April 25, 2013

The title of this post sounds like a colorful sideshow act that you want to see at the next children’s birthday party, doesn’t it? Just hearing these names conjurs up colorful visions. What if I told you that you’ll soon fall in love with a Gypsy and go fruity over Orange Banana, Pink Banana, and Green Grape? Trust me on this!

Like last summer, we’ve gravitated toward the wild and wacky names and the enticing descriptions in seed catalogs and farmer journals.  This past week, we’ve planted a green bell pepper known for her size and sweetness (Big Bertha) and an heirloom tomato respected for performance, just like the Grand Ole Opry singer Box Car Willie. Gypsy pepper puts on a colorful show of yellow, orange and red, while Hungarian Heart tomato sounds like something ripe and juicy that might even pull Dracula out into our sunny garden. And then there are names you simply don’t question. The Yummy peppers are a must.

While those warm-season crops are putting down roots, we’re harvesting huge beds of soft, fluffy lettuces this week. These leave Iceberg out cold – so much more flavorful, flecked with cool colors and even cooler names: Lolla Rossa, a frilly loose leaf, or Yugoslavian Red butterhead, a hot pink edged head. We’ll taste-test Marvel of Four Seasons and Prizeleaf to see if they live up to the names. Look for these beauties in our September issue, complete with recipes and garden tips. If you are curious to have something other than Iceberg or generic Romaine in your salad bowl, now is the perfect time to plant. Cooler spring and fall seasons give weeks and weeks of continuous, fresh harvests.

In other areas of the garden, our blackberries and blueberries are in full bloom. Our organic potato experiment has lots of green growth overflowing the pots. The onions we planted with lettuces are ready to be harvested as young, green onions, allowing room for every other onion left in the bed to form a larger bulb. And, our chives are blooming beautifully, which make great garnishes and are pretty sprinkled over salads.

What wacky characters are growing in your garden? Would you order a restaurant dish just to see how Green Sausage tomato and Pink Banana squash tastes?

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