Planting the Summer Garden

valerie rice

The ol’ veggie beds are looking stellar…wait — the new veggie beds are looking stellar. Hallelujah and bring on summer! Back on the first day of Spring (how can that already be a month ago?!) when Mother Nature gave me the green light to plant, I went a teeny bit overboard at Terra Sol. No surprise there. My budding jalapeño plants made me think that it was time to do a sneak peek of what’s going in and growing right now in the garden.

jalapeno in garden

Lemon cucumbers. I love these a little bit  tangy and often prickly guys. They make for an awesome boost to salads, soups, and sandwiches. I also like to chop them up and pile on as a garnish for my Whipped Feta Dip. They can be tough to track down at the market, so they always go in the garden first to make sure I have plenty all season long.

summer garden

My trusty garden companion, who has yet to meet a camera she doesn’t like.


When planting my first tomatoes I always select smaller heirloom varieties first, then as the summer grows warmer I add in the big daddy tomatoes.

valerie rice

We’re starting off with Early Girl, Stupice, Sweet 100, Zebra and San Marzano. The San Marzano plants were too tempting to pass up since they make the best red sauce imaginable. I’ve had some failed starts with these in the past, but at our new house it is much warmer. Why not give it another shot?

tomatoes in the garden

These are moving along quite nicely thus far…

I’m going to focus on growing my tomato plants vertically this year by being more diligent when pruning those suckers. The plan is that it will force these indeterminate varieties (which will grow and produce all the way into Fall) to grow up vs. growing out, where they end up taking over valuable real estate in our veggie beds.

early girl tomato

What else? Well, we have sugar snap peas and greens harvesting now. I’m still waiting on my fava beans. For now, I’ve been buying them at Mesa Produce and Whole Foods. In the garden, we’ve been spraying them with a tiny bit of Dawn soap and water to send those pesky aphids packing. It really has been doing the trick.

spring garden

garden compost

I guess it’s a good sign when your compost area is growing like crazy.

Here’s what the garden is looking like now and the biggest challenge is patiently waiting. How is your summer planting coming along? Any favorites you can’t wait to harvest?

valerie rice

Happy Earth Day!