The 2019 Vegetable List

We’ve been doing most of our veggie shopping at the Seattle Tilth plant sale. Descriptions are condensed from their PDF. My notes are in italics.

The List:

Tomato (2 per box):

Black Krim (2 plants) – 75 days. Indeterminate. Open pollinated heirloom. From the Black Sea region of Russia, these 10-12oz beefsteak type tomatoes have a strong, rich flavor that is common with black tomatoes. (Ed: By far our favorite tomato.)

Old German (1 plant) – 75-85 days. Indeterminate. Fruits are golden with reddish streaks. Produces large, rich and full bodied tomatoes. Great for fresh eating tomato, salads, and salsa.

Sun Gold (1 plant) – 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. (Ed: While the description is a little over the top they are a universal hit.)

Roma (2 plants) – 75 days. Determinant. Premium canning tomato, ideal for sauce and paste. Pear-shaped scarlet fruits are thick and meaty with few seeds. (Ed:  Interestingly, the plant tags say “Roma’s Best”. Hopefully they’re the same thing we’ve been growing for years.)

Taxi (1 plant) – 65 days. Determinate, early, prolific production. The best yellow tomato for short season gardeners. Open pollinated. Expect heavy yields of mild, non-acid tomatoes for 3-4 weeks. Grows well in a container. (Ed: They do grow well in containers. In a typical year we’ll get somewhere upwards of 20 pounds per plant.)

Oregon Cherry (1 plant) – 60 days. Determinate. An early cherry tomato released from Oregon State University. The small-fruited red tomatoes are 1 1/2 inches long by 1 inch wide, and load up heavy on 1 1/2 feet tall by 2 feet wide determinate plants. These thin skinned tomatoes have a sweet flavor and are a reliable PNW treat

180812 harvest3

 

Zucchini (2 plants in one box):

Tromboncino – 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. (Ed: Tromboncino work well for us because we garden on a concrete patio and normal zucchini would likely burn on the cement. Tromboncino grow vertically, so we save space. They’re also relatively more powdery mildew resistant. Each square on the trellis below is 8″. The fruits themselves are around 2′ long.)

160814 tromboncino

 

Cucumber (4 plants in one box):

Marketmore 76 – 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.

160724 cucumber

 

Tomatillo (2 plants in one box):

Verde – 70 days. Open pollinated. A classic deep green tomatillo with high yields, ‘Verde’ is ready when the husks have split andare drying. Very intense rich flavor which pairs well with sweet summer tomatoes and makes a fantastic salsa.

180701 tomatillo

 

Peppers (6 per box. This year it is two boxes of Carmen and 3 plants each of Jimmy Nardello and Anaheim.):

Carmen – 60 – 80 days. Lusciously sweet when left to fully ripen to a deep red, this pepper is perfect for chopping and tossing straight into a salad. A great container plant and a good addition to a sunny veggie bed. 6 inch fruits on an upright plant.

Jimmy Nardello – 76 days. Open pollinated heirloom. Thin-walled 8″ long curved tapering pointed fruits turn deep red when ripe with shiny wrinkled skin. Great eaten raw and super tasty when fried–very prolific! This seed variety is considered by Slow Food USA to be an endangered member of their “Ark of Taste.”

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.

150829 peppers

 

For a little background — when shopping for vegetable plants we’re looking for certain things:

  • We want relatively short season plants because the growing season in the Pacific Northwest can be unpredictable. (Note that nothing is much over 80 days to maturity in the list above.)
  • We typically don’t grow miniature versions of anything because it can get very fiddly to clean and process little fruits. And there tends to be more waste as a percentage of the yield.
  • We’ll often select tomatoes that do well in Russia or Oregon. That’s broadly true of all the plants we grow — ideally wherever the plant is popular shares a latitude and climate similar to the Pacific Northwest.
  • We generally focus on high value – high yield plants. We have limited growing space and we can buy something like corn for next to free at the height of summer.

Finally:

  • It’s been my experience that people tend to grow what their parents grew. And most gardening advice is based on experience gained from small sample sizes. My sample size is small too.
  • When we were starting out I hit as many “vegetable gardening” message boards as I could find, searching for people growing food near us. I tallied up what people said grew well (literally, tally sheets for recommended tomatoes, etc). We used that information as a base and we’re learning more every year.
  • The nice thing about gardening is most mistakes are still edible.

2018 Garden Recap (Redo)

We lost every blog post after mid-September 2017 in the move to the new host and address. Public Service Message: Back Up Your Files Frequently!

The final 2018 Garden Yields And Notes:

195.5 pounds total.  That does not include the basil, beans, or anything from the salad table. A bit of a down year probably caused at least in part by extremes in the weather.

Tomatoes:

Black Krim — 19.5 pounds

Cherry Bomb — 5.9 pounds.

Hungarian Heart — 5.1 pounds. These were mislabeled at the plant sale. They don’t really have anything going for them and we won’t do them again.

