vegetable 2013 winners and losers

david52_gwSeptember 23, 2013

Tomatoes: Casey's Yellow, Ludmilla's ox heart were very successful. Thessaloniki pulled through again with minimum disease issues - this variety seems to have what ever it takes to fight off what ever diseases I get. Everything else did ok - nothing really awful, nothing really spectacular.

I tried saving seeds from Johnny's hybrid squash "ChaCha" and planted those. Very interesting fruit, bit larger, very heavy. Very, vigorous vines - like 20 feet long. I still need to taste it, but looks a winner.

Along the same lines of stabilizing hybrids so as to save seed, my pepper mixes, year two, came out very well. I just finished saving the seeds from four of the most spectacular plants. One hot variety, which is a crazy cross between a jalapeno and who knows what all else, but produces very thick, 6" long, 2" dia, very flavorful peppers with jalapeno heat. Then three sweet varieties of unknown parentage, but again thick-walled and great flavor. Problem with these is cat-facing on the fruit, but thats only cosmetic.

I tried "Highlander" chili hybrid from Johnny's and grew them in containers. Picked at least 20 mature, full-sized, thick-walled chili's off each plant.

Grew sweet potatoes. Goofed that up because I had the plants, root-bound in pots, in the greenhouse before transplanting out. Ended up with a mess of small tubers all twisted together. I need to set the tiny slips directly in the grow-out containers.

Failed completely on Diva cucumbers, again. I think I'll get fresh seed for next year.

Grew one heckuva stand of Italian Large Leaf Basil - rich soil, bit of nitrogen fertilizer, and baboom. The plants were 3 feet high. We've frozen enough for pestos through the winter.

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I've already committed Gary O Sena to the winner column! Glad you like that Casey's Yellow, David, but I learned that in order for the slugs not to damage every-single-fruit - Casey's needs to be staked in my garden. Oohhh, the disappointment!

Senposai was such an interesting substitute for broccoli a couple of years ago. The next year, I may have crowded the plants a little too much - puny size for the buds. This year, I knew it was a mistake to leave it with too much afternoon shade. I think Senposai is a little too demanding and space-demanding to come along in mid-summer with a "broccoli" crop. Just about to slide that one off into the the loser group.

After not growing them for about 35 years, I am delighted to see that Soldier beans are so very productive in my garden! Now, I'll just have to taste them again after so long. Honestly, I don't remember how they taste!

Two very close to "failed" seasons for Yukon Gold potatoes. Different varieties of reds outperformed them, BIG time!

still thinkin'

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 7:44AM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

As hurriedly as I put my garden together after returning, I'm thrilled with the outcome. My two big failures were thanks to the hail -- tatume squash and Honey Bear acorn squash. I got one small one from each and the plants just stopped even forming foliage at that point. New Zealand spinach did far better where I put it this year than in the past.

The fall veggies are going strong. I've got a date with some mashed turnips later this week. G'ma would be happy.

Thess is a staple in my garden and has been for years. I missed it this year and so many others, but I've already got the list going for next year, including a few new-to-me varieties.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 10:40AM
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Twp types of tomatoes I'll grow again next year as they were the only ones that didn't succumb to disease. Yellow Pears did well in container and the ground and the other keeper is Ananas Noire.

I really like using pelleted carrot seed that I bought from Johnny's. Very useful for spacing and it seems virtually all germinated.

The 2nd year French tarragon came on really strong this year and we used it frequently.

One thing I grew that I might lose is lovage which is a perennial. Just seems to have too strong of a flavor though in small doses it's ok.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Oh yeah a couple other keepers are Red LaSoda potatoes. It was my first real attempt at growing potatoes and I'm quite happy with them. The other is ruby ring onions from Johnny's. I'll need to find a sunnier area for them next year though they did quite well in the sort of shady area.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 5:11PM
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French tarragon is good stuff. We use quite a bit of it, along with dill seed, making pickles.

I need to replant mine - it was definitely getting ragged this summer. I dunno if I should try and dig it up now and keep it over the winter in the greenhouse or just wait until next year and move it then.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 9:47PM
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David, while the French tarragon is still actively growing it would be a good time to take some cuttings. It's not the easiest plant to make cuttings from in my experience about 50% success. It also seems to prefer being in the ground as opposed to a container. Both of my plants overwintered without any protection last year.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 10:28AM
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My winners were:
- Purple Beauty bell peppers
- Rainbow Mix carrots
- Black Seeded Simpson lettuce
- Speckled Trout lettuce
- Table Queen acorn squash
- Tristar strawberries. The strawberries had no fruit as this was their first year, but good grief, they exploded! Beautiful glossy green leaves in abundance, always trying to set off those naughty runners. I'm thinking next year I'm going to have more strawberries than I know what to do with.

