Here are some pics of my garden this year. Now that we are in September, I wanted to capture it in all it’s glory before it’s gone. I’ve worked hard tweaking out the infrastructure with new framed beds and weed barriers and wood chips in the paths this year. Having retired from the Santa Fe Farmers Market two seasons ago has allowed me to do more in the garden. I also added some perennial fruit like raspberries and blackberries since I don’t need space for 125 tomato plants anymore! By mid-October or sooner, it will be toast with the first frost so might as well enjoy it while I have it. I have an abundance of flowers this year that I grew for my edible flower class and besides being beautiful and edible, they attract many beneficial insects and pollinators. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
I’ve got a lot of questions from people about an orange and black bug attacking their food crops. It’s called a Harlequin bug and it is a bad one for our vegetable gardens. You need to hand-pick them off right away as they can decimate your vegetable garden. They particularly like crops like cabbage, broccoli and mustard but will attack squash, beans, corn, asparagus, or tomatoes. I pick them off and put in a bucket of soapy water just like for squash bugs. Funny But I don’t remember them in years past but they are here now. Some people are reporting picking off hundreds of them! So don’t wait, get on it NOW.
Read more at Gardening Know How: What Are Harlequin Bugs: How To Get Rid Of Harlequin Bugs https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/get-rid-of-harlequin-bugs.htm
I started using ‘Deep Root trainers’ last year for my fava beans and other bean crops that need deep cells or for plants that don’t want the roots disturbed when planting. The cool thing about them is that the cells are 5 inches deep and shaped like a clamshell, with two sides that open up like a book. There are 8 sections total that fit snugly in a tray to hold them upright that comes with the kit. They are great as they have grooves that keep the roots growing straight instead of circling in the cell and strangling the plant. They also air prune when they hit the bottom of the cell. No need to transplant into another pot, just plant them out in the garden. You just put seed starting soil in each cell, pat it down and put the seeds in. The only drawback is the plastic clamshells are very fragile and must be handled super carefully to keep from cracking but knowing that, I am careful and have them for three years so far. You can get them through Amazon. Get the 5″ deep ones, NOT the 3″ ones.
Pictured above are fava beans in their cells, 6 are already planted in the ground. Just carefully open the clamshell and slide them out into your hole in the ground with no root disturbance for those sensitive plants that hate to be transplanted.
I also used root trainers with a hard to germinate french variety of beet called ‘Craupadine’. It is probably the oldest beet in existence. I have not had much luck with germination when planting these seeds directly in the ground so I decided to try them in the rootrrainers this year and have much better germination although still spotty. I thought being a root vegetable, they probably would not like to have that main root disturbed. I think they will do well. I won’t wait till the plants are too big. I am planting them outside after the first true leaves (cotyledon leaves) come out. So far 27 have germinated which is more than I have ever grown at one time. They are ready for transplant above. I am so excited as these are the sweetest beets I’ve ever eaten. The french farmer markets cook them over a smokey fire in foil and serve them still warm.
Last season I planted a new dry pole bean called Borlotto (also called Borlotti). They are an Italian heirloom variety. The variety was Lamon which is supposed to be the best for flavor. It got around 6 feet high and I grew it in the garden on one of the 3′ high perimeter fences. As it got taller, I added bamboo stakes to let it continue upwards. They are a very beautiful bean on the vine when growing. I planted around 12 plants, 6 inches apart right at each drip emitter. You can shell the bean fresh but I just left them to dry on the vine. I got my seeds from Seeds of Italy.
I particularly like dry beans. I picked them after they dried on the vine which is towards the end of the season but before the first freeze. I find dry beans are so easy to grow, needing nothing except water and a vertical support of some kind and then harvesting at the end. They are very different then fresh beans which you must pick daily. There is also a bush variety of these beans but they are not Lamon.
I left them in their shells in a basket until last week when I took the beans out. I find it fun to shell them on a cold winter night. The beans are very beautiful being cream color with maroon stripes. I got 3 cups of the precious bean. Good for 1 meal. I will save some to replant too. This year I will definitely plant more.
