It’s That Time of Year…

To Consider Your Kitchen Garden-What Are YOU Planting?

 

 

 

Berries, berries at Homestead Gardens-hurry blueberries were a SELL OUT last year!

Herbs at Homestead Gardens

Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

Finally I’m prepared and raring-to-go with growing my Kitchen Garden back to LUSH again. I’m the kind of person that thrives on inspiration (like most of us, I believe). So 1st I go to Homestead Gardens and see what’s happening there and of course, I have a little chat with Gene Sumi. I also cruise some neighborhoods where friends, impatient or just knowledgeable, get a head start so I can follow their lead. Another tried and true trick to get everyone interested in the garden is to choose a favorite theme like the Pizza Garden described below. Clagett Farm of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has planted this in past years as part of their educational growing and it was great fun to walk each slice of the round, sectioned pizza pie!

Swiss Chard and Lettuces in an Earthbox for a quick start

The  Pizza Garden

• Tomatoes –All varieties work for me-especially heirloom tomatoes of different colors. However if a traditional pizza is your style, Roma tomatoes work well for making pizza sauce and for chopping coarsely as a pizza topping. They are meaty and contain less water than slicing tomato varieties.

• Basil – You’ll use basil in pizza sauces, torn as a topping for a traditional Margherita pizza, or in pesto. A prize pizza could have  basil pesto instead of a red  sauce, fresh chopped garden tomatoes, and additional basil shredded on top, all from your backyard garden.

• Oregano – Oregano is used in most tomato-based pizza sauce recipes.

• Vegetables for toppings – Red, green and yellow peppers, eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, and scallions all make delicious, healthy pizza toppings. Grow whatever vegetables your family will want to put on their pizzas.

• Garlic – Garlic usually needs to be planted in the fall for spring/summer picking. If you’re happy with your pizza garden this summer, plant garlic for next year’s pizza garden. In the meantime, head to your local farmers market or farm stand for fresh garlic for this year’s pizzas.

• Onion – Red onions make great pizza toppings and milder, sweeter varieties are great for pizza sauce. Onions are planted early in the season, before you’d plant your tomatoes, herbs and topping vegetables. You’ll need to get them in the ground in April or May, depending on where you live.

Rita’s Kitchen Garden Assessment List

Perennial Herbs + Fruit (I have)

Chives
Garlic chives
Lavendar
Lemon thyme
Oregano
Rosemary
Sage
Sorrel
Thyme
Garlic-not very successful-Tim Hamilton…How did your garlic fare?
Valentine mesclun mix-started inside
Arugula-need more, more
Strawberries
Fig
Pear

New Herbs and Produce to Plant

...can't wait for this borage herb to arrive! We investigate more in a future column.

Thai Basil
Genovese Basil
Borage (I used to grow in my California restaurant)
Mexican Sour Gherkin cucumbers
Radishes-I’ll try the French Breakfast again & do a better job of thinning them out!
Arugula-need more, more
Malabar vine spinach
Zephyr summer squash
Italian flat yellow beans
Gazillions of tomatoes

Your Ideal Salad Garden
Think about your ideal salad, and consider growing a mesclun mix, as well as cucumbers-many types of seeds available these days. Tomatoes go all the way here. Wouldn’t you love a fresh  mozzarella plant along with that basil?

some of those fabulous varieties of cukes

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