by A.J. Coltrane
We’ll start the “2014 season” with this post.
The 2014 Seattle Tilth Plant Sale Haul:
[Complete list of vegetables at the sale, PDF. The descriptions are from the PDF, with my comments in brackets. There may be some funky formatting below, but then, the PDF features a *lot* of funky formatting.]
Brussels Sprouts – We purchased the Brussels Sprouts at a nursery last year and I didn’t note the variety. This year we got them at the Tilth sale. The EarthBox directions call for six total plants in one box. We have about double that. We’ll see how it goes, though last year it went fine (if cramped) with four Brussels Sprouts in what would normally be the space for one plant. In any event, I grabbed too many by accident and we have a few extras if you’re a neighbor. Note that the white cabbage moths are already out and about, so the ones that we planted yesterday are covered with tulle to help prevent damage:
Catskill (Qty, about 5 or 6)
90 days. Open pollinated. Selection from a private stock of Long Island Improved, a treasured American heirloom.
Produces very high yields of 2″ diameter round green Brussels sprouts. This variety has strong, stout stalks and closelyspaced small sprouts. Easy to pick. Excellent freezing variety. Bred by Arthur White and Joseph Harris Company in New York and released in 1941.
Roodnerf (Qty 6)
100 days. Open pollinated. There are few open pollinated Brussels sprouts left to grow that yield great sprouts, but this is one of them! Cold hardy and good for letting winter over. [We’ll see if one variety does better than the other. This one is recommended in the book “Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard”.]
Cucumbers – The same variety as last year. No reason to mess with what worked. The cucumbers were planted outside on May 5th last year. (Gotta love those notes!) They don’t much like being transplanted, so maybe we’ll do that today/tonight/tomorrow depending upon the weather:
Marketmore 76 (Qty 4)
63 days. Open pollinated. In the Marketmore series, ‘Marketmore 76’ is very popular with organic growers due to its high level of disease resistance. This dark green slicing variety produces abundant, high quality, uniform fruits about 8 inches long with a wonderful cucumber flavor. This is your classic, all-around cucumber!
Peppers – We preselected about 10 varieties from the Tilth list that we wanted to grow. We had to accept three “2nd choices”, which wasn’t bad. We got all the ones we really wanted. Last year the peppers were transplanted outside on about the 25th of May. The first four listed are “hot”, the rest are “sweet”:
Anaheim College 64
74 days. Open pollinated. Medium hot flavor make these short season peppers a hit for dips, sauces, stuffing with cheese or roasting. They are just like the anaheims you find in the store but without having traveled all those miles to get to you! [A repeat from 2013.]
66 days. Open pollinated. Hottest and fully ripe when they turn red but most is familiar in the green stage. 2 ft. tall plants produce 3 in. peppers. Will set fruit in cooler conditions better than other hot peppers. [Repeat from 2013.]
Hungarian Hot Wax
70 days. Open pollinated heirloom. Semi-hot, smooth waxy yellow 5 1/2 x 1 1/2″ fruits taper to a point. Popular with
Northwest gardeners due to their cold tolerance and early fruit production. [New. First choice was “Hot Portugal, but Tilth didn’t get them in.]
82 days. Open pollinated heirloom. Only habanero is hotter, as Thai Hot has 80,000 Scoville units. Thai Hot’s small
conical peppers ripen to bright red and stand erect above the foliage so fetchingly that it’s sometimes grown as a
Christmas potted plant. Early pinching will produce a bushy 8″ plant that can be pulled, roots and all, and hung to dry for winter use or grown inside for both ornamental and edible enjoyment. [First choice was “Hot Portugal”. No stock on those.]
[All sweet peppers below this point.]
80 days. Open pollinated. These peppers can be harvested when red, dried and ground for homemade paprika. They
are also tasty fresh from the garden! You’ll get 2-inch round peppers with thick walls and sweet flavor. [New.]
62 days. Apple-shaped mini-bells are perfect for stuffing. High-yielding plants produce up to 3 times more than other
peppers. Pick the 3 inch fruits when they are green or red. Flavor is sweet and tasty at both stages. [A repeat, though not a 1st choice. Last chance to shine, guys.]
Early Hungarian Sweet
55 days. Open pollinated. An extra-early, large wax. The conical fruit is produced more reliably than the bells and tastes even sweeter! This one matures from a creamy-white to red–beautiful. [New.]
85 days. Open pollinated. This orange bell pepper has heavy, thick walls, and the sweetest flavor you’ll find in an orange pepper. Resistant to tobacco mosiac virus. [Repeat. Last chance due to low yields last year. Note the long season.]
Gypsy (Qty 2)
58 days. This speedy variety is much easier to mature than bell types. The 6-7 in. long, tapered, yellow fruit are very thick-walled and sweet. Gypsy’s flavor is hard to beat. [Repeat. The quantity is hedging upwards.]
King of the North (Qty 6)
76 days. Open Pollinated. Here is a sweet bell pepper that will mature in short season climates. Its crisp, blocky fruit will turn from medium green to red if left on plant longer. Excellent raw in salads or dips. Great to use as stuffed pepper or in tempura recipes. [Repeat. These did the best of everything last year, so this year they get a full box to themselves.]
Pasilla Bajio – Chili
80 days. Mild. Slightly sweet. Crinkly 8-10″ fruit ripen from dark green to red to dark brown. Use fresh in red chile
enchilada sauce and salsas. Also called Chile Negro or Chilaca, this pepper is a signature ingredient in mole sauces. [New. A 2nd choice, though it was on the “alternate” list.]
