November 27, 2012 - The 2012 Garden Review

Crops grown in 2012.....................

Beans, bush
The main varieties grown were Gourmet Green French, Velour Filet and either Contender or Provider (using old seed, I just grabbed a packet and didn't make note of what they were).

As much as I've liked the Gourmet Green French from Ed Hume Seeds, I fell in love with the Velour Filet beans that Ed sent for me to try.  Similar to the Gourmet Green French in both the size of the plants (compact) and the size of the beans (small and slender), Velour's dark purple color made them easy to see and pick, and the yields were double those I got from the Gourmet Green.  I will order Velour Filet from Johnny's Selected Seeds for the 2013 garden.  Since bean seeds are viable for several years, I will order 1000 seeds for $6 rather than a pkt. of 175 seeds for $3.45.  I still have some older packets of several varieties of bush beans, so I'll be trying to use some of those up in the 2013 garden as well.

Beans, pole
As usual, I will be planting Fortex.  I saved seeds from this year to use in 2013.  I wasn't happy with the pole beans growing up over the back fence.  It was hard to find the beans, and a lot of the vines went over the top and down onto the neighbor's side of the fence.  I much prefer planting them on both sides of the chain link kennel.  I can see them from either side, so I don't miss as many beans when I pick them.  Unfortunately, we moved the kennel out of the garden area this fall, so I have no chain link on which to let them climb.  I will either have to build a trellis, or plant them next to the patio where they can climb and cling to the lattice panels.  I did have beans there one year, and they did quite well.  However, if I use that spot for pole beans, I'll lose the planting space for three tomato plants.

Varieties grown were Chioggia and Red Ace Hybrid.  I think the Chioggia were sweeter, but not pretty when pickled.  Red Ace has always been a good yielder for me, and this year was no exception.  I think I have quite a few beet seeds left from the 2012 garden.  If not, I'll probably purchase Red Ace again.  A must do is to cover the beets with tulle to keep the leaf miners off of them.  It worked very well this year.

I planted Hybrid Super Blend from Lily Miller, and had fantastic broccoli that was still giving me side shoots when I got sick of it and pulled it out.  In fact, the one plant that is still in the flower bed, that I let blossom and go to seed, still has a few edible side shoots at the end of November.  Another, in the main garden, had such a huge stem I couldn't get it out of the ground, so I cut it off and it's now growing new stems and leaves.  I have no idea what varieties were included in the packet, but there are a lot of seeds left so some will be planted in the 2013 garden.

Brussels Sprouts (fail)
Seeds started indoors in March and set out in the spring got huge (over 4' tall) but never did get many edible sized sprouts.  We had one meal of them, tossed with olive oil and roasted, and neither of us really liked them.  I had my son cut off the stalks and take them home to harvest the remaining small sprouts, so I didn't even put a weight total in my records.  No more Brussels sprouts will be grown in my garden.

Varieties grown were Pixie and Gonzales.  Both are small varieties, perfect for small families and/or small gardens.  Gonzales was the smaller of the two, I think Pixie was sweeter and Gonzales tended to be a bit spicy.  Either variety would be welcomed in the 2013 garden, but I'll more likely buy something, probably Golden Acre, from the seed racks rather than pay shipping and handling for a catalog order.  If, on the other hand, I split a Johnny's order with Ed, I'll go for the Gonzales.

Varieties grown were Burpee A#1 Hybrid and Imperator.  Early carrots were not very good, due to problems with root knot nematodes.  Later carrots were mostly fine, and grew faster and larger than the early planted ones.  In 2013 I will grow all carrots where corn grew in 2012, which is supposed to be better if nematodes are present in the garden.  I will purchase Ingot Hybrid carrot seed from Ed Hume Seeds.  That variety has been a favorite in past years.

Celery (fail)
Variety grown was Tall Utah #527OR, Improved from Ferry-Morse.  I started the plants inside in February, and set them out in April.  They never got large stalks, and went to seed as soon as the weather turned hot.  I started another few plants to plant in mid summer.  They didn't go to seed, but never got anything worth eating.  I'll not fool with celery in the future.

