amaranth, grain – A great “alternative” grain that’s also unusual and striking in cut flower arrangements. Grew 200′ in my first year, did nothing with it, this time, I hope to collect the grain. Come to think of it, I’ll have to test this seed, it’s been around for four years.
arugula – “rocket”, Skyrocket – Dunno why I haven’t grown this before, I like eating it, and it’s in pretty demand… No time like this year.
bean, snap – Derby, Indy Gold, Jade, Royal Burgundy – All modern bush beans, a pretty basic, straightforward selection of green, yellow, purple. There are tons I’d like to experiment with, but in the past, I’ve never actually used the trials I’ve grown (mung, lima, fava, various slicing beans, etc). Beans also take so much time to pick, I tend to go for varieties that offer prolific and uniform results.
beet – Bull’s Blood, Chioggia, Detroit Dark Red Supreme, Golden Detroit, Lutz Greenleaf, Scarlet Supreme, Taunus – I LOVE growing beets (and eating ’em, roasted/baked, also grated raw). The best is a dense sowing followed by thinning on time: first pass for delicious baby greens, second pass for larger cooking greens (sometimes with tiny baby beats attached) , and then the main crop, perfectly sized up in 3″ spacing. This precision thinning doesn’t ALWAYS happen…
bok choi – Joi Choi, Mei Qing Choi – Once it gets started, it’s fast and easy to grow.
broccoli – Early Dividend, Premium Crop, Windsor
Brussels sprouts – Jade Cross, Oliver – A first this year.
cabbage – Early Jersey Wakefield – So fa, I’ve grown very little cabbage, and not every year. The immediate plan has been to crowd them a bit and harvest early, at a small “gourmet” size. Otherwise, this is another bulky, heavy crop that you need a lot of and have to sell cheap. Until root cellar/winter CSA, when big storage cabbages will make sense.
carrot – Nelson, Purple Haze, Rainbow, Touchon – Carrots are great. I love ’em along with just about everyone else around here. Germination is the trick. Last year, I had good results using plastic mulch, but if you don’t take it off within about a day after germination starts, the tiny seedlings get toasted. For this year, I finally found (and bought) some untreated burlap in rolls. This is a trick I read about. The burlap lets in some light, retains some heat, keeps down weeds pretty well, and most importantly, maintains moisture. At least, that’s what the tip says.
cauliflower – Early Dawn, Minuteman
collard – Vates – A type of open-leaf cabbage. Originally tried this because I’d heard of it in the movies, “collards and grits”, a staple food in the (poor) South of the US. If you like hearty cooking greens, it’s great!
corn – Earlivee, Bon Appetit – One short-season standard (su), for “real corn taste”, and another for variety (se). With corn, I only keep my hand in every year, growing a little for the CSA. Sweet corn is such a specialty market, with insanely low prices, you have to grow a ton. And then, there’s the raccoons. Follow the blog and you’ll see…
cucumber – Diva, Fanfare, Lemon, Patio Pickles, Raider
edamame – Taiwan 75 – A late addition, although I’d meaning meaning to grow these for a while. This’ll be fun. Found the seed online at an Asian vegetable seed house. Cool stuff.
eggplant – Black Beauty, Dusky, Fairy Tale, Millionaire, Vittoria
ground cherry – Aunt Molly’s, Yellow
Jerusalem artichoke – I’ve found a supplier, an indie seed company specializing in local heirlooms.
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 – I’m not sure what I’ll do with this, I haven’t exactly noticed a demand for it around here.
onion – Stuttgarter, Yellow Spanish – Not an inspired selection, but everyone needs onions, and this reliable couple gets the job done.
onion, green – Ramrod, Red Baron, Summer Isle – Adding new color this year with Red Baron.
parsnip – Albion
pea – Sugar Ann, Sugar Sprint, Wando – Last year and more so this year, I’m concentrating on snap peas, edible pod. You can shell ’em, but why bother, and the peas aren’t quite as flavorful as regular shelling peas. Overall, though, they’re a crowd-pleaser. I’ll grow out my existing stock of regular peas, so there will be quite a bit, and then we’ll see for next year.
pepper, hot – Big Chili, Caribbean Red, Cayenne Slim, Early JalapeÃ±o, Holy Mole, Hot Italian Roaster, Hungarian Hot Wax, Kung Pao, Super Chili – Hot peppers have a well-populated world of their own, and I don’t live in it, yet. I’m slowly learning the ins and outs of heat, they types and varieties and uses. And this climate isn’t the greatest for hot pepper growing in the first place. So this is just my own catalog pick of what sounds good.
pepper, sweet – Ace, Blushing Beauty, Gypsy, North Star, Orange Sun
potato – Gold Rush, Norland, Yukon Gold – My standards every year. Pretty basic, it’s what I can easily get that’s certified organic. I have tried Purple Chief last year (purple-skinned). What I really want is stuff like La Ratte, fingerlings, blue potatoes. I have sources for small quantities (or larger quantities at high prices), so this means growing my own seed potatoes for a year. I haven’t gotten around to that. I can’t even manage to save for seeding from what I do grow, it all sells out…
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 – I go crazy here. Most are heirloom, most I’ve tried at least once before. As for quantity, 25-50 of half a dozen mainstays, 12-18 of interesting ones, and 6 as my let’s try it out number. Around 600 in all.
turnip – I’ve grown a few of these for a couple of years. There’s not exactly a booming market for summer turnips…
basil – Italian, Sweet – Everybody loves basil. I’ve grown some every year, but nowhere near enough to meet demand. This year, it’s getting the same effort as a main veggie.
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.
It’s the first year for a cut flower garden, and I’m sticking to hopefully low-maintenance, direct-seeded annuals. After much poring over catalogs, surfing the Web, and talking to people online and off, I’ve come up with a List. I’ve gone for a lot of mixes, they may have too many of the not-so-cool colors and not enough of the hot ones, but it’s a quick way to check ’em all out. I have a feeling this might prove a little ambitious; at the moment, it seems like a good idea to just try out as much as I can…
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 – These are actually for eating, not cutting… I’ve wanted to try edible flowers, and nasturtiums seem like a good place to start.
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