Monday, November 26, 2012

What's Growing in the Late November Kitchen Garden: Journal Entry 11/26/12

Volunteer Dwarf Siberian kale in the late November kitchen garden -
This volunteer dwarf Siberian kale plant doesn't mind the cold.

Did you eat anything from your garden for Thanksgiving? I'm kind of embarrassed to admit the only thing I harvested was some fragrant lemon thyme that I stuffed inside a locally raised, pastured chicken (along with some of this year's garlic via the pantry), but it wasn't for lack of anything growing out there. It was more like we'd been enjoying freshly picked salads nearly every night for months, so we celebrated Thanksgiving by having things like champagne and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and apple streusel pie with ice cream for breakfast.

But now the holiday weekend is over, and we're back on our usual veggie kick. It may be late November here in zone 5 Missouri, and we've already had quite a few nights down in the low 20s, but thanks to some floating row cover, old bedsheets, and a few plastic tarps, the kitchen garden is still supplying us with plenty of autumn bounty.

In various 4' x 8' raised beds:

More below. . .

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Growing (and Using!) Your Own Fresh Herbs: My Six Favorite Varieties

Greek oregano growing in the unheated greenhouse on 11-13-12
Taken today: a happy pot of Greek oregano is surrounded by volunteer, easy to grow Swiss chard in the unheated, homemade greenhouse.

Chives, basil, Greek oregano, lemon thyme, Italian parsley, and lemon balm. It's the middle of November in zone five Missouri, and five of my six favorite herbs are still thriving in the kitchen garden, despite weeks of heavy frosts and several nights in the 20s. Even some of the heat-loving basil lasted until a week ago, thanks to some old bed sheets and a plastic tarp.

When my publishing network, BlogHer, asked if I was interested in writing an article for their Go Green to Save Money series, I immediately thought of homegrown herbs. They're easy to grow, cheap to keep, don't require lots of space or attention, and aren't usually bothered by diseases and pests. They're pretty to look at, bursting with flavor, and far fresher than those pricey little packets at the store.

Do you grow any herbs in your garden? Any favorite varieties, stories, growing tips, or recipes to share?

©, full of freshly picked flavor.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

How To Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors the Really Easy Way

Green Tomato Harvest 10-17-09
Will green tomatoes ripen after picking them? Yes!

Have you had your first frost yet? Ours was a little early this year, and we've even had one 24 degree morning. When the forecast called for several nippy nights in a row last week, I went through the garden and picked all the remaining green tomatoes from my plants, most of which didn't really start putting on fruit until our summer-long heat wave finally broke in September.

I ended up with about 40 pounds of green tomatoes, and in just one week, a bunch of them have already turned red.

Wondering what to do with your green tomatoes? You're not alone. The most popular post on In My Kitchen Garden right now is How To Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors the Really Easy Way—and it really is easy.

If you'd rather celebrate their greenness instead, check out my super popular Salsa-Like, No Sugar Green Tomato Relish Recipe, which is the number one post right now on Farmgirl Fare.

©, slightly immature but with plenty of potential.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Freezing Zucchini and a Recipe for Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread

Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread (1) -
Lemon zest and fresh rosemary add a flavorful twist to zucchini bread (recipe here).

Tired of eating zucchini? Try freezing some for later. One of the most popular posts on Farmgirl Fare right now is How To Freeze Zucchini and Summer Squash & My One Claim To Fame. (The claim to fame is that I'm the only serious gardener on the planet who never has a zucchini glut. I've been buying zucchini at the supermarket.) Zucchini and other summer squash are easy to freeze, and you'll be so glad you saved some come winter.

Tired of the same old zucchini bread recipes? Try this scrumptious, just-sweet-enough Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread instead. The recipe makes two loaves, so you can eat one now and freeze the other one. I love it toasted and slathered with butter for breakfast.

Or try my 100% Whole Wheat Coconut Zucchini Bread, a healthy, tasty treat made with unsweetened coconut, coconut oil, and less sugar than many zucchini bread recipes.

