Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Things I Am Not Sure I Want In My Garden Again

There are a number of things I am not sure I want in my garden in 2010. For various reasons they didn't work out well, they didn't seem to give a great return on space investment, they weren't that tasty, they were a nuisance, whatever. I have added brief reasons with these. Note, I do not feel that there is any need to be rational about these, I spend enough time being rational.

A few quick notes -

@ChiotsRun - I love the San Marzano as well and that was an unfortunate omission. One thing that I need to figure out is how to keep blossom end rot away from them.

@tater-mater - I will contact you via your website. Thanks for the offer!

Things I Am Not Sure I Want In My Garden Again

Ground Cherries - They started slow, then exploded. They were tasty, but so prolific I was a little alarmed. I also seem to be the only one in the family who will eat them regularly.

Sugar Baby Watermelons - I only have so much room for vining plants and, although they were super tasty, I enjoyed the pumpkins and Charantais more.

Market Cabbage - A little hard to grow, very maintenance intensive, and relatively low yeild per space. I say maintenance intensive because I wanted them organic so I spent a LOT of time picking at them and clearing cabbage loopers by hand.

Aunt Ruby's German Green Tomatoes - Great flavor, but not too prolific, and (for me) a little hard to judge when they were ready.

Zuchinni - Tasty, prolific, but it seemed a waste in some ways too. I do love the leaves too though, and the variety I have is outstanding. Hmmm....

Acorn Squash - Two years, very few squash.

Lettuce - I am the only one in the house that will eat it. Seems sort of a waste. It is pretty tasty though.

Interesting that the bent seems to be on productivity and who will consume what. Got my Burpee catalog yesterday. And as usual I am torn, there are some tremendously good looking things in there, conversely, so many of them are GM crops.

Things I Want In My Garden Again

Started really working through the catalogs lately and know some of the things I want and some of the things I don't.

Things I Want In the Garden Again In 2010

Black from Tula tomatoes (drool drool drool)
Green Zebra tomatoes
Cherokee Purple tomatoes
Brandywine tomatoes
Supersweet 100 cherry tomatoes
Baby Bok Choi
fingerling potatoes
turnips (drool drool drool)
Dutch Crookneck Squash
blackberries (drool drool drool)
Charantais melons
Rouge vif de Etempes pumpkins
swiss chard

I wonder whats on my wife's list? Maybe I need to find out. :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Work With The Best Sort Of People

I work with a great crew of people. For Christmas they got me a few things. They got me these:

A gardening Christmas ornament and some seed saving supplies. They also pitched in together and got me one of the most insightful gifts I have recieved in a LONG time:

They also got me all the attachments for it. Salsa screen, berry screen, pumpkin screen etc. I am so excited to try it out. I think I am going to try it this weekend with some pumpkin to make some pie filling. More winter stores coming soon!

And, to MrBrownThumb, I will be glad to send you some seed to veggies that keep through the winter. Drop me a note with and address or email address and I will get some seed off to you. Would love to talk as well. Looks like you are in my area and we are thinking of a gardener get together in the area here in March or April.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Breaking Into The Winter Stores

As a gardener I like to stretch the harvest as long as possible. I like to have something fresh from the garden all the time. No small feat in Chicago. This year I grew some things that could be stored for the long haul, into the winter. This last weekend I decided to break into the winter stores for a little boost of mood. What did I break into? The onions? the ristra? No, I broke out a Crookneck Squash.

It looked great three months in. It smelled great. But what to do with it? I decided to break into the winter stores again, and what came out next? Sweet potatoes!
Three months in the store and it looked good, smelled good, was a tiny little bit odd on the texture.

So I roasted the squash in the oven with olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh thyme (I need to post on my successes with keeping the herbs going indoors so far this winter) and a touch of oil and brown sugar on the sweet potato. Into the oven, and, wow. A magnificent lunch on a cold day. What a joy. I would have gotten a picture, but they didn't even make it off the cookie sheet before they were eaten, still screaming hot, by an appreciative family.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Candied Citrus Peel

I was reading Chiotsrun one day and saw a great post about candied citrus peels. I followed a link back to Garden Of Eating and got a great recipe. Made it today with my daughters from some grapefruit, YUMMY!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Some Dehydrating

Got a good size bag of apples on sale (29 cents a pound!). Cleaned them, peeled them, sliced them, dipped them in a lemon juice solution, and threw them in the dehydrator. Buddy had a great time helping peel and dip and putting them in the dehydrator.

This year we have given the dehydrator a pretty good workout. Thyme, basil, oregano, sage, rosemary, squash, now apples. Thinking about some of these tasty looking citrus.

Working to preserve more each year.

Got hotsauce on my mind too.