I’ve been a vegetable gardener since we bought our first house in 1972. Record keeping is important to me as I evaluate varieties of plants, planting times, and what works in this climate and terroir and what doesn’t. So, I initially built this site for myself, to record plant varieties, planting and harvest dates, and anything else that might be useful for future gardens. I find web entries easier than notebooks and it’s hard to put pictures in written notes. With my smartphone, I can access this information anywhere, which is not the case with written data.

Planting and working the garden is in itself therapeutic, and thus has a lot of value. But harvesting the crops provides healthy foods and a connection to friends and neighbors who also benefit from the abundance of my garden. Here in the midwest, having a way to create a longer growing season is important. Hopefully, good record keeping will help me to that end.

But of course, once the data is recorded, there other thoughts and reflections that come into my mind and I have recorded those here also, because, as it has been since the beginning, gardening is not only good for the body but also good for the soul. My original purpose was an online notebook for my own use, but if you find any of this useful or inspirational, welcome.

Peppers and more.

I am making slow but steady progress. I raked the beds and planted the peppers this morning. I spaced them out more than in the past couple of years as they have not been doing well in the new beds. These beds are smaller in width and length than the other two, but I have been packing them with the same number of peppers per bed. I am hoping that the larger spacing between plants makes for better yields.

12 Shishito Plants and 3 Sweet Banana Peppers

3 Melrose, 3 Gypsy, 6 Lady Bell, and 3 hot Hungarian peppers.

I also got the three Zucchini plants in.

Fixing the Fence and More

I decided to tie down the fence in the bed next to the blackberry patch. I went out with my Ryobi Stapler and stapled the bottom of the fence to the frame of the garden bed. Only half the bed is fenced. This fence has been a problem as it didn’t lay well against the frame and weeds grew in the large gap. It is good now.

I planted nine celery root plants, six poblano peppers, and six okra plants. My okra and celery roots were totally destroyed by rabbits last year. This should protect them.

Tilling and Tomatoes

I spent part of the morning rototilling the tomato bed and the remaining four raised beds. I came out after lunch, and Annabelle and I planted the tomatoes.

Champion II – Early (Countryside) Great for sandwiches. Best early type. DRGerman Johnson – Late (Countryside) Low acid, potato-leaf foliage.Abraham Lincoln – Mid Packed with great tomato flavor.
Rutgers – Late (Countryside) Old fashioned flavor. DR
Early Girl II – Very Early (Countryside) Tasty fruit, first to ripenGerman Johnson – Late (Countryside) Low acid, potato-leaf foliage.Cherokee Carbon – Mid (Countryside) Big pink fruit with Outstanding flavorBlack Krim – Late (Goebbert’s) Dark brown and red, rich flavor. HY
Champion II – Early (Countryside) Great for sandwiches. Best early type. DRMr. Stripey – Late (Countryside) Yellow with red-streaked flesh.Cherokee Carbon – Mid (Countryside) Big pink fruit with Outstanding flavorCelebrity – Early (Countryside) Flavorful, firm fruit on strong vines. AAS
Early Girl II – Very Early (Countryside) Tasty fruit, first to ripenLemon Boy – Mid (Countryside) Tasty, sweet, juicy, low acid. HY  Cherokee Carbon – Mid (Countryside) Big pink fruit with Outstanding flavorEarly Girl II – Very Early (Countryside) Tasty fruit, first to ripen    
2023 Tomato Matrix

Canadian Thistle

Three of the garden beds are infested with Canadian Thistle. After a bit of research, I decided to bite the bullet and hit them with RoundUp. The rhizomes need to be killed or the plant will never be eradicated. I sprayed the thistle in the three beds and some other random plants around the garden. I also sprayed a bunch in the blackberry patch. I waited three days and then hit the plants in the bed with the weedwhacker.

Deck Area

The deck area is looking good. I’ve been harvesting chives for about a month and started cutting some green onions this week. I planted more bunching onions to try and fill out that bed. I could probably use a few more containers.

Chives and onions are starting to flower. I bought a new watering can. I think the old one cracked.

