What a difference a week makes~ Its in the high 80s here in the piedmont of NC so the race is on. Today 16 tomatoes went in a 4x8 bed covered with red plastic mulch. Going to see if it really does increase yields by 20% as claimed. Lots of different flavors expected - planted 4 bells of two varieties, three ancho/poblanos, four Rounds of Hungary (hopefully will be canning my own pimientos this year - tired of paying 1.60 for a tiny jar!), three Jalapenos and two Corno di Toros - they look absolutely fabulous in pictures. Started in earnest making the self-watering containers from free buckets gleaned from local delis/groceries. I am so out of room in the six raised beds I am trying squash, zucchini, cukes, eggplants and a few tomatoes in them. Oh, and of course more peppers - a jalapeno and two sweet banana peppers for pickling. My youngest is home for a time and he is already excited about the fresh veggies out growing... four months in Colorado with his older brother turned him into a parttime vegetarian and fulltime healthy eater. We harvested the last of the collards today - would be a sad event if they hadn't been so delicious with a poor man's dinner- pintos (flavored with vegetable bouillon and garlic) served with the last jar of green tomato relish, mashed potatoes and collards with balsamic rice wine vinegar - and since this is the south, cornbread of course! Still, we are already looking forward to a fall crop of collards. A wonderful woman on one of my garden email lists read my love paens to collards and mailed me a wonderful packet of heirloom yellow Cabbage Collard seeds - only found in one area of NC. Can't wait to try those this year.
If you have never heard of Seed Saver Exchange, get thee over to http://www.seedsaver.org/. For 35 dollars a year you not only support their effort to preserve heirloom vegetables and animals but receive a phone book sized listing of member offerings in practically every heirloom seed out there (my only disapointment was - surprise - the few collards offerings) and several magazines a year. Well worth the expense to help support this type of preservation effort.
Looking forward to another day of planting and gardening tomorrow. The peonies are breathtaking now -for those short few weeks of spring they are such a rich delight. Hope to get some more pics up tomorrow.