For our weekly update this week, we have the beginnings of our 2011 Garden plantings, and a Seed Exchange!
We spent part of the week planning out what (and how many) plants we need to start in the basement to be transplanted out in the Spring. We’re expanding the garden a bit this year to the front yard to grow melons and winter squash where they can spread out and not be in the way. Doing so opens up some of the main garden’s boxes for more PEPPERS. We figure we have room for 86 pepper plants at the dense planting we tried this year (and it worked out great). We have 16 different varieties we’re going to try to grow next year (some are even home-saved seed!). The first number in the list below is the number of plants of each variety we hope to end up with; the second number is the number of plants we’ll start in order to (hopefully) end up with the desired number:
Tabasco: 2, 3
Habanero: 5, 7
Ancho: 7, 9
Thai Hot: 1, 2
Cayenne: 5, 7
Jalapeno: 6, 8
Serrano: 4, 6
El Chaco: 2, 4
Cherry: 5, 7
Anaheim: 7, 9
Pimento: 3, 5
Yellow Pimento: 3, 5
CA Wonder: 11, 14
Red Marconi: 8, 10
Yolo Wonder: 9, 11
Italian Relleno: 8, 10
We’re cutting back on tomato varieties this year to only four (2 paste, 2 slicing) plus tomatillos. We’ll be planting (and starting):
Better Boy: 9, 12
Early Girl: 5, 8
Amish Paste: 5, 8
Roma (seed gotten from Mimi): 5, 8
Tomatillos: 3, 5
Tomatoes/tomatillos will take up 3 boxes, as they did last year and we thought we had a good amount for eating, canning, and sharing.
In other plants, we had way too much celery last year, even though we lost a number of plants to voles. But we had so much we actually sold some to a local specialty store. Next season, we hope to have 25 celery plants and we’ll start 32; all one variety this year (Tendercrisp) – it’s our first time growing this variety so hopefully we’ll be successful!
Eggplant: we lost all of our eggplant seedlings to the voles last year and had to plant store-bought seedlings. Four plants survived the voles and we thought this gave us a reasonable number of eggplants through the growing season (basically, 1 per week). We’re aiming for 4 eggplant plants again next year so we’ll start 8 since we have trouble getting eggplant to germinate well.
Onions: this year we’ve finally figured out which onions grow in our area! (Maybe we’re a bit slow…). We’re growing Yellow Granex from seed. We’re going to start half of the seed inside and direct sow the other half to see which methods works the best for us. We may also pick up some Candy onion seeds from Southern States if we decide we need more than one seed pack.
Broccoli and cauliflower: we’ll try again but this may be the last time we do so. We do not have good luck growing either of these vegetables to maturity, regardless of whether it’s Spring or Fall. But we will start two varieties of cauliflower (8 of each, hopefully to end up with 6 of each) and three varieties of broccoli (7 of each, hopefully to end up with 5 of each).
Summer squash: we normally do not have room under the seed starting lights to start them early but we’re going to make room this year. The plants germinate so easily when direct sowed but the squash bugs pose such a problem here in NC that the plants die long before they’re even thinking about giving up. We want to plant transplants this year to give them a bit of a head start on squash bugs and hopefully get a bit more production.
Winter squash: we may direct seed the butternut varieties since they seem to have a bit of resistance to squash bugs but the acorn squash we want to grow needs an early start indoors if we hope to get any fruit before the plants succumb to bugs. We also ordered some “Lakota” seeds from Burpee and will likely start those indoors as well.
It’s looking like we may need to expand the indoor seed starting operation! Maybe I’ll go down to the basement soon and figure out what we can do…
We’ve culled the seed collection and decided what we’ll be growing next year so we have the following seeds to either just give away if you need seeds but don’t have any to trade or to trade for seeds we’d like to get.
Seeds we’d like to get:
French Breakfast radishes
something you have that you think is particularly worthy
Seeds to give away/trade:
Old Dutch Half-Runner Beans (a great, tasty, prolific green bean that we’ve grown for 3 years and will continue to grow but we have too many seeds. Stringless when young. Although a 1/2 runner, it grows to 8 feet in our garden).
Heirloom Iceberg Lettuce (iceberg lettuce can be hard to get to germinate)
Parisian Carrot (small-ish round carrots)
Green Zebra Tomato
White Sweet Spanish Onion (long day)
Walla Walla Onion (long day)
Bianca di Maggio onion
Ruby Queen beet
Plum Purple Radish
Chinese Red Meat radish
Chinese Green Luobo radish
Black Spanish radish
Japanese Minowase Daikon radish
San Marzano Tomato
Send us an e-mail: foodgardenkitchen at gmail dot com if you’re interested.