What are your vest veggies for long cool days & short seasons?
Hi, I'm Joyce, and I've just realized there is a far north forum as well as the northern gardening forum on GW. And I notice that this forum seems to be pretty active too!
Here on the Michigan UP's Keweenaw Peninsula, we are a solid zone 5, despite the fact that if you look at the zone map we are squarely in the middle of what is otherwise a zone 3 (with a little border of zone 4 on the southern edge of Lake Superior). The reason we're a zone 5 is that we have a more temperate climate due to the lake effect. We're a little cooler in the summer, but warmer in the winter and also typically have a very heavy snow cover that allows for zone 5 (and sometimes even higher zone) plants to survive and even thrive.
But, we do have very short summers, with long somewhat cool days. And this makes gardening a whole lot different then it was in the Nebraska zone 5 area where I grew up.
2012 will be my 5th summer in this area. Our flower gardens thrive! My husband and I both love ornamental plants and flowers. We have a small yard that we've filled to overflowing with early spring flowers, hosta, lupines, iris, peonies, hollyhocks, roses, and to a lesser degree a wide variety of companion plants. We also have a camp in the woods where we've planted native flowers, plus a ton of the more 'deer-resistant' perennials.
Strawberries do great too!
But veggie gardening is tougher. Every year, we have great looking tomato plants that are just starting to produce when that first frost hits. Same for peppers. Our onions have been small. Our potatoes are small. We haven't had great luck with anything except peas. So, I'm looking for advice on varieties. Some things, it's a little late for just now locating for this year (although typical last frost date is June 1st so maybe it's really not all that late after all). We do have some tomatoes planted, along with peas, radish, cucumbers, zucchini, and cabbage. But we might still plant other varieties. And there are a lot of things we haven't planted yet.
I'm looking for varieties that will do well and produce well in long cool days and a short season. We like all kinds of veggies, so don't be hesitant to mention things that I didn't list above. What are your best varieties?
And thanks to everyone who makes suggestions!