Friday, March 20, 2015

Garden Plan 2015

It's that time of year again to start planning the garden. I'll be writing some more in depth articles on specific plants and my experiences, but now is the time to start your seeds, so here's what I'm using.

This year I'll be growing similar plants to last year. I've had great luck with most of these plants, and a few of them are this years experiments.  Here's my current grow list.

  • Amish Paste - These provide all of the tomatoes I need for making tomato sauces.  They are medium sized, very meaty, and generally come in near the end of my growing season.
  • Mortgage Raisers - These are my slicing tomatoes.  I generally use these for sandwiches, salsa, or just sliced and served with cheese and balsamic vinegar.
  • Million to One - Probably my favorite. They are sweet and tiny and you just eat them whole.  unlike some cherry tomatoes that are too big for one bit, these are small, like peanut M&Ms.
  • Tromboncino Summer Squash (aka Trombone Squash) - These are gigantic!  My first year growing them I got 5 fruits (lost three to blossom rot, something I'm smarter about now) and all of them exceeded three feet.  I let two ripen until they were hard on the outside and roasted them like butter nut squash.  When picked green they are just like a regular zucchini.  Well a zucchini that can feed a family of 8 with leftovers.
  • Midnight Lightning Zucchini - My favorite tasting zucchini.  I usually pick these and grill them that day in some Italian dressing marinade.  No one has ever turned down seconds.  Very big and rather hardy.  I get much bigger yields from these than I ever got some crook necks. [note: these are harder seeds to come by.  I've only found two suppliers and the best one was at High Mowing, which is pricy, but you'll get your money';s worth with these.;
  • Spaghetti Squash - These are cool, although I struggled last year and didn't take advantage of what I grew as much.  If you roast these round yellow squash, you can use a fork and pull out the insides and its just like pasta. You can use it in place of spaghetti in every standard recipe you use, but with more nutrients and less empty calories.  In the stores these are priced as in they're gold, but they aren't that hard to grow.

  •  Long Pie Pumpkins  - I hate a love / hate relationship with this plant.  The pumpkins are out of this world for making pies. Meaty, sweet, just perfect.  The plant however is never happy with me.  In the garden it choked out other plants, on its own in a whiskey barrel it suffered and gave up the ghost.  I'm sure its a matter of water and drainage management, but so far I'm eating $50 pumpkin pies when I do the math on my labor and materials.  Proceed with caution. (High Mowing Only)
  • Ground Cherry - New this year.  a friend has had excellent success and I look forward to trying these.  Prolific, they make these tiny tomato like fruits that are sweet and tart, and wrapped in a dry husk.  Pick them up off the ground, peel off the husk and eat plain or I've been told, much better in jams and pies.
  • National Pickling Cucumber - I've had HUGE success with making pickles.  I built a strong tall trellis (I'll give instructions soon in another post) and out of four plants got about 200 cucumbers.  That's return on money if I ever saw it.
I'll be growing the usual herbs and a few other small expermients like Diamond Eggplant and some leeks and onions.  I hope this year to keep more detailed notes and take more pictures to share. Feel free to ask any questions below.