Friday, October 25, 2013

2013 Garden WrapUp & Critique

Isn't this a cool picture??  I found this in a group of like minded photos on the web and this one really tells it like it is.  We have been stuck in this Puget Sound Stagnation forever and I'm starting to get sick of it.  My favorite ex-husband used to call days like this suicide gray and he was right for once.

The first thing that I want to say about this garden year is that it was spectacular!!  The best I've seen since I left Portland and the Willamette Valley.  I don't know what to tell you if you had a lousy garden this year because everything that you need for success was in place - lots of sun and warm temperatures.

Even though my hip blew out in June and I wasn't able to keep up with the weeding my garden was still fantastic because of our fabulous summer.  I've taken some notes and thought I would share my successes and failures and what I plan to do next year. 

I'm a big fan of Territorial Seeds because these guys grow their stuff in Cottage Grove, Oregon, so they are always looking for seeds that do well in the Pacific Northwest.  Be sure and request their catalog for garden dreaming and planning in the winter.  I also really do well with starts from Red Dog Farm which is just next door in Chimacum.

Lettuce:  I like to start my garden year off with starts from Red Dog and then plant seeds at the same time - kind of like a jumpstart.  This year I planted seeds of New Red Fire and Tom Thumb Butterhead and was happy that they didn't bolt in the heat.  Next year I'm going to add Salad Bowl and Drunken Woman Frizzyhead just for the name alone.

Beets:  This year I grew starts from RD and was quite happy with them but next year I'm going to try Boro seeds.  Territorial says that this variety is good for pickled beets which is the only reason I grow beets.

Tomatoes:  Again these came from RD and it was a banner tomato year.  The varieties that I grew were Sungold, Glacier, Siletz, and Koralik.  The last three were new to me and I would recommend them.

Onions:  Walla Wallas, red onions, shallots, sweet white onions - all from RD.  This is the second year for me with the onions and I'm really hooked.  Who knew that they were so easy to grow and delicious right out of the garden??

Zucchini:  Starts from RD that did well but I'm going to try them from seed next year.  I'm looking at Patio Star from Territorial because they are bred for containers and I grow zucchinis in an old wheel barrow.

Cucumbers:  Starts from QFC that did well in their big pot in the old lawn chair.  Again I'm thinking that I might try Patio Snacker seeds because they are bred for containers.

Potatoes:  I get these from Mr. SuperGenius, who gets them from his parents.  This year he brought me five different varieties and they are a pure joy.  These are not like potatoes in the store.  Give them a try.

Green Beans:  As always I grow Jade which is a very tasty bush bean.  Keep picking and they will keep producing enough for you and all your friends.  In fact you will get sick of them before they finally quit producing.

Radishes:  This is a true story.  I found an open envelope of Territorial French Breakfast radish seeds in the shed after my grandson, Eli, cleaned it out.  I thought what the heck and sowed them.  I had wonderful radishes and those seeds were at least five years old.  I will plant them (new seeds) again next year along with a variety called Cherry Belle.

Herbs:  I had good luck with Profumo (basil) this year from seed.  This was my first year from seed and I am much happier than with starts.  I also grew Long Island Mammoth dill and Santo Coriander cilantro which also exceeded my expectations.  Herbs just do better from seed, in my opinion.

Berries:  First year for everbearing strawberries and raspberries (not everbearing) and I was thrilled with the harvest.  I had a good crop of blueberries but when I went out to pick them they were all gone.  I suspect the little shits boys that like to play catch in my yard.

Flowers:  I like to grow flowers in the veggie garden because I believe that they encourage bees and, of course, they add beauty.  This year I grew Teddy Bear sunflowers and they are still blooming.  I also grew California Giant Mix zinnias and I will again next year because they are real beauties.  Next year I want to try out Waooh and Solar Chocolate Gold sunflowers, along with the Teddy Bears.

The Failures!!  Peppers - I got my starts at QFC and they really flourished but as soon as they outgrew the mini greenhouse and got planted in the garden they started to go downhill and turn black.  If I can't grow them in a summer like we had I better give up on them.  My other failure was with broccoli starts.  They immediately turned yellow (what the slugs didn't get) and bolted.

I know that this seems like a lot of garden but it really isn't.  I have two 4x12 beds and one 3x5 for the veggies.  I also plant the big old wheel barrow and the cucumber pot.  I grow the strawberries in a 5x5 pyramid and the raspberries in a 2x8 bed.  I used to have five blueberry bushes in the back yard but had to move them after Poppy took out three of them when I first got her.  They now live in the east facing flower bed and do very well.

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