Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gardening Journal

As everyone reading this blog knows, I really like to garden and have had a vegetable garden every year since we bought our house (8 years). Each year, it gets a little better. The first couple of years were really, really bad! Mostly because everything got overrun with weeds.

This year, I've decided to start keep a journal of the year's garden so I will have a record of things I tried, things that worked, things that didn't, etc. Hopefully I'll be disciplined enough to write every year! :)

So, dear readers, I give you my garden journal 2008.

Early Spring plantings:

Radish: "French Breakfast" variety. Had a real problem with slugs this year. Also, was on vacation when they were ready to pull, and they ended up too tough by the time I pulled them. Should've been more diligent about thinning out the seedlings.

Greens: "Asian Vegetable." These were spicy greens and they were really delicious and made for interesting salads. A lot of mustard greens and Chinese cabbage. Germinated slowly, and went to seed quickly. OK to still eat when they go to seed; they just get spicier! Might work better if planted along with a regular lettuce for mixing.

Parsley: This had over-wintered from 2007. Got enough for 2 full recipes of tabohleh before it went to seed in early July.

Summer Plantings:

Cucumber: "Sugar Crunch." Started from seed. Got only about 6 cucumbers from 6 plants because the cucumber beetle killed all the plants in July. Everyone in the neighborhood had the same problem.

Herbs: (Lemon basil, lime basil, rosemary, oregano, parsley). All did well. Cut basil back drastically on a routine basis. Did not kill plant; in fact, it made it stronger. It would be a good idea to plant a regular basis with the citrus basils to avoid pesto that is to acidic. Also, need to plant more than one parsley plant, because not enough for tabohleh until the fall.

Zucchini: "Sweet Gourmet Hybrid." A Lebanese variety, which we call "Coussa." I have planted the same kind three years in a row, and it is always a reliable producer. I am still getting much zucchini and there are still flowers on the plants. Excellent for stuffing and for zucchini bread.

Peppers: 1 sweet banana variety ("Bounty Hybrid") and one bell pepper variety (don't remember the name). I have never had any luck with peppers, but this year, both varieties have been fabulous. This may be attributed to the fact that we have gotten a lot of rain this year, the fact that I fertilized a little more than last year, or the fact that I've somewhat maintained control of the weeds this year. I think the key to happy pepper gardening is to plant a minimum of 6-8 plants. This gives you enough peppers for a good salad every night.

Tomatoes. In keeping with my interest in trying a lot of odd heirloom-variety tomatoes in the interest of getting tomatoes that you would never find in the stores, my mom and I started 5 varieties from seed.
Sprite: A slightly elongated cherry variety. Very prolific, very tasty. Were the first to ripen of all the tomatoes.
Mule driver: Medium-sized, red tomato. Bland taste. First non-cherry tomato to ripen.
Dwarf: A brandywine-type tomato (pinkish color, large size). Plants are very compact and manageable.
Black Krim: A mahogany or "black" tomato. Not as tasty as past years, and the plants were very weak.
Aunt Ruby's German Green: Not nearly as hardy or as nice as "Green Zebra," the kind I tried last year. Plants died midway through the summer; hard to tell when the fruit was ripe.

Late-Summer/Fall Plantings:

Broccoli: "Flash Hybrid." I'm not sure I'd say that these plants germinated in a "flash" or produced in a "flash," but I planted in July and am starting to get broccoli heads now. More later on taste, etc.

Radish: "French Breakfast." Much better crop this fall than in the spring. Quick germination and growth; no problem with slugs.

Lettuce: "Looseleaf Blend." Typical "mesclun" lettuce mix, with some Black-Seeded Simpson, oak leaf, red lettuce, etc. Very nice, but a little boring after the spicy Asian greens of the spring. Would be nice to mix these with the spicy greens. And 2 rows have not been enough to cover my salad cravings. :)

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