Friday, January 16, 2009

The 2008 Vegetable Garden ComPost

It's time to clean up the side bar and relegate most of the What's Growing Now to the What I Grew compost. Most of the vegetables were grown from seed, the exceptions are indicated by the plant source in parenthesis. I've added a few observations that I don't think made it into previous posts.

Black Cherry
Green Grape Cherry
Isis Candy Cherry
Ananas Noir
Andine Cornue
Grappoli d'Inverno (grown in 15 gallon pots)
Large Pink Bulgarian
Not Aunt Ruby's German Green
Olomovic - sucumbed to disease
Paul Robeson
Principe Borghese (grown in 15 gallon pots)

I'm not sure what the problem was, but the cherry tomatoes did not do well in 08. The plants and the fruit were small. I suspect it was poor soil nutrition. The soil that I had brought in for the vegetable garden was really lacking in nutrients, something I didn't figure out until I had planted most of the summer vegetables. I had to feed most of the vegetables with liquid based fertilizer and the cherry tomatoes just didn't seem to respond very well. All the tomatoes planted in the "ground" started off slowly, but most seemed to come around ok with the fertilizing, especially when the weather finally warmed up late in the summer.

Calliope (Upstarts)
Kermit (Upstarts)
Los Algorrobos

Calliope and Kermit were the first eggplant to be planted and did quite well. Los Algorrobos and Rosita went in later, grew like crazy, flowered, and set little to no fruit. I harvested 2 eggplant from Rosita and none from Los Algorrobos.

Aji Dulce #1 (Cross Country)
Aji Dulce #2 (Cross Country)
Aji Dulce #3 (Cross Country)
Aji Pineapple (Chilewoman)
Aleppo (Chilewoman)
Argentina (Chilewoman)
Belize Sweet (Chilewoman)
Ciliegia di Calabria
Czech Black
Datil Sweet (Cross Country)
Doux d'Espagne (Cross Country)
Elsita (Chilewoman)
Grenada Seasoning (Cross Country)
Moravian (Cross Country)
Pimento de Padron
Rocotillo (died very young!) (Cross Country)
St. Lucia Red (Cross Country)
St. Lucia Yellow (Cross Country)
Szentesi Semi-hot (Cross Country)
Thai (Upstarts)
Tobago Seasoning (Cross Country)
Venezuela Sweet (Chilewoman)

Plenty of problems with peppers this year, but most of that is well documented already and does not bear repeating. One problem that I didn't document, Elsita fasciated when it was very small, so I cut it down low, but it never grew into a healthy looking plant - basically a dud. What did well... Pimento de Padrons were great this year, once they started producing I was able to pick once or twice a week until late in the season. Aleppo is a wonderful cayenne type chile, not too hot and not too wimpy for my taste, and I managed to save a fair amount of seeds. The Thai chile overwintered from summer of 07 and looks like it may well stick around for 09. Ciliegia di Calabria produced nicely. Czech Black also grew and produced well, but other than it's color is a little ho hum. Aji Argentina turn out to be a very tasty, and perhaps a hardy chile, and I think I managed to save some viable seed. Doux d'Espagne, I had forgotten why I ordered this pepper, especially when it turned out to be a bell (I don't generally grow them), and it turned out to be quite delicious. The Piquillo plants were a bit runty, but they did produce a pretty good crop of very tasty peppers. Aji Pineapple, what a survivor, it's still hanging in there, nice spicy beautiful pale yellow chiles.

Garden Oasis
Painted Serpent

I grew the cucumbers on one structure and the Painted Serpents pretty much shaded out the Garden Oasis cukes. Both plants seemed to be little affected by powdery mildew. The Painted Serpents produced nicely until late in the season.
Da Fiore Toscana
Rugosa Friulana
Sicilia di Bianca

The zucchinis were my first clue that my soil was nutrient poor. Anyone who has grown them knows what weeds they can be, and mine just sat there and refused to grow much. Not necessarily a bad thing with zucchini, but I didn't plant them to just sit there and take up space. The Da Fiore Toscana and Rugosa Friulana were new for me this year, but I'm not going to pass judgement on their performance in 08.

African Blue
Aromat l
Profuma di Genova

All the basils did well. African Blue is a beautiful plant that can grow quite large and is a magnet for bees. It will occasionally overwinter in my garden, but not this year. It does not produce viable seed so I generally propagate a few plants to overwinter indoors.

Other Greens:
Aurora Orach Mix
Mixed Leafy Amaranths

I didn't get around to harvesting the orach until it was a bit too mature so I'm going to give it another try in 09. The colors are beautiful and what little I did try early on was very tasty and will be really pretty with the cutting lettuces. The orach seed heads were very pretty in flower arrangements.

