On a recent trip to Philly I loaded up on veg seeds at the flower shop in Reading Terminal Market. New on my to-grow list are leeks, 'Bordeaux' spinach, 'Red Giant' mustard, peppers ('California Wonder' - I couldn't resist), spaghetti squash (inspired by my classmate Gavin who contrived an ingenious little hammock for his), cucumber 'Spacemaster' because I like compact, well-behaved veggies, 'Royal Burgundy' bush beans, and 'Scarlet Nantes' carrots. I'll definitely grow onions and tomatoes again (fingers crossed for better tomato weather next year!), and some Swiss chard (must remember to erect the deer-resistant fortress), and of course sweet corn. I found a red variety in an on-line catalog. "Really red! Really sweet!" the copy read. How could I not try that!? Can you imagine fresh sweet corn muffins with the yellow batter, red corn kernels, green jalapenos, and orange cheddar!? It'll be like eating vegetable confetti! We'll see what else crosses my path either from catalogs or the stores.
And the Mina lobata was such a hit, I can't imagine not seeing it flaming away all summer. Plus the hummingbirds are real fans!
The Cardoon, like its cousin, hasn't flowered but the heat we got at the end of summer really gave it a kick start size-wise. It never did achieve the goal I had hoped for of a towering mass of thistledom but here again, I'll blame the weather. Note the particolored mum in the front - that's from our growing project. Some of us had odd numbers of cuttings so we planted them randomly into containers just to see what they'd look like. Pretty sweet, if you ask me.
So, as my thoughts turn to next year, I can't help but think what I might have done differently in my garden. For one, I wouldn't have been so timid about this new climate and just dove on in. If a plant failed, I'd chalk it up to a new learning experience and try again. As it was, my garden got a late start due to my dithering and didn't get any help from the weather, so it could have been better. Secondly, I would have followed my classmates who are from these here parts around at the nursery and taken better note of the things they were buying. Gavin's and Emma's gardens were both stunning, and they know what to look for on this side of the country when it comes to plants! Thirdly, I would have mulched. OK, there, I said it! Mulch!
Looks like I'll be spending lots of time next year finding new and creative ways to keep the pests off my peas!