till have writer’s block. It seems more likely that a rant will come out if I speak/write these days, so best to keep some things to myself, gather my thoughts, and try to post something halfway useful to other folks. Not too much photography going on here lately either so I decided to go with last year’s garden pics, and this year’s seed list. Both fall in the dream category!
Moving along into spring we have been hearing the tree frogs daily, the ravens are setting now and only occasionally showing up for their egg breakfast, and we got the cover back on Greenhouse One so it can begin drying out enough for some serious planting. The other sign of spring is tomcat piss everywhere, if you don’t already know this, cats and plastic are not a good mix :p Instead of scratch and sniff, we have to sniff everything plastic before we pick it up. Nothing worse than being marked by a cat secondhand. PU!
Not too much new in this list, mostly my old standby pantry fillers with a newbie here and there thrown in for good measure. A lifetime of gardening and I still swoon over new (new to me) vegetable varieties. Sigh.
Tomatoes: Costoluto Genovese, Bellstar, New Girl, Pantano Romanesco, SunSugar, Jasper, & Japanese Black Trifele. Jasper is the only new one this year, and I have to say last year Pantano Romanesco surprised me. I bought the seeds on a whim, barely paid attention to the “highly productive” toutage and really didn’t pay much attention to it (it really, I only planted one) until it was time to start cooking those puppies down into sauce. They were big and many found their way onto hamburgers but one day when I was oven roasting tomatoes for sauce, I ran out of time and patience, which is often during high preserving season, and I decided to make them into soup instead. Best. Laziness. Ever. I love that soup, and the watery nature of those tomatoes was perfect, I roasted them with herbs, alliums and olive oil and that was it. One trip through the food mill, and on to the canner for processing. I’m in love. Oh and they were very productive, still pumping out green tomatoes when I ripped all the tomatoes out of the greenhouse. For all you folks who can grow tomatoes reliably outside, you have no idea what a really good tomato tastes like to us here in cool, maritime Cascadia. A greenhouse is worth it just for that alone in our climate, well and all that other stuff too.
Peppers: Numex Joe E. Parker, Padron, Flavorburst, Ace, & Red Ruffled Pimiento. Peppers are another marginal crop for me, without a greenhouse I would be eating green peppers all the time. When I was little I thought peppers only came in green, because that is all they can muster in the garden outside. I love green peppers, a favorite childhood snack, but ripe peppers, and hot peppers, oh my. We eat as many as we can stuff in during the season, and freeze the rest, with the exception of Padron. I let the last of those get ripe and made some farmstead hot chili sauce. A must have for eggs!
In the brassica department the list is way too long: Broccoli, romanesco, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, mustards, salad turnips, rutabagas and way too many salad and braising greens to list. Same with salad stuff, my lettuce seed box is embarrassing, as is the other salad greens we like along with lots and lots of chard. I am always ready for greens after a winter of roots and squash. But it’s nice to have a break both ways. My tastes fit the season pretty well, I don’t know what came first? The seasonal eating or the garden capabilities?
Other staple crops like onions are as follows: Stuttgarter, Dakota Tears (recommended by a reader) Red Long of Tropea, Walla Walla Sweet, Blau Gruener and Bandit Leeks, and some shallots a neighbor brought over the day they showed up to help us wrestle the greenhouse plastic. No name on that one – Larch Mountain Shallot I guess.
Root crops here are pretty much the same too from year to year. Purple Viking potato and new to us Nicola potato, Red Core Chantenay carrot, Napoli and Nelson carrots, Lutz and Detroit Dark Red beets, Brilliant celeriac, Turga and Harris Model parsnip and Joan rutabaga. Oh and mangels for the cow…which actually mostly went to the chickens this year.
Same with squash, not much variation from year to year. I save seed so that limits me a little on being a variety fanatic. As usual, Sweet Meat, Naked Seed pumpkin, Cocozelle and Raven zukes, and maybe this year, a yellow called Golden Glory. Other cucurbits are Marketmore, Lemon and National cukes, and Delicious PMR 51 melons.
Last but definitely not least, the corn and beans. I love canned green beans, I have no idea why, well actually I suspect it is because my gardening mentors served green beans with a dollop of Guernsey butter mixed up with a little bit of sugar. But that aside, I like green beans any which way, bacon, ham, onion, it’s all good. So I grow a purple bean for canning that my gardening mentors shared almost 30 years ago and Maxibel haricot verts for summer fresh eating. Between the two that keeps us in green beans.
I feel compelled to continue growing the Calais Flint just to keep it going here in my cool microclimate, and my sweet corn love affair is pretty much over. We eat it fresh, and I freeze some in jars for soup but that’s about it. I’m trying Spring TreatF1 this year, the past three springs have not been conducive for good corn-growing in my locale. In a normal year, at my elevation extra-early, 65 day corn takes 95 – 100 days to mature and that is in a normal year.
So that is the state of the garden planning here so far. I didn’t list flowers and herbs, but that all has its place too in the garden, but it’s getting to that time of the year that I need to be gardening and not blogging, he he.
Are you trying anything new this year in your garden?