Gary Brown: Colors are key to a good vegetable garden

Gary Brown

In order to help you as much as possible with spring planting, without actually doing any of the digging, here is my guide to what you should or should not plant in your gardens.

Everyone who gardens plants tomatoes. Usually people plant several different varieties of tomatoes, several different sizes of tomatoes. Even if I tell you not to plant tomatoes — that for national security, or environmental sensitivity, or even personal safety, you should not plant tomatoes — you’re still going to plant tomatoes.

“What harm is it going to cause to plant a dozen or so full-size tomato plants, and a handful of those cherry tomato plants, and a few grape tomato plants, and maybe some of those tomatoes they call plum tomatoes. ...”

So I suggest you plant tomatoes.

But, having planted tomatoes, and harvested tomatoes, and then eaten tomatoes, I need to warn you that tomato gardeners need a lot of tomato recipes, a large family of tomato eaters, and a dependable support system of fellow workers who will not mind you placing bags of tomatoes on their desks or the hoods of their cars. “Take these, please, we have plenty,” your notes will say.

Go green

I like lettuce. If you can grow grass, you can grow lettuce. Plant it, pick it, and make yourself a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. There’s one tomato recipe.

Green peppers are easy to grow, too. And pepper plants will give you a steady supply of green and red things to slice up and put on lettuce, tomato and pepper salads. That’s two recipes.

If you prefer peas, knock yourself out. But, I’d do as my dad and mom did. First grow a couple of kids to take the peas out of the pods.

Need a rule? “If it’s green or red, go ahead.”

Some exceptions

OK, I lied. There are a couple of other green and red things you should avoid.

Never plant green onions and red radishes, if you value a social life. My family planted both, and we ate green onions and radishes almost every night as appetizers before dinner. During the heat of summer, when the air hangs stagnant, we sort of stuck to ourselves after eating.

When I played with other neighborhood children, it always was outside on evenings when a breeze would blow away my breath.

And I have an even more important warning. Green squash have reached critical mass.

I firmly believe that only one or two of you should plant zucchini squash plants. I don’t particularly care which of you become zucchini gardeners. I just know that the pair of you ought to be able to produce more than enough zucchini for the rest of the world population. In fact, zucchini grow in abundance and spread out far, so people in other countries may be able to pick their own from your plants.

Here’s one final bit of zucchini-based knowledge I’ve obtained over the years: People who like fried zucchini generally like fried green tomatoes, too. That’s three tomato recipes.

My work here is done.

Contact Gary Brown at gary.brown@cantonrep.com.