This year is the first year I have had a garden in quite some time. I have decided to do something different this year – a Square Foot Garden. It is basically raised garden beds with a specific soil mixture. Anyhow, I decided to make three 8×4 beds, or 32 square feet each. The beds are now made and filled with the soil, and the first crops are planted.
Spring has come upon me quickly. I have never grown cold weather crops before, but I decided to do so this year since I really enjoy these vegetables. So far I have set out cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, onions (bulb and bunching), and radishes. Of course, it is still very early, so I could regret this if we get a real cold spell. All these veggies can handle some freezing temperatures, but none of them are going to be very accepting of very cold weather.
I have also started a number of plants inside, waiting on the warmer temperatures. This includes a large number of sweet and hot peppers, as well as a good variety of tomatoes. I intent on posting a summary of this later, but not tonight. My biggest disappointment is the Bhut Jolokia, which is the world’s hottest pepper. I planted ten different seeds, none of which have germinated. I did succeed with the Dorset Naga though, which is close enough (some even claim they are the same pepper). In addition, I am also growing a couple of Red Savina Habaneros, which are the previous hottest pepper record holders. Last, I am growing a variety of other great tasting peppers, which are hot in their own right. Here is the full rundown of this year’s veggies:
- Walzer Tomato – This is a regular leaf, indeterminate variety that yields medium sized red fruits. “Walzer” is simply the name of the gardener in North Carolina that the seed came from, 25 years ago. The family that passed this seed on most recently raised 5 adopted boys on canned tomatoes and garden veggies, and this was their favorite one for growing and canning. With that kind of experience, they must know a good tomato when they see one! It may be better for canning than the other heirlooms because it is smaller and has less water.Update: I have my first tomato from this plant. It is a little lighter in color than I expected – somewhat between a pink and a red. I will be trying it in the morning, so look for an update soon.
- Thessalonika Tomato – The Greek tomato that was introduced to the USA in the 1950’s by Glecklers Seedsmen, of Ohio. It is a popular large, red uniform fruit with excellent flavor, high yields and disease resistance. An early variety perfect for home or market, keeps well. We just ate our first one of these, but I forgot to take a picture of it. That will have to wait. It was a good tomato though.
- Purple Dog Creek Tomato -
- Cherry Tomato – This is an old standy, favorite. I love just popping these in my mouth straight off the vine.
- Brandywine Glick’s Strain Tomato -
- Amazon Chocolate Tomato -
- Cherokee Purple Tomato -
- Old Kentucky Tomato – This is a regular leaf, indeterminate variety yields 6-12 ounce pumpkin-orange fruit. This is a good one for fresh eating…probably because of sweetness.
- Rose Beauty Tomato – This is a regular leaf, indeterminate variety was grown in the 1920’s in the Estill/Jackson County (Kentucky) area. It yields large yellow fruit with a rose-red star on the bottom.
- Pike County Heirloom Tomato - This is a regular leaf, indeterminate variety that yields 8-12 ounce pink fruit, and was collected from Pike County, Kentucky.
- Depp’s Pink Firefly Tomato – This is a potato-leaf, indeterminate variety. Its a family heirloom, ca. 1890, from Glasgow, Kentucky, and yields very large, reddish-pink fruits with a green star on the top. Looks great on the kitchen table, and tastes a bit like the smoky flavors of a “black” tomato.
- Pink Brandywine Tomato -
- Mr. Stripey Tomato – This is a mild tomato that was a real fooler for us. It doesn’t look like it is fully ripe, but it is. The tomato is overall yellow, but the bottom is striped red. Here are a few pictures.
- Jet Star Tomato – This is an old standby. As a friend of mine once described it, it is the best ‘bacon, lettuce, and tomato’ tomato there is – period!
- Tobasco Pepper -
- Fresno Supreme Pepper -
- Purple Glow-in-the-Dark Pepper -
- Bird’s Claw Pepper – This is a pepper that the mother of a friend of mine gave me. She doesn’t know what it is really called, but has always referred to it as a Bird’s Claw. I am sure it is some kind of Bird pepper, but I am not sure exactly what. It is a pretty hot little thing though.
- Topaz F1 Pepper -
- African Devil Pepper -
- Serrano de Sol F1 Pepper -
- Serrano Tampequino Pepper – This is one of my favorite peppers. It is a lot like a jalapeño, but a little hotter, and I like the taste better.
- Banana Pepper – This one is a favorite of my wife’s. She likes both the hot and the mild variety, but this is a mild one.
- Gypsy Pepper – This is another new one to me. It seems like a cross between a banana pepper and a green bell pepper. Delicious!
- Jamaican Hot Pepper -
- Purple Tiger Pepper – While this is a hot pepper, it is not jalapeño hot. Very good, I just don’t feel like one or two is enough. It isn’t producing enough yet for me. Update: I am not sure this one is flavorful enough for me. If it doesn’t produce a little more, I am sure this will be a one hit wonder in my garden.
- Big Jim Pepper -
- Dorset Naga Pepper -
- Firecracker F1 Pepper -
- Amish Pimiento Sweet Pepper – This is a new one to me. I can’t wait to try it.
- Chiltepin Pepper -
- Klari Baby Cheese Sweet Hungarian Pepper - Another new one to me. It is coming along nicely though.
- MexiBell Green Bell Peppers – This has been a good bell pepper so far, but hasn’t produced as abundantly as I had hoped. Still delicious.
- Tennessee Cheese Sweet Pepper – This is supposed to be a sweet pepper that is pretty good. I am anxious to try it. Well, I have tried the Tennessee Sweet Cheese Pepper and found it to be absolutely delicious! Definitely one of my favorites.
