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’m trying a new variety of zucchini this year called Rugosa Friulana. It is a yellow, warty zucchini. It is growing 5′ away from my favorite green zucchini, Costata Romanesco. Both are Italian varieties. I thought I’d grow both and compare them.
I covered both plants with row cover after planting by seeds in late May. Male blossoms always appear first with squash, and then the female blossoms (with their little fruit attached at the base of the flower) appear. After the female flowers appear, I uncovered them both so the bees could get in to pollinate them. By keeping them covered early on, I avoided the Squash Viner Borer which appears earlier in the season and is gone by the time the female blossoms appears.
-The Costata Romanesco attracts squash bugs and I pick the adults and eggs off of the plant.
The Rugosa Friulana DOESN’T ATTRACT SQUASH BUGS! That fact alone will make me grow it again. It’s only 5′ away Costata Romanesco, so you’d think it would attract the squash bug but it doesn’t. How thrilling is that!
-The Costata Romanesco started producing zucchini 2 weeks ago-mid-July
-The Rugosa Friulana just produced the first fruits now-Aug 7. Not that much difference.
Now comes the taste test. I sliced both and sauteed them in olive oil with only garlic salt.
The Rugosa Friulana has denser flesh when you cut into it (I like that) and has a slightly different flavor (hard to describe but kinda nutty too). When you cut it into discs, it also has ruffly sides from the warts. I like it just as well.
So if you only want to grow one zucchini plant, you might consider Rugosa Friulana– very flavorful and squash bug resistant.
Both are really good but just knowing Rugosa Friulana won’t attract squash bugs makes me want to grow it again. What a pleasant surprise!
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
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
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
Still catching up on what’s up in the garden. I planted a new bean called Climbing pole French Bean – Meraviglia Venezia that I bought from Franchi Seeds. It’s a Romano type of bean only yellow in color. I wonder what it will taste like. I also planted Emerite french filet pole bean from John Scheepers Vegetable seeds and a Chartreuse leaf colored scarlet runner pole bean which I grow for looks as the bright yellow-green leaves look fantastic against other greens.
Detroit Red beets, Craupadine beets and Atomic Red carrot seeds were planted directly in the garden. I put row cover over all of them to keep the birds from eating the bean seeds and to keep moisture in the ground for the beets and carrots. If you’ve had trouble with birds eating germinating seeds, put row cover over them till they get about 3 inches tall. The Detroit beets and carrots are coming up nicely but the Craupadine beets are not. They are so hard for me to germinate compared to other beet seeds-still I try as I love the flavor of them.
Cucumber seeds planted in 2″ pots in the greenhouse at end of May, have germinated and will go into the garden today-June 15. The varieties are: Poona Kheera cucumbers (best tasting slicing cuke ever-never get bitter), Parisian cucumbers (I will make Cornichon pickles out of them), Boothby Blonde cucumber seeds will become Bread and Butter pickles and National Pickling cucumber seeds which will become dill pickles. Can’t wait to make pickles!
Last year and every year before, I planted cucumber seeds directly in the ground but roly polys ate my cucumber seeds as they germinated last year in the soil. Roly polys, sow bugs, pill bugs, potato bugs are sort of interchangeable names for Armadillidiidae. They are actually good composters of horse manure so they are great in a compost pile but can damage small seedlings as they germinate in your garden when you plant seeds. Last year, I thought it was a cut worm eating all my seedlings, but found the roly polys instead to be the culprits. I had to plant 3x before I could get enough up and only after I sprayed them with Neem did I have success. This year I pre-started them in the greenhouse in 2″ pots to get them a little bigger. I find when seedlings are bigger, the roly polys don’s bother them anymore. They only like the young tender seedlings as they emerge. If they do eat some of my other seedlings that are direct seed planted, they will be toast as I will spray Neem Oil on the roly polys on the soil where they live to get rid of them.