Hungry for more than zucchini? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, grateful for all of the other glorious bounty the kitchen garden does provide, but still looking forward to someday actually being sick of eating homegrown zucchini.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Growing Miniature White Cucumbers from Seed in Fall? Maybe.

You can read more about growing these cute little crunchy cucumbers in my previous post, Easy to Grow from Seed Favorites: Miniature White Cucumbers.

Realization of the Day:
This is shaping up to be the year of experimental fall planting.

I generally have pretty good luck growing cucumbers. Between my own harvests (lemon cucumbers are another favorite or mine to grow) and the excess bounty purchased from my Amish friends, I haven't bought a supermarket cucumber in years.

This past spring I started three varieties of cucumber seeds in flats, and for various reasons (the main one being that I probably didn't plant the seeds deep enough and they washed away when I watered them—yeah, duh) I didn't end up with any cucumber plants. Then, again for various reasons, I never got around to starting any more cucumber seeds directly in the ground once the soil had warmed up.

Thankfully some other gardeners around here fared better than I did in the cucumber department, and I was able to buy some nice ones (along with some really bitter ones). But because of the heat and drought (which is what made those bitter ones bitter), the local front yard pop-up produce stands closed down almost as soon as they opened up this year.

Fast forward a couple of months to a desperate me, trying to work on some new summer recipes. I finally broke down and bought some supermarket cucumbers. Blech.

I've already direct seeded two of my 4'x8' raised beds with cool season crops—something I've never done as early as August before—and on a whim, I also stuck half a dozen miniature white cucumber seeds into a bare spot in the homemade greenhouse. A couple of days later, four of them sprouted.

More below. . .

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipe: Easy and Healthy Roasted Eggplant with (or without) Red Onion and Sweet Red Peppers

Easy Roasted Eggplant with Red Onion and Sweet Red Peppers 1 -
My favorite way to cook eggplant is great tasting and great for you (recipe here).

I'll spare you photos of the eight really pathetic looking eggplant plants struggling out in my kitchen garden (two words: flea beetles) and skip right to my favorite eggplant recipe instead: this Easy Roasted Eggplant with Red Onion and Sweet Peppers. I made it over and over last summer and have been craving it ever since I put my eggplant seedlings into the ground back in the spring.

You can't go wrong with roasting, and this has to be one of the least complicated—and the healthiest—ways to eat eggplant. Forget the cumbersome peeling, salting, and draining that so many eggplant recipes call for. Want to know how to roast eggplant? Just dice it up, toss it with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and stick it in the oven. Additional vegetables are optional.

So simple, yet so flavorful. Exactly what summer eating should be.

Do you have a favorite eggplant recipe? Any eggplant growing tips to share?

No eggplants yet either? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, where we're already direct seeding fall crops but still holding out for some more late summer bounty, especially since the flea beetles are finally almost gone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Recipe: How To Make Your Own Homemade V8 Juice (Vegetable Tomato Juice)

Homemade Vegetable Tomato Juice (like V8 juice) 2 -
A cool and refreshing way to drink your vegetables (recipe here)

I have a sheep farmer friend who swears by Campbell's V8 juice when working out in the heat. She says it's more rejuvenating than drinking water or Gatorade and literally makes the difference between wanting to keel over and being able to keep going for hours.

This is the kind of stuff I need to know.

What could be even better than V8? Homemade V8! Or in this case V4, though I suppose it's technically V3 if you count the parsley as an herb and not a vegetable. Either way, this easy to make vegetable tomato juice will blow that V8 away. Did you know V8 is mostly made from water and tomato paste?

It definitely helps when you're outside slogging away, and it tastes refreshing and delicious.

To make this healthy, flavorful juice, all you do is chop everything up and toss it into a pot, then put it through a food mill. (I love my Oxo Good Grips food mill.) It's the perfect way to make use of overripe, imperfect, or just plain ugly tomatoes, which you can sometimes find for a deal at farmers' markets.

And thankfully you don't have to be sweating to enjoy it.

