A Rake, A Hoe, A Piece of Fertile Ground

What’s in my garden this year

Though I live in Pittsburgh, and I don’t have much land, I try to make the most of it and grow as many different crops as I can.  Ordinarily, as we approach Mother’s Day weekend, I would be figuring out what I want to plant first in my garden and making plans to get the plants.  This year, though, I paid a little more attention to plants that can go in the ground earlier and have a decent start.  Plus, I have a fondness for perennials—so long as they’re willing to keep coming back, that’s one fewer plant I have to worry about each year.  Nonetheless, I’m still kind of impressed by how many foodstuffs I already have going—not to mention the ones that haven’t gone in the ground yet!

In my garden already:

  • Apples–these produce a decent amount of fruit, but how much is harvestable is another matter.  I need to figure out a pest management strategy to protect these fruits, but don’t even know where to begin.
  • Black raspberries—I staked these (and the blackberries) this year in the hopes that a little organization in the thicket will help them to grow more berries, or, at the very least, make the resulting berries easier to harvest.
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries—these are a perennial that I put in for the first time this year, and already they have some green fruit showing.  I’m excited!
  • Blueberries–these are a perennial I put in last year.  They have a few berries showing, but from what I understand, you have to invest a few years of growing time before you get much of a yield.
  • Asparagus—in their second year, means I won’t be able to harvest until next year.
  • Kohlrabi
  • Dinosaur Kale
  • Pole beans: Dragon’s Tongue—I’m not familiar with this variety, but the seed package has an interesting photo on it, and the beans are supposed to be good fresh or dried.
  • Radishes: Watermelon—a white to green exterior with a bright pink interior.
  • Red mustard greens
  • Onions/garlic—a mix that keeps coming back every year.  We harvest some, but mostly use either as green onions
  • Chives—we put these in a few years ago and have basically ignored them since.  They are in major need of being thinned out.
  • Cranberry—We got a cranberry bush from Sylvania Natives last year, so we know it’s rated for our zone.  Whether it actually produces any fruit is still waiting to be seen.
  • Sage—we put a second plant in next to our first this year, and now our first plant is in the process of blooming.  I’ve never seen this before.  Anyone know anything about the phenomenon?
  • Parsley—self-seeding biennial in the third year of its cycle, means we should have lots to go around.
  • Mint—peppermint and apple mint.  If I had to make the choice again, I’d do chocolate mint instead of apple mint.

Still to be planted

  • Tomatoes–varieties yet to be determined
  • Peppers–varieties yet to be determined
  • Cucumbers–Lemon variety, are supposed to grow round and yellow.
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano—my plant from last year did not survive the winter
  • And I wouldn’t be surprised if a few more plants made their way onto this list, depending on volunteers that spring from the compost (winter squash!) or plants that attract our eye while we’re shopping for tomatoes and peppers.

I just needed to remind myself of the bounty that will come, and help me to wait until later this summer before I have any more plums….

On a related note, the Farmers at the Firehouse market opens this Saturday in the Strip District.  I plan on shopping there before my Waffle Shop demonstration so that I can take advantage of current crops in designing my waffles that afternoon… please head out and support the farmers, too!

2 Responses to “A Rake, A Hoe, A Piece of Fertile Ground”

  1. Farmer Josh Says:

    Sage flowers have a pleasant nectar. Pull a few off and suck the nectar out as you might do with honeysuckle. Or just eat the flower whole. Allow the plant to finish flowering before pruning it back/beginning your sage harvest.

    Good blog, Jesse.

  2. christina Says:

    Our strawberry bush is looking promising too! We planted ours late last year and were worried that it wouldn’t produce anything this year, but there are a lot of little green strawberries all over it, and one big one that’s almost ready.

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