I have a bit of a confession to make: I kind of really hate summer.
Now before you all call me a summer Scrooge understand that I am a redhead with extremely sensitive skin. I have felt the sickly discomfort of a sunburn far too many times for comfort. This of course has made summer synonymous with pain and discomfort. I don’t just write the whole season off for the simple reason that I absolutely love one summer activity: gardening.
There’s just something about planting something in soil and cultivating it until you finally get to eat from it that makes me happy. I honestly love gardening and hobby farming so much that I briefly toyed around with the idea of getting a degree in Agriculture but that’s a story for a different time. Digging in the dirt, I firmly believe, is good for the mind, body, and soul. Nothing will ever convince me otherwise.
As much as I enjoy it, though, I do put a good deal of research in to what I choose to plant. This is simply because I want everything I plant to succeed in the climate in which I live. This season was no different. I did some research, selected the ideal varieties, and headed to the hardware store to pick up my seeds. The only difference between this season and seasons past is that I have chosen to use a raised bed to grow my garden goodies. In the past, I’ve just used a tilled plot of yard and had decent results. There will be more about my raised bed in later posts.
For now, lets look at what I planted in my much beloved garden.
In past seasons, I’ve had amazing results from my cucumbers. There’s just something about Kentucky soil that makes cucumbers just go crazy. This season I planted two different varieties of cucumbers: National Pickling and Marketmore 76. National Pickling is a variety that does better for pickling, hence the name. Once I get a good crop of cucumbers I’m hoping to put up some pickles for my family. Marketmore 76, on the other hand, is better for slicing and eating. I really love eating cucumber slices so I’m super excited to be able to get them right from my garden.
Black Beauty is a a great variety of Zucchini. I’ve planted it in seasons past and its always done wonderfully. It has a great taste when you eat it raw or cooked, fried zucchini anyone? But what I love about it is that it makes FANTASTIC zucchini bread.
A cool slice of cantaloupe on a summer’s day is one of my favorite things. Unpopular opinion, I like cantaloupe better than watermelon. I chose to plant Hale’s Best Jumbo because I’m aiming for a large, flavorful melon. I’ve also planted this variety in the years past and it has done very well.
Sugar Snap peas make for a great healthy snack particularly when your in a hurry. I planted Cascadia Sugar Snap Peas for that very reason.
I cannot stand cooked spinach, but raw spinach is a great source of nutrients that are essential to your diet. When I’m at school I normally eat a lot of spinach throughout the week simply because it gives me energy and makes my skin look nice. I planted Correnta Hybrid mainly because it can actually be grown in the summer where I live. Spinach tends to prefer cooler weather, but this variety is supposed to do well in the summer.
My family loves tomatoes. Because of this, I planted three different varieties. Red Beefsteak is an indeterminate, heirloom tomato plant. It produces large, meaty tomatoes over a long season making it perfect for a tomato loving family. Celebrity is a determinate, hybrid variety that produces your “classic” tomato. The fruit is plump and the plant is disease resistant. The third variety is actually the one I’m most excited about. It is Cherokee Purple is an indeterminate, heirloom tomato that produces PURPLE FRUIT. I’m sorry for the all-caps, but I’m just so excited to be growing purple tomatoes. It just makes me so happy.
Green beans are a staple in my home as I am sure they are in many of your homes. I chose to plant Blue Lake 47 kind of on a whim. I was actually intending to plant a bush variety of Kentucky Wonder, but the store was out of that particular variety. Blue Lake 47 is another bush variety that does well in the Kentucky climate. Whatever my family doesn’t eat fresh from the garden, I’ll be canning for later on in the year.
My favorite flower is a sunflower simply because it so unusual and under appreciated. I planted Evening Sun because I just love the beautiful colors in the flower. The variety is an annual variety, but I’m not concerned since they will be planted in a raised bed. There has to be something pretty in a bed full of veggies.
After I had moved all the topsoil into the raised bed, planted my seeds and plants, and set up my trellis system I was able to snap this pretty shot. I’m no photographer, but I think its pretty. Regardless, there’s so much hope here in this little box. I can’t wait to be able to eat what it produces.
This is not the last of the gardening blog posts that will be coming to you this summer. I’ll be sharing all of my gardening and hobby farming progress in a summer series I’ve entitled “Hobby Farming”. There’s a menu option labeled as such that you can click for the latest in that series. I think you’re going to really enjoy what I have planned throughout the summer. Look for them every Wednesday!
In the meantime, follow my Pinterest board “How Does Your Garden Grow” for great gardening pins including my own gardening content. I will be updating it often.
If you have any gardening tips, tricks, on questions please feel free to comment.
I hope you are all have a wonderful summer!