Did winter ever even happen?
Down here in the Mississippi delta it seems like we’ve been in some weird fall/spring twilight zone with a few cold fronts here and there.
I’m not complaining at all. If there’s one thing I love it’s the hot weather so while I’m giving the concerned side eye to this global warming situation, I’m also excited about the wider array of crops we can grow in southern Louisiana. (see: my husband half-way are a mango tree last season before Nugget uprooted it!)
We’re prepping the ground for spring and getting seeds started. I’ve pulled my gloves back out and even reached out to local schools to get more of the youngin’s involved.
Here’s a quick list some of the seeds we’re laying down this spring for a bountiful summer harvest:
- Lettuce – LOTS of lettuce in a few different varieties. We always grow a ton of the salad stuff because it sells easily, and we eat it endlessly. This season we’re growing Boston Bibb, Buttercrunch, Red Leaf, and Romaine
- Beans – We grew some bush beans last year and while they produced beautifully, they didn’t have the long season that pole (or vining) beans would. This year we’re putting down a few different varieties of both. The boys love growing beans so we always give them the job of tending and maintaining the bean crops. It’s a super easy crop for children.
- Peas – OK, don’t shoot me but – I actually like shelling peas. It may have something to do with my busy hands needing something to do but there’s nothing better for me than knowing that my business is handled and I can sit back on a New Orleans porch at dusk with some strawberry lemonade and a large bowl of peas to clean. SO yeah, I’ll be growing the peas this year.
- Squash – one of my favorite crops to grow are bush varieties of squash. They take up less space in your garden beds and are fairly good producers. This year we’re growing heirloom crookneck, straight neck, and Patty Pan. All do well at market and they’re super versatile on the dinner table.
- Radish – can I tell you I’m not a fan of eating radish? It’s not my favorite veggie but I do love that they sell well to restaurants and foodies. They’re also a fast growing crop and children LOVE to pick them.
- Kale – From juices to bowls, to smoothies, and wraps – Kale is a muhfuggin rockstar right now. Easily sautéed and added as a side or main with any meal, kale is a perfect crop to grow in your spring garden. Especially great for cooler climates – you know, where summer comes in June, not February. We’re planting some Russian Red (the kind with red stems), and blue curled leaf this season.
- Eggplant – in the past few seasons we’ve had great success with eggplant – other than the rabbits biting out chunks but that’s another post. We’ll most likely be planting Asian varieties this year to get more bang for our buck, at market and on the stove. While the larger, American varieties can be used as “steak”, and make a great eggplant parmesan; the thinner Asian types are much more versatile for restaurants, and families with little finger-eaters.
- Hot Peppers – this is New Orleans folks. We like our weather hot and our food even hotter, so hot peppers are always a mainstay in our garden. They have a super long season since it’s hot well into October here. They’re also easily transformed into sauces, jellies, and other post-harvest products which brings the market value up, and gives us the opportunity to outsource labor into the community.
- Carrots – to be totally honest, I haven’t grown a proper carrot since the 4th grade. Not for lack of skill but because the wildlife here love to eat the tops and I’m not the best container gardener. This year I’ll be trying again with some chicken wire around the beds to protect “the precious”. Carrots are easy for children and adults to grow and eat, and an easy sell at the market.
Along with the above mentioned, we’ll also be growing the usual suspects – herbs and more herbs. We won’t be starting from seed since our herbs generally replant themselves or revive in spring. I’ll be doing another post soon on the most useful herbs to grow for your kitchen garden.
What I WON’T be growing this year? Tomatoes! I ain’t gon’ be able to dooo it! *Martin Voice*
The way my life is set up, low maintenance crops with lots of versatility and market demand is the name of the game this year.