- Sugar Baby Watermelon
- Indigo Rose tomatoes
- Onions - sad onions
- Anne golden raspberries - died on transplant. :( Their pink counterparts are doing well, however.

Honorable Mention:
- The random pink hollyhock that made it's way through the weed mat in the middle of the walkway between raised beds
- The grapevine that I had razed to the ground because I thought it was dead, produced one cluster of lovely green grapes

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 1:57PM
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I didn't have any luck with Sugar Baby watermelon, Lizzy.

They were in my garden 2 seasons. Last year, the neighbor planted Sugar Baby for his 2nd year! He had vines all over the place! Neighbor was a little ticked that none fully ripened after a plenty warm summer. "Pink things!" he said.

I wonder what it is about those Indigo Rose tomatoes. The seed companies ALL seem to have those & some other "indigo" varieties this year. And yet, I have been coming across gardeners saying how they were disappointed by Indigo Rose.

Maybe the other "indigoes" are an improvement . . ? Maybe these tomatoes look real good on the pages of a catalog . . ?


    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:42PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Steve, the blue tomatoes are still in their infancy from a breeding standpoint. I remember when P20 was circulating with the serious breeders and backyard seed collectors just "had to have it." It was bitter and meant only as a breeding plant. Since then, some of the better breeders have made strides, but people need to remember it is just a few growouts from inception. In time, these might really catch on, but I think it is still too experimental for the casual grower. That said, yes, I'm finally taking the plunge this year with Indigo Apple from Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farms, but I'm more interested in the plant and fruit characteristics than biting into a fantastic tomato. We roll the dice and see what we get with so many of these varieties.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 12:28AM
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I'd better not question OSU's veggie breeding program, Shelley. I was just reading about the development of Indigo Rose and I'm a great admirer of what Oregon State has done over the years!

One thing I'd really like to find is a substitute for Early Girl. Carol Deppe in her seed-saving book says there is no other good reason for putting hybrid tomatoes on the market other than the company's control of varieties. Okay . . . I'll only drum my digitS' impatiently and not say anything about that either.

Howsomever . . . I'd like a substitute for Early Girl! Fireworks certainly didn't do it in 2013. It really isn't a bad tomato. There's something of a core but what was especially disappointing was Early Girls were ripening weeks(!) ahead of this "largest, earliest red slicing tomatoes available." I simply have no idea how that fits with my experience. It was a "nice" tomato, healthy plants, productive - mid-season to late.

Gold Dust failed as an early yellow variety. Partly, that was my fault for allowing the plants to sprawl. I really learned my lesson on slug preferences last year! Partly, it is my bias against determinate varieties.

Come full circle here and say something about another OSU variety: Legend. My bias against this determinate doesn't hold up. I like it. It can't replace Early Girl because it ripens later. It doesn't have any core and develops just fine and well within my frost-free season. Not knocking Early Girl off its usefulness isn't a drawback but Legend's lack of flavor keeps me from being whole-heartedly pro-Legend. Very productive, lovely thing without cracks, healthy plants . . . I just wouldn't want it as my only slicer.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:03AM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Early Girl is simply one of the best that will ever be. It does what it is supposed to do and does it well. What more can you ask of a product? Predictable? Sure, but, reliable. Another hybrid that never disappoints is Big Beef. I have never tried Legend, so I cannot comment on that one.

I am happy to see more of the breeders recognizing the demand for shorter-season varieties. Perhaps it is the shift in population to areas such as ours that helps prompt the trend, but whatever the impetus, I welcome it! Long overdue, if you ask me.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 10:35AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

WARNING! Long-winded (pseudo-philosophical) reply coming up! Enter with caution!

Two or three days ago I ran into some info about "the merits" of all the new hybrids, and when I saw Digit was referring to the same person I had found quoted, I thought I'd link it here to see what you think about all this, Jali! I've kind of wondered about this in the past, but I don't grow that many tomatoes and just never brought the issue up before.

