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Backyard garden update

May 16, 2019

I usually wait until about mid-May (ahem, now) to plant cherry tomatoes, chile peppers, and basil because spring weather in DC is inconsistent at best. But even I was seduced by our unseasonably-warm April with several days in the 80s. So instead of making my annual after-Mother's Day trek to DeBaggio's in Chantilly, VA, I purchased these warm weather veggies about 3 weeks ago from the garden center where I work and from the Arboretum sale.

 

Cherry tomatoes (3 red/purple varieties, 3 yellow/orange):

  • Super Sweet 100

  • Midnight Snack

  • Black Cherry

  • Sun Gold

  • Sun Sugar

  • Yellow Pear

 

Chile peppers:

  • Poblano

  • Highlander Anaheim

  • Fish

  • Shishito

 

Basil: Genovese (lots of it!)

 

I'm happy to report that the chilly temperatures from earlier this week have not seemed to have affected these veggie babies. In my concrete-surrounded backyard, I doubt it got as cool as it did in other parts of the city anyway. Likewise, I'm grateful that the Great Wettening has not led to fungal diseases on my plants; I think that's due to the water-absorbing power of compost.

 

Meanwhile, my greens are busting out, which is exactly what I wanted. Lately, for easy healthy dinners, we've been stocking the refrigerator like a salad bar. In the mornings, I wash and chop veggies, setting them in containers in the fridge. In the evening, we toss the ingredients together in a big bowl with dressing, making dinner in minutes. And it's been weeks since I've last had to buy mixed salad greens from the store since we've been eating homegrown lettuces, arugula, and mizuna.

 

My biggest mishap is with my celtuce and swordleaf lettuces. Turns out, groundhogs find them tasty too. The Chinese lettuces are already starting to rebound from getting munched on (it occurred about a week and a half ago), so I might get a harvest yet. We'll have to wait and see. The groundhog has been coming into my garden by squeezing under the fence, so to try to prevent further damage, I set a row of unused old bricks to block the gap.

 

Slender and tall-growing swordleaf lettuce with wisps of non-bulbing onions, (volunteer) dill, and mixed leaf lettuces, plus a few small weeds

 

 

Groundhog wuz here (I assume groundhogs are as bad at spelling as internet cats and cow mascots who advertise fried chicken)

 

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