What's New Here in MA /Trying Some Heirlooms

macgregor(6MA)June 7, 2011

Hi all,

Just an update on the goings-on in our potager in Melrose Massachusetts -

I have my potager planted but wanted to branch out somehow this year, try something different, without adding more beds at this point.

What I noticed when reading about seeds one day is that (and you all probably know this) there are a lot of heirloom plant and seed varieties out there, some of them going back in their development hundreds of years.

History interests me, especially American history, so I looked into some of these varieties for planting. I found a lettuce, called "tennis ball" that was planted at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home - each head is literally about the size of a tennis ball; another lettuce from the south that was developed in the mid 19th century; a tiny round French carrot variety; and of course the (already) favorite of many, Brandywine tomato plants, whose flavor is considered by many to be the "gold standard" of tomatoes.

I found some flower boxes not being used and I am putting them all together to form an "heirloom" garden section. I am excited about it, it will really be an experiment!

Also, I am trying to follow through better with succession planting this year (ran out of steam last year), and have enjoyed researching and doing companion planting as well.

Just thought I'd share what's going on, I always love to read about people's ideas -

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The tennis ball sized lettuce sounds really neat as an edging plant. It sounds like each one is a single serving salad.

I'm also trying some edible containers. I grew a lot of extra tomatoes and peppers including a supposedly very colorful chinese 5-pepper and some mini-tomato varieties. . I found 4 new containers without holes in the bottom and turned them into self-watering or SIPs with a water reservoir in the bottom.

I finally got to planting them out this week. The poor tomatoes and peppers were pretty root bound and will hopefully start perking up soon. My goal is to not buy any plant packs for my containers this season.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 2:17PM
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MacGregor- That sounds like such a good idea! I hope you will take some pictures, as I'd like to see your garden, especially the little lettuces :)

Ali-b, Your chinese peppers sound so fun. Do you have to have warm evenings for these peppers? I know some don't do well with out cooler evenings, but this pepper might bea good one to try!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2011 at 10:36AM
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I know it does like the warm weather. Mine are still pretty small right now. Something I'll have to keep in mind next time. I'll need to start the plants earlier to have them to a decent size for a patio pot.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 9:57AM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

Those tennis ball sized lettuces might be a great way to get kids into salad....each starts with their own tennis ball of lettuce!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:37PM
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I know, I love American history (and part of the reason I did these heirloom varieties I think), and I have been picturing Thomas Jefferson sitting down to dinner to have a tennis ball lettuce salad! It keeps me going!!! lol

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 8:42AM
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