This weekend, I went up to Crittenden County, KY to buy all of my starter plants from the Amish for my vegetable garden. This was my third year going up there and this is why: 4 starter plants = $2. FOUR plants. Have you seen the prices at Lowes? Pretty sure one plant will run you $3-5. I love buying them up there and they have a huge variety compared to Lowes. Some ladies from church and I make a day trip up there to stock up on what we need for the season and enjoy each other’s fellowship. It’s a ton of fun and I can get a pretty fantastic garden going for really cheap. Sometimes a friend and I split packs of plants so we don’t have to commit to four of a specific kind and then we can enjoy more of a variety.
I wanted to share with you all what I got and how I plan to grow them. Last year I did a bucket garden (I used 5-gallon buckets for my plants) and that was pretty cool. I didn’t have to till anything and I was able to mix my own organic soil. This year, we’re only going to put short plants, like our peppers, in buckets and put everything else in the ground (except herbs, I keep those in pots). Also, I tend to only grow things that are expensive to buy at the grocery and that we use a lot in the summer. I’m not into growing cucumber, corn, etc when they are so cheap at the store or from local farmers, plus we don’t use them as often. I do grow zucchini because it’s versatile – we can grill it, saute it, put it in soups AND make muffins. Win! It’s a great carb replacement as well.
Anyway, moving on.
My vegetable and herb garden for 2014 consists of the following plants:
- 2 poblano pepper
- 2 Hungarian hot wax pepper
- 2 orange bell pepper
- 2 red bell pepper
- 4 jalapeno
- 2 zucchini
- 4 Cherokee purple tomato
- 4 lemon boy tomato
- 4 sunsugar cherry tomato
- amethyst basil (purple!!! it’s gorgeous!!)
- Kentucky colonial mint
That’s it for now. 24 vegetable plants and three herbs! I typically do thyme as well but last year we just didn’t use it as much as planned so I skipped it this year.I would have done cilantro as well, but again, it’s so cheap at the store. $0.75 for a huge bunch and it lasts several uses. The items I’ve never grown before are poblano peppers (a favorite!), hot wax peppers, Cherokee purple tomatoes and amethyst basil. Everything else I am familiar with. If you’ve never had a lemon boy (golden) tomato, you’re totally missing out. They typically run $5/lb at the grocery store because they are amazing and rare. They are really sweet, juicy, and have low acidity. They are pretty amazing and way too expensive at the grocery. The sunsugar cherry tomatoes are the same – just yellow cherry tomatoes instead of the typical red at the store. Again, these run $3-4 for one package at the grocery. This is why I grow my own. 🙂 Zoey eats them like candy!
I think I am most excited about the Hungarian hot wax peppers and Cherokee purple tomatoes because I’ve never even eaten them before. The hot wax peppers run on the same level on the scoville scale as jalapenos so we know we’ll like them in terms of the heat they put out. They look a lot like banana peppers, but spicier. Apparently the Cherokee purple tomatoes are extremely delicious as well as “award winning”. They come in a deep red, almost purple color and the insides have purple seeds.
I was really bummed that I couldn’t find my Heirloom Mister Stripey’s this year. They are the most beautiful tomatoes I’ve ever seen and are huge. When you cut them open, they are literally red and yellow striped, extremely juicy and make one gorgeous salsa! Last year was a really bad season for them so I have a feeling that had something to do with them not being available at the Amish farm this year.
Are you doing a garden this year? If so, what do you use for pesticide/fungicide? I use neem oil extract – it’s organic and works great!