By mid-season the garden should look something like:
We’re trying something new this year — eggplants. (All plant descriptions are by Seattle Tilth unless otherwise noted. My additional “Ed” notes are in italics.)
2 Black Beauty Eggplant, 1 box. (partial Bonnie Plants description): Plants produce pretty, prolific harvests in warm weather—keep them well-watered and harvest often. Pick the fruit before the glossy, dark skin begins to fade. (The color and glossiness of the eggplant determine the best time to harvest, rather than the fruit’s size.) Grows beautifully in garden beds or containers. Add a cage to your eggplant to help support stems when heavy with fruit. Place in full sun, and feed regularly. Matures in 80 days.
4 “Marketmore” Cucumbers, 1 box. (Ed: I’m not sure what exact variety these are. Historically we’ve grown) Marketmore 76 – 63 days. Open pollinated. In the Marketmore series, ‘Marketmore 76’ is very popular with organic growers due to its high level of disease resistance. This dark green slicing variety produces abundant, high quality, uniform fruits about 8 inches long with a wonderful cucumber flavor.
2 Tromboncino Zucchini, 1 box. – 60-80 days. Open pollinated heirloom. A Tilth favorite, the flesh of this variety has a smooth buttery texture and a mild flavor—the taste of summer! The 12 to 18” long fruits are “trombone”- shaped and can grow in curly cues or hang like bells on a trellised vine. (Ed: Tromboncino work well for us because we garden on a concrete patio and normal zucchini would likely burn on the cement. Tromboncino grow vertically, so we save space. They’re also relatively more powdery mildew resistant. Each square on the trellis below is 8″. The fruits themselves are around 2′ long.)
6 Carmen Peppers, 1 box. 60 – 80 days. Lusciously sweet when left to fully ripen to a deep red, this pepper is perfect for chopping and tossing straight into a salad. A great container plant and a good addition to a sunny veggie bed. 6 inch fruits on an upright plant. (Ed: We like this variety partly because it’s really easy to clean out the seed pods.)
6 King of the North Peppers, 1 box. 76 days. Open Pollinated. Here is a sweet bell pepper that will mature in short season climates. Its crisp, blocky fruit will turn from medium green to red if left on plant longer. Excellent raw in salads or dips. Great to use as stuffed pepper or in tempura recipes.
Tomatoes. All 2 per box.
2 Black Krim – 75 days. Indeterminate. Open pollinated heirloom. From the Black Sea region of Russia, these 10-12oz beefsteak type tomatoes have a strong, rich flavor that is common with black tomatoes. (Ed: By far our favorite tomato for taste. They have a wonderful earthy flavor.)
2 Roma – 75 days. Determinant. Premium canning tomato, ideal for sauce and paste. Pear-shaped scarlet fruits are thick and meaty with few seeds.
2 Roma VF Hybrid – 75 days. (Ed: I think these should be slightly longer, skinner Romas. This plant is new to us as well. We wanted another determinate sauce tomato so these are getting a try.)
2 Oregon Spring – 60 days. Determinate. An extra-early variety that sets loads of meaty fruits weighing 3 to 5 oz. Compact plants set fruits even in cool weather and continue to yield all season long. Nearly seedless. A perfect choice for ketchup and sauces. (Ed: Almost every single year these are our best producing most prolific tomato. If I were to recommend one variety to gardeners in the Pacific Northwest it would be this one.)
1 Tigerella – 65 days. Open pollinated. English Heirloom. Indeterminate. Interesting green turning to red and orange tiger-striped fruit . Very early and prolific – produces throughout the season. Excellent for salads. Low acidity variety.
The Tigerella is sharing a box with –
1 Green Zebra — 78 days is actually the result of four heirlooms bred together. Whatever, it’s a beauty, with exquisite emerald green skin, dark green vertical stripes, and gently flavorful green flesh. Ready to be eaten fresh or canned and enjoyed year-round. High-yielding indeterminate plants produce oodles of 1 1/2-2 1/2″ fruits. (Burpee description)
We’ll also be growing Basil, Scallions/Bunch Onions as well as Fortex (haricot vert style pole) beans on a trellis.
Right now it’s now quite as impressive. We still need to weed and set up the trellises and other supports. In the far back are lettuce and radishes that are about done for the spring.
Hopefully the weather cooperates this year. It’s somewhat overcast and rainy right now, though the cloud cover at night is a good thing this early in the season.