April is the season to sit back and enjoy the hard work you put in last Fall. Walk amongst your beds and watch your vigorous perennials come back. See the tiny self-seeding flowers sprout and fill your garden with soft spring color: purple larkspur, violet bachelor buttons, pale pink pin-cushions, white and paprika yarrow, and multi-hued columbine.

In between making bouquets and cutting back winter roughage, I start planting my early summer vegetables in raised, freshly re-composted beds.

1. Make an arched trellis and plant cucumber seeds. I like planting Armenian cucumbers or “mikte” in Arabic.

2. Plant green bean seeds. I like the yard long variety because it climbs up a trellis, produces all summer, and shades my chicken coop.

3. I’ve given up on regular tomatoes and and so I plant disease resistant bush varieties instead. They don’t shrivle up in the Texas heat and keep producing most of the summer.

4. Plant a variety of peppers, but not all together so that they don’t cross polinate and share flavors.

5. Wait to plant heat-loving okra till May.

In the meantime, keep enjoying your cold crop greens like kale, swisschard and spinach till the Texas heat gets to be too much. My swiss chard will keep producing for three years, but lays dormant in the summer.

Which new vegetable will you try growing this year?

If words are seeds,

let flowers grow

from your mouth,

not weeds.

If hearts are gardens,

plant those flowers

in the chest of the ones

who exist around you.

RH. Swaney

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