- Red Marconi Pepper – This is a great, red, sweet pepper. One of my favorites this season, and certain to be grown again.
- Italian Pepperoncini Pepper -
- Sweet Chocolate Pepper -
- Royal Black Pepper -
- Corno Di Toro Rosso Pepper -
- Paper Lantern Pepper – This is supposed to be another really hot pepper. I don’t know that it survived though. Right now I have a number of vegetables that I cannot read the label.
- Cow Horn Pepper – I thought these were supposed to be mild, but they are not. They are a little hotter than the jalapeños we have had so far.
- Chocolate Habanero Pepper – This baby is supposed to be HOT! About twice as hot as the typical orange variety. I got these out pretty late, so there is no telling if I will get peppers from it or not.
- Prairie Fire Pepper -
- Zimbabwe Bird Pepper -
- Numex Twilight Pepper – This one is really interesting to watch it grow. It starts out yellowish-white, then turns to purple, then quickly to orange. I haven’t gotten a red one yet. These are much hotter than I expected, but really good. Mmm!
- Antilla’s Carribean Pepper -
- Bulgarian Carrot Pepper – Very disappointed. All of these died.
- Scotch Bonnet Mixed Pepper – This is supposed to be a hot one, alot like the habaneros. I cannot wait for it to grow. I thought it was going to die, but it seems to have pulled through.
- Zavory Pepper – This is really a unique pepper. It is claimed to be a habanero gone mild, and I have to say that is what it reminds me of. The initial taste leads you to believe you have just put a hot pepper in your mouth, but nothing hot transpires from it. One of my favorites so far this year. A picture is coming soon.
- Pimiento Pepper – This may be the Amish Pimiento, but I don’t think so. It is good nonetheless.
- Red Hot Cherry Pepper – I have only seen these on salad bars in Texas, so I was happy to find one to grow here. It is doing pretty good so far, and the peppers are outstanding. Notice how they grow upwards, not downwards. Hot and good! They would also be great pickled.
- Thai Hot Pepper – These have come to be one of my favorites. It seems to be a bird pepper variety. It is very small, but boy is it potent. I love them.
- Red Savina Habanero Pepper – Woot! This one seems to be surviving and is looking good. Hopefully I will get some peppers off of it. It is about 3 times hotter than the orange variety of Habaneros. Update: I finally have a small pepper on this plant! Woot! It won’t be long!
- Giant of Italy Parsley -
- Wild Zaatar Oregano – Did not survive.
- Greek Oregano – I have eaten some of this so far. Wow, is it potent directly from the garden. Good, but strong.
- Broad Leaf Sage – I haven’t really used this yet, but I have dried quite a bit of it.
- Genovese Basil -
- Cinnamon Basil – This Basil has a cinnamon-like smell. It has produced pretty good so far, and has pretty purple flowers.
- Myrtle’s Peas – These are coming along. I was hoping it would turn out a little better in my garden, but honestly they are taking everything nearby over. I will probably grow again, but not in the sfg.
- Romanesco Italia Broccoli – A dissapointment. Did not produce.
- Various Colored Radishes – These did less than expected. Far less than expected. I think I know what went wrong though. I will try again next year.
- Merlo Nero Spinach – This one didn’t do good. It basically just died.
- White Cloud Cauliflower – This has been a disappointment so far; however, this is the only one I might actually get to eat. No picture though, because it looks less than appealing.
- Purple of Sicily Cauliflower – This has been a disappointment so far. I haven’t had a single bit of good cabbage yet.
- He Shi Ko Bunching Onions – Another disappointment so far. I don’t think they really did anything.
- Purple Onions – These just did okay in the sfg, but did outstanding in a burn pile we had. Mmm! I love fresh onions.
- Red Malabar Spinach - This has come on much slower than I expected. I still haven’t tried it, but it looks good.
- Snowball Self-Blanching Cauliflower – This has been a disappointment so far. I haven’t had a single bit of good cabbage yet.
- Red Lettuce – I will not grow this one again. While it was okay, it wasn’t the best tasting to me.
- Various Carrots – No carrots yet, but they are slowly coming along.
- Black Diamond Cucumber – We have eaten a few of these so far. One got really, really big, but was still delicious. No pictures as of yet.
- Jimmy’s White Cucumber – I haven’t had one of these yet, but I am liking how it looks. Mmm!
- Early Dividend Broccoli – This was the only broccoli I had that survived. We ended up having some issues with cabbage worms, but the broccoli I got to eat off of this was delicious and produced well.
Did not survive.
- Jimmy’s Okra – This did not survive.
- Climbing Okra – This was from my wife’s grandmother, so I am anxious to see how it ends up tasting. I know nothing about it otherwise.
- Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce – This is actually doing pretty good, even in the hot of the summer. It is an okay tasting lettuce, but not my favorite.
- Bianco di Maggio Onions – This one didn’t do well at all.
I will try to put descriptions and some pictures with each of these as I get time.
A couple of other pictures that aren’t of the garden itself, or are unidentified plants (as of yet). Speaking of unidentified. I thought I did so good on labeling everything, but some of the ‘permanent’ ink I used has long since faded and is entirely unreadable. Grrr. On to the pictures:
This is some of our Cayennes drying. These are from my wife’s grandmother’s garden.
This is a few unidentified peppers (as of yet):
I think the one shown above is the Big Jim Pepper. We’ll see soon.
And a few unidentified Tomatoes (as of yet):
I really wish someone would help me identify this one (above). It was a surprise to us. Update: This appears to be a Yellow Pear Tomato, which is an heirloom tomato known to have been in existence since the 1800s.