Review of 2012 vegetables

fall harvest


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!

-Apollo-nice leaf size and flavor

-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

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

-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

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

-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

-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

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

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

-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

-Bloomsdale and Tyee

-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.

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

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

-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)

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

-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.

-Russian Banana-too crunchy and watery

Growing Bulb Fennel (Finocchio)

Finocchio fennel. Photo courtesy of

More on another new vegetable I’m trying this year-Finocchio Fennel.

There are several types of fennel, the bulb type (which is Italian called Finocchio or Florence), sweet fennel (fern like) and bronze fennel (fern like). All can be used as an herb but sweet and bronze are used for their foliage in cooking and Finocchio or Florence is used for the bulb in cooking. Sweet or bronze fennel will not bulb up. I used Finocchio in a Cioppino (seafood stew) at New Year’s and it was so wonderful that I decided to grow some. This post is about Finocchio Fennel.

I tried to grow some inside from seed- it didn’t do very well only getting a few to germinate so I ended up I buying a little pack at Agua Fria nursery here in Santa Fe.

Fennel growing well-May 7

Now from from what I’ve read they are not suppose to transplant well in the soil but I had so many of them in each little cell (and they were very young) that I teased the roots apart (carefully) and transplanted them directly into the soil.  I then put a drip on each one, made a little well that I put straw in so the water would not evaporate and then I put a cage I made out of wire material and covered it with some row cover. I was afraid the row cover might be too heavy directly on the baby fennels at first as they were very delicate-hence the cage. I thought the row cover would add more protection from the wind. Fennel can handle the cold (in fact it likes it) but the wind was what I was worried about.

closeup of developing bulbs

Here is a picture of the one of them developing bulbs. All 17 of them are doing really well.