Saturday, November 4, 2017

Reflecting back on the 2017 edible garden

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Now is the time to reflect back on the last edible garden season to capture what went well and what did not.  What you planted too much of and what you didn't plant enough of.  Make sure to include the names of varieties that did well and those that didn't so you have them for future reference.   

Here are my reflections on this year's garden............

In general, the garden did pretty good.  There were high points and not so great turn outs for the season.  Just your typical edible garden season!  

The good
The chard, green beans, okra, cultivated dandelions, cilantro, sage, rosemary, lettuce, corn salad, sorrel, tarragon, garlic, onions, basil, rosemary, sage, tarragon, zucchini did fabulous!

The okay
Tomatoes did okay.  Many in the area had a terrible year with plants dying in July.  I did have a couple that died.  Then had some that did okay and a few that did very well.  I am still getting 1-2 quarts a week to put up in the freezer.  The eggplants did pretty well.  Turkish Orange did great in the beginning and then the Casper and purple eggplants kicked in when the Turkish Orange wound down.

My chard had something come eat it in September, but then recovered and is doing great again.  

For some reason my chives did not expand much.

The bad
So my mustard, sprouting broccoli and brussels sprouts all get attacked by pests this year.  They are all in the same family.  I said I wasn't going to grow any this year to break the cycle, but had some volunteers that I didn't have the heart to yank out.  Next year, I will be strong and wait until fall to get them going after the pests have moved on.

I didn't have the best luck in getting my fall lettuce and spinach sprouted this fall for winter harvesting.

I tried some new tomato varieties and also planted my standbys.  The new varieties did not pan out the best.  The standbys did well so no new varieties to add to the "favorites" list.
-Lucid Gem had fun colored fruits but the vine wasn't sturdy enough to hold the fruit and I didn't get a lot of them either.  Will not do these again next year.
-Cherokee Purple did well.  Nice slicers.  Will keep in the garden next year.
-Italian Red Pear an heirloom paste had a health vine, but ripened late and took a long time.  I planted it in more shade than last year, so will plant in full sun next year and 2 plants instead of just 1.  Adding these to sauce makes a smooth, creamy sauce.
-Principe Borghese did not do well.  Will not plant next year.
-I tried the Chocolate Pear again this year and the vine died back early.  I don't think I will try it again.
-Small and medium yellow storage tomatoes from Sicily.  The small ones did fine.  The medium just never ripened.  They were fun to try but I think I won't plant again next year.
Black Vernissage-did not do great.  Will not plant next year.
-Patio Princess for the pot did very well.  I will do it again next season.
-Rosella did great.  They are the size of marbles.  I don't think I will grow again because of the small size.
Next season what I'd like to add to the garden is more meaty medium size chocolate tomato.  Typically, smaller tomatoes get started sooner than the large tomatoes.  Be nice to have some meaty tomatoes to add in to early tomatoes to see if they give the same creamy texture as the Italian Red Pear paste tomato.
Tomatoes 101, everything you need to know to grow great tomatoes

Summer Squash
The squash did well early in the season, then the zucchini died from disease.  The yellow prolific summer squash kept producing into the beginning of this month.  I liked both varieties I tried this year and will do those again next year-Early Prolific Straightneck and Cocozelle.  It is recommended you either wait until the second week of June to plant your squash or do a second round of planting in July to have healthy plants for the entire summer.  I thought I had started another zucchini but it ended up a cucumber.  Will definitely plant both varieties next year and do a second crop mid summer to keep the harvest going.
Everything you need to know to grow squash

I had several eggplants going this year.  The Turkish Orange did not do as well as in years past.  The flea beetles loved it.  The white and purple both did well.  The white varieties have the least bitterness, but are very hard to grow from seed.  I think I will bring the white one inside for the winter instead of trying to get a new plant started from seed next year.  Will definitely do Casper and try a pink along with the standby hardy purple.
Eggplant-add this native from India to your garden

I have been able to freeze about a pint of sliced peppers every week.  I had 6 sweet pepper plants.  I had planted a few seeds from sweet banana peppers I bought at the store that I grew out last year.  They didn't look anything at all like a banana pepper, but they tasted great and did extremely well.  There are three that I  saved seeds for next year's garden (a yellow, a red, and a maroon).

I also grew from seed the red hot pepper from Sicily-Bocca Rossa.  It did very well.  It is always covered in peppers.  The Pablano pepper plants have done okay.  I grow those to make chili powder.
I have a small hot pepper plant that is ages old, Chiltepin.  It took 3 tries, but I was finally able to get it to grow.  I have them in a pot that I will bring in to overwinter again.  I like putting small hot peppers in my seasoned salt and wanted to grow my own.  They are covered with the tiny hot tots!  