The winter squash varieties I’ve planted are Rugosa Violina Butternut and Waltham Butternut. I grow Butternut squash because it doesn’t attract squash bugs! It’s the winter squash to grow if they are a problem.
I’m also growing ‘Tahume’ Calabacitas squash which is really a winter squash picked very immature-we eat it like summer squash out here in Santa Fe especially in the dish called Calabacitas, which is a mixture of sauteed onions, corn, Hatch green chili and calabacitas squash. I got this from Botanical Gardens seed company. Very yummy!
Summer squash varieties I started are Costata Romanesco zucchini (best flavor ever) and ‘Bennings Green Tint’ patty pan. If I hadn’t had such trouble with the rolly polys last year I would just plant the seeds in the ground and you should too if they are not a problem for you. The soil has warmed up nicely—over 70°F which is perfect for squash seed germination.
Should be done with all veggies planted this week. So if you think you are behind in the garden this year, don’t worry, you’re not alone!
At this time of year if you’re a vegetable gardener, you’ve experienced it—zucchini runaways. One day you go out and see this cute little zuke and think I’ll give it one more day and the next day you go out and it grew into a baseball bat. It’s like overnight it got on some steroids and went ballistic. Now it’s too big so what do we do with them besides hide them under the bed in case an intruder comes in? Well you could use them as door stops or take them to the fair but here are 4 ideas to eat them!
Savory Zucchini Pancakes
Take 2 cups of grated zucchini, add two beaten eggs, 2 tablespoons of flour, and 2 teaspoons of some fresh herb you have and 1 cup feta or mozzarella or cheddar or whatever cheese you have (please, no Velveeeeeta). If you want more, then just up the ingredients like 3 cups zucchini, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons flour, etc. Just don’t up the herb, keep it at 2 tsp so not to overwhelm the flavor of the zucchini (what? zucchini has flavor? Yes, at least two varieties do – Costata Romanesco and Benning’s Green Tint (not a zucchini but a delicious summer squash). All the others, in my opinion, are worthy of either the compost pile or the chicken coop or both) Then saute them in olive oil until brown on both sides. This is my favorite way to cook super-sized zucchini.
Garlicky Zucchini Medallions
Slice them into medallions and saute them in olive oil with some crushed garlic cloves until tender in a BIG fry pan. Sprinkle lightly some red pepper flakes and add fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top and cook a few minutes more till melted. This is also great with a little left over spaghetti sauce drizzled over them. (Can you really drizzle spaghetti sauce. No—but you get the idea-don’t drown them.)
Zuchinni Soufflini (This one comes from my mom-thanks mom!)
1 1/2 lbs zucchini
1 large onion, chopped
3 TLB butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs
2 TLB butter
Cook squash whole for about 5 minutes in boiling water. Cool. Dice into cubes. Saute’ onion in 3 TLB butter and add to zucchini. Stir in cheese and seasonings and allow mixture to cool before adding beaten eggs. Spoon into buttered 1 quart casserole. Toss bread crumbs with 2 TLB melted butter and sprinkle over casserole. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350°F about 30 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Serves 4-6 people.
Of course there is always the infamous zucchini bread but how about chocolate zucchini bread? I got this recipe from a friend many moons ago and it is excellent. Your kids, friends, spouse or partner will never know they are eating something healthy!
Chocolate Zucchini Bread
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 ¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter
½ c vegetable oil
2 eggs, large
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
2 cup unpeeled zucchini, grated
6 oz choc chips
¾ c chopped walnuts
-Preheat oven 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 13” x 9” x 2” baking pan
-Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt into large bowl.
-Beat sugar, butter and oil in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract. Mix in dry ingredients, alternate w/ buttermilk in 3 additions each, fold in zucchini. Mix in choc. chips + nuts. Pour into the baking pan. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean in about 50 min. Cool completely in pan.
So the next time you get a runaway, don’t despair, now you have some ideas on how to use them besides hiding them under your bed!