Would you rather have your refreshing summer vegetables raw? Check out my quick and easy gazpacho recipe. You just blend everything up, chill, slurp, and say Ahhhh.

©, where the plants in the garden are so heat-stressed (despite watering at least once a day), even they could probably use a slug of juice.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Recipe: Greek Style Panzanella Salad with Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese, and Homemade Pan-Fried Croutons

Greek Style Panzanella Salad with cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, and homemade croutons 2 -
The traditional Italian tomato and bread salad is given a Greek twist with feta cheese and kalamata olives. Olive oil croutons are hard to resist (recipe here).

It's the height of summer bounty in the garden, so I thought I would share a few of my seasonal favorites from the Farmgirl Fare recipe archives, starting with this Greek Style Panzanella Salad.

One of the reasons I haven't posted more recipes during the seven years I've been blogging is because I'm often still making the same old favorites over and over again—like the Big, Soft and Chewy Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies I've been baking for more than 20 years. I pretty much lived on this Greek style version of the classic Italian panzanella for several weeks last summer and am ready to do it again.

It's cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, kalamata olives, feta cheese, red onion, and crunchy, pan-fried olive oil croutons, tossed with a flavorful red wine vinaigrette. For an extra boost of protein and fiber, you can stir in some organic garbanzo beans.

It makes a great side dish for grilled meats and a perfect light supper or lunch. I've even eaten the leftovers for breakfast. You'll find the recipe here. Enjoy!

Hungry for more than salad? There are links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, where it's been, to put it mildly, a challenging summer in the kitchen garden this year, but thankfully the blister beetles, cabbage worms, and deer have left me a little something to eat out there, including quite a few cherry tomatoes. Yes!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Recipe: Savory Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Pesto Pie with an Easy Cheesy Biscuit Crust

Savory tomato, mozzarella, and basil pesto pie with an easy cheesy biscuit crust
Scared of pie dough? This easy biscuit crust is perfect for beginners (recipe here).

The first meaty plum tomatoes in my kitchen garden are finally starting to ripen, and there's homemade pesto in the fridge. It's time to make a Savory Tomato and Basil Pesto Pie!

This is one of my most popular recipes, and for some reason men seem to especially love it. The other day my friend Susan in Vermont said, "I'm making your tomato pesto pie for dinner tonight. I made it last week, and my husband fell in love with me all over again."

Do tomatoes and basil say summer to you? Do you love pesto and savory pies and melted mozzarella cheese? Then you'll want to celebrate the bounty of summer with this scrumptious Savory Tomato and Basil Pesto Pie.

If you're scared of pastry crust, you're going to love this recipe. The  biscuit dough is practically foolproof, and the pie itself is easy to make but looks impressive and tastes delicious.

Don't believe me? Click here for a sampling of rave reviews from Farmgirl Fare readers. (Thanks so much to all of you who take the time to come back and report on my recipes!) Ready to eat? You'll find the recipe here.

Hungry for more than pie? There are links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, the ripe and ready foodie farm blog where I haven't forgotten that promised post on growing arugula in hot weather. The short version? Order a packet of Rucola Selvatica arugula seeds from Pinetree Garden Seeds in Maine and scatter them in a partly shaded spot in your garden ($1.35 for 400 seeds).

Monday, July 23, 2012

Recipe: Arugula Salad with Pan-Fried Herbed Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Feta Cheese & Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

Arugula salad with pan-fried herbed potatoes, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, and kalamata olive vinaigrette
This light main course salad is a perfect way to celebrate the summer harvest (recipe here).

I'm kicking off BlogHer's new Market Fresh Cooking series with this beautiful Arugula Salad with Pan-Fried Herbed Potatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese that's full of flavor and bursting with summer bounty. For this batch I used arugula, parsley, thyme, and red onions from my garden.

The crisp, herby potatoes also taste great on their own, and the Kalamata olive vinaigrette is wonderful on other things too. I love it tossed with cucumbers and tomatoes. To make this a more substantial meal, simply add some leftover grilled chicken or steak.