The spicy ones I will grow again next year are the Pablanos and Chiltepin.  And definitely the sweet peppers from last year's seeds.  They did great and were very tasty and prolific.
Peppers are for every taste and garden

The cucumber vines did okay.  The first set of cukes had 50% die back.  The one left produced for a couple of months.  I started another in the garden and it is still producing, but not a lot.  The plant looks healthy.  The cukes I get from this plant have a shelf life of 2 months or longer just sitting on the counter.  It is amazing.  They will also get huge.  This heirloom (Jaune Dickfleischige) produces yellowish orange skinned fruits.  I'll plant this one, a white one, and a green variety again next year.
Cucumber info and tips for growing
View between the pole beans in the edible garden

Beans and peas
The pole green beans did great this year, but have died back in the last couple of weeks.  I planted purple and green Romano types.  The beans and flowers were very pretty.  The green Romano were stringless and the purple Romano type had a small string that was easy to remove before freezing.  I will definitely keep these (Romano and the purple Blauhilde) in my garden next year.  Also interplanted with Scarlett Runner beans, too, for their beautiful flowers.  These are edible as well either as green beans or if left on the vine as storage beans.  Next year, I'll keep them separated so I know when to pick them.  

I tried three pole storage beans this year-Portal Jade, Good Mother Stollard and King of the Garden lima beans.  The Portal Jade and the Lima beans did not produce much.  Good Mother Stollard went to town!  I got quite a lot from these vines and they are still producing.  I think it is fun to have different color and sized beans in the chili I make.  I don't think I will do the storage beans again.  They don't produce nearly as much for the space as green beans.
I planted okra for the first time this year and these guys did fabulous.  I planted two varieties-Red Burgundy Okra and a green variety.  Both did very well.  I think I will stick with the Red Burgundy for future gardens.  I didn't realize how tall okra gets!  Some of these plants grew to 8+ feet tall.  They produced all summer long and are still producing and growing in height.  I think we got enough this year that I won't need any in the garden next year.  I just sliced and froze them.  I am planning on using them in soups and roasts.  They were pretty tasty just boiled in a pan of chicken broth.
Growing and harvesting okra
Our very tall okra
Garlic and onions
The garlic and onions did well this year.  The Egyptian walking onions did great!  I hardened the garlic on our covered deck.  I'll replant the best producing garlic which always includes Elephant garlic.  I like to grow the ones with large cloves that are easy to peel.  I pickle my garlic so I can use it year round.  It has been warm this fall.  I'll be planting the cloves soon for next year's harvest.
Everything to know about growing onions
Time to plant garlic! With growing tips......
I had a bumper crop of basil this year; most were Holy Basil volunteers from last year's garden.  The other herbs did well, too.  We have rosemary, tarragon, bay, sage, parsley, chives, and mint.  I keep peppermint and orange mint in a pot so it doesn't take over the garden. The dill went to seed early.  The cilantro is sprouting again for a second round in the cool weather.  I'll get to add it to our salsa and salads now until winter.  I use tarragon in the summer after the cilantro has bolted.  It adds a different taste, but is still good.  Most of my herbs are perennials.  If the rosemary doesn't make it through the winter, I'll replant it again next year.  Right now, both rosemary plants-Tuscan Blue and Arp look great.  Not sure I'll need to plant cilantro as it comes back from seed.  I will always start basil and dill in the spring.  Can't have a garden without them.  The bay plants I will bring in for the winter.  They are not hardy in this zone but do fine overwintering in the garage.
Start a kitchen herb garden!

TheI'll keep the same recipe for greens.  I have many perennial greens and self-sowers that give greens pretty well year round.  Perennial greens-sorrel, cultivated dandelions, arugula, chard.  Perennial veggies in the Midwest garden  Self-sowers-corn salad, purslane, cilantro, mustard greens, salad burnet.  Try self-seeding veggies and flowers  I'll continue to have several types of lettuce and spinach.  The standbys are red and green romaine, Red Sails, and some type of buttercrunch.  I haven't been doing oak leaf the last couple of seasons.  I think I will add them back in next year.  They always do well.  And maybe Grand Rapids and Simpson.  The giant spinach plants did quite well.

I always have flowers in the garden.  I started gardening with flowers.  They are pretty and bring pollinators to your edibles, increasing the harvest.  I had a ton of self-seeding zinnias that returned from last year.  Most were a fuchsia color.  Next year, I will pull more of them to space them out in the garden and plant other colors.  It took until fall for it to bloom.  Will definitely include marigolds.   The Hollyhocks I planted this season should return on their own.  I love the giant ruby red cock's comb that my dad sent me seeds for.  I'll keep them in the garden every year.  I have done alyssum in the past.  I'll look for them to add to the garden next spring.  I'm going to try to get a combo of red, white and blue vines.  Maybe red Hummingbird vine, a blue Morning Glory vine, and a white tropical vine like Moonflower.  If you want all edibles in your garden, there are many flowers that fit the bill!  Flowers that are edible  

The garden season is not over yet.  There will be much to enjoy through most of the winter. We will have arugula, mustard greens, lettuce, chard, blood veined sorrel, garden sorrel, French and Italian dandelion, spinach, lettuce, purslane, corn salad, chives, parsley, cilantro and sprouting broccoli for salads.  Eggplant, peppers and tomatoes will produce until the first freeze.  The Egyptian onions will produce all through winter.  The herbs will be available for harvesting until the snow covers them up.

No comments:

Post a Comment