I like that I can make a hearty soup or stew from them and eat them in the winter. Here is a recipe from Italian Food Forever for a traditional Tuscan bean soup using Borlotto beans. When cooking the beans before hand, you must cook for a long time here in Santa Fe due to our high altitude at 7000 feet as you want them soft and creamy. I just cooked mine in a crock pot all day and it worked well. You can also leave out the pancetta for a vegetarian style soup. There are many recipes for Borlotto bean soup out there that all sound wonderful! Can’t wait to try them.
Here are my favorite vegetables that I grew for 2017. Mind you I’m super picky and I’m sure there are many other varieties out there waiting to be tried that are great. That’s what keeps it interesting for me. Also I give you where I bought the seeds or transplants. You may be able to buy these elsewhere but this is where I purchased them from.
2017 Tomato Winners
***ALL-TIME FAVORITE TOMATO
Lucky Cross: MY FAVORITE TOMATO-Bigger tomato. Starts yellow then turns more pinkish yellow on the outside with red marbling inside. Sweet and luscious with few cracks. Ripens later in the season but before the end of the season. Part Brandywine and tastes like them. DELICIOUS! Not to be confused with Little Lucky tomato. Seeds from Victory Seeds
Goliath: A very abundant and nice size red tomato. No cracks and old-fashioned tomato flavor-excellent. Seeds from Totally Tomato seeds
Costoluto Genevese: Beautiful fluted tomato with old-fashioned tomato flavor from Italy. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Marmande Garnier Rouge: A medium to large dark-red slightly fluted tomato from France-excellent old-fashion tomato flavor. Seeds from Secret Seeds Cartel
Big Zac: Huge, red sweet tomato-takes all season to ripen but still one of my favorites-worth the wait. Transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
Goldman’s Italian American: My favorite for a sauce tomato-Unique, beautiful and large tomatoes have a pear shape, being ribbed and pleated. These have an intense red color and fantastic flavor when ripe. Thick, red flesh is perfect for delicious tomato sauces. Ripens towards end of season. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
NEW! Stump of the World: Big pink tomato with sweet flavor. Good at high altitudes. Seeds from Tomato Growers
Black and Brown Boar: Brownish-red tomato with green stripes-good, sweet, earthy flavor. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms
NEW! Summer of Love: Large and very meaty red/yellow bi-color beefsteak with purple anthocyanin splashes on the sun-kissed fruit-wonderful flavor. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms
NEW! Lover’s Lunch: A very beautiful and tasty striped red/yellow with bi-colored flesh. This large, meaty, fruity and sweet tomato has stand-out flavor. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms
NEW! Lucid Gem: First they ripen yellow, than more of an orange when very ripe. Very attractive with black purple anthocynin splashes on shoulder that contrast with the yellow skin. Flavor is very good- Sweet with fruity tones. Very meaty, very few Seeds – One of the best varieties for heat tolerance. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms
NEW! Solar Flare-XL: Bigger than the regular Solar Flare-very sweet red with faint yellow stripes. Seeds from Wild Boars Farms
Black Cherry: One of my favorites that I grow EVERY year. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
Sungold: One of my few hybrids-Always a favorite-super sweet yellow cherry tomato. Transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
2017 vegetable winners
Wasabi arugula: This arugula gives the same nose-tingling sensation as the wasabi condiment used in Japanese dishes. This variety is very quick to bolt but delicious. Grow in early spring before heat. Seeds from Johnny’s Seeds or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
NEW! Borlotti ‘Lamon’ beans: Climbing beautiful cream, red splashed shell on outside with beans being a pale pink with red splotches inside if you let them dry. I like to harvest them when dry. According to the Venetians, Lamon’s are “THE” bean for ‘pasta fagiolo’. Seeds from Seeds of Italy
Émérite Filet Pole Bean: Émérite is a true Filet Bean from France, produced on graceful vines growing to 8′ tall. When picked early and often, the beans are tender and have outstanding flavor. Seeds from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
Craupadine: I’ve tried this one before-poor germination every year except for one year and the one year it did germinate, it tasted FANTASTIC-sweetish beet I’ve ever eaten. Will try to start seeds inside this year to see if I get better germination. Would really like to get this one again. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Violetta bok choy: A beautiful green with purple tipped leaves and tastes great sautéed. Transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
