What's Growing in Your Garden This Summer?

What's Growing in Your Garden This Summer?

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Faith Durand
Jun 28, 2011
It's nearly July, and across the country, gardens are flourishing in the summer sun. What's your garden like this year? Do you have a pot of mint or basil sitting surreptitiously on a city fire escape? Or a big windowbox full of salad? (Remember these 10 inspiring small-space gardens?) Or perhaps you're blessed with more space, growing potatoes and squash in sprawling beds. Tell us what you're growing this summer, and take a peek at my own city garden. I live in the city but I have a house and a small backyard. Much of the yard has been converted into beds — not because I have some fantasy of becoming an urban farmer (my husband and I are remarkably lax gardeners) — but because I think herbs and vegetables are not only delicious, but beautiful to look at all summer long. Every year I find new ways to make the garden a little easier, too; I'm narrowing down my choices to the plants that are truly the easiest. If they take a lot of babying, out they go. This year, for instance, I didn't even bother with starting tomatoes from seed; I just don't have the right setup for it. And I didn't get out there early enough for peas and early season greens; I hardly remembered I had a garden until May this year. So here goes — here are the herbs and vegetables I'm working with this summer: Salad Bed • Tarpy spinach (bolted weeks ago) • Arugula (ditto) • Lacinato kale • Green lettuce (variety escapes me) • Red lettuce (ditto) • Swiss chard Early Summer Vegetable Bed • Mustard greens • French breakfast radishes • Nantes carrots • Bush cucumbers and climbing cucumbers Herb Beds • Oregano (a few different kinds - I have completely forgotten which, now) • Chives • Cilantro, which I reseed every couple weeks • Dill, which is also reseeded throughout the summer • Pineapple sage • Chervil • Sage • Lemon balm • Basil (Thai, purple, globe) • Bronze fennel • Lemon verbena • Italian parsley • Lovage • Rosemary • Thyme, lemon thyme, and silver thyme • Champagne scented geranium • Mint: Vietnamese, Kentucky Colonel, chocolate. (In pots all to themselves, to keep them from taking over!) Sun Borders and Tomato Beds • Tomatoes: Black Krim, Green Zebra, Stupice, Native Sun Hybrid, Garden Peach, Riesentraube. Also, two hybrid impulse-buy tomatoes from the greenhouse, bought in early spring and babied until it was warm enough to set them out! (Worth it — I already have two ripe red tomatoes ready to be plucked.) • Eggplant: Fairy tale, Fengyuan, Rosa Bianca (all petite or long Asian varieties) • Jalapeno pepper • Raven zucchini (eerily swift-growing, prolific zucchini) • Rhubarb And then pots of nasturtium, zinnia, anise hyssop, catmint, and more — flowers that don't necessarily end up on the plate, but help create a garden pretty enough to hang out in all summer long. Whew — that's a much longer list than I thought it would be. Many of the herbs have actually popped back up without any help from me. I haven't planted oregano, chives, lovage, sage, fennel, or thyme in a couple of years now. They come right back (vigorously, I might add!). OK, your turn! What are you growing this year? Are you developing a green thumb for the first time? Or are you an experienced gardener? What are you most looking forward to harvesting this year? Related: Margaret Roach's Vibrant Garden Kitchen (Images: Faith Durand)
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