Oh No! I didn’t get my garden planted! Has this ever happened to you? You can still get a harvest with a late start to garden planting. Maybe life got in the way or the weather wasn’t cooperative or you moved. Whatever the reason sometimes we don’t get things planted as we planned. For the first time this year that has happened to me. So, what do you do? It’s not too late for some vegetables. In my area and many others it is not too late to plant warm season crops so I will be planting today. Check this blog post to get an idea of when to plant what. First I will check the weather report. Since it is past mid May normally the weather is regularly warm enough that squash, tomatoes, and peppers will be fine. I always check the seven day forecast first just to see what is expected. After planting I check every day in case of expected low temperatures (anything under 40 F), hail, snow, etc. I did get some tomatoes started from seed so I have those ready for planting. Tomato Seedlings Plan for fall. Cool season crops such as spinach, lettuce, and cilantro can be planted again in later summer as weather begins to cool. You may get by planting these now in a spot of shade. Why not give it a shot? You’ll be out just a few seeds and a little time. Plan ahead in case this happens again. I would recommend this even if you are sure you will get everything planted in a timely matter. I certainly did not expect that I would not get my early vegetables in. Even though I did not get anything planted I had plenty in my yard for harvesting. I had planted
Fruit bearing shrub Native to the Americas Can be found growing wild in some areas Easy to grow in your landscape Attractive shrub – usually 3 – 5′ tall, nice fall color Edible fruit – juice, jam, pies, some varieties taste great fresh. Can handle part shade I grow black, red, and white currants plus Golden Currant which gets its name from the yellow flowers. In my part shade front yard they are a nice addition to the landscape. A landscape where I worked had espaliered red currants along the garden fence. The tastiest wild currants I have eaten were orange fruited currants growing near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Want to learn about more wild edible plants? Join me on a Wild Herb Walk or a Wild Edible Plants class (check my Event calendar) and/or check out my book Wild Herb Card Decks.
Do you know what edible landscaping is? It may be obvious that edible landscaping involves growing edible plants in the landscape. Edible landscaping does not necessarily involve planting in the traditional sense where vegetables are planted in a garden spot or fruit trees are planted in a small orchard. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs including some less familiar plants can contribute to an attractive landscape and also provide sources of food. Edible plants can be used as groundcovers, shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, vines. Some edibles can successfully be grown as houseplants. Gardening in containers is especially nice if you live in a climate where certain plants will not survive outdoors or if you do not have a garden spot. Why not grow plants that are attractive and can help feed you and your family? Use the Search in the upper left of this page for more information about edible landscaping. Be sure to check my calendar for upcoming events or contact me to schedule your own.
Are you getting anxious for spring? If you haven’t received seed catalogs order some or visit the websites to look through the options. Heirloom and open-pollinated seed sources If you already have seeds see if it is time to start some for your area or start some to grow indoors Seed Starting Force branches of early spring bloomers to bloom indoors. Forcing branches Edible houseplants – houseplants are great but houseplants you can eat are even better. Edible Houseplants Force bulbs to bloom indoors – this may need some advance planning Forcing Bulbs
If you would like to grow sweet potatoes starting your own is a great way to begin. Sometimes sweet potato starts can be difficult to find. Plus, you can choose a variety you already know you like. Purchase sweet potatoes from the grocery store or natural foods store. If you see vegetables called “yams” they are sweet potatoes although they may be a different color of sweet potato. Sweet potato colors include pale orange to dark purple. Since you will be eating part of the sweet potato you can see if it is a variety that you like. Cut off 2″ or more of the more pointed end of the sweet potato and let it sit and dry (heal) for a day or two. Eat the rest of the potato. Recipes (towards the bottom of the page) Place the cut sweet potato in water leaving the top inch above the water. Change the water daily keeping it at about the same level every time. Watch for roots to form. After the roots have begun growing sprouts will begin to appear towards the top. Continue to change the water daily and let the roots and sprouts grow. Once there are sprouts with a few leaves which have roots attached you will be able to gently separate each sprout from the sweet potato end which you originally cut. You should have more than one sprout. Plant sprout in a pot filled with potting soil – cover the roots. The pot should be about 2″ larger in diameter than the sprout. If the chance of a frost is past (about May 15 in my area) and the soil is warmed go ahead and plant directly outside or plant to a larger pot for growing as a potted plant. Sweet potatoes can be grown
Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata or Montia perfoliata) also known as Indian Lettuce and Winter Purslane is a wild edible plant native to the Western U.S. including here in Utah. It it typically found in moist, shady places in early spring through early summer and possibly in the fall. The first growth of Miner’s lettuce has small paddle shaped leaves. The plants later form a rounded, cup shaped leaf. The tiny, white flowers grow through the middle of the leaves in a small bouquet. Growing I had purchased some seeds which I was going to plant after moving into my house and then I noticed Miner’s lettuce was already growing in my yard. As an annual that reseeds readily I have never needed to plant it. Growing less than 10″ tall Miner’s lettuce can be used as an attractive groundcover. Just keep in mind it will disappear by Summer and reappear again in fall or the next spring. Seeds are available from Baker Creek and Richter’s. I sometimes have plants available for sale. Eating Each spring in my area I harvest abundantly beginning in early spring and around May it disappears until the fall or the next spring. I eat it fresh – usually in salads of mixed greens and alone. Miner’s lettuce can also be steamed and eaten like spinach. Miner’s lettuce is a mild flavored green that combines well with some of the stronger flavored wild edibles such as larger dandelion leaves or plantain leaves. Leaves and flowers are both edible at any stage of growth. Young Miner’s Lettuce Miner’s Lettuce in Bloom