No arugula? Make it with romaine lettuce instead. My favorite variety of romaine is an easy to grow heirloom called Parris Island Cos, which is crisp, tasty, and amazingly heat tolerant. 

Coming up next on In My Kitchen Garden: Can you grow arugula during the summer? Yes!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blasted Birthday Blister Beetles: Garden Journal 7/10/12

Blister beetles attacking Swiss chard 1 -
Blister beetles attacking Swiss chard in my kitchen garden.

For more about how to deal with blister beetles—and the many ways we use diatomaceous earth around the farm—check out this post.

Realization of the Day:
I knew better, I really did. Translation: I am a lazy gardening idiot.

There are several things that I block out each year once they're over, like lambing season, which is very cute but stressful and totally exhausting. Poisonous snake season. Chiggers and ticks and the unsightly, horribly itchy ankles they cause. Hot and humid Missouri summers that often last five months.

So when I saw a couple of blister beetles, which love hot, dry weather, trotting along the burned up grass near the sheep barn the other day, what did I do? Nothing.

What should I have done? Raced back to the garden and liberally doused the pepper plants, tomato plants, and Swiss chard, as well as the surrounding soil, with food grade diatomaceous earth (which we buy in economical 50-pound bags - it will last indefinitely if kept dry). These are the crops they seem to go after the most, although I know they also like beans.

Yesterday morning I went out to the garden and discovered that the ravenous blister beetles had arrived just in time for my birthday. The 4'x4' patch of densely planted, previously beautiful Swiss chard was teeming with them—and the leaves that hadn't been devoured were covered with their disgusting droppings. I found minor damage on a few tomato plants too.

I tossed handfuls of diatomaceous earth all over the chard leaves, and then sprinkled some around all the tomato and pepper plants, along with the eggplants just in case, and then went back inside to block out the depressing invasion and have some cake.

And then I got my birthday wish and it rained—and washed away all of the diatomaceous earth I'd just put out.

More below. . .

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

A Red, White, Blue—and Green!—Fourth of July

Freshly picked Masai filet beans (haricots verts) from the kitchen garden -
Freshly picked Masai green beans (haricots verts)

Will you be eating anything from your garden this Independence Day? I don't know what we're going to grill yet (probably something doused with my easy, all natural homemade BBQ sauce), but I do know we'll be having green beans—the fridge is overflowing with them.

I picked all 32 feet of mine (Slenderette and Masai), then couldn't resist buying a few more pounds of pretty filet beans (the delicate, thin green beans also called haricots verts) from our Amish neighbors—and then another big bag from an older couple in town that was selling their extra backyard bounty.

Time to get out my beloved FoodSaver vacuum sealer and start filling the freezer! Just blanch 3 minutes (a little longer for fatter beans), cool in ice water, drain, pack into bags, and seal. (I use this model FoodSaver and make my own bags from rolls of FoodSaver bag material.) These beautiful beans will be an extra welcome treat when we pull them out for dinner in the middle of winter.

To see more of what's growing right now in my kitchen garden, check out the latest installment of the popular new Friday Farm Fix on Farmgirl Fare.

Have a safe, happy, and delicious holiday!

©, where I'm thinking old-fashioned blackberry crisp for dessert tomorrow. And maybe some all-American giant chocolate chip cookies too.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Picking Basil, Planting Peppers, Loving Lettuce and More: Garden Update 5/21/12

Lots of beautiful basil from just two plants (I love these $10 take apart shears).

Want to see more of my garden? The new weekly Friday Farm Fix series on Farmgirl Fare usually includes lots of kitchen garden photos.

Realization of the Day:
Eating from the garden makes everything taste better, even if your harvest is just a sprinkling of chives or a handful of parsley.

There isn't a whole lot of bounty in the garden yet, but during the past week we enjoyed plenty of beautiful (and big!) salads, as well as chopped green onions on just about everything. If all goes well, it won't be long before I'm digging up the first new potatoes, harvesting the garlic, and picking my favorite Dragon Langerie (also called Dragon Tongue) beans. And the arugula and Parris Island cos lettuce are almost ready to start thinning and tossing into salads.

