I’m trying to keep track of what I grow this year, so that I can decide if I want to grow certain things again next year. These “veggie reviews” will be categorized as such on the blog. I’ve found them useful on other blogs, so hopefully someone finds these useful as well! One thing I’ve consistendly found useful in this regard is Hannah’s tomato tastings, so I’ll model somewhat after that.

lemon spacemaster

Lemon and Spacemaster cucumbers

LEMON CUCUMBER
Got seeds from: I can’t remember! Either @getinthegarden, @snarkyvegan, or @betweenthelimes. I forgot to mark it on my seed spreadsheet. Oops!
Planting info: I mislabeled a spacemaster as a lemon, so I only ended up with one plant (oops). I planted it in the old veggie garden, which is hard, rocky soil (amended with topsoil and compost). It doesn’t get a lot of water because I mostly rely on rain, but I have been hitting it with the sprinkler since we’re in a drought. It’s growing up an upside-down tomato trellis and is still pretty small (maybe 2-foot long vine).
Beauty points: Very pretty! The have little hairy spikes, but these rub off easily when washing it. They’re a very bright streaky yellow. I expected them to be pale.
Taste: Very mild and a bit citrusy. The skin is thin and, in my opinion, doesn’t need to be removed. Also good in vinegar, but of course you lose the intricacies of flavor. To really enjoy this one, it’s best served simply sliced.
Other considerations: Pick them when they’re about the size of a lemon (duh). If you let them get too big, they get more seedy.
Will I grow it again? It was a bit seedy, but that means I’ll have plenty of seeds to harvest…as long as I get another cucumber. I’ve only had one so far, and I was juuuust about to pick a second when either a bunny or squirrel ate it overnight. I think I will grow this one again, though. It’s good enough and unusual enough that I can enjoy it. The only way I wouldn’t grow it is if I can find the seeds of the delicious white cucumber by CSA grew last year. I’ll have to crawl through old emails and see if I can find the name.

lemon spacemaster

Lemon and Spacemaster cucumbers sliced

SPACEMASTER CUCUMBER
Got seeds from: Botanical Interests
Planting info: These are supposed to be good for small spaces. I planted two in the raised beds beside the luffa. They get watered from the soaker hose and are growing up two upside-down tomato trellises.
Beauty points: Not gorgeous. They have small spikes that can be rubbed off while washing them.
Taste: Tastes like a cucumber! Very thin and not at all bitter skin. Not too seedy, would make decent pickles, I think.
Other considerations: None, really. They’re been growing very well and don’t seem to have any issues.
Will I grow it again? Definitely! I may try another cucumber next year for picking as well, but this one is definitely staying on the list.

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This is a more general “veggie reviews”. Not going over specific kids of veggies, but just what veggies I will and will not plan on growing next year in the garden. Might help you if you’ve got a similar garden situation. For reference, my garden is 4 raised beds and one rocky, in-ground bed about the size of a raised bed. The in-ground bed hasn’t gotten a lot of water this year as we’ve had a drought (I give it some sprinkler time as needed), but the raised beds are watered by a soaker hose daily. I of course of have pictures of all of these plants, but don’t feel like searching for them! Use the search box at left to find out more about what I’ve done with each of these throughout the year.

Beans
Grew this year: royal burgundy, pencil pod, dragon tongue, maxibel bush, a couple others
No. As much as I absolutely LOVE fresh beans from the garden, I don’t think I’m going to grow them again next year, other than maybe a plant or two to snack on fresh beans from while outside. I haven’t had great results from the beans I’ve planted. They look scraggly and I don’t catch the beans until they’ve gone hard, or the beans are skinny and don’t taste great (heat, maybe?). And in order to really have enough beans to occasionally use as a side dish, I’d really have to have a whole bed of beans. Beans are readily available from local farmers, both Amish and non, so I think I’ll just get my beans from them next year. The ones I most frequently snack on, dragon tongue and royal burgundy, I may grow a plant or two of.

peas3Peas
Grew this year: Wando and another variety I forget. They tasted and performed the same.
Yes! I so enjoyed growing my own peas this spring, and because they’re just a spring crop, you pull them and they don’t take up space the whole summer. Next year I will plant more peas and plan better where they go (to account for them being replaced with something else), but I will for sure grow them again.

