How Does Your Garden Grow?

Thankfully this warm weather has banished the thoughts of our weird, cold and wet spring. But our veggie gardens aren’t so quick to forget.

We’re gardeners, too, so we planted all the things we sold this year in our Organic Kitchen Garden Collection to study them and see if they will get invited back for next year’s collection. Granted, we planted them very late (we were opening a garden shop after all) and with the help of many friends. The squirrels (not our friends) wreaked their havoc on numerous plants as usual so not everything is ultimately represented.


We can’t say it’s our finest garden ever… but we just couldn’t live without it.

We’re calling 2019 the “Year of the Gorgeous Lettuce” because the cool, wet weather created some incredible salads. Now that the cool crops are all bolted (gone to seed) we’re getting fruit on the eggplants, peppers and tomatoes. Okra and ground cherries are also producing. As a note for pollinators, we often leave bolted things so the insects can enjoy their blossoms. Plus, we really enjoy the plant’s exuberance in all forms. And, with bolting come self-seeding for next year! Less work, more fun surprises.


In general, the plants are tinier this year than usual but the production seems to be decent so far. No bumper crops yet but we have many hot days to go. Some of the tomato varieties seem to be competing for best in show – particularly the cherries which are growing in abundance despite the dinky plant sizes.

We might also call this the “Year of the Gorgeous Fennel” as ours are bulbing up nicely, which isn’t always the case.


The purslane – some consider it a weed, but we eat it – is in abundance. There is research that claims the type of weed you get indicates the type of soil you have. You can learn more about that here. If that’s true, our soil is rich but high in phosphorous. We’ll find out for sure when we do a soil test in the fall so we can plan for amending next spring. (We’ll be offering soil testing for you, too, this fall.)

Moon & Stars watermelon

The loveliest surprise in this very strange garden is the Moon & Stars watermelons. Normally we’d avoid a big melon, but we were selling it so we gave it a shot. And are these plants beautiful and prolific… and full of history, too. The Moon & Stars watermelon was one of the first seeds collected by an organization we admire very much – Seed Savers Exchange . And, in the 1990s, when it was reintroduced into broader cultivation, it was one of the plants that inspired our owner, LaManda Joy, to fall even deeper in love with food gardening, which has lead to so many gardening adventures here in Chicago including Peterson Garden Project and City Grange.

What’s going on with your garden? Have any photos you can share on Instagram? We’d love to see them! If you’re free Wednesday nights starting July 24 to August 28 we’re doing a series of Evenings in the Summer Garden. Stop by for a complimentary cocktail and let’s talk about how your garden is growing and what you’re doing with it.