Oregon Spring — 28.4 pounds — A good indicator of just how “down” the garden was this year. Last year was 48.0 pounds.

Roma — 2 plants — 23.9 pounds — Down from 31.6 pounds last year.

Paisano — 16.8 pounds. An experiment looking for a sauce tomato other than Roma.

Taxi — 5.2 pounds.  Down from 22.7 pounds in 2016.

Continue reading “2018 Garden Recap (Redo)”

2017 Garden Recap (Redo)

We lost every blog post after mid-September 2017 in the move to the new host and address. Public Service Message: Back Up Your Files Frequently!

The final 2017 Garden Yields And Notes:

238.6 pounds total.  That does not include the basil, beans, or anything from the salad table. 

Tomatoes:

Black Krim — 20.9 pounds — Rich, dark, earthy tasting fruit. Our favorite.

Cherokee Purple — 10.5 pounds

Continue reading “2017 Garden Recap (Redo)”

Container Garden Update — September 17, 2017

-A.J.

It’s been a busy ten days. Everything decided to ripen at more or less the same time. Altogether it’s been somewhere north of 70 pounds of mostly tomatoes and peppers. And melons(!)

Starting on Friday, September 8 (Tomatoes: Old German, Purple Cherokee, Oregon Spring, Siletz, and Black Krim.  The big peppers are Carmen, the little bells are King of the North, there are also a couple of Jimmy Nardellos and a mis-labeled-when-we-bought-it regular bell pepper.  The beans are french filet beans from one of the whiskey barrels):

170908 harvest Friday

Tuesday, September 12 (L-R, top to bottom:  Oregon Spring, Marketmore 76 cucumbers, Black Krim, Roma, Purple Cherokee, Filet Beans that just keep coming, Old German, Minnesota Midget Melons):

170912 harvest Tuesday

The smaller of the two melons was the first to ripen. The others still on the vines are the size of the bigger one. Here’s a close-up of the melons:

170912 melon close up

The little melon at dinner:

170912 melon

I’m pleased that we got *something* with the melons. The melons that didn’t survive the transplant and cool early season weather were replaced by a Siletz tomato plant. We’re going to get quite a few Siletz tomatoes to go with the 5-7 pounds of melons from the lone surviving melon plant.

Onward to Saturday, September 16. It’s around 35 pounds of stuff. The left top box contains Carmen peppers. Middle left is mostly Roma, bottom left is mostly Old German. The top right box is a collection of assorted pepers. The bottom right box contains the mis-labeled-when-we-bought-them bell peppers, more Carmens, and King of the North.:

170916 Harvest Saturday

Even after all that, there are still more Romas. I’m guessing there may be 10-15 pounds hanging around:

170916 roma

As I write this, the wind is picking up. It’s supposed to be cool and rainy later today through Tuesday. We’ll see how many “jumpers” we get with the wind.

The melons are about done. But they’re ripening, so “done” is ok:

170916 melon

The basil will need to be harvested in the next few days. We been harvesting aggressively all summer and the plants seem to like it that way. That will be the new strategy in future years. Basically, instead of just managing the very tops and flowers we’ve been cutting a full node below the tops. It’s resulted in better product, and more of it:

170916 basil

Finally, a picture of the salad table. We’re getting our first fall peas now. We’ll remove the shade cloth either today or very soon — we’re still getting days in the 70’s and one of the arugula plants decided to bolt. Better safe than sorry with the shade cloth. The trick will be reattaching it as neatly in the spring — or, remembering which way it goes back together:

170916 salad table

 

We’ll also make a point to aggressively harvest the salad table in the spring. It’s hard not to “wait” and hope the stuff gets bigger, but the plants almost always respond by going to seed.

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Visit Dave at Ourhappyacres, host of Harvest Monday.

Container Garden Update — September 4, 2017

-A.J.

Despite the dry summer, the tomatoes, as a group, are late:

(L-R) Roma, Old German, Black Krim
(L-R) Roma, Old German, Black Krim

A closeup, looking down on the Romas:

170904 Roma

The Wednesday harvest. Mostly Oregon Spring. On the top right are Black Krim, bottom right are Cherokee Purple:

170904 harvest

Many of the Carmens will likely get harvested this week:

170904 carmen

For the Minnesota Midget melons it’s a race between ripening and the “funk” taking over:

170904 melon

The Trombonico didn’t do well this year. I get the feeling that bugs were attacking the fruits just for the moisture. It was that dry here. This week we chopped out all but the greenest growth with the hopes of getting fruit in the next few weeks:

170904 zucchini

And today we transplanted most of the winter veg (Arugula, Dill, Spinach, Mache, Chard, Winter Cress, Winter Density Romaine, Joi Choy, and Cilantro):

170904 winter veg 2

Some of the Romaine, Arugula, Joy Choi, and Bright Lights Chard went into the recently vacated Tomatillo EarthBox. The Tomatillos are now roasted, buzzed up, and frozen for Roasted Tomatillo Salsa.

