Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Summer Harvest Roundup

Here are this summer's winners:

In the SEXY Category:
  • Teton de Venus Tomato: As I've already raved, how can I not love a tomato that is productive, tasty, a great canner, and named after boobs?

In the FECUND Category:
  • Armenian Cucumber: Last year, I believe I used the phrase "rabbits on ecstasy productive." Yup, they're still living up to that image, and they're delicious too.
  • Goldie Groundcherry (Physalis pruinosa): Laura at Mas du Diable shared seeds for these sweet little babies with me. I was familiar with them from selling them to local German farmers at the garden center (Otten Brothers) where I worked in high school and the first summer of college. I loved snagging the paper-enclosed golden fruits off the overgrown plants left in six-packs at the end of the summer; they were sweet and tropical-tasting in a place so far from the tropics. In my garden this summer, they fruited and fruited, despite the constant attack from spider mites. I have a feeling these guys may naturalize on our property if I'm not careful.

In the MUSICAL FRUIT Category:
  • Almost all of my beans! Blue Coco and Indian Woman Yellow lived up to the high expectations they set for me last year. Rattlesnake was a delicious new addition, and a great one in its multipurposeness; they beans are absolutely delicious green, but if I let them go too long, no worries! They give me loads of dry pinto-ish beans. Mitla Black was another new addition this year. A bush bean, supposedly a tepary (though I have my doubts), it handled the heat and drought well and gave me loads of small, shiny black beans. I haven't cooked with them yet; I hope they're as pretty in my mouth as they are in the jar.
  • Red Noodle Asian Yardlong Bean: So beautiful, so long, so purple, so heat-tolerant! Superlative, superlative, superlative! The gophers tunneled through the open end of my bean bed and got to Red Noodle's teepee before I stopped them; the evil bastards took out all but one of my vines. However, the little vine that could soon turned into a mighty, unstoppable beast, giving me many beans despite its loneliness. Revenge on the ground-dwelling critters? I hope so.


In the I CAN'T STOP EATING YOU Category:

In the WTF? Category:
  • Not Seminole Squash and Not Piel de Sapo melon: I have great enthusiasm towards my involvement in Seed Savers Exchange, but with that enthusiasm, I have to have some flexibility. This year, one member sent me two varieties that weren't what they were purported to be. I'm not sure if this member was not careful during pollination and allowed cross-pollination to occur, or, if this person mislabed saved seed. But, the Seminole Squash, a variety I'd been wanting to grow for years and finally had room for, turned out to be some kind of Calabaza-esque squash. And, the Piel de Sapo (Skin of the Toad) melon from the same source turned out to be a Crane melon. Birds and Toads—who could confuse 'em? Oh well, neither are bad; they just aren't what I wanted.

In the WHY DON'T YOU DASH MY DREAMS WHILE YOU'RE AT IT? Category:
  • Orangeglo Watermelon: It is September 23rd, and when I was out today, I noticed that these vines have just set their first fruit. Too bad sucker, you're never going to come to maturity, because you and your vine are coming out in two weeks. I have no idea why it has taken so long to get these vines started. I'll give it another try next year, though, so I haven't given up complete hope on it.
  • Pepper plant after pepper plant: Nearly all my peppers, with the exception of Fish and Bonnie's Hot, failed this year. Complete capsicum catastrophe. I'm pretty sure part of my problem was where I planted the majority of them; they really need more fertile soil than what they had. Next year, next year, next year.
  • Poha, Physalis peruviana: My friend who lives around the corner gave me a seedling of this after I tasted one at her house. They're beautiful fruit, about the size of a nickel, taxi-yellow, and encased in an elegant, papery robe. The fruit I tasted at her house was tropical and complex, sweet and haunting. The plant she gave me grew at an astonishing pace, set fruit up and down and all around its branches, and gave me buckets of fruit. So why am I complaining? Because not one fruit that I've collected, whether it's fallen dead-ripe off the plant or not, has shown any sign of sweetness. Each has been so tart that biting into one is equivalent to taking a big swig from that cider vinegar bottle that is in the kitchen cabinet.

What about you? Any new discoveries you made in the garden this summer?

7 comments:

Laura said...

Great round up christina - it is always useful to know what works in other people's gardens. I have a new Physalis variety this year that is a much taller specimen 3-4ft with much bigger and better flavoured fruit than the ground dwelling one I sent you last year. One of the highlights of my garden this year is a fury cucumber called Bari after the Italian town is hails from(I believe it may be cucumis melo like the Armenian cucumber) best tasting cucumber I've tried so far, if you would like to try it. The purple snake beans sound great. The wild pigs here got to the dakota squash so I will have to wait until next year to try them again. Szechuan Aubergine yet again a great tasting and good performance, Doux D'Espagne peppers unstoppable despite the wild boar turfing a few out of the ground in August.

June said...

How I love a great garden round-up. I'll be popping back here when my own seed wish-list is on my lap, and I'm in front of the fire, and the snow is oh, say...yay deep.

Those Asian beans are a definite. Do you recall where that seed came from?

I'm still loving my Ruby Gold tomatoes. Because when the late blight stopped everything else, Ruby kicked the blight's butt and came through with a quite nice crop despite rain and cold and...

Thank you!

ann said...

How funny! You had tomato triumph and pepper puniness,and I had the exact opposite! I so wish I had protected my peppers so I could send you some hinklehatz and Leutschauer seeds. They are just the most amazing peppers ever. Hold on til next year though, and I'll try your little baggie trick and send you some then :-)

Soilman said...

So gutted you can get watermelons to do ANYTHING... what a horticultural wonder it must be to live in a warm climate

*drools with envy*

Rowena... said...

Love your roundup, and am already looking forward to next spring in order to try one more time on the "disappointments". I'll certainly put more effort into growing beans next year!

Christina said...

Laura: I think I have the physalis that you're talking about, physalis peruviana. That's the plant I mentioned that never sweetened up for me, so I'm particularly jealous that it tasted good for you. The bari sounds fascinatng. Would you share your pepper starting secrets with me, please? I'm a failure in that department.

June: Yes, I do recall where the seed came from. If you shoot me an email with your address, I'll send you some seeds in a month or so.

Ann: Did you start your peppers from seed? I get my peppers to sprout and leaf, then they just stop. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, especially since I've been really successful with growing tomatoes and other plants from seed. I'd love your advice.

Soilman: But you can grow loads and loads of potatoes, something I struggle with to barely get a few. And, you have a cool enough climate to grow some of the apples and pears more successfully than here. AND, I could never pull of cauliflower as beautifully as you do.

Rowena: Beans are so worth it! Blue Coco is my favorite with Rattlesnake a close second for green beans. I'm curious to see what varieties grow well for you.

The All Seasons Gardener said...

Well, we grew asparagus peas this year and we'll never do it again! Pretty plants, gorgeous flowers and a taste that blended the flavour of pencil-sharpenings with the sharp edges of razor-blades! A total waste of time and space in our opinion.