This spring I planted a few odd items and a few staples in my home garden. At first when I plant from seeds, I hope to see growth and I don’t really care about the production of fruit. This year I planted butternut squash (the seeds came from squash I used at work), sun chokes, quinoa, potatoes (also from sprouting spuds from work), mustard seed, and a variety of herbs.
The squash was planted late so I didn’t get much fruit before the first frost, but I did enjoy some squash blossoms. When picking squash blossoms, make sure to pick the male blossoms because they only help pollinate and will not form into the squash. Female squash blossoms grow close to the vine with the fruit below it while male squash blossoms have a longer stem. There are so many male flowers that trimming a few here and there will not affect the females from producing fruit and you getting a food crop.
The sunchokes were very successful this year. One plant has flowered so far and the root will be harvested in January or February. Sunchokes are in the same family as sunflowers and grow very tall while producing beautiful yellow flowers. The root’s flavor resembles that of artichoke hearts when roasted.
For my first time growing potatoes, it went fairly well. I ended up with about two pounds of potatoes which included French fingerling, russets, and reds. I was anxious to harvest them so their skin is a little thin but that just means I have to eat them all faster! I have much bigger plans next year for potatoes since I love them so much. I am looking at making “cages” out of tomato cages and bamboo to help with the piling of the dirt over the plant and harvesting.
I learned that the mustard needed a little more room to grow but I will definitely double the amount of seeds I plant next year. Mustard is great to grow since it grows quickly and produces a lot of seeds. Next fall I hope to have my own batch of mustard!
Quinoa is one of my favorite grain like seed. It is very high in protein and grows like a weed. Next year quinoa will be a definite must with it’s high yield, ability I grow with little water, and beautiful colors.