Finally, the warmth is overtaking the cool temperatures and our gardens are starting to burst, bloom and flourish.
I always like to give an update or two each summer on how my gardens are doing and what I’m growing.
This year, I decided to try some new veggies – veggies we love but that I don’t typically grow or veggies I’ve tried to grow and had very little luck with.
For anyone wondering, I live in Zone 5 in Northern Illinois, so this may be of some help to you in your own garden adventures.
First up is the plant that I’m most excited about: artichokes! I started my Imperial Star artichokes indoors in early February and put them out in our garden in early May. Here’s what one of them looks like now:
We’ve tried artichokes in the past by starting them outside and not had any luck at all with them. Artichokes aren’t a perennial in Zone 5 so they have only one season to grow and produce, meaning you better give them a damn good head start. Here’s what one of them looked like as a baby on March 1:
So far, so good. I’ll keep you posted on their progress. Wish me luck…we love artichokes!
Cool weather veggies that I planted early this spring and didn’t have any luck with are my watermelon, black and daikon radishes. None of them bulbed for me, though my Easter Egg radishes did fine, as usual. I will try again in late summer, for fall crops, and see how they do.
My peas are getting ready for harvest in just another week or two. If you’ve never had fresh green peas right off the vine, you’re truly missing out. Yes, it’s some work to pick and shell them but oh…they’re simply heaven. I’ve not grown peas without edible shells (think sugar snaps and snow peas) for over 10 years now, so I’m really looking forward to these.
Fresh green peas off the vine are like fresh sweet corn right off the stalk…pure bliss. For the record, I’m growing fresh sweet corn this year, too. It’s about a foot tall right now and going strong. It’s been at least a decade since I’ve grown sweet corn so I’m looking forward to awing my husband with it’s deliciousness.
Aside from artichokes, peas and corn, I have all the usual suspects growing. Tomatoes, red bell peppers, jalapenos, eggplant, zucchini, green beans, beets, scallions, lettuce, spinach, and all my herbs.
Other new things I’m growing this year are fennel, Parisian carrots, purple kohlrabi and leeks. The fennel is doing awesome and my carrots are on their second planting because the first ones didn’t take. Kohlrabi is supposed to be pretty easy and fast by mine aren’t moving along very quickly. Leeks look great but we’ll see how they’re doing in another month or so.
Hopefully I’ll also be posting some new recipes again soon. Gardening takes up some time but it’s oh, so worth it.