Go seed shopping, of course!
I've got a few favorite websites I love to visit in the Winter, places that pull me into a mental Summer with glossy photos (can they be "glossy" if they're only on my computer screen?) of juicy veggies, sunny flowers and rampant ground cover (hiding all sorts of ugly landscape flaws in my yard). Yummy yummy yummy.
So I'm definitely shopping for more cucumber seeds this year.
And broccoli - my yard seems perfect for broccoli, even producing lots of side shoots through the hot summer. Since broccoli is a cool weather crop, I always make sure the location is shady by afternoon. Some really hot summers I've even built a little shade structure with pvc pipe and row cover to protect the plants when the August temperatures have spiked.
The most important thing I've learned about choosing vegetables, besides reading the 'reviews' of how they taste, is making sure the ones I grow have the shortest number of days to harvest of any veggie in the catalogs. Annual flowers have to be short season, too, or I'll never get any flowers before the first hard frost. Luckily, all the good seed companies put the Days to Harvest number on their packets.
The Scarlet Runner Bean was a very satisfying vine last summer, growing quickly up the posts on the deck and flowering long into the fall. Just two plants covered about 8 feet of railing, hiding a less than great view from my chair.
But how could I resist trying this eggplant, a container variety called "Little Prince" - slices dipped in egg, coated in bread crumbs and Parmesan and baked in a hot oven - what could be better than home-grown Eggplant Parmesan? Or grilled alongside the summer corn? Or in a flavorful Ratatouille? mmmmmm.
What will you be planting this summer? Tell us about your plans in the comments section below.