus micro-patch, seen below a couple of days earlier, the rest is from his patch. And this asparagus mushroom tart is what I will be making for dinner tonight, but I will use regular pizza dough instead of puff pastry and will substitute cremini mushrooms. So good!

Planting potatoes and back porch plans

Today I planted my potatoes. It is a bit late, but so is everything this year. I planted Magic Molly, a purple variety, and Banana fingerlings, both seed potatoes from Moose Tubers in Maine. The Magic Mollies (six cut-up pieces with nice large eyes) went in next to the fence behind the asparagus and the fingerlings were planted in two rows next to the garlic. When I was digging the trenches, I found a ton of worms in the soil. Yay! I also planted sunflowers in my plot.

On our back porch, I planted Swiss Chard, lettuce and nasturtiums and transplanted some mint I had weeded out in my plot into a planter. Other plans for my back porch include tons of herbs – sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, Thai basil, maybe cilantro -, eggplant, hot pepper and perhaps a small-fruiting tomato variety. And a few pots with flowers.


I have been volunteering at the greenhouse at City Natives on Tuesday mornings. I had done that years ago and started again this spring. What a magical place to be, especially during our cold and wet spring here in Boston. Those tomato seedlings in the picture above smell so lovely – the smell of summer! I love helping to take care of the seedlings in the greenhouse and hoop house and the vegetable beds outside. Especially, since I did not start seedlings myself this year and my garden is just waking up after a very long winter. So good to get gardening again!

City Natives is an educational urban farm, run by The Trustees of Reservations. The farm runs classes on-site and throughout the city, teaching urban gardeners anything from garden planning over pest control to foraging and bee-keeping. Most of the seedlings will be sold at two plant sales, at City Natives on May 12 and on May 19 in the South End.