With perennials--my specialty--the hybrids are clearly different, and subsequent generations of "home collected" seed (unless isolation is used--and home gardeners just don't do that!) will soon revert back to their original species. I've received seed of hybrids in swaps in the past, and while they might have "resembled" the hybrid, they were clearly not the same as the plant the seed was collected from. This was verified for me for one of the Agastaches I had, by Kelly Grummons (Denver horticulturist), since I wasn't sure about that one. Since I knew I was receiving seed from hybrids I really wasn't expecting a clone of the parent, so I wasn't disappointed! In commercial production, many of the new hybrids are vegetatively propagated because it's the only way to keep the plant true to the parent.

But are veggies a different issue? I always wonder when I see people trading home-grown tomato and pepper seed! Are the people getting the seed getting what the sender of the seed had grown? There's no real way to know since the "receiver" has never seen or tasted what the "sender" had! I save seed from the paprika pepper I grow (Horizon Herbs) because it's the only pepper I grow, and if the neighbors have any peppers, they're the same one I grow--because the only ones they grow are the ones I give them starts of! So I can be virtually certain they'll continue to come true from seed! (And I believe it's OP anyway!) I haven't saved tomato seed yet because my tomatoes are all crammed into a tiny space, and I never feel sure what I might get--and I don't have enough room to be playing with hybridizing!

I had saved a link to this Knapp's site somewhere along the way because they have tomato seeds, and when I was looking it over I figured out that they grow their own seed, and that's when I looked far enough to run into the page linked below! If I order seed from them (haven't made ANY decisions yet) will I be getting what I think I'm getting? I've had this question in the past with Sand Hill, and I guess I always kind of wonder, no matter where I'm getting the seed! What I wind up with most often doesn't look or act very much like the description of the seed I bought. Color is (usually!) right, but size and timing are often way off! So for somebody like me, who grows only one plant of each, and really has nothing at all to compare the results to, the companies could be sending me virtually anything as long as a very couple basic parameters were met! (What I do like about the Knapp's site is that the seed doesn't come from China!)

So, are all the "new" hybrids really primarily just Fund Raisers for the seed companies. I mean, how much "difference" can there really be with all the hundreds and hundreds of varieties there are!?! BLUE? [Sorry, Jali!] Is that just "pushing the limits" to get "everybody" buying "something new?" I remember when Burpee came out with "white" marigolds back in the 70's! Well, that turned out to be a pipe dream! But it made them LOTS of money for as long as the game was on! They still sell white marigolds, but they don't claim they're REALLY "white" anymore! And even a lot of the hybrid perennials turn out to be a flash-in-the-pan when folks discover that the plants aren't vigorous at all and struggle to grow, and/or that they're not nearly as hardy as they had been led to believe they were.

So what's all the hype with "new" tomato hybrids? If you grow out seed from a hybrid, will it noticeably revert to some earlier permutation? Or will you still have the basic "hybrid" even after several generations--and even if they're grown within close proximity to "other" tomatoes???

Jali, do you have any opinion on Super Sioux? Billie recommended it around here a buncha years ago and I've been planning to try it ever since--but have never managed to order seed for it! I find multiple opinions online about if Sioux and Super Sioux are two different things--or the same thing! And even varying opinions about whether or not Super Sioux is a hybrid or OP! What's your opinion? Anybody else's opinion???


Here is a link that might be useful: Knapp's Fresh Veggies

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 3:12PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

Skybird, I'm not as cynical as Carol, whom I do know through the "tomato vines". :) There are too many examples by reputable breeders who have grown out hybrids to have them revert to the dominant traits, losing the other traits that made it, as a whole, a better fruit or plant. Sungold is one example because it is so wildly popular. There are half a dozen varieties out there that are OP in various generations, but no one has yet to get the whole package that makes that little orange cherry so adored. (Which to this day escapes me personally, but I start them for friends who love them.)

I personally avoid the novelty varieties, not entirely, but my emphasis has always been finding ones that will do well for this windblown spot on the prairie. When the first striped tomatoes appeared, they were pretty, but tasteless. Then, in the hands of a breeder that understood the genetics a new world of beauty and flavor opened to growers. Tom Wagner's Green Zebra was the basis of so many of the striped marvels that come out of Wild Boar Farms now. But GZ, itself, turns a lot of people off due to its astringent taste. Here's where we entered the world of alleles in breeding.

