Review of 2012 vegetables

fall harvest

2012 VEGGIE LIST

Here is my review of what I will and won’t grow again from last year’s vegetables that I tried and why. I will put tomatoes in another list since there are so many of them!

WILL GROW AGAIN
ARUGULA
-Apollo-nice leaf size and flavor

BEANS
-Rattlesnake bean/pole-remarkably flavored pole bean-grows very tall-great for trellises or arbor
-Tarbais bean/pole-dry bean-after much work FINDING IT last year in the states, you can now get this wonderful bean from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds this year. I will make a french dish called cassoulet with it.
-Fava Bean/bush-wonderful flavor and 2 crops last year. A little work shelling it twice but worth it. Also is a good cover crop replenishing the soil with nitrogen.
-Golden Scarlet Runner/pole-I grow runners for their flowers/foliage-the foliage on this one is a striking chartreuse color against the scarlet flowers-simply beautiful

BEETS
– Craupadine-BEST tasting (but ugly) beet around
-Cylindra-long cylinder shape, great taste, easy cutting into slices

BOK CHOY
-Extra Dwarf Pak Choy-wonderful flavor-I like to cut one in half, saute it in olive oil, and add tamari when you flip it

CARROTS
-Atomic Red-great color and flavor
-Cosmic Purple-one of my favorites

CHARD
-Bright Lights-adds great color tucked into the garden and good flavor
-Argentata-thick juicy stalks with huge leaves-very cold tolerant
-Ruby Red-one of the prettiest and tasty chards out there

CUCUMBERS
-Parisian Pickling-used for making cornichon pickles
-Boothsby Blonde-used for making bread and butter pickles
-Poona Kheera-best flavor for eating
-Armenian– fun to grow, good flavor, few seeds

EGGPLANT
-Fairy Tale-sweet, no bitter taste and tender (not tough) skin

LETTUCES
–Provencal Mix, Mesclun Mix, Buttercrunch, Yugoslavian Red, Santoro Lettuce

PEAS
-Dwarf Sugar Gray-great in salads or steamed, grows about 3 ft tall

PEPPER–want to try some different varieties from Europe this year as well
-Shishito (Japanese non-hot pepper)-one of my favorites
-Poblanos-mildly hot (I call it warm), great for chile rellanos or scrambled eggs, wonderful smoky flavor

POTATOES–first year grower and I’m hooked!
-French Fingerling-OMG, the best flavor!
-Peruvian Purple-I loved the flavor of these as well

SPINACH
-Bloomsdale and Tyee

SUMMER SQUASH
ZUCCHINI
-Costata Romanesco-best tasting zuke around

SUNFLOWERS-technically a flower but they are veggies for the birds!
-will grow another huge patch of different varieties-beautiful and the birds love them
-Russian Mammoth AND Titan– for us/birds to eat
-Black Oil-for the birds only

TOMATILLO-Green-good for tomatillo salsa-only need one plant as they are so prolific.

WON’T GROW AGAIN
BEAN-Emerite bean/pole bean- great flavor but didn’t grow high enough to cover my teepee and I will grow others this year.

CARROTS
-Paris Market-too small, bland flavor, not impressed

CALABICITAS SQUASH
-seed from local grower-turns out it was a native winter squash, not calabacitas squash.

CORN-again not this year (I’ll get it from our Farmers Market)

FENNEL/FINOCCHIO
-Di Firenze-might grow one or two but not 25 plants like last year!

PEPPER
-Jalapeno-I don’t use them enough to call for space in the garden. I’ll just buy the few I use throughout the year.

POTATOES
-Russian Banana-too crunchy and watery

What have I been doing?

I’ve been busy in the garden! It is ALMOST  finished. I have 8 more tomatoes to plant tomorrow that I forgot to get that are some of my standards at the SF Farmer’s Market. OPPS! But they will be ready in time.

Two weekends ago I had 7 friends/family help with planting the majority of the tomatoes. A great big THANK YOU to all that helped-Elodie, Flynn, Ronnie, Lava, Tom, Sharon and myself! I couldn’t have done it without you! I also have a few more flower seeds to plant by the entry. Otherwise it’s done-FINITO! Yea right-there is always something to do in the garden! Here are some of the things happening in the garden:

The fava beans are looking good. Here they are flowering. I like the black and white flowers. I don’t think I’ve ever seen black and white flowers on a plant before. They had some aphids so I sprayed them with insecticidal soap and they are looking better. They have baby fava beans on them now.

