Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 Successes and Failures

Before I plan the garden I need to reflect on the successes and failures of my garden last year so that I can make some changes to have a more productive garden this year.

Let's start the failures:
Aristocrat Zucchini - I had tons of blossoms and absolutely no zucchini.  I don't know if it needed more sun, a lack of pollination, or death due to powdery mildew.  But this was a complete fail.

Red Beauty Bell Pepper - This was not a beauty at all.  Last year I had mild success with peppers.  This year I only planted one and it failed miserably.  It only grew a few inches and had a sad attempt to grow two tiny peppers that never ripened.  Peppers are sun hogs and while my plot gets good sun it just doesn't get enough for peppers.

Early Girl Tomato - This girl was not early, in fact she never showed up to the party.  I had a huge towering plant, plenty of blossoms and zero tomatoes.  I have no clue what the problem was.  It was planted amidst plenty of other productive tomato plants.

Amethyst Basil - I always grow the Genovese varieties of basil but this year I thought maybe it would be fun to have a basil that would add a different color dimension to our food.  All I have to say is bleh about this plant.  Many of the leaves didn't completely turn purple and were splotched with green.  Also the flavor was bitter and just horrible.  I will never grow this again.

Now for the Successes!  Not all were superstars but much better than the above complete failures.
Pineapple Tomato(heirloom) - This tomato is a huge beauty and I got a half dozen of them.  Because the tomatoes are so large they take a good amount of time to fully grow and ripen.  Due to this many critters were able to get to them before me.  Unfortunately in an attempt to rotate crops in my plot this plant ended up in the shade by 3-4pm and I think that it might be more productive in all day sun.  The tomatoes had a gorgeous yellow and red pattern with wonderful flavor!

Golden Boy Tomato - This tomato is a wonderful yellow vibrant color and produces plenty of fruits.  Again I lost plenty to the squirrels and the afternoon shade was a bit of a problem but otherwise it had great production.

Mr. Stripey Tomato(heirloom) - This was a tomato I bought because as the name indicates the tomatoes are supposed to be a multitude of stripey colors.  However mine all turned out orange.  This tomato had the best sun and did well.  The vine was extremely dense and curled in on itself which made it hard to find the tomatoes.  Overall a good plant with the exception that it didn't look like it was advertised to.

Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato -  This plant had the same light as the Pineapple Tomato but still was prolific.  We had plenty of cherry tomatoes all Summer and many were eaten right in the garden.  They have great flavor and I love how quickly they grow and ripen so that you can enjoy some tomatoes while you are waiting for the big boys to ripen. 

Yellow Plum Cherry Tomato - This plant was a prolific bearer also plenty of small tomatoes constantly growing and ripening.  I bought this one for it's fun color and shape.  Their shape ended up more orb like and less pear shaped.  The flavor was good but nothing to write home about.  I wasn't disappointed with this plant but just not sure if it will make it back into the garden.

Supersett Yellowneck Squash - This squash unfortunately was also plagued by powdery mildew.  However I did get a half dozen or so squash from this plant before it finally succumbed to the mildew.  I was happy with it otherwise.

Classic Eggplant - We really enjoyed this plant.  The eggplants take a bit of time to fully grow but we were happy anyways.  We had plenty of eggplant for two people and weren't overwhelmed with trying to get rid of extra.

Red and Yellow Onions - These did ok overall.  The tops fell a bit early and they didn't get to grow as long as they should have and ended up on the small side.  I have already used up all the yellow and have a few red that I will breeze through by Spring.  But for the first attempt at onions I would say it wasn't bad.

Garlic - I grew a soft neck variety and again they were on the smaller side but we have plenty of garlic for the rest of the year.  I plan to continue experimenting with growing different varieties.

Carrots -  I didn't save the tag but I grew a medium sized variety.  They also did ok. Some were tiny, some huge.  I don't really have the timing correct on when to thin, how much to thin out and when to know they are ready.  I just can't decide if the effort is worth the payoff.

Lettuce Varieties - We grew many different varieties of lettuce.  All of the Spring lettuce did amazing and we ate it all season until it got too hot and bolted.  My Fall lettuce was a bit of a flop.  It was too hot to get them going before the days got shorter and then once they were in full swing we had hard frost and snow which ended them.  I will later have to post about which varieties did better than others.

Gold Lemon Thyme - This was a second new herb I tried.  The thyme wasn't as golden as the picture indicated but it had a wonderful zippy lemon flavor and grew well.  I didn't use much of this herb but really enjoyed it when I did.

Radish - I planted a long breakfast variety in the Fall.  They are quick growers and ego boosters to any gardener.

Cilantro - I also tried this in the Fall but it was just too hot for it to really get going and harvest any.
We also grew other classic herbs such as french thyme, rosemary, sage, chives, genovese basil which all did really well.

The big take away lessons here are that some of my plants do really well in this plot and a few might benefit from more sun.  I also think we might have a pollination issue, the main reason why I want to get a hive and bees.  As I continue to expand the garden it was a great year for learning and production!

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