Enter the "blue" tomatoes. P20 is the breeding sire of these. Developed at Oregon State University. Seeking to introduce the antioxidant qualities if anthocyanin (blueberries) into a line of tomatoes, this breeding has been going on for over a decade. It isn't so much about the cosmetics or novelty, but a nutritional aspect, the serious breeders are pursuing. Much like the beta-carotene in Caro Rich and Double Rich. (Those aren't too popular, are they?) Now we are so deep into the genetics it loses so many of us that are hobby gardeners, right? But this blue craze, as I said, is just in its infancy and we will see what transpires with time.

The "hype" with new hybrids is just that. They want you to buy it. The true standouts will survive, but hundreds will be long forgotten. The breeders who work on the cutting edge OPs have been at this for years. They do not consider one of their creations to be stable until they have reached F5 at the earliest, and preferably F7. There are some out there who are selling unstable varieties, and if someone wants to pursue that just know it could suddenly throw a PL, when it is supposed to be RL, or its color or shape is off.

Super Sioux? Excellent tomato for our semi-arid climate. I grew them last summer when I returned too late to start my own seed. Has a slightly thicker skin than many like, but it is a good tomato for flavor and production. It is often overlooked by many, in favor of more trendy tomatoes, but it is a terrific and reliable tomato.

Hope I didn't bore you, Skybird. In short, hybrid tomatoes are similar to the hybrid perennials. A grow out might be similar, but it won't match the original precisely. :)

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:36PM
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Skybird, I don't really know the answer to your questions. Has not knowing ever stopped me from commenting? No.

Remember that "mystery tomato" that turned up in my packet of Early Girl seed? I grew those plants, saved seed and grew a couple more the next year. They were obviously different than Early Girl because of the potato-leaf foliage. And yet, the fruiting was virtually identical.

I think I got one of the EG parents and I imagine that's a fairly easy thing to happen. The EG seed came off those plants after pollen was moved around. Except, pollen wasn't moved to one of the flowers and it simply self-pollinated.

I have had another experienced tomato gardener tell me that EG has a potato-leaf ancestor. I believe it. I also believe that, all other things might have been equal but I'm not going to grow any more of those "mystery tomatoes." The plants sickened with a disease (probably early blight) before any of the other plants in my tomato patch. The 2 plants on both sides also began to show the problem. Nowhere else was this going on. The next year, it was the same thing!

No good! I am not gonna play around with something just because it is a little different only to watch it sicken with disease each year.

I save a volunteer tomato each year - usually. It doesn't work so well since it gets such a late start. One year, my volunteer did great! Nearly as early as the Sweet 100's and looking just the same, it was covered with fruit. They sure weren't sweet! I had lots of Sweet 100 fruit to compare with them.


    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 4:43PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Thanks for the reply, Jali! Not boring at all!

Bottom line on one point is that much of the time when folks are trading homegrown tomato seed, it is very probably not true to what the seed was collected from--if it's a hybrid! Maybe close, but not the same, and will most likely lose more of the original characteristics in subsequent generations. Ok! Guess I won't be ordering from Knapp's, so thanks for helping with that!

Bottom line on another issue! Yep! They are rushing into seed production and sales before they even really know what they have! Capitalism at work! Caveat emptor!

If I had more space I might play with the In Thing, but since I don't I tend to go with the more tried and true varieties anyway, so I guess I don't need to worry about that too much--but I was wondering! Don't think I'll be trying any of the BLUE ones anytime soon! ;-)

You'll be happy (I think) to hear I grew Bloody Butcher and Stupice again last year, although it wasn't by choice! I had a terrible time starting everything inside last year, and I wound up with them by default when TreeBarb helped me out with a few in the end! I can't find my "final report" right now--it's laying around here on a pile somewhere--but from my "first report," they both did pretty well for me. But the tomatoes on Stupice are just too small for me, so that one's gonna get scratched off The List! Bloody Butcher will stay on The List and whether I grow it again or not will depend on what else I find!

I also wound up with a Beefsteak by default, and while I have the same bias as Digit against determinates, I was pretty impressed! I always get smaller tomatoes than "advertised"--probably the soil--so I didn't get any huge tomatoes, but they were a good medium size for me. Will go on The List and I'll see what else I come up with and then decide, but I think I might at least consider determinates at this point!

