Well, I’ve clearly been terrible about updating. It’s been a strange, but mostly successful year in the garden, so far. I’ve got a lot to catch up on, but for now, I’ll stick to the vegetables.
The tomatoes have been my biggest and most surprising success this year. Maybe it’s beginner’s luck, since I’ve never grown tomatoes before. I planted 2 each of the sungold and the black cherry tomatoes. Both have grown quite well and I’ve been able to harvest up to a cup of cherry tomatoes a day. I prefer the sungold for snacking, but the black cherry tomatoes are just big enough that I can halve or quarter them and use them on bagels or in tomato sandwiches.
The sungolds germinated much faster than the cherry tomatoes (5 to 11 days vs. 11 to 30 days) and also started producing earlier. (40-45 days from transplant to first harvest vs 80 days from transplant to first harvest)
I think I’ll save the seeds from the black cherry tomatoes. I love how sungold tastes, but there’s another variety called coyote I want to try growing next year. Sungold is a hybrid, so I wasn’t going to save seeds from it anyway, though do have a few left in the packet, should I want to try it again.
For all the babying I did of the okra indoors, the largest and healthiest plant I currently have of the okra is one I sowed directly in mid-May. I’m growing a variety called Evertender, and it’s delicious. I’ve found that okra does not like shade at all and wants to be in as much sun as possible, with good drainage and a fair amount of water. This variety doesn’t seem to mind being a little bit crowded, from what I can tell, as long as it’s still getting lots of sunlight.
I haven’t gotten a great yield—my largest single day harvest was 2 okra, and I think I managed to get 3 in one week. I’ve learned a lot though, and I’m hoping I’ll have better luck in subsequent years. I’m going to try to save seeds from my healthiest plants and plant those next year—and I’ll simply sow them directly in their final spots.
The chard I planted is the five color silverbeet mix from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. It’s doing surprisingly well, given that I’ve mostly neglected it. It definitely needs sun though. The seeds I sowed in more shaded spots didn’t do as well. I’m probably going to do a final harvest soon, although I could just keep harvesting a few leaves at a time.
I think next year, I’ll be planting a different variety, as I think I prefer to get baby leaves for salad rather than the large leaves and stems. That’s purely a personal preference though. I’d recommend this variety.
I only got 1 pepper plant to germinate. It’s a buena mulata pepper. The fruits are pretty but they were really overshadowed by the tomatoes. I probably won’t be growing peppers next year.
This year, I’m growing rattlesnake (or preacher) beans for dry beans, rather than as green beans. If you had asked me last month, I would have said they’re doing terribly. It looked like they had rust and were just not going to do well at all. I’m still not sure what they had, though rust seems like a good possibility. But I eventually stopped worrying about it and the beans are doing fine.
I’ve got several pods of beans that are starting to dry out. I’ll probably collect them as they get fully dried. I have no idea what my yield will be like. I sowed 17 beans. We’ll see what I get in the fall. I’ll probably do these again next year, although I also want to try Good Mother Stallard beans.
When in doubt, ALWAYS stick to the vegetables.
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I love the sense of experimentation you are using in your garden. You are far better at recording what you have attempted than I am. I rely too much on what I will remember.
Here’s a tip for you that I just learned this year: soak your chard seeds in warm water overnight for better and faster germination.
Thanks! I didn’t know you could soak chard seeds but I guess it makes sense.
I have learned that my memory cannot be trusted. At some point, maybe I’ll post about my garden record keeping system.