Updated: Mar 4, 2020
It's almost February, the start of the most miserable couple months of winter. Snow that beautifully blankets the yard in December and January becomes more of a nuisance in these latter months as we dream of the warmer weather to come.
I'm not a winter hater. I like to get out for walks in the woods or hikes in the surrounding hills. But four or five months of cold and wet and gray does eat at the soul a bit.
It also makes Spring that much more exciting, and with that comes the beginning thoughts of what to plant in the garden.
Last year, I had some big successes. The pickling cuke crop was tremendous (awesome pickle recipe here) and we had cherry tomatoes the whole summer. Pepper plants -- poblanos, green, and chile -- also did well. Sugar snap peas and green beans were plentiful and our sunflowers grew 10 feet tall! Lettuces were plentiful early.
I had some failures as well. The artichoke plants from the year before did not come back: I was told because my garden beds are raised, they probably froze during the winter. My Jack Be Little pumpkin plants died before they were to flower... something must have eaten them. The beets never got bigger than a golf ball and the carrots never really took root. Oh well, that's going to happen.
As usual, I learned some stuff as well. My dill grew great in early spring, but my timing was bad. By the time the pickling cukes were ready to be harvested in early summer, the dill was starting to bolt.
Probably my biggest garden bonanza was my cannabis, which I have been planting and growing in small amounts for the last two years. I plan on writing a separate post about my experiences in weed cultivation soon. It's a fun plant to grow and a LOT of work to harvest. It's funny that I've all but quit smoking pot now that I've got a decent handle on how to grow it. I'm planning on giving hemp a try this year. I'm itching to make my own CBD oil and other products. We'll see how that goes.
Oh yeah, the whole point of this column... what to plant this year. Top of my list is shishito peppers. I bought some last year at the farmers' market and seared them in a pan of oil, salt and pepper, and just couldn't get enough of them! We'll do pickling cukes, dill, sugar snap peas, green beans, green peppers, tomatoes, beets and lettuce again, and maybe give the Jack Be Littles another try. I'll skip the poblanos as I wasn't crazy about the taste and probably no carrots this time.
Maybe asparagus? Nah, why bother when the Valley farmers do it so well and so plentifully.
Anyway, it's still months before planting season. Until then, I'll keep shoveling a path to the feeders to keep the birds happy and dream of the day when I can actually start working the soil in the garden.