Mary's Veggie Garden

January 25, 2016

Future Harvests

Filed under: Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 5:28 pm

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)

December 31, 2012

Garden Goals: 2013

Filed under: Gardening,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 5:00 pm

What are your goals in growing a vegetable garden? Feeding your family from spring to fall? Having tasty, super fresh produce available every day? Storing food for the winter? Feeding friends?

If you receive seed catalogs by mail, you may be tempted to curl up in a comfy chair with the stack of catalogs to plan an enormous garden. But is an enormous garden what you really want in mid-summer, when the weeds are overtaking the veggies and the kids complain they don’t like peppers?

My goal is to grow flavorful, organic vegetables for my family. I also want to supply our household vegetables during most of the year. This means I grow what we eat, growing small quantities and sometimes making two plantings several weeks apart. I plant from April through mid-August and harvest from mid-May through December. We eat from the garden, freezer or root cellar year round.

Although I greatly enjoy gardening, especially harvest, I also enjoy other activities so I don’t want my garden to consume my life. I look for varieties that are very productive and easy to grow. These requirements often translate to disease resistant .

I enjoy trying new things so I often try a new variety along with dependable old favorites. Trialing a new, disease resistant variety lets me evaluate taste, yield, and ease of growing. Maybe it won’t pass the taste test, but maybe I’ll discover a new favorite.

How do I translate these goals into a garden plan?  For  2013 I’m planning to garden at home and in my 20’x40′ plot in the community gardens. I’ll make small changes to the amounts I plant, add some new varieties and eliminate some old varieties.

In 2013 I’ll plant fewer tomatoes because we are still using tomatoes canned in 2011. I’m also planning to plant the tomatoes in a single row in a 3′ wide bed so I can reach all sides of every plant making them easier to harvest and maintain. I thought I could plant two rows in a 4′ wide bed in a full sun garden but that close spacing didn’t work so well when it came to harvesting cherry tomatoes from the center of the bed or when dealing with fungal diseases.

I may stop trying to grow melons. Some years I’ve had good cantaloupe crops but they all ripen in a short two-week period and I’ve never found a variety whose flavor we really like that also does well. I can use the freed up space to widen my paths, making the garden easier to negotiate.

For new varieties I’m trying Jasper, a new small red cherry tomato and a 2013 All America Selection. Jasper is resistant to late blight and several other fungal diseases and sounds delicious – though tiny. The catalog says it is chewy so I’m hoping the skin is not too tough. I’m thinking I’ll use Jasper like Sungold – fresh or oven roasted.

I’m also buying seed for a butternut squash resistant to powdery mildew. I hate to spray, even though I use an organic spray so a PM resistant variety will reduce that work and with healthy plants the yield should be higher. By the way, all butternuts are resistant to squash vine borers. For the curious – in 2012 I sprayed with a 10% milk in water solution.  It works OK but, as with any spray, you must treat  often to cover new growth. The squash plants totally fill an area 10’x10′ making it very difficult to get in for good spray coverage.

I’m also ordering pepper seed that is resistant to both bacterial spot (bad at the community gardens) and phytophthera, which may be the disease that killed all my plants at home. I have my fingers crossed that the varieties will also taste good.

The assortment of Asian greens available in the seed catalogs is getting bigger every year. This year I’m trying a Michili cabbage, which is described as very mild and tender – good for salads. Plus it stores a long time in the refrigerator, making it good for winter use. I’m also considering a couple of others – but must remember not to go overboard.

These changes should make my garden easier to maintain, and provide more variety for late spring and late fall harvests.

Now is the time to consider your gardening goals and make changes. With a well thought out plan you can plant with confidence come spring.

Did I meet my garden goals in 2012? I harvested 820 pounds of produce over the year. I still have lots of fresh (stored in the root cellar), frozen or canned vegetables so we are eating from the garden every day.  I may have too much stored.  I’ll see what is left in March and adjust what I plant if I have a lot left. The only vegetables we are buying are garlic, mushrooms and broccoli. I’m still working out the timing for a fall broccoli crop.

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