I've grown Moskovich three times now and had pretty good luck with it. It stays on The List and I'm inclined to grow it every year now.

Mormon World's Earliest is another one I've had good luck with, tho this past summer it was the only case of Plant Failure I had! But it will very likely be on the 2014 List. Originally got the seed free a few years ago with a Sand Hill order.

I'm one of the Sungold LOVERS! Can't be without that one--and, yeah, I wind up with some red ones almost every year! And the red ones are not as good as the "real" ones!

My other Gotta Have cherry is Sweet Baby Girl. Have you tried that one? Sweet and very tomatoey, and VERY little cracking. Definitely not the same taste as Sungold if you want to try it and haven't yet. I'd call it very much an "old fashioned tomato flavor"--what I remember as a kid!

I couldn't get one started in '13, but Earl of Edgecombe, orange, had become a Must Have for me. It's the best orange I've found so far. I love the yellows and oranges! And the best yellow I've found so far is Dr. Wyche's Yellow. Didn't get one of those last year either! It's pretty late, but big tomatoes, even for me, with good flavor, and they ripen well hanging in the garage if that's necessary. Was gonna try Amana Orange last year, but couldn't get one growing! Any opinions on that one?

I think I will definitely try Super Sioux this year. Billie raved about it the year I was asking for recommendations! "Slightly thicker" skin is fine with me! More roughage!!!

And, since the original intent of this thread was 2013 Veggie Winners, Rosa Bianca eggplant is another Must Have for me! Picked up seed for Listada de Gandia when I was at Seed Savers in Iowa this past May, and they said it's supposed to be similar to Rosa Bianca, so I'll be trying that one this year.

Also got tomato seed for Nyagous, Blondkopfchen, Moonglow, and Dester when I was there. Anybody have an opinion on any of those varieties? Got Cherokee Purple too, but I already know folks like that one!

Since the only part of my garden I had last year was the tomato/eggplant part, I don't have reviews for any other veggies!

Thanks again for the info, Jali,

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 5:46PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

I had the reply screen up when you posted, Digit! I remember your Mystery Tomato, but didn't remember that it didn't work out for you! As much as I try to keep tomato seeds out of my soil, I always wind up with volunteers too, but, like you say, they get such a late start..... Even if I had lots of room I don't think I'd take up the space growing a volunteer. I'd rather be starting seed that I know what the variety is, so I know I can (presumably) get the same thing again in the future if I like it. If I grew a volunteer and liked it, and collected seed, I still couldn't be sure I got the very same thing when growing the seed--and that could be a real bummer!

I was only thinking about varieties I liked, and forgot to put this in my last post!

I also tried a Sweetie cherry tomato last year, and it was "ok," but compared to Sweet Baby Girl, it just didn't cut it! And I grew a Super Sweet 100 in 2012, and that one wasn't very good at all in my opinion! Both of those are definitely off of The List for me! Also got an Aunt Ruby's Yellow cherry compliments of Barb last year, and it was pretty interesting, but the flavor was VERY mild compared to my two faves, and the production wasn't as good as the two others either, so I probably won't grow that again. If I had enough room I would. The flavor, as mild as it was, was pretty interesting!

I did wind up with an Early Glee I had started too, and after a couple years, I like that one pretty well! It's on The List but might not be grown this year because of the new ones I got at Seed Savers!

Tomatoes definitely are fun!


    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 6:13PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

You like your cherry tomatoes sweet, Skybird. I don't care for the sweetest of the lot, but love cherries for noshing as I wander around the yard checking on everything else. Those are all great tomatoes. I've never succeeded with the later season oranges with the exception of Kellogg's Breakfast and KBX. They are yummy. I grew one that was mis-packaged -- should have been Sheyenne, which is red. It wasn't, but it was a delicious little orange that I suspect is Moonglow. So there's your answer on that one. There will be an orange paste in the patch this year with a name which will make you chuckle. Nyagous is an excellent tomato. Glad you liked BB. :)

