Sunday, December 10, 2006

Seed Catalogs got me thinkin'...

about which summer veggies I'm going to grow in Summer of '07.

Tomatoes

Early Girl gave a steady supply of roughly 3-inch fruit with good, though not spectacular flavor. Costoluto Genovese (Thanks, Don) was my second-best producer, and was not only delicious, but beautifully ruffled. Black from Tula (Thanks Amy) had the most complex blend of flavors and a beautiful dark tint , but production slowed dramatically when summer heat kicked in. If I grow it again in '07, I will plant it in a more sheltered spot. Maybe I should rig up some shade cloth. And Sun Gold... what can I say except, "You had me at hello and you will always have a place in my garden."

As always, my desire to stick with what works is in direct conflict with my desire to try something new. Luckily, there's plenty of time to duke it out in my head. I do plan to try one of the heat-tolerant varieties, a paste tomato, and a few good slicers. And Sun Gold.


Squash

'Gold Rush' was hugely successful and delicious. Flavor, to me, was just like a yellow crookneck, but the straight neck shape made for easy slicing. I will definitely plant 'Gold Rush' again, but would like to broaden my squash horizons by trying something new. I think what I like about 'Gold Rush' is that it doesn't taste "squashy". Pumpkin pie makes me gag, and I've been too afraid to try many squash varieties. Never tried spaghetti squash because I know the odds of it tasting like spaghetti are very slim.

Peppers

Bell peppers were ok, but a bit bitter. I don't know that I want to grow bells in the coming summer. 'Fresno' chili pepper was just right for homemade salsa and it didn't seem to mind our sizzling summer temps. I wonder if there's a consensus out there on the best medium hot pepper for salsa. I'm willing to be swayed.

Basil

Genovese basil seems to be preferred for fresh use and pesto. Mmmmm.... pesto. Renee's Garden Seeds has a super fun basil selection, including a new container-friendly variety called 'Italian Cameo'.

In-ground versus Containerized

While containerized veggies and herbs did best early in the growing season, they started looking stressed just when the in-ground plants kicked into gear. If you can do both, do both, but in-ground is probably a better long term investment and requires much less watering vigilance. You want to be able to get outta town every now and then, don't you?

Ok, now back to the reality of December: rain, leaves, mucky soil, frosts, freezes, Christmas shopping and cleaning for company. Fa la la la laaaaa... la la la laaaaa.

2 comments:

  1. I have only grown bells for 3 years, but it seems to me that they are really fickle. They are really good if things are perfect, but they're firmly mediocre otherwise. Very frustrating!

    I love the genovese basil, too, but if you ever get the urge to try a purple one I really recommend the "opel" or "opal" (I've seen it both ways on packets) purple. I've tried "red rubin" and a few others, but the o-one is by far my favorite.

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  2. Don Shor10:17 AM

    Glad you liked Costoluto Genovese. It's been reliable for me through variable summers.
    This year a new one for me was Shady Lady, which was incredibly productive on a very compact 3' plant. Flavor was good, and it yielded early.
    An heirloom that was new to me this year was Giant Belgium. Late but productive, very large fruit, good flavor and texture. It was a little hard to tell when it was ripe, since it is a kind of dusky pink color, and the skin is very soft so it bruises easily.
    Brandywine was, as usual, a complete flop. 4 fruit total.
    After SunGold, Juliet was the best producer in the small-fruit class.

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