Friday, October 5, 2012

2012 Garden Review Part 3: The Middlins Continued

There was too much to write about in the middlin' category of my garden, so I needed to continue it in a second post. The middlins are the vegetables that did fair to middlin' for me this year; well enough to please, but not stunning successes in terms of quantity and/or quality. This may have been affected by the weather, my poor garden soil, the lack of sunshine or my own inexperience, but I will certainly keep at it! They do, after all is said and done, make up the majority of my harvests when added all together.

The biggest middlin' on my mind this year is tomatoes. The thing is, I plant close to fifty tomato plants and should be drowning in them. But I never do and I'm sure a big part of that is that my plants get the bare minimum amount of sunlight they need to make fruit. Nevertheless, this year I had even less than what I usually get because my plants became diseased very early on and it was a battle for the fruit to ripen before they succombed. I'm uncertain of what I was dealing with, but I'm guessing  early blight. I had many varieties. Surprisingly, my Romas did the best. I was also pleased with Eva Purple Ball, which in other years has not done well here, and I had lots of Juliets. Cherokee Purple did fairly well. On the other end of the spectrum, Indigo Rose was awful tasting, though it did produce and this year my usual favorite, Amish Paste, gave me exactly two poor quality tomatoes.
I grew cauliflower for the first time this spring and was very pleased to get some little caulis. I am calling them middlin' because they were so very small that all twelve combined to make the equivalent of one head that I could buy at the store. I dropped the ball as far as trying a fall planting which might have done better. The variety I grew is called Charming Snow.
Most of my Asian greens grew amazingly well. They included mizuna, mibuna, komatsuna, tatsoi, yukina savoy and bok choy. I wouldn't call them middlin' at all, except for the bok choy. It grew fairly well, but due to not covering them they were insect ravaged early on. I definitely need to get better about using row covers.
Melons were a mixed bag. Isn't that watermelon above cute? Well, sadly, it snapped off its vine way before it was ripe, since I waited too long to support it. And that was about it for watermelon. The variety was Blacktail Mountain and I think next year it's time to try another type. Same with Honey Yellow honeydew which for the second year yielded one stunted golf-ball sized melon. My one success with melons was the Korean melon Sun Jewel.
I'd say kohlrabi, leeks and radish also qualify for middlin' this year. The purple kohlrabi definitely did better than the white. The French Breakfast radish did well in the spring, but unfortunately I planted way too few. The leeks are great and there are plenty, but they are much skinnier than last year and far less robust.
That about covers the middlins for the 2012 garden. Room for improvement and I am up to the challenge!
To end on an upbeat note: my garlic order for this year arrived yesterday. Yes, I saved plenty of my own homegrown for seed, but I was less than impressed with the softneck I grew, so I ordered 2 bulbs of a softneck variety and 2 bulbs of the hardneck variety Music I'd heard such good things about from Seed Savers Exchange. Unfortunately, they were unable to send me any Music because their Music seed garlic was not up to quality, so they substituted German Red. Well, I was a little disappointed, but that's OK. But wait! Because of this, they included in the box an entire pound of another variety of hardneck garlic free of charge, that they noted were "smalls". Smalls? Wow, most of them were bigger than the biggest bulbs I grew and saved to plant! And there were over twelve bulbs in that bag! The four bulbs that I paid for were truly huge, so I must say I am beyond pleased with Seed Savers Exchange. In fact, I think I'm in garlic heaven! Will be planting it out in early November!
See my beautiful little bags of garlic? Yes, indeed, this has put a smile on my face!

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