170904 romaine, joi choy

Most of the rest went into the salad table:

170904 salad table

Everything is still a little floppy after the transplant. I’m guessing it all perks up by the end of the day today.

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Visit Dave at Ourhappyacres, host of Harvest Monday.

Container Garden Update — August 20, 2017

-A.J.

Fall is approaching. There are lots of tomatoes but they’d better hurry up!

The Romas. To be fair, we harvested the 8 ripest fruits last night, so these are all leaning green:

170820 roma

This is going to be the biggest Black Krim we’ve ever seen:

170820 black krim

This is our first year with the Old German variety. This one is close to ready, it’s supposed to get some amount of red to go with all that orange:

Continue reading “Container Garden Update — August 20, 2017”

Container Garden Update — August 13, 2017

-A.J.

It finally rained last night after fifty-five days of no rain. Today was cool and drizzly, but it was a good day to get out and do some heavy pruning on the tomato plants. The harvest, including ripe Oregon Spring, Roma, and Black Krim tomatoes, tomatillos, and cucumbers. The green tomatoes for our pet store guy:

170813 harvest

An overview before the pruning:

170813 overview before

After pruning:

170813 overview after

Tomato alley:

170813 tomato alley

We harvested about 1/3 of the basil a couple of days ago. The plan is to harvest about half of what’s left tomorrow. In previous years we’ve waited too long and the basil got sort of bitter. We’re not going to make that mistake this year:

170813 basil

The Carmen Peppers are having a good year. We didn’t cage them and now they’re all threatening to flop over. We had to insert tomato stakes and run twine around everything to prevent disaster:

170813 carmen

Tomatillos:

170813 tomatillo

The seedlings got too much water and not enough sunlight. Some did ok, but we’re having to start over in many of the pots. Even without the shade cloth some of them are looking pretty leggy, so shortly after this picture was taken I moved them to a sunnier spot:

170813 seedlings

The Minnesota Midget melon plant has… melons!  They’re bigger than baseballs, but smaller than softballs. Hopefully they’ll ripen before the frost gets to them:

170813 melon

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Visit Dave at Ourhappyacres, host of Harvest Monday.

 

Container Garden Update — July 16, 2017

-A.J.

It’s the middle of July, and we’re about to turn the corner from “growth” to “production”. The raspberries are in full swing:

170716 raspberry

There’s a lot more where that came from. Nice output from a pot on the patio:

170716 raspberry plant

The other fun find today were what I think are filet beans — the pods were all hiding under leaves:

170716 beans

We’re going to have a caprese salad tonight using some of this basil:

170716 basil

The Tromboncino zucchini are doing well. There are a few fruits, this one is about 1′ long:

170716 zucchini

The 8′ zucchini trellis:

170716 zucchini plant

Hiding on the north side of the zucchini plant are some spinach, basil, and romaine seedlings. A critter got into them last night, so now they have bird netting over the top:

170716 seedlings

The Minnesota Midget melons are coming along after the slow start:

170716 melon

The cucumbers. There’s one on the bottom right that should be ready in a few days:

170716 cucumber

We’re going to get a *lot* of tomatillos this year:

170716 tomatillo

The Lilac peppers:

170716 lilac peppers

The Carmens:

170716 carmen

The Oregon Spring. Doing their usual crazy early thing:

170716 oregon spring

 

An overview from the “hill”. It rained a little bit this morning:

170716 overview

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Visit Dave at Ourhappyacres, host of Harvest Monday.

Container Garden Update — June 25, 2017

-A.J.

We’ve had our first couple of really warm days, and the fans are now out of the garage. The warm-weather veggies are digging it. I love gardening this time of year because everything is young and vibrant, and the garden is growing and doing it’s own thing with a minimum of work input.

We’re going to get lots of raspberries this year. Speaking of work- I need to do a better job with the bird netting:

170625 raspberry

The beans. The edamame have been much more energetic than the filet beans, and much more bug-resistant too:

170625 beans

The cucumbers are just starting to climb the trellis:

170625 cucumbers

One of the four melon plants made it. We filled the space in the box with a Siletz tomato. In theory they should coexist well:

170625 siletz and melon

The Oregon Spring are drinking by far the most water of anything in the garden. I’m not sure if that’s a function of the box, their location, or just how much respiring is happening with all that plant mass. It may about time to thin the interior of the jungle:

170625 oregon spring

The rest of the tomatoes (L-R) Roma, Old German, Black Krim. There’s a Purple Cherokee hiding behind the Old German:

170625 tomato

The tomatillos are up to the top of the 6′ trellis:

170625 tomatillo

The Tromboncino:

170625 zucchini

A closeup of the bottom of the Tromboncino. We’ll be eating zucchini soon:

170625 zucchini closeupAn overview:

170625 overview

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Visit Dave at Ourhappyacres, host of Harvest Monday.