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Cool Things To Plant In Your Garden

Two tomatoes, one red and another green, on a vine.
jypsygen via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Tomatoes on a vine

Spring is officially here and as the garden soil starts to warm up, our thoughts are turning to planting for the coming season. For sure our local farmers markets will come through with all sorts of novel and tempting produce, but there's nothing wrong with you and me filling in the blanks with some useful ideas of our own. Chef Jerry Pellegrino always brings an educated eye to making our lives more enjoyable through eating, and he has some great suggestions.

Tomatoes are the kings of the garden. What a lot of us don't understand is that tomato vines all need some kind of support, and there are two basic varieties of tomato, the "determinate" and the "indeterminate.” Determinate varieties stay low to the ground and need minimal support. The Roma tomato is a good example.

Indeterminate varieties include all the standard production varieties and the heirlooms as well. They require tall supports, and they have the potential to grow over six feet tall.

Sourcing seeds is a critical step, and Jerry has some good advice.

Besides our beloved local favorite seed company, Meyers Seed Company right down on Caroline Street, I’ve been buying seeds from two other unique sources. The first, Harvesting History, provides a huge selection of all sorts of heirloom varieties in seed, plant and bulb form. Owner, Barb Melera, is not only a Baltimore native but one of the most knowledgeable people out there when it comes to the history and care of all things heirloom in your garden.

Row 7 Seed Company was started by Chef Dan Barber, of Blue Hill Farm fame, and plant breeder Michael Mazourek. The original premise was "we believe flavor can succeed where commodification has failed. That it can change how we eat and, in turn, how we grow." They don’t have a lot to offer but what they have has been awesome to grow!

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.