Kalibos Red cabbage: This Eastern European heirloom cabbage has a pointed shape and intense red/purple leaves. Beautiful and sweet flavor. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange
Argentata chard: Has green leaf with big white stalks that when cooked, melt in your mouth. Plus it is the most cold tolerant variety in my garden outlasting many other varieties of chard. Seeds from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
Poona Kheera: My all-time favorite eating cucumber. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Fairy Tale: my favorite-never bitter or tough skin. No need to peel this small eggplant. I just cut them in half and saute or BBQ them. Transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
Florence Fennel: A bulb type fennel from Italy. Wonderful mild anise taste to add to Chippino or Boulabaise. I chop it and freeze it for use later. Seeds from Seeds of Italy or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
Jimmy Nardello: Super sweet, red pepper-good for sauteing or cook on BBQ. It is thin-walled. Good cooked or raw. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
Waltham Butternut: I grew it because I had heard it doesn’t get squash bugs and that was true for me-good flavor too. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
Rogosa Violina “Gioia” Butternut: An Italian version of Butternut. Grew much larger with excellent flavor and no squash bugs-YAY! Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Costata Romanesco zucchini: This is the most flavorful zucchini I’ve ever tasted-sweet nutty flavor. Seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
Moon and Stars: This has a beautiful dark green skin with yellow ‘stars’. Taste is super sweet and it ripened before the end of the season. Seeds from Seed Savers Exchange or transplants from Agua Fria Nursery here in Santa Fe
Borlotti beans: The pod of this Italian shelling bean is so beautiful and once I picked them, let them dried and shelled them the actual beans are pinkish/cream-colored with red splashes-more beauty. The variety was ‘Lamon’ which is a vining type. Can’t wait to try them in a pasta e fagioli soup this winter.
Kalibos Red cabbage: A friend gave me some plants to try. This Eastern European heirloom cabbage has a pointed shape and intense red/purple leaves. They turned out beautiful and I gave my friend the biggest one as I’m not a big cabbage fan and she makes great fermented foods-like Sauerkraut or Kim-chi.
Butternut Rugosa (wrinkled butternut): This variety from Italy is larger than the American Butternut variety. I only got one as powdery mildew eventually took over the plant but can’t wait to eat this. Much more interesting than the regular butternut variety. This one hadn’t turned butternut brown yet.
Chartreuse Scarlet Runner bean: I grow runner beans for their beautiful flowers although I know we can eat them too. I like this variety because of its chartreuse coloring of the leaves and the scarlet flowers. I love the contrast between the yellow-green foliage and surrounding other greens in the garden (in this case it is next to the strawberry plants.)
Artichokes: I wrote about this in an earlier post but definitely worth mentioning again. Wonderful good size chokes with great flavor on a beautiful plant. In fact I like the plant as much as the artichokes. Wonderful showstopper in the garden. Another one I didn’t think would harvest in time but they did. See previous post here.
Here are my favorite vegetables going into the 2017 growing season. I may not have room for all these in the gardening but these are my favorites as of right now
VEGETABLES FOR THE TABLE-TOMATO LADY’S FAVORITES
Goldman’s Italian American-85D
Any cherry tomato
Artisan Blush Tiger
EARLY TOMATOES-52-65 days
Bella Rosa*-very firm even when ripe
Pink Berkeley Tie Dye
Black and Brown Boar
LATE-SEASON-80 days +
Purple Cherokee-purple tomato
Paul Robeson-dark tomato
Indigo Apple or Indigo Rose
*denotes hybrid tomato
Romano-Italian pole or bush
Tarbais-dry pole bean for French cassoulet
Chiogga-beautiful red with white stripes inside
Scarlet Nantes-orange sweet
Chantenay Red-orange very sweet
Ruby Red-gorgeous red/good flavor
Argentata-white stem-favorite in Italy-very cold hardy
Poona Kheera-best tasting ever
Lemon cucumber-never bitter
Boothsby Blonde-Bread and Butter pickles
Russian Pickling-Dill pickles
Mini Whites-sweet pickles
Rosa Bianca-big eggplant for Eggplant Parmesan
Fairytale-small, sauté or BBQ
Jimmy Nardello-red thin skin pepper for sautéing-SWEET
Shishito-Japanese small green pepper-saute-serve for tapas-NOT HOT
Poblano-use for chile relleno/MILDLY HOT
Butternut-will not attract squash bugs
Galeux D’ Eyesines
Costata Romanesco-zucchini-Favorite of Deborah Madison also
Bennings Green Tint-patty pan