We are in the last week of April, and the vegetable garden is doing just fine thank you. In fact, it’s doing a little too fine.
The spring crops are mostly up and thriving. ‘Black-seeded Simpson’ lettuce, ‘Grazion’ pelleted lettuce from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a couple of mesclun seed mixes, beautiful Purple Moon kale from Renee’s Garden Seeds, tiny onions from seed instead of sets this year (I didn’t even start them indoors like I should have), and mache are growing with abandon.
Here’s my problem. I decided a couple of years ago I wanted to border the entire potager with lavender once I saw it performed so well in these raised, concrete-bordered beds and was beloved by my honey bees and the bumbles. I grow several varieties, and each one seems to love it here for the most part. I lost a few new plants to Pup Francis and one to who knows what, but for the most part, it is growing like gangbusters.
Below is a photo of Superblue English lavender that has performed really well in the garden. It is smaller than Phenomenal and blooms twice if deadheaded. I am also growing a new-to-me lavender this year called Sharon Roberts. Francis dug up two small plants, and I’ve ordered more from a new supplier, Victor’s Lavender. I also bought ‘Royal Velvet.’ I’ll let you know when I get them, and I’ll place them alongside the remaining beds of the potager–except the one side planted in peppers.
I do have my priorities.
Finally growing lavender successfully makes me very happy. It’s the little things, you know?
Unfortunately, that lavender takes up a lot of space, and I was planning on traveling several places this year so I felt like I only needed a small garden to keep me in summer tomatoes. However, COVID-19 had other plans.
Since I’ll be home for the summer, I decided to grow more veggies. You seem to enjoy this veggie journey too, and I wanted to write more about growing an Oklahoma vegetable garden this summer.
Before you start a vegetable garden, you might want to consider a few things, or buy my book The 20-30 Something Garden Guide: A No-Fuss, Down and Dirty, Gardening 101 for Anyone Who Wants to Grow Stuff. It’s really cheap on Amazon and tells you everything I know.
In my summer vegetable garden, I like the following vegetables a lot: bush green beans, okra, lettuce, spring onions to make Grandma Nita’s wilted lettuce salad, tomatoes, Asian eggplants, and peppers–so many peppers.
I also love summer squash, but so do the squash bugs. I sometimes do not grow it. I can’t commit to being out there every day with soap and water and scraping off the shiny copper eggs only to lose the battle anyway. But, if you do want to grow it, here’s how you pollinate summer squash.
As much as I like okra and beans, they take up quite a bit of room, and I’m more interested at this point in my life in growing sunflowers in the cut flower garden beds than okra–although it is such a pretty vegetable being part of the hibiscus family. You can grow dwarf varieties like ‘Baby Bubba,’ but I’m just not in the mood, and honestly, the larger okra varieties like ‘Clemson Spineless,’ ‘Hill Country Red’ and others really give you the best yield, so I’m not growing okra. I don’t want to grow beans either although I do have a packet of seeds.
Mainly, I want tomatoes, peppers, and Asian eggplant. However, I started some seeds, and I bought some plants every time I found some for sale, and you guessed it, I have too many to fit in my current garden situation if I’m going to rotate my plants. I do rotate crops because diseases and pests build up in the soil. They really do. I bought at least 20 containers to grow my tomatoes, but apparently, I hoard tomatoes like some people do toilet paper.
I ended up with 25 or so plants after I went to Tulsa to pick up my last order from the Tomato Man’s Daughter. So, I’m giving four plants to a friend. I also bought way too many peppers, and I couldn’t find more containers anywhere. Amazon isn’t delivering very quickly, and I didn’t want to go to TLC Nursery to look. Too crowded. So, I asked Bill, if, on his way home, he would pick up some 30-gallon containers from RedBud Soil Company downtown.
Smart Pots sent me numerous containers with handles in this lovely green too. Thank you Smart Pots! I love them. You can find Smart Pots at various local spots–if anyone has any left–or you can buy them at Amazon. Containers are a great way to grow plants including vegetables. Just make sure your containers are large enough.
Don’t forget to listen to our podcast this week about Solomon’s seal, radishes and frost damage on plants. Also, here is a video I made on Instagram about the vegetable garden if you’d like to see more.
As always, thanks for reading and commenting. Your comments make my day, and I don’t feel so all alone. Coronavirus has made the entire world lonely, but we will get through this one day at a time.