O M G ! I am drowning…(Part 2) ….Nov. 03, 2011
From the Bean varieties that I trialed, I was most impressed with Golden Lima, and Purple Podded, weaving their way up the tall sticks I offered them and right back down again, to take off…straight for the apple tree! It was pretty neat…FOLLOW that vine from where hence it came! The varieties with the greatest production were: Jacob’s Cattle, Little Field’s Special, Ireland Creek Annie, Oma’s Speckled Green Pod, Magpie, Orca, Painted Pony, reg-Cannellini, White Hort., Caypso, White Soldier,and Arikara Yellow. I have found a few off-types, so will have to re-grow these & the pole varieties, giving them full isolation next year, as crossing is more than possible.
I have to admit…I am in love with beans. Their patterns, their unusual color and their ability to withstand almost any weather environment, have earned my full respect & attention. Being dried, affords me time and versatility for future meals. Not to mention , being small power houses of great nutrition. If anyone has a few seeds of the large seeded “Runner” Cannellini (these are almost twice the size of the regular “White Kidney” Cannellini…) I would gladly trade for a variety of mine.
Boy, did I have fun with the peas that I grew this year. Could not believe it…24 varieties in that patch! I was determined to beat our usual plague of mildew that we receive every year. Prevention, prevention, prevention! And we did just that. As soon as I saw just a few leaves turning brown and falling off at the base, out came chamomile tea, diluted with hot water in a spray bottle. The entire vines were drenched on both sides, once each week for 2 weeks. Apparently chamomile contains natural sulfur, for combating fungi. Another recipe that I used was: 1 gallon warm water, 1 tbsp. Baking Soda (4 tsp. for 4 liters) 1 tbsp. light vegetable oil and 1 tbsp. dish liquid. Mix well, but not too much. This I applied in a spray bottle, once each week, in between the other application. Well…it worked! We ate quite a few healthy peas. AND tasted!
Some of my favorites for the year were: Spanish Sky Scraper (grew 6-7 ft, pod 6-8 seeds), Amish Snap (super early, nice sweet), Edna’s Russian Snap (heaviest producer, nice long smooth snap), Oregon Giant (my fav), King Tut ( 5 ft., lovely modestly purple splashed lg. pods, loaded), Harrison’s Glory (very disease resistant, easy shell), Amplissimo Viktoriana (heavy producer, easy shell ), Red Asparagus (cute red flowers, long season producer) and Austrian Winter (plum/red with pink toned flrs., heavy & late producer) Dwarf Grey Sugar is not dwarf, only pods are. Trialed Mummy White for the 1st time…multiple branching started at the 4 ft. mark, not sooner, so was a late season producer. Hopefully, next year will bring it in line (time wise) with most others. Manitoba was the shortest at 8-10” only! Pods made up for their height at 4” long and 1” wide! The Oregon Dwarf, I will not offer again, as there is too much variance, both for the type of pods (regular waxed & snap) offered, seeds differ and plant heights differ. I am also finding color variance in the seed of Cap. Purple podded. Some folks are able to harvest very deep brown seeds, yet mine were only light brown, despite planting the dark seeds. Is my soil composition different? Will have to re-grow a new batch next year. Victorian Purple Podded, another new variety for us, showed similar traits to King Tut. Easy shell, too. The Blue Podded Soup, retained the darkest dried pods of all varieties trialed. Plants grew from 4-5 ft. offering long pods with the largest seeds of all. Cannot discount any of the other varieties…just need more space & time. I will however, make new changes directly on the site.
As usual, found a few “mystery” seed plants & pods. The color of some seeds were a deep purple and round! Others plants showed pods, inconsistent with the ones, normal for that variety. If grown out next year (now that I have separated them…) and they continue to show 2 types…then maybe this is normal for this variety. Will have to investigate further. Just love researching…just like detective work! Too bad it takes so much time…
Well, I did not trial any corn this year…I am as sorry as anyone. Nor did I plant any radishes, as for the most part, they almost always go to seed immediately for me. I am certain that my soil needs some type of amending, maybe low in a key mineral, after reading up on the subject. They did well about 10 years ago! Darn…and I love them, too.
I did trial out a number of cucumbers and found some that really blew me away with their resilience to the heat of the summer. 2 varieties, very early in the season, attracted my attention. A new variety to our G.H., Northern Pickling…pooped out a ton of perfectly shaped & sized, with rounded ends, pickle type fruits for ¾ of the season. Its leaves were almost brown, but that did not stop the formation of flowers. Will certainly offer this one again. At the same time, our English look-a-like, Japanese Climbing kept hiding more and more of its slender dark green long fruits, under everyone else’s leaves! I accidently stepped on some in the pathway…they were curled up like a serpent…sorry! Also a long season producer. White Wonder, was just that…a crisp perfectly shaped, large white slicing variety, loaded with many fruits from early to late season. Here was one of 2 cucumbers that will store well, long after all others have hit the dust. Later in the summer, I discovered a variety that had gotten out of hand…none other than the Yellow Submarine (our 2nd storage type). Talk about slicing this one sideways to fit a submarine sandwich…yes! I found tons of them growing under members of the brassica family, to the south of the original cuk bed. Many fruits were over a foot long…3 were 1½ ft! Another heavy producer, after I discovered many more in places (it had no business being there…) was the dark brown webbed, Poona Keera. Further long …were Uzbekski, Muncher & Miniature Whites with the Lemon easily running alongside! In all, a great season for these varieties. Providing water was a challenge and they sure loved the fresh new soil they were planted in.
Oh my…I almost forgot the muskmelons! I FINALLY got to taste some, from the 12, I managed to grow out and harvest. The chippies were soooo busy eating the beets at the east side of the garden, they forgot to recheck the west side. They didn’t however FORGET to “taste” a few…checking if some were ripe. Good thing they did this too early, as for obvious reasons, no more bits were taken. And my flavor favorites: For one so popular in the southern states, Crane offered us the largest sized fruits (close to 3 lbs), along with its light green skin, darker? brown/green/beige flecks and very sweet flavor. Another one, Canary Yellow was a close second, always doing well in Manitoba…but lacking the flavor intensity of most others. Later in the season, Amish, Charantais, Honey Rock and Far North showed some potential, but didn’t grow as big as I hoped. Yes, it was hot…but these guys need lots of warm water! I still have a few Orange Fleshed Honeydew and Minnesota Midget, trying to keep themselves warm in the G.H. Picking these fruits green will not give me a fair view of their potential…unlike Pears. But beggars can’t be choosers.
Well, maybe I shouldn’t complain. Complaining only attracts more complainers! Right? I am humbled by the harvest I was given, despite the chippies trying to eat it all. Not only have we had the spoils of the garden, but we also enjoyed picking saskatoons (service berries for our American friends) pails of strawberries (from a local up-pick), where I gave away more than I took home, several pails of raspberries (our own) and several large boxes of red apples off our Japanese apple tree. Yummmm…that spiced apple butter!
As much as I could, I stored this bounty in the cold storage room in our basement. Be it in wooden slat baskets, boxes or pails of sand, by canning jars or simply tucked into a corner of the freezer. I am ready for the “winds” of change…in more ways than you know. I am exhausted!
Take care everyone! Stay warm and well. While I keep counting those darn seeds…
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Within these pages you will find some of the most unusual vegetables (plants and seeds) from all corners of the globe, as you will not find anywhere else! Welcome...be amazed and enjoy!