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Planting the Vegetable Garden

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This spring I planted our vegetable garden in Columbia County, New York. My nephews Milo (age 5, left) and Gideon (age 3) helped.

In early spring, we started prepping the beds. We weeded, tilled the soil, and added fresh compost. One of the first seeds we planted was sugar snap peas. Last year they were abundant and super sweet. I can’t wait for this season’s crop.

We also planted rainbow and ruby-red chard and lacinato kale seeds. Here is the chard emerging from the soil. I love how bright the stems are even when they’re so young.

A couple of weeks later we planted the rest of the garden. Milo planted this ‘Green Zebra’ tomato seedling. We are growing six varieties of tomatoes this year. In addition to ‘Green Zebra,’ we’re trying a beefsteak called ‘Big Beef,’ a ‘Sun Cherry,’ and several heirlooms: orange ‘Valencia,’ dark pink ‘Rose de Berne,’ and the multicolor ‘Striped German.’ We also added three kinds of basil around the tomatoes: purple basil, Italian basil, and African blue basil. I can’t wait to make pesto and eat the tomatoes fresh off their vines!

Cucumbers are a family favorite. This year we planted three types of Japanese cucumbers: ‘Summer Top,’ ‘Tsuyotaro,’ and ‘Natsuodori.’ Here is a picture from last year’s cucumbers. They are growing up a trellis we made from sticks we found in the woods.

We are also growing shishito and fushimi peppers. They are  delicious grilled with a little olive oil and sea salt. I bought the seeds from Kitazawa Seed Company, which opened in 1917 and is the oldest seed company specializing in Asian vegetables in the US. Here is a photo from last year.

I love planting borage. Not only does it help deter pests, like the pesky tomato hornworm, but the clear blue flowers are also beautiful and edible.

After we planted all the seeds and seedlings, Milo and Gideon helped water. Milo counted to five for each plant.

Check back in a few weeks to see how this season’s crops turn out. What are you growing in your garden? If you’re planting anything off the beaten path, we’d love to hear about it.

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