Rosa Bianca is my favorite eggplant. Just wonderful!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 7:49PM
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It was a very disappointing year for tomatoes in our garden on the front range. Tried planting Amish Paste, Chadwick Cherry, Cour Di Bue, Illinois Beauty, Illini Star, and Tappy Heritage. All were variously ravaged by diseases. Was able to harvest a few fruits from each, but the slicers were all fairly bland. Did make some great sauce for freezing though. The one great surprise was from a package of free seed from Baker Creek Seed that I hesitated on even starting. This was the purple Gypsy and they were outstanding. Didn't have a speck of disease like the other plants. they were prolific, and they were so tasty sliced. Will definitely grow these next year.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 10:28AM
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I decided to order from Fedco this year. I was really planning on ordering from Pinetree, but their shipping was a bit much. Fedco was free, and my bill turned out to be $40 less for the all the same things! I also ordered some Dark Red Norland potatoes that I plant on planting in wire and straw towers, as I don't have enough room for proper hilling. We will see how it turns out. :)

I ordered Jubilee yellow tomatoes, Honeydrop cherry tomatoes, and then I have a packet of Indigo Rose that was left over from last year from Jung Seeds. That was my grandpa's favorite catalog. :) I remember sitting in the evenings looking it over and my brother and I picking out one thing we wanted to grow.

I have a lot more time this year to devote to gardening than I did last year, so I'm really excited! My tomatoes last year were terrible. I got 1 tiny red tomato. It was fairly good, but I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be a large red tomato. None of the plants got above knee-high. :( I'm chalking it up to a stressful, dry, and late start, and a slightly neglected first part of the season. I didn't plan very well either.

Just waiting for these wisdom teeth to heal before I get outside and start building. :) Really shouldn't have waited until age 30 to get these bad boys out. I have a few boxes and trellises to build, as well as some general clean up! No soil work yet though, have to wait until March at least!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 2:45PM
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Gardenarts - thanks for the good report on GYPSY. I was given these seeds by a friend to try, and I knew nothing about them. I don't usually grow the smaller cherry tomatoes, but will try these this year.

THESSALONIKI did very well with no disease, lots of medium sized red tomatoes.

PINK PING PONG, also a smaller tomato, has done very well for the past few years.

PURPLE DOG CREEK, a pink brandywine, was excellent in production and taste. We even had 3 tomatoes that weighed over 3 pounds, though most were an average of 20 oz.

CARBON, a black tomato, was loved by everyone, especially by a couple of little field mice who left only a few ripe ones for us! We had to pick them greenish and let them ripen.

Most of the garden did pretty well except for many superhot peppers that got curly top virus. None of these even flowered.

Loser tomatoes in 2013 - Vorlon got BER. Every tomato.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 6:18PM
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So sorry to be so late to this discussion.

My winners:
New this year
Grandpa's Minnesota Tomato. Heirloom cherry indeterminate. Not so small with real grown up taste. Neighbor said it tasted like Early Girl.
Gruschovka Tomato: Heirloom plum determinate. very meaty that is not too sweet. More like an ox heart.
Yukon Gold potatoes: got these from Tractor Sup. Did fantastic!
Jambalaya Okra: short, early and productive
Fooled You peppers; good yield, flavor and color.
Seed tape for parsnips. I have grown these and the seeds were saved, but the seed tape method is a home run. Great germination and long fruit.

Repeats worth mentioning:
All from saved seeds:
Melons, volunteered years ago and have kept them in the garden each year
basil: Thai, Aroma I (saved each year for 5+), Genovese (Provo Girl 2009)
bean, pole
Waltham Butternut
peas:Oregon Giant & Sugar Spirit
walking onions

Home made potting soil. This is the best: holds moisture, no weeds, or bugs and supper cheep!

Never Again
Quickie Corn fungus and too few ears

Would love to find again: Helda beans, i have meralda but they are not as tender as Helda.

All in all it was a good year. Made microwave raspberry jam, canned: apple butter, tomatoes, pickles (dills, okra, and beets), relish. Froze: beans, okra, pie cherry's and apples. We dug parsnips and carrots out of the mulched beds last week and they were so sweet!

Started peppers today. I know it is early but i have a room off of the barn that i put them in after they are in 3" pots and they have a month of hardening off. Cold nights above freezing, with tons of warm sunny days. Plus the flats have some greens in them. Feels so good to be in some soil and plus the winds are really whipping.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Hi all, new to the forum. :)

Hubby and I are gardening in Wheat Ridge. 2013's good, bad, and just plain weird...

Yellow Cherry went steroidal on us, breaking down the biggest tomato cage we had. It had so many fruits on just one plant that I made tomato juice out of self-defense (it was delicious, btw).

