Some people spend all winter looking through seed catalogs, diagramming their garden plots, and starting seedlings in little trays. I am not one of those people, but even as a lazy, unambitious gardener, there are two things I aways plant.
First, an herb pot. Herbs are low-maintenence, they take up hardly any space, and it's so much more convenient to snip off a few springs than buy those (expensive) plastic packages which often end up rotting or drying out in the fridge. I usually plant the ones I use most frequently--basil, cilantro, mint, rosemary, thyme, sage, and tarragon--which are great for throwing in cocktails, scrambled eggs, pasta sauce, salads, meat, poultry, and fish.
Tomatoes are one of those foods where store-bought can never match home-grown, because retailers favor varieties with characteristics that appeal to them (uniform shape, bright color, ability to ship and store well), instead of those customers prefer (flavor, texture, etc.). The co-ops and farmers markets do sell some amazing heirloom tomatoes, but prices can be steep.
Brewery Creek Garden Center in Belle Plain has an enormous selection of heirloom tomatoes--and they have a stall at the Minneapolis Farmers' Market (number 217). One of my favorite varieties, a relatively new cultivar, actually, is the green zebra, with stripey green-and-yellow hues and an incomparable tart, lemony flavor. I haven't seen them at the co-ops and only found them a few times at the farmers' markets, so hopefully, 78 days from now, I'll have some in my garden.
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