What’s in the field?

You can’t grow everything, but there’s no harm in trying! That’s my production planning philosophy, till further notice. Here’s the preliminary crop list for 2011, as of early February. It will be undergoing some major changes! (Here are the lists from 2007, 2008 and 2009—there’s none for 2010)

The selection is evolving. Practically all of the hybrids are first generation crosses (F-1), the seed from which won’t be reliable. Heirlooms are open-pollinated, seed-savable. There are some some limits on my selection, some self-imposed, others determined by what’s available. Each crop is different.

One factor is seed cost. There’s tons of cool heirloom stuff available from smaller indie seed companies, but they generally don’t have a bulk price I can afford when I need quite a quantity, like kilos of beans or peas. Until I start seed saving, this will likely be remain a limitation on what I grow for market.

Another factor is variety selection: I’ve tended to favor the more compact and shorter season varieties, especially with beans and peas, where I almost exclusively grow bush rather than climbing. I’m aware of this and it bugs me a bit. With more field help this year, maybe I’ll have the time for more staking and trellising, and the on-going general cultivation that late varieties require. There’s only so much time in the day!

Anyhow, here’s this year’s plan-in-progress: Veggies, Herbs, Flowers, Mulch…!

Vegetables

amaranth, grain

arugula – “rocket”, Skyrocket – Grown here for the first time last year, arugula did fairly well: the plants thrive, but the flea beetles LOVE it, so protection has to be pretty intense (well-anchored row cover) to avoid flea-beaten harvests.

bean, snap – Derby, Indy Gold, Jade, Royal Burgundy

beet - Bull’s Blood, Chioggia, Detroit Dark Red Supreme, Golden Detroit, Lutz Greenleaf, Scarlet Supreme, Taunus

bok choi – Joi Choi, Mei Qing Choi

broccoli - Early Dividend, Premium Crop, Windsor

Brussels sprouts – Jade Cross, Oliver

cabbage - Early Jersey Wakefield

carrot - Nelson, Purple Haze, Rainbow, Touchon

cauliflower - Early Dawn, Minuteman

celeriac – Dolvi (Giant Prague) – A trial first time for this.

celery – Utah-52-70 – I’ve started celery once before, but didn’t transplant it, I forget exactly why… A trial.

collard - Vates

corn – Earlivee, Polka

cucumber - Diva, Fanfare, Lemon, Patio Pickles, Raider

edamame - Taiwan 75

eggplant – Dusky, Fairy Tale, Millionaire, Vittoria

endive - Broadleaved Batavian

ground cherry – Aunt Molly’s, Yellow

Jerusalem artichoke

kale - Red Russian

kohlrabi -

leek – Giant Musselburgh, Jolant, Ramona

lettuce - Parris Island Cos, Optima

melon - Earliqueen, Fastbreak, Goldbar, Montreal, Passport

mesclun – Baby Leaf (a 9-lettuce blend), my own mixes

mizuna

okra - Cajun Delight, Little Lucy

onion - Stuttgarter, Sturon, Red Wing

onion, green – Ramrod, Red Baron, Summer Isle

parsnip - ???

pea - Sugar Ann, Sugar Sprint, Wando – I went a little crazy and bought a 50lb bag of Sugar Ann last season, so there will be a lot of those this year!

pepper, hot – Big Chili, Caribbean Red, Cayenne Slim, Early Jalapeño, Holy Mole, Hot Italian Roaster, Hungarian Hot Wax, Kung Pao, Super Chili – I didn’t do much with these peppers last season, a shame and a waste. There isn’t a big hot pepper market around here, for one. I’ll probably reduce this list…

pepper, sweet – Ace, Blushing Beauty, Gypsy, North Star, Orange Sun

potato - Gold Rush, Norland, Yukon Gold – My standards every year. Pretty basic, and it will probably remain the same this time around.

pumpkin - Connecticut Field, Kakai, Jamboree, Lumina, Neon, Small Sugar, Snack Jack

radicchio

radish - French Breakfast, Icicle, Rebel

rhubarb

rutabaga -

spinach – Bloomsdale, Spargo

squash, summer – Ambassador, Eight Ball, Flying Saucer, Golden Dawn III, Largo, Peter Pan, Sunburst

squash, winter – Cream of the Crop, Delicata, Early Butternut, Sweet Mama, Table Ace, Table Gold, Table King, Uchiki Kuri

Swiss chard – Bright Lights, Fordhook Giant, Lucullus

tomatillo – Toma Verde

tomato - Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Basinga, Big Beef, Big Rainbow, Black Krim, Bloody Butcher, Bonny Best, Brandywine, Burpee’s Longkeeper, Camp Joy, Caspian Pink, Celebrity, Chadwick’s Cherry, Cherokee Purple, Emerald Evergreen, Golden Cherry, Green Grape, Green Zebra, Grightmires Pride, Ildi, Juliet, Lemon Boy, Matt’s Wild Cherry, Mortgage Lifter, Mule Team, Old German, Oxheart, Peron Sprayless, Persimmon, Plum Lemon, Polfast, Pruden’s Purple, Purple Calabash, Red Currant, Red Pear, Riesentraube, San Marzano, Striped German, Stupice, Sugary, Sweet Baby Girl, Tangerine, Tigerella, Viva Italia, Yellow Pear, Yellow Stuffer

turnip -

watermelon - Jade Star, New Queen, Sweet Beauty, Tiger Baby, Yellow Doll

Herbs

basil – Italian, Sweet
chives
cilantro
dill
fennel, leaf
garlic – Music
marjoram
oregano
parsley – Green River, Plain Italian – A curly and a flat. The flat-leaf is definitely stronger tasting, more flavorful, my favorite, but people like both.
rosemary – Everybody loves rosemary. I’ve got some of my own, started from last year, and I’m trying a new, giant variety called Barbecue.
sage
savory
tarragon
thyme

Cut flowers

This is the second year for a cut flower garden. Last season’s trial patch did only OK, as it didn’t receive much care. But I’m hooked. It’ll be a more full-on effort this year…

amaranthus - Green Thumb, Hot Biscuits, Red Pygmy Torch

aster - Compliment Mix

calendula - Pacific Beauty Mixed

celosia - Pampas Plume

centaurea (bachelor’s buttons) – Blue Boy, Double Choice Mix

cosmos - Sensation Mix

gypsophila (baby’s breath) – Covent Garden

larkspur - Blue Cloud, QIS Mixture

lavatera - Beauty Mix

nasturtium - Jewel, Whirlybird

rudbeckia (blackeyed Susan) – Cherokee Sunset, Indian Summer

scabiosa - Ping Pong, QIS Deep Red

sunflower - Claret, Early Russian, Go Bananas Mix, Sunrich Orange

zinnia - Benary’s Giant Formula Mix, Giant Cactus, Persian Carpet

Mulch

grass-alfalfa – Depending on the success of last year’s grass mulch experiment, I’m planning to give a section of the hay special care (water!) and mow it frequently for mulch.

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