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November 2017
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Potatoes, tomatoes and lettuce, oh my!

Ultimate Mixed lettuce. Photo courtesy of National Garden Bureau

Since this is the best time to think about what edibles we will grow this year, I reached out to area gardeners about what they are planning. Last week, we talked to gardeners who planted less familiar foods: tomatillo, leeks and celeriac. Today, the gardeners’ menu is more mainstream.

Lettuces and Greens

Marion County Master Gardener and graphic designer Karen Kennedy wishes she had enough sun to grow vegetables successfully.

“I do successfully grow leaf lettuce along the edge of one of my perennial beds,” said Kennedy, who sows packets of seeds of mixed salad greens. “The area gets a nice mix of sun and shade and, depending on how fast we go to high heat, I can sometimes keep it going until mid June, or early July. I’ve also grown rainbow chard in one of my perennial beds.”

Tomatoes

German Johnson heirloom tomato. Photo courtesy of Bonnie Plants.

Like a lot of Hoosiers, Carol Michel, an Indianapolis south sider and award-winning blogger at maydreamsgardens.com, picked tomatoes as her must-have veggie. “They truly do taste better when they are homegrown. I like the variety German Johnson. It’s an heirloom that tastes like a tomato should taste and the fruit is so big, that you just need just one slice to cover an entire piece of toast for a BLT,” she said.

After all, it’s a family tradition.

“The thing about the German Johnson tomato is that my grandfather was German and my grandmother’s maiden name was Johnson, so I always think of them when I grow this tomato,” Michel said. “I am to the point where I have to grow it or my garden feels incomplete.”

She grows them in the ground. “Plant it deeply in a sunny location and water when we don’t get rain. Provide strong staking because it will be big plant.”

Potatoes

Red Norland and Yukon Gold potato harvest. (C) Photo courtesy of Sally Zelonis

The best part of growing potatoes is harvesting them, said Sally Zelonis, major gifts officer at the Indianapolis Zoo. “It’s like panning for gold! When you carefully dig in the ground to see what you have — it is so fun to pull up a beautiful potato,” she said.

She buys seed potatoes at The Garden Center on Indy’s northwest side. She purchased cloth tubs online for growing her potatoes because her Zionsville, Ind., yard is very small. She hand picks any insects from the plants. Periodically, she grows several varieties of potatoes and relishes their many colors. “When I harvested them, I made homemade French fries with each variety to try them out. What fun,” she said.

 

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