Oh my aching back. That’s a sure sign that Garden 2013 is underway.

The Black Seeded Simpson and Mesclun lettuce went in first, along with Teton spinach. The first lettuce should be on our dinner plates in 30 days. The spinach will follow in two more weeks. My calendar is marked.

After that, we settle in for the Long Wait.

We planted two kinds of carrots. Yaya and Sweetness III are variations on Nantes carrots, the hybrid that we like for its sweetness and long cylinder shape (none of that tapering tip!)

We planted a whole row of Detroit Supreme red beets, a traditional deep red varietal with a high yield. Then we threw the dice with a blend that promises Golden beets as well as Chioggia, the beautiful magenta and white striped beets. Close your eyes and visualize the gorgeous salad these three beets will produce.

beet salad

beet salad

For the first time, we planted parsnips, the Harris Model, which Jung vows will be “heavy-shouldered” and creamy white.

We aren’t giving up on cucumbers, bewildered at our inability to produce crunchy cukes when our gardening neighbor enjoys a bonanza. This year we went with Muncher. “Strong vigorous vines are prolific yielders.” We shall see. I planted nine hills next to steel posts and netting, in hopes they will climb away from whatever ailed their predecessors.

We’ve put in about 20 percent of the peppers and tomatoes. More about those next week.

Meanwhile, I hope my back heals enough in the coming days to allow the flower gardening to commence next weekend! Our perennials are looking great, but there are annuals to plant and mulch to spread. A gardener’s work never ends…

Sandy Johnson is a journalist and a gardener, equally passionate about both. She lives in Alexandria, VA.  Visit her on her blog, Grassroots & Gardening.

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