Slow Steady Progress

It has been tough getting to the gardening work. Earlier in the week, we had three days of threats of heavy rain and thunderstorms, but netted less than .1 inches. Wednesday, I picked up Jared and Izabella at the airport as they returned from their 10th-anniversary vacation in the Maldives. Friday, Natalie had surgery on her hand. Today I finally went out and got some work done.

I finished up the container garden. Here’s what I planted. A pot with 2 Serrano peppers, two pots with a large Early Girl II tomato in each, a pot with a Sunsugar and a Sun Gold tomato, another pot with two Grape Tomatoes, a pot with a Black Cherry tomato and a Chocolate Sprinkles Tomato, a potted Jalapeno from Goebbert’s, and a pot that I seeded with Genovese Basil and another pot that will be seeded with basil in early July.

I weeded the peas and broccoli that were infested with Canadian Thistle. I sprayed the thistle behind the trellis with Roundup. I’ll need to keep up with the rest over the summer.

I planted 6 large Summer Dance cucumbers a few days ago. I planted some Burpless cukes from Goebbert’s today. There is no room for any seeds, so if I am going to plant Lemon Cucumbers, I’ll need to find another place.

Container Garden

I went to Goebbert’s after lunch, just after they had finished paving our street. I got a large jalapeno pepper plant for $34.95. I got a three-pack of Serrano peppers as they didn’t have any large ones. I bought three three-packs of Celeriac and a couple of larger grape tomato plants. I also bought a large pot of basil for $12. Not bad. Goebbert’s likely has the most reasonable pricing.

I came home and got most of the container garden planted. I put the basil in the large pot off the deck, and I’ll plant the seeds in the container garden.

More Flowers

I went to the Jewel in Lake Zurich by Bacchus Nibbles and they were asking $4.95 for geraniums. I wasn’t about to pay that much!. So I went to the other Jewel on Ela. (Why there are two Jewels in Lake Zurich less than 1/4-mile from each other remains a mystery.) They had seed geraniums for $1.99 that looked very nice, but only in red. I bought 50 plants. They only had 52.

I stopped at the Barrington Jewel, just in case they had gotten more in, but all they had was empty shelves. I figured I would give the Jewel on Palatine Rd. by Holy Family a shot and drove over there. They had two tents erected in the parking lot and basically a complete nursery. They had the $1.99 geraniums in red and white, so I bought 20 white ones along with curly parsley and some tomatoes and zucchini plants that were reasonably priced.

I unloaded about half of the geraniums and got all of the pots on the front porch and walk planted. Then I moved on to the back and planted the rest of the geraniums, the parsley, and the rosemary that I had gotten the week before. I planted the two large cherry tomatoes that I had purchased at Countryside in the pots by the patio, I blew off the deck and cleaned up around the deck and took the garbage to the front.


I went to Home Depot for flowers. I bought 4 large hanging baskets of trailing petunias in multiple colors. I paid $30 per basket to get the trailing petunias, a nice-looking gray planter, which also has a water reservoir at the bottom. It was more than I wanted to spend, but maybe they will last the whole summer for a change. I bought two smaller, $12.95 baskets for the garden hooks and some red petunias for the two front railing planters. Total bill $168.62. I got those home and hung and then ate lunch.

I headed up to Countryside around 2:00. It was crowded, but I lucked out and got a place in front of the door. The veggies are still in the back, but they added brick pavers between the two rows of buildings. I was hit with total sticker shock at the price of the plants. Single cucumbers and tiny tomatoes were $4.95 each! No more three packs for $1.95. The larger tomatoes were $17.95, and the medium-sized ones were $12.95.  I bought 3 large Early Girl II tomatoes, 1 large Super Sweet 100 Cherry tomato, and 1 Large Red Cherry Tomato, a medium Early Girl II, and 2 medium Champion II tomatoes. Finally, 1 small Sungold, 1 small Sun Sugar and 1 small Black Cherry at $4.49 each.

They didn’t have any large peppers, so I didn’t get any. I will check Goebbert’s.

I bought 2 small containers of bunching onions and 3 of beets @ $2.49 each.  Then 2 Mexican Tarragon a 5.99 each. (They didn’t have 4 seasons). I also bought 4 Summer Dance Cukes @ $4.95 each. Ouch! Total bill at Countryside is $189.40.