Golden Jubilee was a big disappointment. It ripened one fruit, which I never tasted because my visiting six-year-old niece was so enthralled with it that I gave it to her. The plant unfortunately never produced any more, but I'm hoping it was a good investment in the next generation of gardeners.

Siletz had what I ended up calling "Teenage Mutant Ninja Tomatoes". It producedvery well, but the fruits were the weirdest thing I've ever seen. Almost all of them had what looked like stubby fingers growing from inside the fruit out through the blossom end. We later heard that there was a seed lot that had this strange mutation - evidently our packet was from that lot. (I had thought it was maybe our proximity to Rocky Flats!) They tasted fine, but were very weird-looking!

Burgundy okra was a definite winner. I grew it out front in a rose bed we'd built that we didn't have the budget to plant entirely in roses. The okra flowers were pretty and occasioned lots of questions from neighbors who didn't know what it was, and we got enough okra pods to freeze a few bags. We haven't used it all up yet.

Sugar Snap peas (the pole type) - another big winner. Nice fat, sweet pods and lots of them. We froze a bunch of these and are still enjoying them.

Giant Marconi peppers - our first successful year with these. They really were giant! Good producer, too.

Brassicas in general did rather poorly for us this year. Spring broccoli didn't produce till October, only one head of cabbage survived, and the cauliflower died the moment it was set out.

Hard to tell with the potatoes. They got caught in that September deluge as we were starting to dry down the vines, and almost every spud split because of the sudden excessive moisture. They taste good, but look awful.

That was our 2013...

    Bookmark   January 17, 2014 at 9:32PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

hahahahaha, welcome to RMG, wosiewose! Loved the introduction. Siletz and Rocky Flats, wow, my nasal cavity needed a coffee cleanse. :)

Happy to have you join us. Love seeing all the new faces along with the longtime ones. Here's to a great season coming up!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:02AM
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happyskunk(Idaho - zone 7B)

I did not put much effort into the garden last year since I decided to do a Big (birding) Year for the county.

Managed to put out about a dozen watermelon varieties each with their own hill. There were quite a few losers but the one BIG WINNER was Missouri Heirloom Yellow Flesh. Biggest smile on my face sitting out back with a big slice of watermelon and juice dripping everywhere. Definitely growing this one again. Also good with blended with lemon cucumbers and ice.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:33AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Hi Skunk,

Welcome to RMG! Nice to see somebody else checking in from up in Digit's general neck of the woods! Zone 7? Where are you in Idaho that's that warm? I always think of Idaho as COLD!

If you're into birding, do you know Cornell's Great Backyard Bird Count is on right now? Today and tomorrow yet (SU, M) and then it's over till next year again. Just thought I'd mention it in case you're not in on their mailings!

Glad you found us here,

P.S. Wosie, I too I loved your intro! I always wondered what Rocky Flats might do to veggies! ;-D

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 2:33PM
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happyskunk(Idaho - zone 7B)

Thanks Skybird,

Yes, I live in one of the warmest spots in Idaho (Lewiston). While the Zone is listed as 7b (a 30 year average of low temps 5-10F), this is based on the temperature records at the airport. A closer weather station to me has been in place for the last 9 years and has an average low of 10.3F. So I'm pushing zone 8a but still have a chance of below zero temps and have to deal with late spring frosts. Last year I had quarter sized apricots on my trees and we had a late frost in May that killed them all.

Still waiting to try my first homegrown apricot,


Here is a link that might be useful: A good peach

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 6:14PM
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Hi John! Welcome to RMG.

I'm up about 100+ miles north - depending on whether it is by crow or car, Idaho or WA. I don't get down in Lewiston very often these days. My uncle lived there and in Asotin but that was 30+ years ago. Mom was born in Lewiston but that was nearly 100 . . !

Hey! I see that you have been a grower of a lot of heirloom tomatoes! Even the old releases by the U of I have been in your garden. Have you continued growing tomatoes?

Watermelon is almost beyond possible for me up here at 48°North. I can't seem to get DW interested in the yellow varieties to warrant trying them - they seem like they'd be early enuf! I've got Passport Galia every year and will have Goddess Cantaloupe again in 2014.

I don't think David or anyone would mind if you told us a little about what has grown well for you in the past and will continue with. (You have a considerably longer season than some of us so try not to hurt our feelings with stories about your tropicals. ;o)


    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 9:35PM
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