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.
I always attempt to grow zucchini, knowing that I likely won’t get much harvest before the bugs get them. But I take as much as I can until then!
Dee Nash says
I do that a lot too. I just hope I’ll get enough. This year I don’t know if I’ll grow any or not. ~~Dee
Karen G says
Hi, I know nothing about gardening of any kind! Just what you want to hear, right? I’m in Coweta, a suburb of Broken Arrow basically, near Tulsa. I want to grow vegetables! Cucumber is top of my list. Also peppers. Tomatoes. Carrots. Maybe onions. Potatoes? But at least cucumbers for sure!
In fact, maybe I should just grow one thing for my first try?
But I was afraid I’m too late. After reading what you said, I think maybe I’m not, but still not sure. I don’t know a thing about our soil. You said potting soil anyway… is there just one kind?
I naively thought I could just bury some seeds in the ground and wait for them to come up to enjoy a delicious salad! Nobody ever plants seeds in the ground around here?
Also, I have a little greenhouse I’ve not used yet. It’s more like a greenshelf. Not a house really. Should I put seeds in pots and put them on those shelves? I know it’s not big enough for pots as big as yours though.
Any advice u may have is welcome, or even just encouragement! I really want to do it, but it all seems a bit daunting once I start reading about it!
Dee Nash says
Hi Karen, you’re not too late. You can place those cucumbers in good garden soil and grow them with abandon as long as you have water. As for learning about soil, I wrote a whole book for beginners on gardening in containers, raised beds, in the ground. Your choice. Here’s the link to my book, the 20-30 Something Garden Guide. Good luck in all your endeavors!~~Dee
Patricia Evans says
Are the pots you have tomatoes growing in reusable or single season only? And do you replace the soil every year. I haven’t been able to have a vegetable garden for many years due to overabundance of deer (I’m in western NY). Thanks.
Dee Nash says
Hi Patricia, they are not one-use pots. You can use them year-after-year. They are quite sturdy. I don’t completely replace the soil every year. I actually refresh it with clean potting soil or add nutrients to it. I wouldn’t want to waste all that peat moss. However, you shouldn’t grow the same vegetables in these pots for more than one season. You should rotate crops in them the same way you do in your garden. Hope this helps!~~Dee
Mona Gabriel says
I love that you said “but I’m just not in the mood”. For some reason that just made me smile. I feel that way more and more about my garden as I grow older..You are such a sweet, spunky lady.I enjoy your online presence.
Dee Nash says
Hi Mona, glad I made you laugh. We all need to laugh more. I enjoy your online presence too. We need to meet one day.~~Dee
Lisa at Greenbow says
Hi Dee, I love that you can grow Lavender. I have never heard of the varieties you mentioned. I don’t look for lavender tho, I can’t seem to grow it. I will look forward to your vegetable growing escapades. All I have going in the vegetable line now is lettuce mix. It is about ready to pick for the first time I think. Cheers.
Dee Nash says
Hi Lisa, until I made those raised beds, I was never very successful. I think I am now because the soil is really alkaline around the concrete, and the raised beds have tremendous drainage. I still lose a plant once in a while. I love me some lettuce btw.
ginny talbert says
I, too, have outgrown my raised beds this year! I’m trying grow bags for the first time for tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. I have both 15 and 20 gallon sizes (hope the sizes are right)? Im also making a stab at the no-till approach for the next several seasons. Have you ever done this? So far it’s been a very good extended spring for cool season crops. I’m doing some purple moon kale also, and Russian red, too. Been throwing tender young greens in everything but dessert, haha. Happy growing!
Dee Nash says
Ginny, those sizes should be great! I basically do no till in the garden. I just layer on stuff and dig through it when I plant. It works really well. ~~Dee