Today I will plant my final bunch of annuals. The perennials are already up (most have blossomed and are now onto whatever they do in the heat of the summer) and I got the tomatoes in last week (more on the tomatoes later - really, see if you can stop me). Today, I’m putting in vincas, the annual not the vine, begonias, and something called a woolly lavender, which looks like lavender but isn’t and will grow to be a lot taller than I thought it would (so, oops).
I really love to plant things. When I was growing up, the first thing I would do when coming home from school was to go out to my mother’s garden with a basket and pick whatever was ripe. It was very country of me. We had a huge raspberry bush and I would plant zinnias and marigolds and snap dragons. Mom also planted tomatoes, beans, radishes, beets and zucchini. And it was great having fresh vegetables and bouquets around the house.
Now, I’ve been trying to grow tomatoes since I moved to Kent almost 10 years ago and then again when I moved into my house in Akron. It’s ridiculous - you would think I was trying to find a cure for cancer. I can get the plants to grow and be covered with green tomatoes, but then the squirrels and rabbits and groundhogs step in and I’m lucky to have a handful of cherry tomatoes to eat on my way to work. My obsession with heirloom varieties is especially grievous. I want to leave them on the vine to ripen, but the riper they get, the more risk I take with the critters. It’s like a game of chicken and they’re winning.
I said this year that I would only grow tiny varieties, because there are physically more fruit - which increases my chances of success. I succumbed and ended up putting in a hillbilly and a mortgage lifter, but I also have a hybrid (I can’t remember what, I just kept thinking, “Maybe these will be faster and bigger.” I don’t really think it will make a difference). I have 3 super grapes, 2 orange cherries, 1 hybrid I bought because the plant looked sturdy and 1 purple cherry that I couldn’t resist. There is also a red pepper, some herbs and a random tomato plant that self started in the big planter (it will never be big enough in time, but I’m curious about it, so I’m not going to pull it out). I tried a squash last year and it grew and I had lots of blossoms, but it couldn’t get fertilized, so that was that.
I will say this, last summer, along with eating them alone or in salads, I started cooking with the cherry tomatoes and it was so great, I’m looking forward to trying some new recipe ideas. I had a big herb garden last year thanks to my mom, and I’m keeping that going as well. It’s a tradition that I kill one rosemary plant a year. Something new is some organic fertilizer that already is making my random plots and buckets look more healthy.
Wish me luck!