If it’s Memorial Day, then it’s time to get the garden put in (I love that phrase, it’s so old-fashioned) — I jumped the gun a little on the tomatoes this year — they were getting so leggy in the cold frames that I had to put them in — and last week’s spate of cold, wet weather didn’t do them any good. It went down to 28 degrees at least twice — although sheets draped over the trellises seem to have kept them from giving up the ghost entirely.
This year I’m experimenting — these are the eggplant seedlings. I’ve never started so many of them (Seeds of Italy, of course, one long skinny eggplant and one round one). In years past I’ve grown two or three eggplant plants — and for some reason I don’t fully understand, I decided to do a whole bunch of them this year. I think they were lonely before. I think they want to be in a crowd. This is an entirely irrational belief on my part, but we’ll see what happens. And since I didn’t really mark them, I’ll just have to wait and see what they produce (or if they produce). The weather folks are predicting a hot dry summer — for the eggplants sake, let’s hope so.
I also planted a peck of peppers — Aci Sivri, a long skinny pepper that I dry in strings and use all winter, Topepo Rosso, Padrone, and Cieliega Piccante (Seeds of Italy doesn’t seem to be carrying this one this year). The peppers are my first real experiment in seed saving — and I may not be entirely accurate on seedling labels — all winter I just dumped seeds into a glass jar when I used a pepper — so even if I’ve got the varieties wrong, I do know that I’m growing the peppers I liked to eat.
I put the peppers in the deep triangular bed because they’re not something I’m going to have to get at very often. It was the one thing I didn’t really think of when I built these beds — it’s too far to reach in the big ones. So I try to plant things that have a longer growing period toward the back of the beds. Today I’m going to do the radicchios along the back of the other deep triangular bed. I built trellises along the back sides of these beds, and that’s where I put the peas and beans and cucumbers. The trellisses also make a nice sort of fence to separate the garden from the rest of the yard.
And then there are the zucchini. I told myself I wasn’t going to do zucchini this year — they take up so much space, and no matter how vigilant one is, they always get out of hand. But I couldn’t help it. I like zucchini. So I planted four of them in the back corner of the yard in a bed that I never know what to do with — there’s rhubarb back there that came with the house, and some iris, and it’s where I’ve been trying to get a raspberry patch going. So here’s my passive-aggressive treatment of the poor zucchini: