On April 1st, we planted tomatoes, peppers (bells and jalepenos), zuchinni, crookneck squash, carrots, red chard, lettuce, spinach, and assorted herbs. Here’s a rundown of what kicked booty and what didn’t, along with what I’m planting for fall harvest.
April 1st versus June 30th
The tomatoes were a mixed bag. The Sun Gold tomatoes kicked arse, as did the Sweet 100s. These things start early and keep on producing. They are candy. For a month and a half, we had enough to pick a huge batch every 3 days – enough to eat as many as we liked and give away the same portion size to 3 friends – every 3 days! The next favorite was the Caspian Pink. She got huge, and put out tons of fruit. There was a little trouble with sunburn, but a rearrangement of the sprawling foliage seemed to address that. The Cherokee purple was pretty much a disappointment. The tomatoes were nothing like the cherokee purples that I had up in Arcata — they never turned purple, they didn’t have that complex flavor, and the plant ended up getting some funk that made me tear it out. The Early Girl was a steady producer of nicely shaped fruit, but she’s no heirloom. The two beefsteaks were wimpy, not every reallly producing the volume of fruit that the Caspian Pink did, though it was good fruit. Next year I’m growing all my tomatoes from seed, including the Caspian Pink and Sun Gold from seeds I’ve saved. The rest of the seeds will be ordered from a reputable seed saving source so I am sure to have a good strain of the varietal.
Next up is the squash. The squirrels did me in and I never got around to building a cage around the plants to prevent the bandits – the garden looked too pretty without it. Now really, one zucchini plant should be more than enough for two people because zucchini are notoriously huge producers! Not so for us. Next year, more plants or less squirrels.
The herbs all did fine. Cilantro is a little hard to keep from bolting, so next year I will probably plant in succession and be aggressive with the shears. Basil started out in shade and didn’t grow, so I moved it to the sun and it’s been pumping out sweet leaves ever since. I love lemon thyme. The herb garden is really lovely and one of my favorite parts of the garden.
The chard was good and looked so pretty, but we really don’t eat much chard.
The carrots were awesome, though I should have succession planted and planted a lot more of them because now they are gone and I miss them. Also, thinning them seemed unthinkable, until I ended up with mutant baby carrots wrapped around eachother like conjoined twins. Thinning good. Must thin this fall’s batch.
The peppers were a great surprise. They did so well! After a couple of months of putting out flowers and not fruiting (“uh-oh”, I thought), all of the sudden some bee must have gotten busy because each the plants produced a good 1/2 dozen peppers. The funny thing is, the peppers that I grew have none of that uniform shape and size thing that we see at Safeway. They were twisty and turny and not uniform in their red ripeness. Some got big, some stayed small. It was so fun watching them turn from cute green little blobs to big red yummy pasta salad, stir fry, and BBQ eats. I planted about 6 bell peppers this year, next year I’ll do twice as many in succession planting.
Since I’ve planted it I have read that pepper plants like magnesium (you don’t know how hard it was for me to write out “magnesium” rather than type Mg), and that you can add Mg by sprinkling epsom salts. So that’s in the plan for next year. I seed saved a couple of the best ones too. So many seeds per plant!
The lettuce and spinach was totally inedible. I think it may have been too warm? They grew slowly and had awful bitter leaves.
The onions didn’t get very big. They are a nice size for skewering, but too much work for every day onion use. I’m not sure why they didn’t grow much…
The cantelope sucked. It kept putting out little flowers, and I think I even saw a couple little fuzzy melons, which I assume Bandit the Black Squirrel stole. I just yanked it out of the garden bed and it had the most pathetic shallow root I’ve ever seen.
The sweet peas are a food of the gods. I swear it (ok, right after peachs and nectarines). I think I planted six plants from starts. The little round balls in the snappy pods, the shiny green, the amazing sweet pop! Heaven.
||Garden Not So Successfuls
||Bitter Greens (spinach and lettuce)
||Canteloupe (no fruit)
|Peppers (Bell and Jalepeno)
||Squash (low production, rodent food)
|Sweet Peas (heaven!)
||Chard (we’re just not that into it)
|Carrots (love them!)
|Cilantro, Thyme, Basil, Rosemary, Oregeno