The beets and carrots are coming along quite nicely. They are outside the pole bean tent area and will fill in nicely

Here are some beet greens I harvested while thinning out the beets to give them room to grow. They are yummy in a salad and are so beautiful.

In the shadiest part of the garden I planted some bok choi and lettuce and have had it covered with row cover since planting to help keep them from the heat and bugs. They both are looking great. I’ve never grown bok choi before so I’ll have to research when to harvest as they are getting to be pretty big and won’t like the heat for too long.

The fennel bulbs are getting bigger and are almost ready to harvest. Maybe another 2 weeks. They also won’t do well in the heat. I wonder if they will get as big as the ones in the grocery store..

About half of the tomatoes I previously planted are growing out of the top of the wall of waters and I need to take them off before it gets too difficult.

It’s been fun growing some early stuff. The bok choi, fava beans, fennel and lettuce are more cool season crops and will have to be harvested soon because of the heat. Probably all of them will be harvested BEFORE July.

I also have potatoes that are growing through the roof, strawberries that are being harvested and rhubarb that is ready to pick but will save that for other posts.

Time to plant your vegetable seeds outside in Santa Fe

Weather next 5 days from May 24

Look at the forecast! Finally summer is upon us! I can’t wait! Yesterday my soil temperature was 70° F in my main vegetable garden so I feel like it is safe to plant our warm season seeds now. I will plant squash, cucumbers, and bean seeds as soon as I can get them in now. Do cover them with some row cover to help keep the birds and 4 legged critters from eating your seedlings as they come up.

I also will transplant the peppers, eggplants and the rest of my tomatoes as well. I have too many  veggies still to plant so I have decided not to grow winter squash as it takes so much space in the garden. Besides I grow giant pumpkins, the biggest squash of all so I can just eat that in the fall! Hope I can find room for everything!

2011 Vegetable Lineup

I finished my vegetable list for my main garden. I will grow many heirloom tomatoes, Fairy eggplants, Shishito peppers, Costata Romanesco zucchini, Galeux d’ Eyesines and Red Warty Thing winter squash, Rattlesnake pole beans, and several different cucumbers and some greens. I will have to expand the garden one more time but not before the season starts but sometime this summer. This is so I can get my tomatoes on a 3 year rotation. I’m ok for this year but need a new section for them by next year. I hopefully will be at our Farmers Market this coming year again. We have to apply each year and they have a jury system to get in as it is so popular and has grown so much. Looking forward to a new growing season!

2011 TOMATOES
HEIRLOOMS
PLUM STYLE
(2) Goldsman Italian American-red-BH
(2) San Marzano-red plum/80 days/AFN
BI-COLOR
(4) Striped German-bicolor-SFGH
(2) Gold Medal-bicolor-75-80 days-BH
(1)Ananas Noir
BLACK OR PURPLE
(2) Paul Robeson-black/75-85 days-AFN
(2) Cherokee Purple/80 days-AFN
RED
(1) Pantano Romanesco-red/70-80 days-BH,TOMFEST
(2) Costoluto Genovese-red/78 daysTOMGROWERS
(2) Goldsman Italian American-red-BH
CHERRY TOMATOES
(2) Black Cherry-black/75 days-AFN
(1) Green Grape-green/
(1) yellow/62 days-TOT TOM
HYBRIDS-I grow a few hybrids
(2) Lemon Boy-AFN
(3) Park’s Beefy Boy-red-70 days-AFB

2011 VEGGIE LIST
BEANS-Rattlesnake (remarkably favored pole bean)
PEPPER-Shishito (Japanese non hot pepper)
SUMMER SQUASH-ZUCCHINI-Costata Romanesco (best tasting zuke around)
WINTER SQUASH-Galeux d’ Eyesines and Red Warty Thing (that’s what it’s called!)
EGGPLANT-Fairy (best sweet, no bitter taste and soft skin eggplant I’ve tasted)
CUCUMBERS-Parisian, De Bourbonne, Boothsby Blonde, Poona Kera, Armenian and Parade? I grow cukes for either taste or which variety is best for different types of pickles
CORN-not this year (I’ll get it from our Farmers Market)
LETTUCES-From COOK’S GARDEN-Provencal Mix, Mesclun Mix, Buttercrunch, Yugoslavian Red, Santoro Lettuce, and Little Gem
SPINACH-From COOK’S GARDEN-Bloomsdale
CARROTS-Purple Haze and Scarlet Nantes
ARUGULA-Apollo

