Summer is almost “officially” upon us, and now is as good a time as any to make a few assessments and do some planning.
First, in the garden. (You do have a garden, right?) Take a look through what’s planted, what’s doing well, and what needs help. A chunk of my tomatoes this year aren’t doing well; they’re not exactly ailing, but neither are they anywhere near the stage I’d expect for this time of year. (I blame the weather–it’s been wet, which is good, but unseasonably cool for large chunks of time.) Everything else seems to be doing pretty well, assuming I can keep the groundhogs out of it. (War has been declared, and traps are set…)
If you don’t have a garden, what’s stopping you? Even in an apartment, you’ve certainly got room for even a single pot of something–rosemary tends to be hardy, or you can get a basil seedling and enjoy the scent. Only north-facing windows? That should work fine for some lettuce… If you’ve got the space, you need to really consider what you’re growing. If it’s a first-year garden, I recommend against going overboard. Focus on feeding yourself (and learning what you, and your garden, like)–my father had a penchant for planting enough for a third-world country, and much of it went to waste. Start small, and don’t plant it if you either don’t/won’t eat it, or don’t know how to prepare and/or preserve it. Build up your knowledge and equipment, so that you have the know-how, space, and jars for the “year’s supply of preserves” you want to build up.
Some things to keep in mind when planning: take a good look at exactly what you use, and in what form. You’d be amazed at the volume of tomatoes you go through; my wife intends (eventually) to put up something like a hundred pounds of tomatoes per year, with additional product being used fresh or going into “mixed preserves” and the like. Diced, stewed, sauces, pastes, ketchup, salsas, chutneys, juice… They find their way into lots of things, and we use quite a bit of tomato in a given month. Likewise potatoes, carrots, and garlic. The melons are primarily for “fresh” eating, but we’re good with pickled rind for storage. Corn, on the other hand, doesn’t generally agree with me, so we don’t have as much of that as we might, otherwise.
If you haven’t started your garden yet, it’s not too late: you can still get some seedlings at the garden centers. What have you got growing?