Carrots
Grew this year: tonda di parigi, danvers half long
Yes! I lost about half of my carrots this year because hornworms ate the foliage off of all the ones in my raised bed, so they stopped growing. Consequently, I didn’t get any of the little round tonda di parigi carrots I was so excited about! The carrots I planted in a large pot and kept in a more shaded area did very well, though, so I plan on doing that next year and using raised bed space for something else.

radishRadishes and beets
Grew this year: early scarlet globe radish, detroit dark red beet
Yes! I am also going to try to grow these again in the fall, and will be more conscious of sowing more next year in succession, so I get more than one crop. Both were very easy to grow, weren’t bothered by pests, and tasted great. Plus they are another spring crop like the peas that you get to plant something else in after they’re done (again, I will plan better for that next year). May try some more varieties of each next year.

Peppers
Grew this year: sweet banana, cayenne, jalapeno, marconi, chili, habanero, fish, sweet red cherry
Yes! Though I’m not a fan of peppers on their own, I LOVE making my own salsa over the summer and these guys are a key ingredient. Unfortunately, I lost ALL the peppers I’d started from seed this year in the Great Plant Fry of 2010, so all the peppers I have were from a plant exchange or purchased as seedlings. Botanical Interests is having a free shipping deal this weekend (friend them on facebook for details), so I am planning on making a small purchase, and peppers are in the mix.

Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts

Grew this year: Di cicco and Long Island Improved
Ask me after the fall. Cabbage worms ate the hell out of them in the spring, then it got too hot too fast, so I pulled them and gave up.

Ground Cherries
Grew this year: Whatever kind @snarkyvegan gave me?
Yes! I’ve really enjoyed these weird little plants. I’ve already made a sauce that I used on turkey and last night on my portobello burger (hubby had jalapeno jack burgers) and very delicious bread that I need to share the recipe for. I’m going to try to save some seeds, but if not I’ll purchase more. These are tasty and there’s no way I’d find them if I didn’t grow them myself.

Zucchini
Grew this year: Black Beauty
Maybe. I’m not a big zuc fan and hubby doesn’t like them. I just bought these because Lowe’s was having a sale. They’re not producing like crazy (yet?), prob because they’re in the old garden and haven’t gotten a lot of water.

Okra
Grew this year: whatever Lowe’s had
Nope. Just like the beans, you have to plant too many to get anything worthwhile. I’ve gotten 3 so far and ended up composting them bc what do you do with 3 okra? Also the only thing I ever do with them is fry them, so frozen or random local is fine.

Pumpkin
Grew this year: the seed that came with the compost
Maybe. I grew this one on accident and it’s kind of fun. Only one pumpkin on there and I don’t see more blooms, but again it’s in the garden that hasn’t gotten any water. I like my little pumpkin, but I don’t think it’ll make it to Halloween 😦

Luffa
Grew this year: luffa from Botanical Interests
Maybe. I was SO SUPER EXCITED about this, but the dang thing still hasn’t fruited! I don’t get it. I had just grand plans for Christmas presents! So we’ll see. I’m giving you a chance, luffa.

lemon spacemaster
Cucumbers
Grew this year: spacemaster and lemon
Yes! I adore cucumbers and the ones in the raised bed are producing like crazy. The lemon isn’t doing as well, so next year I’ll make sure to plant all cucumbers in a raised bed with plenty of room for climbing.

Lettuce
Grew this year: Baby greens mesclun mix from Botanical Interests, black seeded simpson lettuce
Yes! But next year I’ll plan it better. This is something else that gets pulled when it gets too hot, and this year it got so hot so quick I really only got one harvest before it started to bolt and get bitter. Next year I will plant earlier and more in succession to get more harvests, and I will also plan for them being pulled up by planting them in the bed with the other spring crops.

Tomaotes
Grew this year: Black from Tula, Eva purple ball, speckled roman, better boy, early girl, sungold, russian rose
Let’s not be silly. Of course! I lost a bunch in the plant fry, but I lucked out and still ended up with a nice selection between stores, family, and plant exchanges. I’ll be doing separate reviews of some of these, but tomatoes will definitely get at least one bed in the garden next year as well.

