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.