As way of explanation, Carol from May Dreams Gardens, Mary Ann from Idaho Gardener and I so loved the book, Dear Friend and Gardener, and since I thoroughly enjoyed The 3,000 Mile Garden: An Exchange of Letters Between Two Eccentric Gourmet Gardeners, we decided to create our own 1,000 mile Garden Project. So, this gardening season, we’ll be exchanging letters with each other about our vegetable gardens with today being our first letter. We hope you’ll enjoy our jaunt around three different hardiness zones.
Dear Carol and Mary Ann,
Spring has already sprung in my Oklahoma garden, so much so, that outdoors, perennial growth is about three weeks ahead of last year at this time. This is a very dangerous time for weather in Oklahoma. No, I’m talking about the tornadoes. I’m speaking of Mr. Freeze. Our last freeze date is actually April 20th, but tell that to the plants which are already above ground. If we get a late freeze now, there is no way I’ll have enough bed sheets to cover them.
In the nursery, little tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants are growing like gangbusters under their pink grow lights. I started them three weeks ago, which is about right, although Oklahoma gardeners can still plant seeds indoors for hot weather plants if they want. This year, I’m trying a huge variety of tomato seeds, including: ‘Royal Hillbilly,’ ‘Cherokee Purple,’ ‘True Black Brandywine,’ ‘Millionaire,’ ‘Kentucky Beefsteak,’ Hazelfield Farm,’ ‘Aunt Anna,’ ‘Lumpy Red,’ ‘Sungold,’ ‘Grandma Mary’s Paste,’ ‘Crimson Carmello,’ ‘Fireworks,’ ‘Giant Belgium,’ and ‘Virginia Sweets.’ Now that I’ve listed all of them, I believe I’ve completely lost my mind. Of this group, I’ve only grown ‘Cherokee Purple,’ ‘Sungold’ and ‘Kentucky Beefsteak’ before. Everything else is brand new, and I tried to include tomatoes for cooking, slicing and popping (into one’s mouth while out in the garden). I also like different colors, hence ‘Fireworks,’ ‘True Black Brandywine’ and ‘Sungold.’
On to the peppers, we have: ‘Gambo,’ ‘Corno di Toro’ (bull’s horn), and ‘San Martin’ ancho. I will probably buy a few pepper plants once the weather warms. I see no reason to start pepper seeds for those varieties readily available.
As you two probably already know, with peppers you need to separate the hotter ones from the mild, so I’ll be putter the poblano and anchos out in the garden next to the street, and the milder ones in the garden in back. ‘Gambo’ is supposed to be a big, traditional mild pepper. I’ve grown the frying ‘Corno di Toro’ before and liked it.
For eggplants, I was feeling adventurous, so I chose two kinds: ‘Thai Yellow Egg’ and ‘Listada di Gondia.’ I’ll let you know how these turn out later.
Outdoors, I’m very behind. Two days ago, I planted some potatoes, turnips, beets, lots of lettuces including my favorite ‘Black Seeded Simpson.’ I still need to plant spinach, onion sets, more potatoes and peas. I don’t plant shelling peas anymore because it gets too hot here too fast, and I don’t get good yields for the amount of garden space. I am planting sugar snaps, but I don’t have the packet in front of me to tell you which variety. More for next time.
As for the size of my veggie garden, it is difficult to estimate because I grow all of my veggies around my perennial and annual flowers. Everything is squashed in there together, so that there are fewer weeds. Also, the pollination factor rises because of the flowers. At least, that’s what I tell myself. 🙂
I’ll be interested to hear how different our gardens will be. Now, I’m off to plant more seeds outdoors. Til next time.
Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden) says
Great veggie gardening! WOW! I like your concept with your letter theme.
Cameron (Defining Your Home Garden)´s last blog post..Tiny Teardrops on the Weeping Willow
I am going to enjoy reading this project. A great idea.
