Thursday Dilemma: Growing Pains

Jessie, Jessie, always messy,
how does your garden grow?
With heirloom tomatoes and sweet potatoes
and Swiss chard all in a row.

But really, how should our garden grow? This weekend the hubs and I snuck a peek at the veggies that Lowes, Home Depot, and our local nursery had growing (while we were out pricing dirt for the raised garden). We were stunned with the number of options. Heirloom. Hybrid. Organic. Early yielding. Heavy yielding. Heat tolerant. All week we’ve been trying to figure out just what we want to plant this weekend.

We know we want tomatoes. We both love them. Ideally, we’d love to have a juicing variety so that we can replenish our stock of home-canned tomato juice (which is running dangerously low) and a salad variety that we can enjoy right out of the garden. Growing up, both our dads swore by Better Boy Hybrids. Kevin and I would both like to try to grow some heirloom tomatoes, and a friend suggested that cherries grow great here. It’s a classic case of too many options.

We also know we want to plant beets and pickling cucumbers. We both love pickled beets and dill pickles (and I love beets roasted and thrown on a salad with a little goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette). Again, our dads always went with the same beet, the classic Detroit Red. There are a lot of heirloom beet options though, so we don’t really know what to plant here either.

Other than those three veggies, we have no idea what we want to plant. There’s really nothing we don’t like, but therein lies our problem: we want to plant everything.

What veggies can you not live without? What would you suggest we plant in our garden? Should we go completely heirloom or include some hybrids?


12 thoughts on “Thursday Dilemma: Growing Pains

  1. I love eating tomatoes, onions, green beans, arugula, broccoli, potatoes… so I understand your pain! Last year we planted cherry tomatoes and they turned out great.

  2. I had no idea there were so many tomato options! I actually don’t eat them (it’s a consistency issue, not a taste issue) so I guess I’ve never paid attention.

    I’ve always wanted a garden with squash and zuccini, although I have no idea how difficult they are to grow.

    Good luck!

  3. Good choice on heirloom tomatoes! A must. Cherry tomatoes are fun too.

    I’m growing some leeks and 2 varieties of basil from seed right now. Leeks for the first time! Planting won’t be for another month up here near the IL-WI border just to be safe from frost. I’m planning to buy some purple peruvian potatoes at and maybe some asparagus. We always plant varieties of peppers – bell, jalapeño, and cayenne at the least. But try to plant what you use the most, which is why tomatoes are a must. We love making salsa and guacamole, so peppers are a must. I’m trying to use some leeks instead of onion which is why I’m trying that this year. You’ll learn over time what works and doesn’t for you over time. I tried eggplant and couldn’t get anything to produce, and another time I had big beautiful zucchinis that the critters managed to get to and consume, so I must find a new spot for them before I give it another shot.

    Definitely incorporate some herbs. They’re perennial and you’ll save boatloads from heading out for chives or basil when you can just grab a bunch. A few weeks ago I spent $3 on oregano and thought to myself, if only it were 3 weeks from now I could just pluck it from the yard! One tip, though, if you plant mint, make sure you plant it in a bucket in the ground. It will take over your garden!

    I’m growing boxwood basil from seed and hope to incorporate it into my landscaping out front. Rosemary can be very pretty too, as well as lavender. Chives produce pretty flowers if not trimmed. At Disneyland I saw them use Rosemary and Kale in Tomorrowland for a futuristic look: I have to set a budget for myself or I will, like you said, just get everything!

    • Thanks for the great ideas!

      I’ve noticed a lot of people growing kale down here (along with pansies) all winter for color. Gotta love Texas winters. Rosemary is also used a lot as a shrub!

      I have a baby herb garden outside my kitchen (my parsley and rosemary wintered over, yay!) and am planning to do another somewhere else (maybe in a gutter).

  4. I used to work for a tomato farmer. He always planted a few varieties (better boys being one of them). Peppers of any variety are easy to grow and I always plant some (because they’ve gotten so expensive to purchase!). I added this link in a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago: You just enter your zip code and it tells you what to plant, how and when for your area. It’s pretty amazing. Good luck!

  5. I grow tomatoes every year. Black Cherry and Sun Gold are terrific cherry tomatoes. Purple Cherokee and Brandywine are my favorite large tomatoes with wonderful taste. Good luck…hope you have a great growing season.

  6. There are so many good vegetables- I would have a hard time choosing too! Good luck making the choices. I’m jealous of your garden!

  7. I have no idea…but I love carrots and cucumbers (you’ve already got those picked out though). Ohhh, sweet potatoes would be fun. Haha, I’m so clueless.

  8. This just reminds me how much TLC the garden area needs! If the garden was ours, we would plant potatoes, carrots, squash, zucchini, (it is obvious I love root veggies??), peppers, and tomatoes (I would prefer Roma but I’m not sure if they would do well in our area).

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