2011 HERBS-Following is a list of herbs that will be planted or exist on the property
Basil-new
Lime Basil-new
Thai Basil-new
Oregano-exists
Thyme-exists
Lemon Thyme-exists
Chives-exists
Dill-usually self seeds
Marjoram-new
Mint-exists
Sage-exists
Lavender-exists

Veggie Tip-What to look at in seed catalogs

2011 Baker Heirloom Seeds Catalog

Why order from seed catalogs vs getting seeds or plants from the local nurseries? Variety. We have more choices to pick from. Now don’t get me wrong – I buy many of my vegetable plants from our local nurseries as well. I don’t start all mine from seeds but I like to grow some new varieties every year and many of those aren’t sold locally. Besides I really like going over the catalogs. What should we look at when ordering from our seed catalogs? Here is some information that catalogs give to help us make our decisions in choosing which variety to buy.

1. Quite often catalogs will list the particular needs of the variety-i.e. needs cool moist soil, tolerates heat, etc. This is important information to consider because of our cold springs, hot summers and what location we plant them at our houses.

2. They list whether it is a hybrid or heirloom variety. I like to grow mostly heirloom varieties so I look for this.

3. We get specific information on each variety-size, weight, color, flavor,  etc and often the history of where a particular seed came from. I especially find the history interesting. I like knowing where they originate from.

How many days to harvest-this tomato was 72 days

4. Probably the most important thing to consider with each variety is how many ‘days’. This means how many days to harvest. Here in Santa Fe, we have a short growing season. Our last frost is the average date we no longer experience freezing temperatures which is May 15th and the first average frost date is around Oct. 10. Last year was a really cold, windy spring with night time temperatures still at 27° on June 6th. We basically went from Winter to Summer. Every year offers new challenges for us weather wise and the weather has everything to do with how many days to harvest depending on when we can put the transplants or seeds in the soil.

 

So how many days to harvest? Some vegetables such as summer squash, cucumbers, lettuce, etc don’t take many days to harvest but some vegetables need a longer growing season such as winter squash, watermelon, and tomatoes so buy varieties that won’t go into October to ripen. Let’s take tomatoes for an example.  If we choose a tomato seed that says 72 days, we’ll probably get tomatoes but if we choose one that says 95 days to harvest, the odds are we won’t get any ripe ones before we get that first frost in fall. In Santa Fe, we should be looking to grow varieties that ripen in 60-80 days. Tomatoes come in early, mid and late season varieties so keep that in mind. Early season goes from 52-60 days, midseason goes from 60-75 days and late season goes from around 80-100 days. You certainly can try some late season varieties (I do) but pick more in the early-mid season range especially if you are only planting  a few. Also with tomatoes that ’80 days to harvest or 80 days’ means from transplanting plants outdoors not planting seeds outside. I’ve had people come up to me and complain they only have green tomatoes in October and when I ask what variety, it usually is one of the longer growing ones so pay attention to that day information in the catalogs because you can usually find some varieties with shorter days till harvest in every variety out there.

Veggies I will and won’t grow this year and why in 2011

Here is my veggie list from last year. I thought it important to go through it and tell you what I will and won’t grow again and why before I forget. Look at my SEED LIST PAGE next week (as it could always change) to see exactly what I am growing in 2011

TOMATO-HEIRLOOMS
San Marzano-red plum tomato-YES-I will try again even though ALL 4 died. I hear too many good things about this tomato

Striped German-bicolor tomato-YES-I WILL grow it again for my third straight year-One of my favorites even though it takes a little longer to develop

Black CherryYES– I will grow this for my third straight year-another favorite

Paul Robeson-black tomato-YES-A Farmers Market favorite although I prefer others.

Cherokee Purple-purple tomato-NO-I missed this one last year but it is wonderful. As good as Brandywine.

Cherokee ChocolateYES-Just as good as Cherokee purple but a little brownish color. I will choose between one of the Cherokees due to space.

Prudens Purple-purple tomato-NO-not as good as the Cherokees nor as prolific but planted it because it was suppose to ripen sooner-not true for me last year.

Black Krim-black tomato-NO I didn’t do this one last year but had it in the lineup because it is only 69 days to ripen. Never had good luck in previous years.

