So much to look forward to . . .

A gardening friend and I were commiserating the other night about getting started with our gardens this spring, and the dragging-of-the-feet that we both (astonishingly!) have experienced this year. Both of us were feeling a bit behind, since the weather has warmed up nicely (well–mostly–sometimes–except at night!–kinda--) and yet we aren’t exactly out in our gardens flinging manure about and dropping little seeds into the perfectly-formed furrows just yet. We realized that–because of illness and/or busyness and/or family illness–we just weren’t in the garden mood yet. Which is . . . impossible.

You know that garden mood.

The wake-up-before-dawn-itching-to-plunge-your-hands-into-the-dirt mood. The can’t-wait-to-pull-weeds-today mood. The this-radish-I-just-pulled-it’s-the-best-thing-I’ve-ever-tasted mood. You know this mood, do you not, Gentle Reader?

The truth is, I think my friend and I were feeling a little loathe to get started with what will certainly be a lot of work–and a bit surprised at ourselves for feeling this way.

On the other hand . . . we’re also plenty bored with the fresh offerings of our local grocery stores. I mentioned to Anne about my discovery of The Tiniest Cauliflowers Ever at our local grocery store (and for over $3.00 each!), and also The Tiny Little Heads of Broccoli phenom of late. I would imagine the drought in California has something to do with the miniaturizing of our veg.

Then I did it. I mused over the grocery store Melons That Taste Like Nothing, compared to the Orangeglo melons that I grow in my garden every year. . . and that started it. The blood started racing for garden season. I took a deep breath. That moment that I thought about those melons did it.

The thing is, there are so, so many beautiful vegetables and fruits that you will never taste or even see, if you don’t grow a garden yourself. Of course the farmers at the farmer’s markets are getting more and more adventuresome in growing produce, but they will grow most of what their customers want to buy. And how will you ever know how wonderful a particular type of orange-fleshed watermelon is, or a purple carrot, or basil that tastes like licorice, if you never grow it yourself?

Not to mention . . . pink radishes! Another gardening friend, Jamie, told me the secret of pink radishes a couple of years ago, and they’ve been my favorite ever since. Of course I still grow lots of varieties because (cough) I can . . . and because I’m a slave (a slave, I tell you!) to my wretched love of beauty. And nothing’s more beautiful than a handful of French breakfast radishes, purple radishes, white icicles and those pinks . . .

radish leaves

And don’t forget: those prickly leaves make wonderful soup!

But the truth is, the pink ones are the best. I’m quite sure I’ll hear something from Gene on this one. 🙂

pink radishes . . . yes!

pink radishes . . . yes!

Early spring gardening means being able to go out and gather all this and make it into a very satisfying dinner (especially if you thought ahead and made some fresh bread, first. And maybe have a chunk of good cheese in the ‘fridge.

Fresh eggs, onions, nettles, lambsquarters, parsley, mint: It's What's for Dinner.

Fresh eggs, onions, nettles, lambsquarters, parsley, mint: It’s What’s for Dinner.

And then comes summer, and if I’ve taken the time to plant several kinds of heirloom tomatoes (and, of course, I have!) I’ll have this to look forward to. (Again, that slave-to-beauty thing: gotta have all these colors, shapes, textures, and tastes to look forward to!)


Just imagine it . . .BLTs, marinated tomato salads, fresh tomato and mozzarella sammages, grilled tomato and basil slices. . .

Pink Bumblebee Tomatoes . . . (swoon) . . . so sweet that they just melt in your mouth. (Me, answering Amalia: “supper?” (wiping tomato seeds off chin) “I don’t know. I’m not that hungry . . . . how about a snack night tonight?”)


Anne and I waxed on about watermelon radishes from my garden, and how good they tasted fermented, in kimchi, and how pretty they would be, fermented on their own . . . oh yeah . . .


Homemade kimchi: ooh, I love this stuff.

I thought about how sweet it is to have so much kale in the garden that you can eat it every day, if you’d like. Perhaps in this pretty salad . . .

How pretty is this?

How pretty is this?

Okay, suddenly we were both impatient with sitting and talking. I don’t know about Anne, but that’s all it took for me to get my creative garden juices flowing. The next day, I got up early and mixed up a wheelbarrow full of potting soil and filled several trays with it, and planted lots of goodies: cabbages (two kinds), basil (three kinds, including my favorite licorice basil, from Baker Creek), brussels sprouts, cauliflower (white and purple), broccoli, and much more. We were off!

The natural order of the universe was restored: I couldn’t sleep for garden thoughts and eager anticipations that night.

This week I’ll plant tomato seeds inside, and in a couple more weeks I’ll plant some Orangeglo watermelons. I ate so much melon last summer that whenever I would sweat, I smelled like melon!

Wouldn't you want as many of these melons as possible?  This is an Orange-Glo variety from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and it was one of the tastiest watermelons I've ever eaten.

This is Orange-Glo variety from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and it was one of the tastiest watermelons I’ve ever eaten.

Hey Baker Creek, that ought to be a selling point, I think . . .







17 thoughts on “So much to look forward to . . .

