Plant some veggies. This week it’s all about the vegetable garden. It’s glorious out there right now, and there’s a lot more planting to do. The soil is plenty warm, so we can plant just about any of our tropicals: tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants from transplants. Cucumbers and squash are also fine from transplants, but you might also try planting them from seed. See who wins.
Harvest some broccoli. All the cole crops (cabbages, collards, mustards, bok choy) are lining up for attention, but nothing is as beautiful as those first big heads of broccoli. At this point I’m picking one every other day. Here’s the magic of broccoli: Unlike the other heading crops like cabbage or bok choy or cauliflower, broccoli is a cut-and-come-again vegetable. That means you’ll cut the big head, but smaller ones will continue to crop up over the course of the summer, giving you plenty of little broccoli spears for steaming, sautéing, or just eating raw.
Plant sweet potatoes. Plenty of these are available in nurseries, but make sure you read the labels to see if they’ll actually grow an edible sweet potato. Beauregard is a great variety. The trick with making plenty of sweet potato plants is to break the vines and root them, which they do easily. Stick them right into the ground — especially where there’s plenty of organic matter. They will look ugly for three days and then suddenly start to grow again. Just remember they take at least 120 days to mature, so don’t keep cutting and rooting them all summer unless you just want a lot of greens (which isn’t such a bad idea, as they’re kind of tasty lightly sautéed).
Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (www.cobblestonekrautery.com).