As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

Starting the Summer Garden

It’s been a busy last two weekends in the garden. On March 5 I bought lots of summer starts at the Sunshine Community Garden Plant Sale; last weekend I planted them. Here’s what I bought:


  • Purple Tomatillo (in container)
  • Toma Verde Tomatillo
  • TX Wild
  • Black Cherry
  • Juliet
  • Lime Green Salad (in container)
  • *One I lost the tag for that does well in containers


  • Jalapeno (in container)
  • Spanish Piquillo
  • Long Red Slim Cayenne
  • Chervana Chushka

Basil (there is no such thing as too much basil, in my opinion)

  • Basil Bonanza
  • Siam Queen Thai basil
  • Genovese
  • Compact Basil (in container)
  • Classic Italian


  • Mexican Mint Marigold
  • Dwarf Sage
  • Lavender (in container)
  • Sweet Marjoram
  • Dill and Fennel (To attract spring time butterfly caterpillars; the plants won’t last long in the heat)
  • *An herb I lost the tag for but tastes like cucumber

I planted some of the starts in containers because the last two years I have lost multiple tomato plants to a fungus in my soil that I have not yet identified or learned how to combat. (My goal this summer is to do just that.) Like investing, I decided I would diversify my summer garden and plant some of the newbies in pots. It’s also good experience to know which varieties thrive in pots vs. which don’t. This is valuable info to pass on to friends that might not have the space to have a full-blown garden but who could add some pots to a balcony or door step.

Andy built me the tomato cages out of bamboo we “harvested” from vacant lots last year. Bamboo (not the clumping kind) grows fast, but unfortunately spreads like crazy. I see it frequently in Austin, and hence, there is no shortage of it with which you can make lots of garden apparati.

Garden logic–how to figure out where each plant goes:

I had a limited amount of space to insert all of the new plants being that I still have quite a few spring veggies that won’t be “done” for another month or two (peas, kale, beets, parsley, spinach, arrugla). Also, before planting, it’s important to consider the size each plant will grow to and what neighboring plants each will tolerate. This definitely makes for a bit of an equation when planting.  Luckily the plant tags give the approx. dimensions of the adult plant. Also, I consulted my Companion Planting handout from Austin Organic Gardeners Club.

Found lots of these guys as I was planting the summer starts. Hurray for worms!

Jalapeno and Purple Tomatillo in Pots


Two "container variety" tomatoes in pots

TX Wild Tomato (far left), Spanish Piquillo Pepper (center left), Toma Vera Tomatillo (right); peas and basil in the background


Juliet Tomato (left) and Black Cherry Tomato (right)


Lavender in pot I bought in Ojinaga, MX on way back from Big Bend Country 1 year ago






3 responses

  1. The snow is still melting here in Maine. Your pictures are a wonderful reminder of things to come. Only one month before planting peas…

    March 21, 2011 at 12:01 am

  2. Rachel

    I am going to do laundry right now (honestly, one of the best things about the new house is doing laundry at my place, but I digress). But after reading this post I decided that I’ll go to pick up soil, compost and a plant light to begin my tomato seeds for summer planting!!

    Besotes, amiga!

    March 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm

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