It’s just the end of January, which seems a little early to be thinking about spring planting, but with the arrival of our 2012 seed catalog from West Coast Seeds earlier this month it’s hard not too! Last year we ordered a bunch of seeds for our garden and were generally pretty happy with what grew. We’ve still got lots of seeds left from that order, so we’ll be growing the same vegetables this year to use them up. I also wanted to try a new vegetable this year, which quickly turned into several new vegetables, so there will be new things as well. And then there is some stuff that just didn’t work for us, so we’re cutting a few things from the garden this year too.
So Great We’re Growing it Again
These veggies were tasty last year and grew pretty well.
- Red Russian Kale
- Amish Deer Tongue and Darkness leaf lettuce
- Fordhook Giant and Rhubarb swiss chard
- Nantes and Napoli carrots
- Cylindra and Chioggia beets
- Venture Blue Lake, Dragons Tongue and Kentucky Wonder Brown beans
- Eight Ball zucchini
We’re hoping that the asparagus (both the crowns and the seedlings) and the artichokes survive the winter and will be part of this year’s garden again.
What’s New in 2012:
I knew for sure that I wanted to try another squash variety, but the new vegetables list quickly exploded once we started flipping through the catalog. We’re up to 8 new types of vegetables, and 5 new varieties of vegetables we’re already growing.
We didn’t have a lot of lettuce, carrot or zucchini seeds left over, so we’re trying some new varieties:
- Carrots: we’re adding in Little Fingers (baby carrots) and Neptune (medium size and store well)
- Lettuce: I wanted to try some head lettuce so we’re growing Continuity and Tom Thumb. They both take longer than our loose leaf lettuces from last year so we’ll see how they do. The Tom Thumb is a tiny head lettuce, so I plan to grow it in containers on our deck.
- Zucchini: Our eight ball zucchini was a great producer and peaked earlier in the summer. I want to extend our zucchini season with a different variety so we’ll be planting a few Ambassador zucchini too.
And we’ve never tried (or had any success with) these vegetables, so they’re going to be a new adventure. A few of these are things I’m not sure about – Jonny is the gardener who likes to “push the limits”. He’s responsible for the artichokes, asparagus, Haskaps and garlic and has so far been successful in his choices.
- Broccoli (Calebrese): It didn’t grow at all last year, but since we have seeds we’ll try again.
- Cabbage (Pixie and Charmant): I bought a few plants at the sale last year but they never did anything. I have a serious addiction to homemade sauerkraut so I hope these varieties produce better!
- Spinach (Corvair and Bloomsdale Savoy): our north veggie bed (where we grew beans last year) turned out to be quite shady so we’re hoping that spinach does OK there.
- Corn (Kandy King): totally a wild card but people down the street grow it.
- Cucumber (Salad Bush and Sultan): I wanted to narrow it down to one cucumber but two will have to do. Salad bush should be compact enough for container growing.
- Onion (Ailsa Craig): Never grown onions before but I’m willing to try!
- Squash: Pinnacle (a spaghetti squash) and Table Queen (a more acorn style squash)
- Watermelon (Diana): Can you guess who chose this? I guess you never know unless you try
- Pumpkin (Snack Jack):
- Sunflower: Not really a vegetable but would be cool to grow. They will look pretty in our yard,
What You Won’t See in the Garden This Year
- Tomatoes – Every year I try tomatoes and while we got lots of tomatoes last year, they just didn’t taste very good. Compared to our other veggies, they just aren’t a good cost to reward plant for us. I’m going to use the space on my deck to try a few of those new veggies.
- Cilantro – It grew but attracted a lot of little green aphids. It wasn’t worth it to wash them all off. I’ll stick to my other herbs (and hope that they come back!)
- Snap peas – This one is a maybe on the don’t grow list. Our’s didn’t do well but the women down the street had tons and tons of peas. Maybe I need to ask what her secret is?
And Some Inedibles:
They were not in the plan, but when we were ordering we decided that a few flowers to attract more pollinators couldn’t hurt.
- Columbine – they self-seed and look pretty
- Hollyhocks: I remember these from when I was a kid and I see that the people down the street have been growing them successfully so I’m going to try too.
- Phacelia and Purple Coneflowers: for pollinators
It’s going to be a busy spring and summer in the garden. I think that we might need to expand our current space, but where to put the new bed(s)? There will definitely be some planning happening between ordering our seeds and actually getting them out into the yard. I think we’re going to start things inside the growing cage again, but I might add in some extra light source to keep everything from getting spindly.
So many things to figure out – the joy of gardening!