Pantano Romanesco-red classic tomato-YES-wonderful tomato from Italy

Great WhiteNO– novelty-lost both plants

Costoluto Genovese-red tomato-YES fantastic looking-fluted and great taste

Goldsman Italian American-large red plum-YES even though I lost 3 out of 4, and it took forever to ripen, it makes the BEST tasting tomato sauce I’ve ever made

Aunt Ruby’s German GreenNO-Novelty-lost 2 plants

Gold Medal-bicolor tomato-MAYBE-took longer to ripen than Striped German but great taste

TOMATOES-HYBRID-I grow a few hybrids
Lemon BoyMAYBE-didn’t get any in last year but it is a sweet terrific tomato

Park’s Beefy Boy-red tomato-70 days-YES-only 70 days and great taste

Sun Sugar-yellow cherry-NO-kinda like a lot of yellow cherry tomatoes but super sweet.Want to try something different.

Original Goliath-red tomato-NO– nice size, early ripener but can’t remember the flavor

TOMATO-COMPETITION (biggest)
Big Zac-red/80 days-YES-takes the longest to ripen but taste is great and chance to grow a huge one.

2010 VEGGIE LIST
BEANS-Rattlesnake-YES-great tasting pole bean over my arbor and Tavera-NO average tasting bush bean

PEPPER-Shishito-YES-I love these-not hot but full of flavor

SUMMER SQUASH-ZUCCHINI-Costata Romanesco –YES wonderful taste and Lungo Bianco-NO-it was good and more prolific than Romanesco but not as flavorful. Sticking to one kind this year.

SUMMER SQUASH-SCALLOPED-Yellow Custard and Bennings Green Tint-NO on both. I’m only growing Costata Romanesco

WINTER SQUASH-Marina di ChioggiaNO-powdery mildew problem and not many squashes and Galeux d’EyesinesYES-prolific-great taste-3rd yr.

EGGPLANT-Little Fairy-YES-prolific tender skin and great taste, third year in a row. Thai Yellow EggNO-took all season to develop and then froze at first frost. What a disappointment.

CUCUMBERS-Parisian, Boothsby Blonde, Poona Kera, and ParadeYES TO ALL-Third straight season

CORN-not sure if I’m growing. Might just pick it up at Farmers Market

LETTUCES-from COOK’S GARDEN-Provencal Mix, Mesclun Mix, Buttercrunch, Yugoslavian Red, Santoro Lettuce, and Little Gem-YES

SPINACH-from COOK’S GARDEN-Indian Summer and Double Choice-NO-will look for bigger leaf variety.Too puny.

CARROTS-from COOK’S GARDEN-Kaleidoscope (mix of red, purple, orange and yellow)-NO want only orange and purple ones this year.

BROCCOLI-Brocolli Romanesco-NOtakes too long to develop.

ARUGULA-ApolloYES

BOK CHOY-Extra Dwarf Pak Choy-YES

CHARD-5 Color SilverbeetYES TO ANY CHARD

PEAS-DWARF SUGAR, OREGON SPRING IIYES

2010 GIANT PUMPKINS
895 Grande (1016 Daletas x 1385 Jutras)-YES-grew the 2010 NM State Record Pumpkin-421 lbs + 3 other new ones

GIANT MARROW (like a giant Zucchini)
206.5 Wursten 09YESdidn’t grow last year but will this year

75.4 Wursten 09YESgrew the 2010 NM State Record-43 lbs

GIANT TOMATOES
7.18 N. Harp 09 (5.58 Timm x open) YESgrew a 2 lb 11 oz tomato in 2010

5.416 N. Harp 09 (5.58 Harp x openYES

Big Zac (from Totally Tomato)-YES

GIANT SUNFLOWERS
TitansYES

‘The Tomato Lady’ returns to Santa Fe Farmers Market

‘The tomato Lady’-first day sold out of Tomatoes

Yesterday I returned to our Farmers Market here in Santa Fe, NM as the ‘Tomato Lady’ and sold out of my tomatoes by 10 am.

It’s been a long wait all summer for my tomatoes to ripen and they have started but are not full blown yet. So I had some tomatoes but not a ton. In another couple of weeks, I should be overwhelmed with tomatoes. I also had Costata Romanesco  and Lungo Bianco zucchini, Bennings Green Tint and Yellow Custard scallop summer squash,  Fairytale eggplants, Shishito peppers, Padron peppers, Parade, Armenian cucumbers and Rattlesnake pole beans. For tomatoes I had Early Wonder, Pantano Romanesco, Goliath, Sun Sugar and Black Cherry and a few Costuluto Genovese. Hope I have lots more next week!