Honey Select Triplesweet™ Hybrid from Ed Hume Seeds was early and delicious!  The kernels are rather small, but very tender and sweet.  The ears were not bothered by corn ear worms or insects until the final few were maturing, then they got small worms that didn't do much damage.  Silver Queen corn, a later variety, was plagued with ear worms and sap beetles as well as corn smut.  Silver Queen stalks also blew down several times during wind storms, but the Honey Select stood tall.  I'll definitely have to plant an early corn to avoid the pests, so I'm considering Bodacious Hybrid from Ed Hume Seeds.  I'm thinking the ears may be larger than Honey Select, and it's a few days earlier maturing.

I didn't plant pickling cucumbers this year, as I really don't need pickles yet.  I did plant Spacemaster slicers from Ed Hume Seeds, in a container.  It always performs well for me and provides just enough cucumbers to keep the family happy.  They will be planted in 2013.  I had a few seeds of Diva, but lost the seedlings (I blamed it on bad, cheap potting mix).

Garlic (fail)
The garlic, a grocery store variety, didn't do well in 2012.  It got off to a great start, but had to be moved in early spring and never did recover.  A small bed (same variety) was planted in October for the 2013 crop.

Two parsley plants were more than enough for fresh eating and drying.  Several basil plants were grown, but I found we like only Sweet or Italian, and the others were pretty much ignored.

I had so many varieties this year!  However, it wasn't a great year for lettuce, so my yield was down.  In 2013 the lettuce bed will be moved back to its old location behind the shed.  The plants seem happiest there.  I have a lot of leftover seeds, so my only purchase for 2013 will be Red Sails.  I would really like to try Anuenue again, but I'm not paying a big price plus shipping charges for it.  I grew it a few years ago, and I remember it being one of our favorites.

Varieties grown were saved seeds from a grocery store variety and a packet (I think Burpee seeds) from a seed rack, and I didn't make note of the variety.  The saved seeds grew huge, beautiful melons with very little flavor.  The purchased seeds grew way too many small melons that ripened all at once and tasted great.  I ended up giving so many away, we just couldn't eat them before they rotted.  Our local farm stand sells them quite cheap, so I don't think I'll take up so much space in next year's garden.  I'll just buy one at a time as we want them.

Walla Walla Sweet were perfect this year, and the yield was excellent.  I grow them each year, and 2013 will be no exception.  I also grew two packets of Southport White Globe storage onions from Mike the Gardener seed.  Only a few germinated and grew, and they were quite small, but they were good and stored well (the sweet onions only last a couple of months at best).  I will probably try starting a flat of storage onions in 2013.

Parsnips (total fail)
Variety grown, Harris Model from Ferry Morse.  Total fail, zero germination in three trials (seed flat, damp paper towels, damp coffee filter).

I get so few peas for so much work, every year I swear I'm not going to plant them again.  This year I grew Green Arrow, which did fine on an inverted tomato cage "tepee".  It was a lot of work for only 2 pounds of shelled peas.  However, Ed convinced me to try a new variety in 2013, and I've already purchased the seeds, so I'll give it another go.  I also planted a double row of peas in the late summer, and they should have been ready to pick in October.  It's now the end of November, and they are blossoming like mad, but I've only found one pod with peas large enough to eat and now they are freezing, even under a row cover.  Fail on fall peas.

Peas, snap
The yield was rather small from Cascadia snap peas, and they weren't the sweetest I've eaten.  In 2013 I will go back to growing Sugar Lace from Ed Hume Seeds, which has been a favorite in past years.

Peppers, hot (fail)
The Early Jalapenos were planted in pots and gave me about 5 peppers all summer.  One plant finally filled up with peppers just in time for our first freeze.  It's iffy whether I'll even grow them next year when I can buy them at the local Mexican market for 59-cents a pound.

Peppers, sweet
It wasn't a very good year for the sweet peppers, either.  Even though the weather was hot, they just wouldn't color.  Past years have always given me lovely crops of bright red, huge peppers.  I'll chalk it up to a bad year and try again in 2013.  Varieties I'll definitely grow in 2013 are: Dave's Happy Yummy, Quadrato Rosso D'Asti and Red Marconi.  Varieties I might also grow are: Horizon Orange and Quadrato Giallo D'Asti.