  1. Anne

    Today is the day! Those seeds are going in no matter what. Someone came and walked through our garden a couple days ago, and we dug down through the woodchips to show him the lovely earth beneath. And my hand had touched that beautiful soil, and that was the final kick I needed. Any my mouth may be watering just bit looking at your stunning pictures. 😉

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Sometimes a little dreaming is what is needed, eh, Anne? And some sunny, warm weather doesn’t hurt, either!

  2. Pete Kowpak

    Hi Amy,
    I got that itch around March 1st and started scratching it as well, I started 12 varieties of peppers which are all doing well, lost a couple of the starters sadly though. I started 12 seeds of each variety and planted cabbage, broccoli, collard greens and brussel sprouts. Doing 2 gardens this year 1 is 12 x 25 and the other will be 25 x 50. My daughter and I are building a greenhouse and we haven’t had to spend a dime on it as all the windows and wood came from the farm house she is remodeling. Will be starting tomatoes in the next week or so (including the seeds we traded) and are going to try potatoes for the first time. Alot of the veggies from the bigger garden will be canned to help saving money on food, and eating healthier. The smaller garden will be used by my daughter and her family for eating the freshest veggies they will ever get. Needless to say I am scratching that itch very well and it feels great! I hope everyone has a blessed day today and will start scracthing with us!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      My goodness–12 varieties of peppers! I’d love to hear what you do with all of those.
      I have planted a number of early veg inside in flats: onions, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, and the like. And today (just today!) I planted sugar snap peas in the outside garden, and thanks to my dad coming out and tilling my hoop house, I’ve now got a small patch of lettuces and radishes (pink ones and French Breakfast) tucked away in there. It does make me so happy to be out scrabbling in the dirt. I hope to plant tomatoes in pots in the house later today. I love doing that. Happy planting, Pete!

  3. Chef William Chaney

    We are in full swing down here. Today it was up early to plant two different kinds of guayaba trees, two Nancy trees, an orange tree, a lime tree and some hot peppers. A Nancy is a yellow fruit that looks like a cherry but has a kind of semi-bitter earthy taste. The tree grows as tall as a walnut tree. We planted two trees because my wife loves “Nancies” We were planting trees yesterday as well. The rainy season will be here in about 5 to 6 weeks so this is the time to get the trees in the ground. We have other fruit trees but I promised that when I moved here full time I was going to plant as many different trees as possible. We must have about 8 or 9 banana tress, a small lemon tree, a coconut tree and two fully grown mango trees, about the only thing left to add is a papaya tree. All this is around our house and not at the farm. In the past we would go to the farm and get some fruits to take back to the house but now I plan to just go outside and pick them when ever they are ready. We will be headed north in late August and I hope to get some heirloom tomato seeds to bring back with me. Thee are only a couple of types down here and we want more. August or early September seems like it would be a good time to visit Nebraska……..

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      August or early September would be ideal, Chef. The garden will be in full production and it will be getting nicer in the evenings. Please do stop by! And bring photos. Your place sounds like a paradise to me, with all those wonderful tropical fruits! Can’t wait to hear more about it! I’ve never heard of Nancies. I can’t even imagine just walking out to the backyard to pick all those fruits. Do they take much pruning, or are they mostly low maintenance?

      1. dramamamafive Post author

        And I’d be happy to save you heirloom tomato seeds. I always save a bunch, and all you need to tell me is what varieties you have your eye on!

  4. Alana

    Tomorrow is the day! But it is the day I leave the warm South and start my journey home to upstate New York. It snowed last night at my house. It snowed today. It might snow Saturday. We haven’t been thinking garden, and it’s hard to when winter is threatening never to leave. Could you send Spring to us? I was unsuccessful in my efforts to get Spring to come to us. (Instead, I brought the South a frost on Sunday morning. Oopsies.) Maybe you’ll have more luck.

  5. Carrie Ann Tripp

    One of these years I’m going to convince my husband to let me plant some heirloom tomatoes. They look beautiful. I look at them and just imagine how they must taste. My only fear is that they are all looks and no flavor.

      1. dramamamafive Post author

        I am with you, Pam! There’s really no comparison. I don’t even buy fresh tomatoes from the store. They taste like–well, they have no taste.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh Carrie, talk to anybody who raises them! They are so much tastier than the tomatoes that you might buy in the store. SO MUCH more tasty. And they all are a bit different from each other, too, which makes it fun. Which makes it impossible to limit my tomato plants to fewer than . . em. . . I don’t say. Anyway, once you try them, you’ll be addicted, too! 🙂

  6. cookinmom

    Would you believe we have everything in already! Only thing left is to plant some Mammoth sunflowers! Now it’s maintenance from here on out. So nice to be able to go to your garden and plant things, not having to worry about pulling weeds, because of the woodchips. The sugar snap peas are blooming, potatoes are starting to bloom etc. We have had 85 degree weather this week so only able to work mornings as it gets too hot for me. We planted about 60 tomatoes too. Oh…new thing, been doing chicken tea and works great. Do you use it?

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh Rose, you are so ahead of us! It’s below freezing this morning in Nebraska, and I’ve still got to make a little fire in the woodstove in the morning to keep the house comfortable!

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