The weather has been crazy hot and way too dry (thanks to my super lightweight Water Right garden hoses I no longer dread watering the garden!), but we did finally get a little rain yesterday. Just about 4/10ths of an inch, but I'll take it. At least it settled all the dust.

Like what you see growing in my garden? The links included below can help you grow the same things in yours.

Into the kitchen during the past week:
Chives (Learn how to grow chives here, plus my easy herbed yogurt cheese recipe.)
Green onions and spring onions (read about why I now grow onions from purchased plants here)
Italian flat leaf parsley (here's the best way to store fresh parsley)
Lettuce (I picked the entire 4'x8' bed of my favorite Rocky Top Lettuce Mix from Baker Creek before it all went bitter from the heat; learn how to grow your own gourmet lettuce from seed here).
Red Russian kale (from a couple of last spring's plants; photo below)
Swiss chard (amazingly heat and cold tolerant; learn how to grow Swiss chard from seed here)
Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato kale, dinosaur kale, and Nero di Toscana cabbage; one enormous plant direct seeded last fall)

And into the garden:
Four Golden California Wonder sweet pepper plants (purchased; tips for planting and growing peppers here)
Five Roma tomato plants (four purchased, one volunteer from last year I'd dug up and put into a small container)
Eight eggplant plants (purchased; the tag just says 'classic' which cracks me up)

I have several more varieties of tomato plants that still need to go into the ground (both purchased and started from seed), another four Golden California Wonder pepper plants (purchased), and a bunch of leggy little purple basil seedlings I grew from seed that desperately need to be transplanted into individual plugs (I think they're still too small to go straight into the garden, especially with this heat).

I'm also hoping to plant some more green bean seeds and am wondering if I should try direct seeding some cucumber seeds this time, since the soil is plenty warm and my first two attempts at starting them in flats (including 4 different varieties of all brand new seeds) yielded nothing for some reason. I don't think I've ever had trouble sprouting cucumber seeds before. The basil, calendula, and zinnia seeds didn't do squat either.

Twelve more garden photos below. . .

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The New Friday Farm (and Garden) Fix on Farmgirl Fare

Growing in the garden now, left to right: Dwarf Siberan kale direct seeded last fall (and mostly flowering now), one gorgeous lone dinosaur (lacinato) kale plant direct seeded last fall (and on tonight's dinner menu), and several varieties of Swiss chard (I was using up a bunch of old seed packets) direct seeded in late March. (Swiss chard is wonderful stuff and easy to grow from seed. The white on the kale leaves is food grade diatomaceous earth; you read about the many ways we use this amazing stuff here.)

Hello and happy spring! How does your garden grow? Mine is doing pretty well despite two months of seriously crazy weather. On April 23rd, eight days after our 'official' last frost date, the six tomato plants I already had in the ground froze to death during a hard frost despite being covered with buckets (that's what I get for sneaking in some impulse-purchased hybrids), and this Friday it's supposed to be 93 degrees. Welcome to Missouri!

Although I'm already feeling (and falling) behind, I have more vegetables and herbs growing in the garden right now than I have during the past several springs, which makes me very happy. Obviously I've been spending more time gardening than garden blogging.

I have, however, been documenting some of what's been happening each week in the garden in my new weekly series on Farmgirl Fare called the Friday Farm Fix.

In each Friday Farm Fix post, I share a random sampling of what's been happening around the farm during the past week, and a lot of kitchen garden photos have been showing up alongside the cute baby animals, colorful scenery, and ever present farm dogs. I often been including a photo taken inside the greenhouse too. Right now it's a Swiss chard jungle in there.

My original plan was to do a similar type of weekly photo journal post here on In My Kitchen Garden, but for now it's all happening over on Farmgirl Fare. Maybe instead I'll just do a little Friday Farm Fix announcement here each week, along with a list of what we've eating from the garden during the past seven days (lettuce! lettuce! lettuce!). Either way, for a current glimpse of what's going on in my garden, come check out the Friday Farm Fix. I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, feel like catching up?