Fantastic potato harvest in 2012!  Varieties grown were Dark Red Norland, Russet Norkotah and Yukon Gold.  Dark Red Norland were by far the best in quantity and quality.  Yukon Gold produced slightly fewer pounds, but the yield was still very good and the flavor is wonderful.  The Russet Norkotah were disappointing.  The yield wasn't as good, they tended to be scabby, and they dissolved into mush when boiled.  They were, however, delicious when baked.  In 2013 I think I'll stick with the Norland and Yukon Gold.  If I can find Kennebec seed potatoes, I'll also plant that variety.  It has done very well in past years, but this spring it  wasn't available where I buy my seed.

Cherry Belle and Champion did well, all others (anything with white) were eaten by insects.

The yield on my Canby summer bearing plants was low this year, but it was my fault for being too ruthless with the pruning.  Better luck next year...I hope.

This was the first full year for the plant I put in in 2011.  I got about three good harvests from it, then the leaves began looking splotchy and yellow.  Eventually the entire plant died back, and it looks like it may not survive.

Variety grown, Space (Burpee).  Not a great year for spinach, but none of the greens did especially well.  What was harvested was good, but I think I'll go back to growing Tyee in 2013.  Spinach is another crop that has to be covered with tulle to keep the leaf miners away, so it is always planted in the same bed as the beets.

Squash, summer
Variety grown, Early Golden Crookneck (leftover seeds) and Burpee's Fordhook Zucchini.  Oh, my, I had more crookneck than I could keep up with on two hills (4 plants), and certainly enough zucchini with one hill of 2 plants.  I'll plant one hill of each next year.

Squash, winter
I grew 56 beautiful Waltham Butternuts on four hills planted.  They were worth every inch of space they took up, and much more productive than the bush variety I grew last year.  A staple in my garden from now on.  I also grew one hill of Honey Bear acorn squash.  The "bush" took up more room than I though it would, and was quite prolific.  It had a very good flavor, but I still prefer butternut squash for its versatility.

Variety grown, Tristar.  I moved the strawberry bed in the spring, and planted all new starts that had developed last year.  The yield was down.  I'll give them one more season, but 2014 might have me trying a different variety.

Not a great year for tomatoes, but it was my fault for crowding them so closely together.  I'll definitely have fewer plants in 2013, and give them space to grow.  Seeds were saved for Black Cherry and Una Heartsock, which will be my only cherry tomatoes in 2013, unless someone gifts me with a few Sungold seeds (hint, hint).  I also saved seeds for Victor.  It's not the best tasting tomato, and it has a lot of gel and large seeds in a very small tomato, but it's the first to bear and still going strong into November's hard frost.  It's not a huge plant, well worth growing one for a long tomato harvest.  I can't really say much about any of the others, as the harvests were so sparse.  I do know I didn't care for Marglobe Supreme.  Isis Candy tasted good early on but seemed to lose flavor as time went on and the plant grew huge and invasive (as did Black Cherry, but the flavor of those is worth the space it takes).  I think I'll only start Black Cherry, Una Heartsock and Victor next year and buy the others at the nursery.  I can pick up a 4-pack for $1.29 and they have a really good variety.

Turnips (total fail)
Variety grown; Shogoin.  Source; Mike the Gardener.  Total fail, beautiful tops, no roots.  We don't like turnip greens, so everything went into the compost bin.  I'll not bother growing them again, as they are not a favorite in our household.


  1. Love love love the end of the season reviews and yours is very thorough--I'm going to bookmark this page and return to it often (so no, I'm NOT stalking you-LOL!)
    But my dear, who gets SICK of broccoli??????????

    I was searching through some of my new seed catalogs just yesterday and thought to myself that I don't think I'd care for a seed "mix"--because if you LIKE a certain type, how do you know WHICH seed it was??

    Oh, I've babbled on endlessly again. Hugs to you for your patience with me.......

    1. Hugs back atcha,, Sue!

      Mr. Granny gets sick of broccoli, hates it, so I gave up after putting about 3 gallons in the freezer for me. I can get by putting it in stir fry, and he doesn't complain too much. If I had realized these plants were going to continue to produce that well clear into Thanksgiving, I'd have left them to do their thing, even if I had to give it all to the neighbor. You watch, I'll plant seeds from that same packet next year and get piddly plants as usual.

