Monday, June 1, 2009

The Garden Eating Begins

I think it's finally safe to put the rest of my veggies in the ground. (Lettuce and snow peas I already sowed directly outside; they are "early" crops.) Here in Chicagoland, sneaky frost can occur overnight even in late May. So it was a week after Memorial Day when I finally moved my tomatoes and peppers from their tiny seedling containers, which I could put outside on nice days and bring inside on cold days, to the large wooden barrel containers in my front yard (the all-day sunny spot). But you better believe I'm watching the 5-day forecasts for that one rare overnight low in the 30s—I'll be running outside with newspaper and plastic bags to cover my precious plants. They're not quite seedlings anymore, but they're still tiny, thanks to the cool weather we've had. At this rate, it seems like it'll be July before we can eat anything out of the garden besides the lettuce!

Growing along with my lettuce is some scary-looking Chinese cabbage... or something. It looks more like a weed, with fuzzy, spiky leaves. When I look up Chinese cabbage, the pictures look like cabbage and not like the weird stuff growing in my little garden box. Maybe it is just a weed, but it's growing right where I planted those cabbage seeds. Maybe I got some bum seeds. I haven't picked or tasted any of it yet because I don't know what to do with it! It certainly doesn't look like it would be a pleasant texture. I'm sort of waiting to see how it grows out.

My other leafies, the romaine and buttercrunch lettuces, are growing great and taste great. I have been using some of the baby leaves in salads, making room for others to grow into full heads of lettuce. My spinach was good, but not all of the seeds sprouted, so we already ate it all and have to plant more. I think I can get another harvest before it gets too hot.

In the meantime, I'm just waiting for everything else to produce. Oh! Besides lettuce, we also have strawberries ripening now. About four at a time are ready every day or so, and I often just eat them as I pick them instead of saving them up for use as an actual ingredient in something, like strawberry shortcake. Now there's an idea...

So, what's growing in your garden, on your patio or balcony, or in your window sill? Check off your edibles in our poll over there on the right. If you're growing something that isn't listed, just click the "Comments" link at the top of this post and tell us about it!

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