Mary's Veggie Garden

April 24, 2017

Pepper Seed Test

Filed under: Peppers,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:05 pm
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When I inventoried my seeds last winter I discovered that I had plenty of seed for three of my favorite varieties. However the seeds were purchased for planting in 2015. They were 3 years old and most sources say that pepper seed is viable for only 2 years.

I decided to test this old seed, noting the germination rate and plant vigor. My old seed would be compared to two ‘new to me’ varieties  purchased this year, and to seed from last year.

I also had a backup plan  if none of the old seed grew – two of the varieties are available locally as transplants.

Pepper varieties  tested:

  • Carmen – Italian “bull’s horn” (corno di toro) type, Johnnys Selected Seeds (JSS) 2015.
  • Highlander – a mild Anaheim type pepper, JSS 2015.
  • Intruder – produces large blocky bell peppers. Plants have resistance to several diseases present in the community gardens. JSS 2015
  • Escamillo – similar to Carmen, but ripens to golden-yellow. JSS 2016
  • Felicity – a heatless jalapeño, Territorial Seeds 2017
  • X3R Red Knight – another bell pepper with good disease resistance. JSS 2017

I’ve been growing my own transplants for decades. I know that two-year old pepper seed takes several days longer to germinate than fresh seed. For this test I decided to stagger the planting times to compensate for the slower germination of the old seed. My goal was to have similarly sized transplants at planting time.  The 2015 seed was planted 3/25, the 2016 seed was started a week later on 4/1, and the new seeds were sown 4/7.

Results

My three-year old pepper seed did germinate, at rates ranging form 58% to 82%. The number of strong plants (as a % of the number of seeds sown) was considerably lower at  33%-73%. However I planted enough seeds that even a low percentage resulted in plenty of usable plants.

Variety Purchased for: Planting date # seeds planted Days to germinate # Seeds germinated Germination percent # Strong plants % Strong plants
Carmen

2015

3/25/17

19

16-19

12

63%

7

37%

Highlander

2015

3/25/17

11

15-18

9

82%

8

73%

Intruder

2015

3/25/17

12

18-20

7

58%

4

33%

Escamillo

2016

4/7/17

8

6

75%

6

75%

Felicity

2017

4/7/17

4

10-11

4

100%

4

100%

X3RRed Knight

2017

4/7/17

4

10-11

4

100%

3

75%

4/10 – Highlander, Intruder and Carmen are germinating. All were planted 3/25.

4/23 Highlander, Intruder and Carmen. Some plants are stronger, some are clearly less vigorous.

4/23 Red Knight, Felicity and Escamillo

January 25, 2016

Future Harvests

Filed under: Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 5:28 pm
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First, a quick follow-up from last week. The final Kolibri Kohlrabi, pictured last week, was harvested Wednesday when the temperature was just above freezing. It felt hard (probably mostly frozen) but smelled a bit funky. After it finished thawing it was mushy & stinky and went straight to the trash.  So, although one kohlrabi was good after several 20° F nights, temperatures down around 10° F ruined the last one.

Many of you heard about the winter storm that shut down the east coast over the weekend. The edge of that storm was somewhere in the 60 miles between NYC and us. We received only a few flakes of snow.

I’ve almost finished seed shopping and now it’s time to figure out quantities and lay out the gardens on paper.

Here are the varieties planned for this year. Many are tried and proven in my garden and kitchen. Several are new – chosen for flavor or adventure of trying something new.

Beans: Rattlesnake pole beans for eating as green beans; Jacob’s Cattle and Tigers Eye dried beans; Tohya edamame soy bean.

Beets: Red Ace, an old favorite, and Avalanche, a new white beet and an AAS.

Broccoli: Green Magic. I grew it in 2015 for the first time. Heads averaged .75 pound and the petite plants produced generous side shoots.

Cabbage: Early Jersey Wakefield, Ruby Perfection

Asian greens: Win-Win choi, Minuet Chinese cabbage, both new,and tatsoi

Carrots: Yaya for summer eating, Bolero for root cellaring & winter eating, Deep Purple (new).

Celeriac: Brilliant and Large Smooth Prague

Chard: Bright Lights

Corn: Honey Select

Cucumbers: Salt&Pepper and Summer Dance

Garlic: Chesnok Red, German White, Music

Kale: Winterbor

Kohlrabi: Kolibri

Lettuce: Cimmaron, Two Star Loose Leaf, Pinetree mix, Carioca summer crisp (new)

Onions: Cabernet and Copra; Nabechan bunching onions (new)

Parsnips: Hollow Crown

Peas: Cascadia snap peas, Snowbird snow peas

Sweet Peppers: Carmen red bull’s horn, Escamillo (new orange bull’s horn, AAS), Intruder bell,

Hot Peppers: Highlander, very productive and only mildly hot.

Potatoes: Russian Banana fingerling, Yukon gold, Russet Burbank

Radish: Cherry Belle & Easter Egg salad radishes; Red Meat and Green Meat  specialty radishes

Spinach: Kookaburra (new). I’m trying a variety resistant to downey mildew, which afflicts some varieties in the community gardens.

Summer Squash: Striata d’Italia (new)

Winter Squash: Metro Butternut, Watham Butternut, Futsu Black, Tetsukabuto.

Sweet Potato: Korean Purple, Purple, and new to me varieties Allgold, Heartogold, Garnet & Crystal White. I’m looking to replace my Georgia Jets with a high yielding orange variety that doesn’t crack and fissure.

Tomatoes: Jasper, Sungold, Garden Gem (new), Garden Treasure (new)

Turnip: Hakurei (new)

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