77 days. Open pollinated. Five-inch long, thick-fleshed fruits are borne upright on the stems and ripen from green to
orange. Very pretty and tasty too!
Zucchini – This year we’re going to try a vining zucchini that’s supposed to be especially hardy:
Tromboncino (Qty 2)
60-80 days. Open pollinated heirloom. A Tilth favorite, the flesh of this variety has a smooth buttery texture and a mild flavor—the taste of summer! The 12 to 18” long fruits are “trombone”- shaped and can grow in curly cues or hang like bells on a trellised vine. Harvest when they are a pale, grass green or leave a few fruits at the end of the season to mature to a buff color and enjoy them as you would a winter squash.
Tomatillos – One repeat variety and one new variety. I’m hoping the new variety doesn’t drop fruit all over the ground:
60 days. Open pollinated. Mexican heirloom. “Di milpa” means “from the fields”, as this type commonly grows wild in the cornfields of Latin America. Small fruit but great storage quality, remains green and firm weeks after picking. [New. In addition to (possibly) being less of a mess, I’m hoping that they’ll last longer in storage too.]
65 days. Open pollinated. At 2 inches, these fruit are larger than most tomatillos. They are savory and fresh tasting, great for making salsa verde or adding a Mexican flavor to your dishes. Tomatillos produce tons of fruit on sprawling vines, but don’t usually need to be trellised. Fruits will burst out of husks and fall to the ground when they are ripe. [Repeat. Last year one of the two plants didn’t do much, so subbing out one for a new variety should still give us ample output.]
In 2013 the tomatoes and tomatillos were transplanted out on May 17.
Tomatoes – There’s a theme here — the maximum time to maturity is 75 days. We’ll check with SeattleAuthor to find out how his long-season plants do this year. Given our finite space we decided not to push the envelope again. (Our 85-day Brandywines were the least impressive of anything we grew in 2013.) Like last year, we tried to target a mix of Determinate and Indeterminate tomatoes with the hopes of spreading the harvest out at least somewhat — there are 5 Determinate and 3 Indeterminate. The Determinates are 56, 60, 65, 68, and 75 days. The Indeterminates are 65, 65, and 75 days.:
65 days. Indeterminate. Wow! Sungold’s fruity or tropical flavor is a big hit with everyone who tastes it. Apricot-orange round 1 1/4 in. fruit. 10-20 fruits on grape-like trusses. Generally we try to offer open pollinated and heirloom varieties, but we just can’t give up Sungold! Winner of Best Cherry Tomato at the 2005 and 2006 Tilth Tomato Tasting. [Repeat. Easily our “best” and “most popular” in 2013. At some point I wouldn’t mind trying other cherry tomatoes, but these will be tough to beat.]
75 days. Open pollinated heirloom. Indeterminate. From the Black Sea region of Russia, these 10-12oz beefsteak type tomatoes have a strong, rich flavor that is common with black tomatoes. One seed catalog noted that the fruit is best when half green and still firm. Very productive. Reportedly is a consistent favorite at tastings, so why not give it a shot? [New. I wanted to try these last year, but Tilth didn’t get them.]
65 days. Open pollinated. Determinate, early, prolific production. The best yellow tomato for short season gardeners. Expect heavy yields of mild, non-acid tomatoes for 3-4 weeks. Grows well in a container. [New. A little something different. These seem to be popular, so they seem like a good thing to try.]
65 days. Open pollinated. English Heirloom. Indeterminate. Interesting green turning to red and orange tiger-striped fruit . Very early and prolific – produces throughout the season. Excellent for salads. Low acidity variety. [New. Another “little something different”. An Indeterminate to balance out the harvests.]
56 days. Open pollinated. Very early determinate. Orangey-red 2 1/2 in. fruit. Plants are 2 1/2 ft. tall and 3 1/2 ft. across. Surprisingly sweet for an ultra-early type. The nice thing about Glacier is that it’s the first tomato to ripen, and it keeps on producing late into the season, which is rare for most early determinates. Excellent grown in a container. [Repeat.]
68 days. Open pollinated heirloom. Determinate. A cool, short-season variety that hails from the mountains of West
Virginia, ‘Mountain Princess’ is very early and very productive. The round, 4 to 6 inch fruits make great slices for
sandwiches or drizzled with olive oil and a little salt and pepper–delicious! [New. We liked the name, and we liked the idea that they’d be good for caprese. I also liked the “cool, short-season..West Virginia” in the description.]
60 days. Determinate. An extra-early variety that sets loads of meaty fruits weighing 3 to 5 oz., with excellent flavor.
Compact plants set fruits even in cool weather and continue to yield all season long. Nearly seedless. A perfect choice for ketchup and sauces. [New. An early sauce tomato. Good in cool weather. Long yield. This one could work for us on a number of levels.]
75 days. Determinant. Premium canning tomato, ideal for sauce and paste. Pear-shaped scarlet fruits are thick and meaty with few seeds. [Repeat. Our biggest producer last year, though not everything ripened.]
Stupice, Siletz, and Brandywine didn’t make the cut this year. The Stupice and Siletz were considered replaceable. The Brandywine was “fine”, but the flavor wasn’t as awesome as it probably has the potential to be in warmer climates.
And six Basil! Basil is why we went to 12 boxes in the first place!