With temperatures now consistently in the range for good growing, it is tempting to go out to the garden and plant all the seeds as quickly as possible. If I look just a little bit down the road, I’ll realize that planting everything now means that I will be harvesting every thing all at once. Overrun with tomatoes and peppers, zucchini and squash, I may want to run away from the kitchen as quickly as possible. What might be a workable solution so the summer gardening experience doesn’t get overwhelming?
Well, first not to plant too fast. Holding back on some planting means “putting in the garden” (or at least a part of it) in succession planting so that tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and peppers arrive much later into the season. Last year a late July planting of beans gave us a fresh crop to pick in late September and into mid October. So holding on to the seeds and saving a place in the garden for the late crop is well worth it.
Another option is to plant a significant part of the garden in vegetables that will be harvested and stored for the winter. Butternut squash has become a household favorite because it is so easy to cook and it stores well for 5-6 months. Fresh from the garden in January and February is a wonderful treat. Sweet potatoes have also jumped pretty high up the list in large part because they are like a wonder food for your health. Protection from the deer munching those sweet potato leaves has been a key for us to get a good harvest.
Finally, lining up people and places to send the harvest so that all the food is eaten is a big help. We will be trying a Farmer’s Market at Big Ugly Community Center on Saturday nights when there is already an auction scheduled for the evening. Hopefully that will be one of the ways the fruits of the harvest can be spread around for all to enjoy.