  2. Nice review. I always love to see opinions on varities, what works and what doesn't.

    1. Thanks, Tami. It was really cold outside yesterday, and I was bored ;-)

  3. Your garden did wonderful despite the fails! In fact when I read about your fails I was surprised because you have harvested so much variety and abundance I wouldn't have believed you had any! Thanks for sharing some of your varieties; gives me something to consider.

    1. Oh, Nutmeg, I always have some fails. It's just puzzling why what works so well one year fails the next. Same seeds, same garden. I do always know what is going to be damaged by wire worms, what needs to be protected from leaf miners, etc., but why, for instance, would the peppers be so perfect three years in a row then suddenly fail me? Same with lettuce/greens. Why would broccoli be a beautiful bumper crop this year when I've never grown good broccoli before....ever? The garden is a mysterious place, LOL!

  4. I never grow English peas since it is just too much work. Which is weird since I don't think beans are all that much work. I think with dried beans though I don't have to shell them right then to get the best flavor. With dried beans I put them in a bag and when I feel like it I shell them. You just can't do that with peas.

    With snap peas I've grown Cascadia for years and loved it. I keep thinking about trying a new variety. But haven't for years. I've tried other snow peas, but I think I'm not growing snow peas this coming year. I just don't like them as much as snap peas. I always end up giving them away.

    1. Daphne, I like the Sugar Lace snap pea because it "is not only stringless, but self supporting. Its crisp, sweet pods yield abundantly. Sugar Lace is semi-leafless with interlocking tendrils that prevent the need for staking or trellising. It is also enation resistant for growth during warmer weather. The pods form at the end of its branches for easy picking". I don't like the snow peas either.

  5. I'll be ordering from Fedco as soon as their website is updated in late December. Shipping is free over $30.00 amd I always order that much. Check them out, they have Gonzales cabbage for much less than Johnmy's. They also have Anuenue lettuce I'll add them to my order for you.

    1. LOL, Ed, I just sent Daphne some cosmos seeds and money for including my order for Gonzales, Anuenue and Sun Gold tomatoes, all from Fedco! I will check their new catalog when it comes out and see if there's something else I want. Thank you for your offer. You are always so generous.

  6. Very nice review and a good way for the rest of us to find different varieties to try. (and thank you for being a verification free site)

    1. Thank you, Sande. Yes, I absolutely hate those word verifications! My old eyes just won't focus on the smushed up letters or hazy numbers :-)

  7. I always look forward to these posts! Thanks for all the info!

  8. Excellent thorough review... I'll be referring back to this... You had a really great year!

    1. Thanks, David. I'm happy with this year's garden for the most part. The good certainly outweighed (pun intended) the bad!

  9. I love reading your garden reviews and seeing what worked for you and what didn't. Even when I had a great support for pole beans (which I no longer have), I never tried them. Guess I'm more of a bush bean kind of gal. I'm going to be going over your blog thoroughly when I get ready to plan my next garden.

    1. Thank you, Jean. I'm getting too old to bend over to pick those bush beans! I've planted Fortex pole beans for 3-4 years now, wouldn't be without them.

  10. i have a Q about the raspberries. it gets really hot in NC during the summer (but you seemed to have similar temps as we did this summer) so i didn't put my raspberries in direct sun - they have produced less & less each year. my Q to you is - the hot weather does not seem to bother them? b/c you seem to have beautiful raspberry harvests (in past years). tia :)

    1. Katy, mine are a summer bearing variety that has finished cropping before it gets too hot. I began harvesting on June 11 and my last picking was July 7. Our really hot weather begins around the end of July.

  11. I got tired reading this list about half way through! I didn't realize how many things you had planted. Thanks for the info. I'll get some rest and refer back to it when I go to plan my next garden. ;)

    1. LOL, Langela, I could have named the fourteen or so varieties of tomatoes. Then you'd have had to spend the entire day reading to get through it all!

  12. I don't recall ever seeing a post with more useful information in my four years of blogging. Must bookmark this post for 2013 planning. I'm off to subscribe, my dear.

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