The last couple of weeks have been very hectic, for various reasons. And I'm gonna cover the relevant ones in a few posts under the What I Did Instead Of Writing banner.
First up: Getting the 2016 foodgarden set up.
Longtime followers of this space know that on my deck are four Earthboxes - plastic container gardens with watering reservoirs. Over the years, I've found that what works best is using one container for six herbs, one container for six peppers, one container for two tomatoes, and one container for two Other Above Ground Vegetables.
I've turned to getting my plants exclusively from the Friends School Plant Sale, a giant sale that takes over a big building and surrounding area on the State fairgrounds for a long weekend in May. They sell thousands of plants. More importantly, they sell the kind of weird, exotic stuff that falls outside what I can buy at the store and what I get from the CSA farmboxen. Plus I can get out of there for like fifty bucks total, so it's cheaper than running around to greenhouses.
So last Saturday, I bought the plants.- half hour to get there, hour and three quarters to get my wristband and wait to get in, a little over an hour to find and buy everything, and another half hour to get home. And yesterday, thanks to a break in the rain, I got them all planted. So far they all seem to be alive.
Returning successes from previous years include:
Christmas Grape tomatoes - Last year, these impressed me. Nice flavor, good size, and tons of tomatoes. So I was happy to grab these again.
Lime Basil: Always and forever, lime basil. The best of lime, the best of basil, all in one plant. I plant this every year because it is my favorite.
Vietnamese Coriander: This is a compromise herb. I love cilantro. Cathy doesn't. Vietnamese coriander kind of splits the difference. It's cilantro-ey, but not cilantro. It does to dishes what cilantro does to them, but in a more acceptable manner. It's like polite cilantro. And unlike culantro, it doesn't try to murder my fingers with sharpness.
Aji Cristal Peppers: Last year's big hot pepper success. A medium heat and a ton of flavor, and also a ton of peppers. Plus I have a thing for South American food.
Jalapenos: The most normal thing I grow, because I looooooove ripe red jalapenos. Stores only sell the green ones, the farm box mostly picks them green, but I leave them on the vine until they're ripe red. They are what Sriracha is made of, by the way.
Everything else this year is new.
Pesto Perpetuo Basil: i actually tried this non-flowering basil variant last year, but it died when I planted it and I had to replace it with regular basil. Hoping for better luck this year.
Papalo: Weird Mexican herb that I'm trying because, well, I like weird herbs.
Tong Ho: See Papalo, only Asian instead of Mexican.
Vietnamese Shiso: I tried growing red shiso a few years ago, and the plant went well, but the flavor didn't do a lot for me. So this year I'm trying a different variety to see what happens.
Jing Orange Okra: I tried Okra last year, and picked the pods too late and they were nasty. So I'm going to try again, this time with a firm guideline to pick the pods when they hit three inches, and even if it doesn't do much, ORANGE OKRA. What the fuck?
Japanese Long Eggplant: The more traditional long eggplant I grabbed when the other long purple eggplant I wanted to get was sold out by the time I got there.
Garden Peach Tomatoes: Apparently these end up like small Romas, the shape and color of apricots. Which fills another niche I won't get from the store or the CSA box.
Shishito Peppers: The Japanese grilling pepper. Why the hell not?
Pasilla Peppers: A variety of chile I haven't tried to grow before.
Carmen Peppers: I want to try growing smaller, more numerous sweet peppers this year, because I haven't had great success with any sweet bell peppers.
Sheepnose Pimiento: See above, only rounder and redder.