©, seeding, sprouting, growing, weeding, harvesting, watering, and eating—and not necessarily in that order. Actually, eating should probably be listed in there twice.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

In the Greenhouse on the First Day of Spring: Garden Journal 3/20/12

Inside the greenhouse on the first day of spring -
Things are greening up in the greenhouse!

Realization of the Day:
As much as I love lemon balm, it's probably time to stop its greenhouse spread (it's the stuff taking over the whole front left side).

I'm never one to discourage plants that actually want to grow (and usually embrace anything described as invasive because there's a chance it might actually do well here), but it's starting to take up valuable real estate. You can read more about lemon balm in this post: Lemon Balm: Growing It, Drying It, Using It.

Happy first day of spring! I never used to show you the entire inside of my greenhouse because it's usually kind of a mess. Thankfully I'm over that now. In fact, a while back I started taking pictures of this same view of the greenhouse interior on a regular basis (messes and all), so I could show you what goes on in there throughout the year.

More below. . .

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sorting Through My Seed Stash, Beet Growing Tips, and Planting by the Moon: Garden Journal 2/25/12

Cluster of beet greens, all sprouted from one seed -
Beautiful, nutritious beet greens, all sprouted from one little beet seed (which is actually a dried fruit containing a cluster of 2 to 6 seeds).

You'll find more about growing beets in my previous post, How To Grow Beets from Seed and Why You Should. And Caramelized Beets with Garlic is my favorite beet recipe.

Realization of the Day:
I currently have 13 unopened packets of heirloom beet seeds in my posession—the newest from 2009. I may need a repeat of that 2007 massive seed packet purge.

Organized gardeners probably sort through their old seeds before placing their new seed orders. I finally placed my first seed order for 2012 last Thursday, and then decided to dig out all of my various (actually somewhat organized!) containers of seeds.

Thankfully I hadn't ordered any beet seeds.

More below. . .

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Easy How To: Grow Asian Greens Like Bok Choy, Pak Choy, Tatsoi, and Mizuna by Direct Seeding in the Garden

Asian greens in the kitchen garden 10-10-06
Gorgeous gourmet Asian greens: not available in most stores.

There are many things to consider when deciding what to plant in your vegetable garden: available space and time, soil conditions, time of year, cost of growing vs. buying (or is buying even an option?), how much you love to eat it, past performance, etc. And, perhaps most importantly, does it do well in your location?

When I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to rural Missouri back in 1994, I was surprised to discover that while nearly everyone around here planted a vegetable garden each spring, many people grew nothing but beans, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes.

I quickly learned that with our extremely fickle climate and growing conditions, these are the crops most likely to reward you with a decent harvest, but even they're not guaranteed. Plus people just aren't into stuff like basil and Swiss chard and arugula—which thankfully also do well here.

I've also had good luck growing all sorts of Asian (Oriental) greens, which you can't find for sale in this area. There are numerous types of Asian green seeds available, and it's fun to experiment with different varieties. Large leaf ton ho or wong bok cabbage, anyone? Fast growing mizuna is one of my favorites. It's often stir-fried (I'm crazy about my Lodge cast iron wok), but I love it best in salads.

More below. . .

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Garden Journal 1/12/12: Crazy Winter Weather

Southern half of the snowy kitchen garden -
Southern half of the raised bed kitchen garden, as seen this afternoon from the second floor of the new house!

Yesterday it was sunny and in the 50s. I ditched my massive indoor afternoon To Do list in favor of digging chicken manure into a couple of garden beds and working on a compost pile—in January.

Today it's blustery, snowing, and, at last check, 22 degrees. When I looked at the online weather page this morning it said it was 18 degrees but felt like four. Tonight we'll probably see single digit temps, and on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday it's supposed to be 50.

Welcome to winter in Missouri!

So is it snowing or growing in your January garden? Any big planting plans for this year?

©, where it's definitely time to cozy up under a vintage quilt and finish the rest of that seed order. Weather ups and downs or not, planting time will be here all too soon.