Sandy´s last blog post..spinach brownies
Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence says
I think this is so very wonderful! On a similar topic, I was having this same kind of conversation with my friend Bobby Ward who is writing a biography of J.C. Raulston. J.C. was a keeper. He kept everything. Making the tough job somewhat easier. And in the day, which was not that long ago, communication was done with letters. Very similar when Elizabeth Lawrence, Allan Lacey, even Nancy Goodwin, and others of course communicated. Bobby and I wondered without this way to communicate, how will the conversations be preserved? We don’t have a shoe box holding our hard drives. Also it seems that with e-mail, so much more is being written in shorter bursts. Imgine when Miss Lawrence needed to communicate, she put as many thoughts down at a time. I could go on, but you get my point. Writing letters should not be a lost art even with the widespread availability and desirability of blogs and e-mail
Hi, Honey, just now getting over here. You bring back so many memories of when we used to grow the big veg. garden. TJ especially did like the peas. No, they did not stay long, but I am hopeful to grow them sometime for the grands to shell and eat. The heat seems far away right now.
CurtissAnn´s last blog post..Thursday Books– Cold Tea on a Hot Day
Good grief Dee!
Who knew you were going to have a produce stand at your home this summer?
What else could you possibly do with all those veggies?
Just post a map to your house and those of us who still do home canning will come and rescue you from a flood of late summer foodstuffs.
Martha who now sees that her late winter seed starting is nothing compared with yours.
Martha´s last blog post..March Winds Doth Blow
I loved Dear Friend and Gardener too, so I’m looking forward to enjoying your version. What a wonderful idea!
Victoria´s last blog post..Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-Mai’
I’ll just have to enjoy all your tomatoes vicariously. I’m not sure what I’d do with that many but I guess I could sell them at the farmers’ market! I have one tomato, Cherokee Purple, right now. I’m trying to refrain from anymore since I don’t have the room. I didn’t know about peppers needing separation. Good to know. Love the letter concept and I look forward to reading more!
Jean´s last blog post..It’s That Time of Year
Lisa at Greenbow says
Dee, I loved both of the books you mentioned and I look forward to reading your correspondence with Carol and Mary Ann.
I don’t have a “veggie” garden per say but I do want to incorporate some veggies into my perennial beds so I will really like to hear what you have going on.
Nola @ the Alamo says
Wow, with all the tomatoes and peppers, but sure to grow some cilantro and onions, you’ll have terrific salas!
Nola @ the Alamo´s last blog post..More From Yesterday…
Kylee from Our Little Acre says
What a fun thing you’re doing! I’m reading “The Little Bulbs” right now and it’s fun to read about the communication between fellow gardeners.
Love that vining ‘Sungold’. I grow that one and I really should think about doing it that way.
Hi Dee, thanks for sharing this. I love hearing about your all’s veggie beginnings. I do remember well the late freezes of OK, we have the exact same thing here in TN too. There is nothing to be done except hope for the best and cover what we can! You certainly have a fine variety of tomatoes. I didn’t know about keeping the hot peppers seperate either, thanks!
Frances´s last blog post..Beefing Up The Fairy Gazebo
Brit' Gal Sarah says
How interesting that you plant veges amongst the annuals and perennials! I might just give that a try myself in a few bare spots.
Wow. I’ll keep tabs on your progress;-) (…In between trying to nurse a few seedlings of my own)!
Jan(ThanksFor2Day)´s last blog post..Of Gloves and Shovels
Mr. McGregor's Daughter says
This is going to be fun, reading these letters. I just stand in awe of how many veggies you grow.
Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog post..MMD’s Adventures at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show ’09
A wonderful idea! …I hear you about the late freezes and dangerous times in our zone 7 gardens! Everything is up and at ’em and we could very likely have several freezes between now and April 15…our last frost day! We might have to head over to the Good Will for more sheets. gail
Gail´s last blog post..Waiting For The Go*
I love that you’re doing this! As I posted to Carol, you’ll have your own Dear Friend and Gardener (and I’ll buy and read it, too!)
jodi´s last blog post..Jodi’s Gotta-Have Plants, Part 3: Never Enough Coneflowers.
This is a great concept; I am enjoying reading the letters. Though I can’t imagine what you all are going to do with all these tomatoes!
Brenda Kula says
Oh yes, the infamous Oklahoma tornadoes. Oklahoma has fickle weather. The tornadoes, legendary. Love the post.
Brenda Kula´s last blog post..Sunday In The Garden
Carol, May Dreams Gardens says
If you’ve lost your mind, then so have I. I’m also growing 14 varieties of tomatoes, I think. I’ll help you find your mind, if you help me find mine! Or we can get Mary Ann to help us.
Carol, May Dreams Gardens´s last blog post..Letters to Gardening Friends, March 8, 2009