Grow Your Own
March is the time to plant Swiss chard, onions, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce and beets. For a drought and heattolerant lettuce, try Parris Island Cos, a romaine developed by Clemson and released for sale to the public in 1951. If you’d like to add beet greens to your salad, try Bull’s Blood for its striking reddish- purple leaves. For great root color, our favorites are golden beets and Chioggia, an Italian variety with a candy-cane striped interior. Use Chioggia raw to preserve its vibrant stripes; its interior turns pink when cooked.
Mid-April is the time to plant green beans, melons, summer squash and cucumbers. For a great multipurpose watermelon, try the mammoth Bradford Melon, an heirloom with a refreshing flavor and a tender rind that’s perfect for pickling. (We pickled 36 cups of rind from one melon.) The seeds are available at www.bradfordwatermelons.com. Looking for a new squash variety? Try Costata Romanesco, a ribbed, greenstriped zucchini that has a nutty flavor.
May is the time to plant okra, eggplant, winter squash and butterbeans. The beautiful, slender leaves of Willow Leaf Lima Beans (butterbeans) have encouraged gardeners to grow the plants as ornamentals, and they seem to discourage Mexican bean beetles. You can find the seeds at Heavenly Seed, an Anderson-based company: www.heavenlyseed.net. Tired of large-fruited eggplant? Baker Creek offers Lao Purple Stripe, a tiny-fruited variety that pairs well with Thai basil and jasmine rice. Visit www.rareseeds.com.