#wordlesswednesday

luffa

#wordlesswednesday

finches

#wordlesswednesday

pumpkin

[hint: search my blog for ‘mystery curcubit’ for more info on this saga.]

I totally missed the July bloom day! Oops. I kind of missed June’s as well. It was a crazy week last week. Hubby and I had gone on a trip to WVA to stay in a friend’s family cabin for the weekend. We had a great time. But I woke up around 3:00AM Monday morning with a lovely bout of what was clearly…food poisoning! Hubby’s started around 6AM. I had to call out sick from work (note: food poisoning in two people is EXTRA FUN when you only have one bathroom!).

I’ve had some things I’ve had to deal with lately that have meant a lot of days off work. Having already taken a one week vacation in May and having already scheduled another in September, that all adds up to me having to take some unpaid leave days this year. So I tried to make up as much time as I could during the week (I made up about a half a day) so I wouldn’t have to take as much leave. PLUS my parents are at the beach this week, so I had to feed and care for their plants and cats on the way home from work. PLUS it was my aunt’s birthday so I had to take her gift to her, AND it was my dad’s birthday ON bloom day! So I didn’t even realize I’d missed it until yesterday. (There are literally about 10 family and friend birthdays in July. Add in June, too, and it gets a little crazy.)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Dad, cousin Andy, cousin Mary, me

So here are some late bloom day pics for ya.

This balloon flower is in a pot right now because it didn’t work where I had plunked it last year. It might find a home in the shadier rain barrel garden, which accidentally has kind of a purple/blue theme.
balloom flower
balloon flower

tomatill

tomatillo

One of my favorite and first “not everyone has it or knows what it is” plants, the blackberry lily.
blackberry lily
blackberry lily

dragonfly

#wordlesswednesday

NOTE: Crabs not pictured.

…that problem being that the plant is HUGE and there are no luffas on it. (Yes, it’s the luffa/loofah like the sponge. It’s not a sea creature, it’s a GOURD! I know, amazing, right?)

I had 2 planted on this trellis, and I was kind of glad one ended up kicking the bucket, because this one is huge! It was planted at the same time as the 2 cucumbers next to it and there is no comparison. Well…except for the fact that the cucumber plants are actually making a lot of cucumbers.

cucumber

There are a lot of flowers on the luffa (which I only see in the AM (the flowers not the whole plant)) and there are always ants and other pollinators over there, but I have looked and looked and see no sign of actual fruit.

proof of pollintor

There are just little clusters of things that I assume are to-be-flowers (you can see them in the pic around the flower) at the ends of all the vines where the tendril out. Any ideas why there are no luffas? I was all excited about this plant! I planned to make some luffa sponges for gifts for xmas.

At least it makes pretty pictures...

I know I have spoken of pretty weeds before, but this weed has long been my favorite. The first time I saw it, I think I spent 10 minutes trying to get my camera to focus on the impossibly tiny flower so I could have a photo of it. The flower is about half the size it is when you view the picture below full-screen. Can you imagine how gorgeous it’d be if it was huge? Reminds me a little of a hibiscus. Very hard to photograph because it’s so small and I can’t manually focus my camera, but the outside is a peachy color and there is a small purple ring inside.

pretty weed

This little guy has chosen to grow in a spot in my flower bed where it actually looks sort of “on purpose,” so I’ve let it be. It’s pretty well-behaved and stays in a little clump. And with even the drought-tolerant plants starting to look rough lately (we’re in a “moderate drought” here in Southern MD and have gotten about 10 minutes of rain in the last month and a half or so), you’ve got to have a little respect for the weeds that are pulling through. I also can’t help but notice the wild daisies lately, as well as the Queen Anne’s Lace – a favorite of my grandmothers, and one I actually often pick for bouquets in the office when I walk around the block to get out for a bit.

Anyone have an ‘official’ name for this weed?

Also an official WELCOME! to all the Googlers who were looking for a different kind of pretty weed. 🙂

#wordlesswednesday

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