Monday, December 21, 2009

Thoughts in Winter

It's so dreary in my garden that I don't feel like posting any pictures. I should document winter though so maybe one of these days I'll get to it. Well, it is hard because it's dark most of the day.

I did get all the bulbs dug in before Thanksgiving. So glad I did because we had a very long cold snap of below freezing temperatures, and the ground is much easier to dig in when it's not frozen. It's good to know that the work is done, but I am worried that some of them are in too deep. I bought a mixed bag that is supposed to give you a varied garden, and it said to put them in 6 inches. But some of the flowers in there were crocuses and I realized a bit too late that crocuses really shouldn't be in deeper than 2 inches. So I'm a little worried but I'll try not to let it bother me. If they don't come up, there's always next year for another try. And if you're wondering, no, I am not about to dig in the ground searching for crocus bulbs. I am not the kind of gardener who digs up tulip bulbs to store in the garage for the next year, so you can be sure I won't rummage the ground for crocuses either. Not at this point in my life anyway. I am looking so much forward to spring when I know that some of those bulbs I planted will pop up and flower!

I have been pondering my vegetable garden and would like to share what I would not grow again, what I would grow again, and what I'd like to try.

Would not grow again (not guarantees though, I am free to change my mind):

Broccoli. I tried to grow broccoli this year and it just didn't work out. The plants look amazingly healthy and are still out there, green in the garden with pretty yellow flowers atop. But I got nothing I considered to be usable heads of broccoli. What I did find was covered in tiny gray aphid like creatures, and they could hide so well I'd never be sure I cleaned them all away. I didn't use any pesticides in my vegetable garden this year and would like to keep it that way. Anyway, broccoli not worth my while this year and I plan to save it's space for something else next.

Cucumber SMR 58. What a strangely shaped cucumber. The package said good for pickling and slicing. To me, the flavor was bitter as if for pickling, but the strange shape was good for nothing. Toddler did eat them up, but I'll try a less-bitter slicing cucumber next year. "Fountain", "Babylon" and "Green Slam" from the Territorial catalog sound promising, and I can't help but consider growing "Rocky," listed as growing miniature, bit-size 2-3" long cucumbers. Oh, the choices and yet the lack of land to grow them all.

Sweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes. They did give me lots of tomatoes, but they are such big monstrous plants that they needed constant attention to keep them staked up.

What I would grow again: (in the order of which they come to mind)

Parsley More!
Spaghetti Squash
. I'd like to try growing "Eight Ball" and a yellow just for fun.
Carrots. Maybe I'll try a full size this year and see how they do.
Green Pole Beans So tasty. I grew Kentucky Blue Pole beans and will again.
Dill. More, and planted closer together, and successive plantings.
Cilantro. Much more this time, and remember successive plantings so I don't run out when they bolt.
Lettuce. Never expected it to do so well and feed us for so long as we waited for other veggies to catch up. I loved having the mixed pack of seeds.
Radishes. Not too many, but fun to have around. Maybe grow in containers.
Roma VF Tomato. Compact, healthy plants throughout the season with lots of fruit.
Miniature Bell Peppers. The pride of my garden, but I might try growing "Yum Yum Gold" next time around. The description says they have few seeds, which would be nice. The mini bells I grew this year from Territorial were just full of seeds. It's OK, just a bit of a pain to prep. They grew so well that I still have a few bags of them in the freezer.
Basil. My plants (grown from seed by me) never look as good as the ones they sell outside of Trader Joe's, but I'll work on improving them. We had a few pesto dishes and that was fun.
Sugar Snap Peas. I've always grown peas, even once in a pot on an apartment balcony.

Alright, that's all I can think of for now. And that's just the edibles. Not including the blueberries, which are technically husband's.

What I want to grow:

I've never even bought them at the store or cooked with them, but they sound neat on all those cooking shows on TV.
Yellow Doll Watermelon. OK just kidding, but I should give my dad some seeds and see how he does. It says they mature in 76 days and are 5-8 pounds. I think it's possible!
Spinach. I read somewhere that Western Washington is the spinach capital of the US. So why haven't I grown any yet?
Determinate Cherry Tomato. Looking for a small plant with tasty fruit.
Snow Peas. For stir-frying.
Shelling Peas. To shell and save in the freezer. I'll plan to have one cage dedicated to each type of pea.

I might add to the list later, but that is all for now. What is it about seed catalogs?

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