Garlic: varieties harvested in 08
Czech Broadleaf
Georgian Crystal

All three varieties of garlic grew well and I planted some more of each this year.
Tarbais pole beans
Crimson Flowered Favas

The Tarbais beans were a complete and total failure, they rotted in the ground. Better luck, I hope, in 09. I planted the 08 crop of favas rather late and by the time the started to flower the weather was getting too warm and they set only a few pods. I saved every single pod for the seeds. For 09 I planted much earlier and am happy to say that every seed except one has germinated and is growing nicely (no seedcorn maggots on the crimson favas). I'm excited, the flowers on these favas are really beautiful!

Everything below was planted in 08 but is still in the garden.

Salad Greens:
Cutting Lettuce Mix
Olive Leaf Wild Arugula
Vit Corn Salad

The cutting lettuce mix is on it 3rd succession, one pot is starting to bolt so it will be cleaned out and replanted soon. The Arugula is finally recovered enough from bird predations that I can harvest it. I've been harvesting the corn salad leaf by leaf rather than whole rosettes, the leaves have been a nice addition to the cutting lettuces.

Cavolo Nero Kale
Evenstar American Rapini
Giant Nobel Spinach

Golden Chard
Olive Leaf Rapini
Penco Povoa Verde Cabbage
Piracicaba Broccoli
Romanesco Broccoli
Spigariello Foglia Liscia Broccoli

Plenty of remarks about most of the brassicas in previous posts. However, the olive leaf rapini seeds seem to be old, I had very poor germination so I'm going to get new seed.

Atitlan Snow Pea
Super Sugar Snap Pea

Atitlan was producing nice big tasty pods until the frost damaged them. The plants seem to be doing ok and I'm going to try cutting them down to force new growth for a spring crop. The birds munched most of the Sugar Snaps before they were 6 inches high. A few plants remain and I'm starting new plants in containers to add to the current planting.

Root Vegetables:
Chioggia Beet
Scarlet Nantes Carrot

Tonda di Parigi Carrot

The beets and Scarlet Nantes have been and still are producing very nicely. The Tonda di Pargi is an experimental planting in a pot. They are a small round carrot and are doing well, but one potful of plants will produce maybe 2 pickings. I have to plant a lot more to really make it worth while.


  1. It seems as though you did really well, overall. It's useful writing a blog because it makes you evaluate the year's produce - and reminds you of what you've forgotten! What are the red dried peppers on the string in your top left picture? They seem to be the Spanish peppers I've been looking for. I shouldn't need any more peppers because our order for six or so different varieties has just arrived! But ... maybe one more variety!

  2. Hi Chaiselongue, those chiles are spanish Piquillos. They're actually supposed to be roasting peppers, but I left them on the plants too long and they would have turned to mush if I had roasted them, so I dried them instead. They have a wonderful flavor either way.

  3. A very useful compost indeed--both for your own records and for those of us who'd like to try some of these varieties.

  4. Wow, you are great at keeping track of what did well and not! I am very curious about the "painted serpents" so will look for more info in your archives. I have not had a lot of luck with growing rapini, it tends to bolt really quickly and/or succumb to aphids. Too bad, it's hard to find at groceries and I really love cooking with it!

  5. Seems you had great veggies in 2008. I always find it difficult to maintain veggies. I tried chillies and it was infested by aphids and after spraying it with organic and inorganic pesticides, I did harvest the chillies but the plants looked pathetic, so I pulled them out. Now my sis got me a handful of veggies seeds (but I asked for flowers to her) and am wary about planting them.

  6. That's a great record and most plants did well for you. We too need to enrich our soil, although it's not too bad as it is, and most of our poor cropping last year was due to not arriving in the country until June! I'm amazed at how you, and everyone else except me, keeps track of the varieties - it's something I never think to write down. I will try.

  7. Susan, oh yeah, other people's gardens are great places to find new things to grow!

    Karen, I think there's plenty that I've forgotten already, but blogging is really helping me to keep much better track of what's happened in the garden. Rapini tends to bolt pretty quickly for me too. Usually, when I see it starting to go I start some more plants, but I've given up trying to grow it in summer.

    Chandramouli, I had HUGE problems with aphids on my chiles this year. It won't stop me from growing a bunch more this year.

    Jan and Steve, I'll let you in on one of my record keeping tricks. Since I order most of my plants and seeds online I save the confirmation email that lists what I ordered. When I can't remember I go back and check the orders. I'm also very good about making up a label with the planting date and variety name which goes into the ground next to the plants.

  8. Wow I'm so impressed especially over your Chilies/Peppers. Then we have your fantastic collection of you let then bloom and give your seeds?
    Very interesting post Michelle, thank you for charing.

    xoxo Tyra

  9. Thanks Tyra, I do go a bit overboard with chiles! Brassicas make up the bulk of my winter garden so I like to have variety. I have saved some brassica seeds in the past, but it's a challenging family for seed saving so I don't generally make the effort.


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