2018 Garden Planning
The winter ritual begins anew. Somehow we have amassed a large amount of new vegetable seeds. My desire for diversity and to branch out and try new varieties is at an all-time high; we used to simply grow what we knew, what worked -- those steady varieties that produced year over year, and frankly, to use up the seeds we had purchased. We were very practical gardeners.
Now, we have a year ahead with more unknown varieties than known. That being said, we will continue to grow the varieties we know and love like our Patterson storage onions, our tiara cabbage, Hestia and Diablo brussels sprouts (early and midseason for extended harvests), and so on. I will be most curious to see how these unique and rare varieties compare to our steady companions. Of course, I will be taking notes and reporting my findings here.
Additionally, we invested in cover crops. Last summer, we had several open areas as time passed and harvests completed, despite our best efforts to successional plant as much of the space as possible. This summer, we will utilize those times to enhance our soil with cover crops including crimson clover, buckwheat, and oats.
Here are some of the new-to-us varietals (new varieties released for 2018 indicated by an *) we are growing this year, in no particular order:
- Cylindra Beets
- King of the North and Canary bell pepper
- Thai red, Candlelight, and Chinese five color pepper
- Red Dragon napa cabbage*
- New York Improved eggplant
- Tomatillo verde
- Aunt Molly's ground cherry
- Durgesh* and Violetta Italia cauliflower
- Red Rubine Brussels sprout*
- Extra dwarf and Li Ren Choi baby bok choy
- Blaver Speck* and Terek* Kohlrabi
- Zebrune shallot
- Giant musselburgh leek
- Arugula pronto
- Tango celery
- Evergreen long white and blushing bunching onions
- Ragged Jack, Red Ursa*, Olympic Red, and Scarlet Kale
- King Tut Purple pea*
- Dragon Tongue, Purple Potted, Chinese Red Noodle, and Black Coat Runner* Pole Beans
- Mexican sour gherkin (aka cucamelon)
- Fortina White and Winter Luxury Pie pumpkins
- Jester delicata
- Atlantic Giant pumpkin
- Early Golden, Costata Romanesco, and Yellow Scallop summer squash
- Glass gem and American Dream corn
- Petite Mix marigold
- Sunbow, Benary's Giant, and Cut and come again zinnia
- Sultane mix and tall double strawflower
- Rubinato cosmos
- Audrey white and bicolor rose gomphrena
- Giant hybrid dahlia
- QIS dark blue larkspur
- Common chamomile
Most of these vegetables and about half of the flowers are things we have grown previously, it's just the varieties are new. It's going to be a fun year watching and tending these newbies, along with our dozens of good old standbys that have weathered the ultimate test as perennial companions that produce well year after year. Almost all of the varieties listed above can be sourced through either Johnny's Selected Seeds or Baker Creek Seeds.
I'm admittedly a bit fatigued having just admitted what we have committed to grow. The flowers are a first step as establishing a cut flower garden that is deer proof along our driveway. I expect some to succeed and others, well, to challenge me.
I hope you have begun to dream and plan for your summer gardens, too. Happy planning!