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!
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
kale - Red Russian
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
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 JalapeÃ±o, 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
radish - French Breakfast, Icicle, Rebel
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
basil – Italian, Sweet
garlic – Music
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.
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
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.