Can we just pause for a minute and sit in awe and disbelief that we are at the end of another decade and leaping into the most futuristic sounding year? Twenty-twenty. The years of my youth are now firmly in the past (strangely, the 90’s were not 8 years ago like I continue to believe in my head) and that strange sounding year is suddenly very much in the present. Is this what we thought it would be like? Will my flying car be in the mail soon?
In any event, new decade or not, the garden needs plans and seeds and I’m here to share it with you! The biggest goals for this year were to 1) simplify, 2) focus on things that are easy/quick to prepare/eat, and 3) experiment a little more than I have in recent past. What does this look like?
Tomatoes: We will be growing more plants of fewer varieties. ‘San Marzano’ and ‘Gilbertie’ for the Roma-types, likely 3 of each. Then one each of our tried and true favorites my Mom’s Mystery Italian Heirloom seeds (I suspect this is actually Tigerella) and one beefsteak type from the seed vault.
Peppers: Jimmy Nardello was our favorite, so I plan to grow 4-6 plants (depending on germination). We will try Marconi Red and Corno di Toro Rosso as well, perhaps only 2 of each. No hot peppers, no bells.
Greens: I’m bound and determined to find greens that like our conditions and won’t bolt before I can spell it. This year I’m trying some things I’ve never tried before, Amaranth ‘Red Army’, Watercress per Gardener’s Question Time suggestion, and Agretti/Salsola komarovii per the suggestion of Garden Club member Susan (hi!). I am excited! We are also trying a new kale Cavolo Nero ‘Jagallo Nero’ and going back to basics with the chard using ‘Fordhook Giant’. I’m also trying a new cabbage because it was too pretty to pass up. Seriously. ‘Violaceo di Verona’. I’ll grow ‘Kalibos’ again because we’ve had really good luck with it.
Cucumbers and Melons: I’ll grow 1 ‘Tendergreen Burpless’ as usual and add 2 ‘Poona Kheera’- a new to me Indian variety that supposedly tastes amazing. For melons I’ll be trying ‘Blacktail Mountain’ watermelon and ‘Ogen’ melon, a honeydew type. Both are said to be good keepers with fantastic flavor, I’m hoping this will help us deal with the glut more effectively.
Beans and Peas: Only one newbie here, Dwarf ‘Sprite’ French Bean will be the bush bean of choice. I’ll grow more Scarlet Runner ‘Scarlet Emperor’ beans (hopefully with better luck this year) and whatever Sugarsnap-type peas we have in the vault.
Squashes: I’m going to avoid the temptation for summer squash because we don’t reliably eat what we have and we can get it from neighbors and co-workers so easily. Instead I’m going to try ‘Crown’ pumpkin and will grow the ‘Carnival’ acorn squashes again.
Odds and Ends: I’m going to give celery a go, likely the ‘Utah Tall’ seeds that have been in the vault for ages. I’m interested to see how different the flavor is and if its worth the effort. Its easy to eat and prepare, so its going to be a fun experiment. Plus I learned on some foodie podcast that in the late 1800’s celery was a serious delicacy and folks not only celebrated and flaunted it, but paid a premium for it, so why not give it a go.
High Mowing Organics has a new golden beet variety developed at the University of Wisconsin called ‘Badger Flame” and as a native Wisconsinite, life-long Badger and beet fan, and sucker for pretty things, I will be growing it this year alongside more traditional golden beet varieties we already have in the vault.
There will likely be a spot for some assorted radishes and I’m leaving some plans open for the Seed Trials, as I don’t know what varieties they will be trialing this year so I don’t know if we’ll be participating or not yet. Perhaps if there’s enough leftover room I’ll give sweet corn a try again- we have a number of varieties from past years- so who knows!
Please let me know if you think I’m missing out on something great- I always love hearing your favorites and recommendations! What new things are you trying this year?