It’s time to get some of your favorite (and soon to be favorite) vegetables planted in the garden. Here are some options for you, along with some suggestions and reading assignments to give you a jump start on a bountiful harvest.
In our area, it’s best to plant arugula, kale/greens, okra, and field peas via direct seeding by the end of May. You can start peppers, eggplants, summer and winter squashes, and watermelon via seeding by the end of month, or get a head start by transplanting seedlings from our nursery. We have a lot of old favorites, some new cultivars, and some unusual, but oft requested plants, all ready to make their new homes in your garden.
Moving into summer, you can still direct sow snap beans, cantaloupes, and tomatoes through June, but you can also transplant seedlings for cantaloupes and tomatoes, if they’re still available. Eggplants, sweet potatoes, and watermelons can be transplanted through the end of June. Cucumbers can be direct seeded or transplanted through July.
It’s a lot to juggle, plus you’re going to want fresh herbs as companion plants, as well as for your kitchen. Randy’s has some selections that are not readily available elsewhere, and you’ll want to check those out while you’re picking out your veggie transplants.
Here are the varieties of vegetables we offer as seedlings. Some cultivars may be limited in supply, so if you’re interested in some of the more unusual ones, better hurry.
Here are tomato cultivars we currently have available.
- Heirloomish – Brandywine, Cherokee Carbon (a modern hybrid of two heirlooms), Rutgers Select
- Classic Tomato –Super Beefsteak
- F1 Hybrids – Big Boy, Celebrity, Early Girl, Lemon Boy, Park’s Whopper, Big Boy, Bush Big Boy, Lemon Boy
- Cherries – Patio Princess, Super Sweet 100
Peppers are where it starts to get really interesting. We have some that are rare, some that are super-hot, some that are prodigious early producers, and even some that are all of these. Here’s listing of all our peppers, along with notes on the ones we think are really special.
- Bells – Emerald Giant, Golden California Wonder, California Wonder, Orange Blaze, Canary Bell, Lady Bell
- Mini Bells – come in Red/Yellow/Chocolate. These cuties have thick skins, sweet flavor, and are great for stuffing. The plants produce early and often. The chocolates are not quite out of the baby nursery yet.
- Sweet – Banana, Gambo
- Gypsy – a thin-skinned sweet frying pepper that’s equally good fresh, and is stuffable. Gypsy’s flavor has been described as floral.
- The Heat Depends on My Mood – Hungarian Yellow Wax, Pepperoncini
- Okay You Got My Attention – Gong Bao
- Fish – an heirloom hot pepper used primarily in seafood dishes in the mid-Atlantic region, that nearly went extinct. The plant itself is quite attractive and unique among peppers, with its variegated leaves and streaked peppers that start out cream colored, passing through green and orange phases before ultimately becoming a streaky red. Heatwise, it fits in right here, between the Gong Bao and the “you’re gonna need help with that fire” gang.
- I’ll Have a Quart of Yogurt With That Pepper – Scotch Bonnet, Trinidad Scorpion, Carolina Reaper, Ghost
- Wiri Wiri – originally cultivated in Guyana, and used in Caribbean cuisine. Its heat is comparable to habanero, producing 1/2” round peppers with hot, but tangy, fruity flavor. Definitely unusual among peppers.
- Chocolate Ghost – just as hot (if not a bit hotter) as the red ghost, but with a more complex, sweet, smoky flavor.
Here are some other seedlings that you’re sure to want to include in your garden as well.
- Cukes – Burpless Supreme, H19 Little Leaf, Saladmore
- Squashes – Waltham Butternut, Dark Green Zucchini, Winter Honeynut
- Melons – Sugar Baby Watermelon, Ball 2076 Cantaloupe (known for its sweetness)
- Eggplant – Ichiban, Louisiana Long Green (a rare heirloom of excellent eating quality), Black Beauty
- Beans – Blue Lake
- Strawberries – Pineberry White Carolina (these have flown out of the nursery, so good luck snagging some of these gorgeous berries. Yes, they taste pineappley.)
And no veggie garden is complete without herbs, which are often so wonderfully multi-purpose. Take advantage of companion planting advice to improve natural pest control, or improve your plants’ growing habits.
We have a wonderful selection of herbs, some of which are pretty special (with individual notations so you’ll know what to look for when you come to the nursery).
- Feline Culinary/Recreational Herbs – Catnip
- Culinary/Medicinal/Just Plain Awesome Herbs for Non-Cats – Basil Greek Dwarf, Basil Spicy Globe, Genovese Basil, Sweet Basil, Caraway, Chervil, Cilantro, Bouquet Dill, Scented Geraniums, Lavender Hidcote, Lavender Silver Mist, Lemongrass, Lovage, Sweet Marjoram, Banana Mint, Peppermint, Pineapple Mint, Greek Oregano, Italian Oregano, Oregano Vulgare, Wild Zataar Oregano, Curly Parsley, Parsley Giant Of Italy, Parsley Hamburg, Rosemary Huntington Carpet, Safflower Grenade, Broad Leaf Sage, Golden Sage, Green Sage, Pineapple Sage, Purple Sage, Tricolor Sage, Summer Savory, English Thyme, French Thyme, and Golden Thyme
- Comfrey Bocking #14 – a Russian comfrey with sterile seeds that reproduces only via root cuttings, so it won’t reseed like true comfrey. This cultivar has striking large foliage and grows up to 4 ft tall including bloom stalks. Red/magenta/blue/purple flowers all fade to pink. It is cold hardy with deep roots that aid in breaking up hard soil.
- Feverfew – primarily a medicinal herb, up to 28” high, covered in small white daisy-like blooms, with strongly fragranced leaves. It is a member of the aster family.
- Lion’s Tail – an annual or tender perennial (zones 8-11) that grows up to 3-6 ft tall. It makes a striking border plant, with whorls of orange tubular flowers along its vertical stems. A member of the mint family, it is also a medicinal herb.
- Motherwort – also a member of the mint family. Primarily a medicinal herb that also attracts bees, and grows to between 24-39” tall.
- Rue – is a traditional medicinal herb, but is now used primarily as an ornamental plant, with its delicate blue-green foliage. It can reach 24-36” tall.
Georgia Organics offers tutorials on improving soil, responsible pest control, and growing your own veggies, fruits, and herbs. They also have electronic newsletters that keep you up to date on the latest organic gardening tips, local gardening news, and events.
The Garden Betty blog offers a variety of articles on a wide range of topics, all beautifully illustrated with photographs. As you can tell from the title, the author loves gardening, but her name is not Betty.
Everything you need to know if you’re new to growing your own.
Tips to increase your family food garden’s yield.