Every year when winter arrives I like to sit down and look at garden catalogs and start planning for what I will grow in the coming garden year. I also like to look at the records and notes for the past year to see how things did. I posted my Stars of the Garden in 2013 recap a couple of weeks ago which covers the 2013 garden. And I finished my seed inventory late last year, and that helps me know what seed I have leftover. With all those tasks done, I am now ready to come up with a list of what I plan to grow in 2014.
I am trying hard to simplify and grow fewer varieties these days. But I also love to experiment and try new things, so my growing list is always pretty long. My wife and I try and grow as many of our vegetables and fruits as we can, so gardening is more than just a hobby for us.
Tomatoes are always a major crop for us to grow. There are probably several thousand different varieties of tomatoes out there, so there’s no way anyone can really try more than a small percentage of the total available. But many of my favorite varieties today are ones I had never grown ten years ago, so it does pay to branch out and experiment. I’m only planning to try two new varieties this year: Nova and Green Tiger. Both of these small-fruited tomatoes came from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Nova is an orange grape tomato, while Green Tiger is a green-when-ripe cherry type. We use a lot of the smaller tomatoes for drying and roasting, as well as for eating fresh. Juliet, Black Cherry and Sungold are three of my favorite small fruited types.
I am currently quite fascinated with growing winter squashes. I recently started reading The Compleat Squash by Amy Goldman, which is certainly helping to feed my new obsession! This year I want to try several new (to me) varieties, including Black Futsu, Seminole, Marina di Chioggia, Triamble, and Honeyboat Delicata. I also want to grow two Thai squashes from Baker Creek called Rai Kaw Tok and Kang Kob, which are both C. moschata types. Another one I plan to grow is the short-vined Kakai, which is grown for its completely hull-less seeds.
I’m going to try an old heirloom summer squash I’ve grown in the past called White Scallop (aka Early White Bush Scallop). Food historian William Woys Weaver says this one dates back to pre-Columbian times, and was grown by Native Americans in the eastern U.S. Our friend Ruth gave us some of these squashes last year, and one taste of this delicious squash convinced me I need to grow it again. I also have seeds for a similar white scalloped squash with green markings called Patisson Panache Vert et Blanc. I’m looking forward to trying the hybrid zucchini Romanesco too. Old standbys like Gentry, Enterprise and Striata d’Italia will also be back for 2014.
Dry shell beans made a good showing in 2013. This year I plan on growing the bush beans Jacob’s Cattle and Hutterite Soup Bean. Pole shell beans include Cherokee Trail of Tears, Good Mother Stallard and the dual purpose Rattlesnake. Other snap beans for 2014 include Fortex, Musica, Gold Marie, Derby and Rocdor. Last year was a great year for beans here, and I can only hope that 2014 repeats that success.
I’m also having a lot of fun experimenting with peppers and making hot sauces, paprika and chile powder. I want to try the Italian heirlooom Topepo Rosso and the Hungarian Paprika peppers this year. I also want to grow the Numex Suave Red and Orange, which are two mild C. chinense peppers. I love these mild-mannered chinense peppers which have the flavor of Habeneros but very little heat. Aji Angelo is a C. bacchatum pepper that I look forward to growing again. I have one plant of it growing in a container under lights, and it is still ripening peppers here in January. I am hoping to give this plant a little pruning and then set it out in the garden next spring.
I’m sure there will be a few later changes to my list, but this is pretty close to what I plan on growing this year. I’ve already ordered a few seeds, and now I can work on getting the rest.
Asian Greens: Komatsuna Summerfest, Mizuna Kyoto, Pak Choi Fun Jen, Pak Choi Mei Qing, Yukina Savoy
Beans (bush): Derby, Hutterite Soup Bean, Jacob’s Cattle, Rocdor
Beans (pole): Cherokee Trail of Tears, Fortex, Gold Marie, Good Mother Stallard, Musica, Rattlesnake
Beets: Golden, Red Ace, Touchstone Gold
Broccoli: Apollo, Arcadia, Green Magic, Imperial
Cabbage: Farao, KY Cross, Parel
Carrots: Cordoba, Hercules, Nelson, Yaya
Chard: Lucullus, Verde Da Taglio
Cucumber: Dasher II, Green Fingers, Manny’s, Summer Dance, Summer Top, Tasty Green, Tasty Jade
Eggplant: Dancer, Fairy Tale, Galine, Hansel, Millionaire, Nadia
Greens: Arugula, Golden Corn Salad, Mache Large Dutch, Purslane Golden
Kale: Beedy’s Camden, Lacinato, Red Ursa, Wild Garden Mix, Winterbor
Kohlrabi: Kolibri, Kossak, Winner
Lettuce: Anuenue, Bibb, Black Seeded Simpson, Brown Goldring, Lingua di Canarino, Loma, New Red Fire, Oak Leaf, Radichetta, Red Sails, Sierra, Simpson Elite, Spotted Trout(aka Forellenschluss), Tropicana, Winter Density
Melons: Brilliant Canary, Burpee’s Ambrosia, Diplomat Galia, Hollar’s Sensation, Sugar Baby Watermelon
Onion: Candy, Guardsman, Red of Tropea, Sierra Blanca
Pepper(hot): Aji Angelo, Aji Dulce, Anaheim, Ancho 211, Biggie Chili, Cayenneta, El Jefe Jalapeno, Golden Greek, Hot Happy Yummy, Holy Mole, Joe’s Long Cayenne, Numex Suave, Serrano Del Sol, Thai Bird, Trinidad Perfume
Pepper (sweet): Big Bertha, Dulce Rojo, Early Sunsation, Flavorburst, Goliath Goldrush, Gourmet, Hungarian Paprika, Sweet Happy Yummy, Jimmy Nardello’s, Orange Blaze, Topepo Rosso, Yummy
Potato: French Red Fingerling, Red Norland, Russian Banana, Yukon Gold
Radish: China Rose, Green Meat, Minowase Summer Cross, Red Meat, Shinden Risoh, Shunkyo
Spinach: Amsterdam Prickly Seeded, Gigante Inverno (Giant Winter), Viroflay
Squash(summer): Enterprise, Gentry, Partenon, Patisson Panache Vert et Blanc, Spineless Beauty, Raven, Romanesco, Striato d’Italia, Surething, Tondo Nizza, White Scallop,
Squash(winter): Black Futsu, Cornell’s Bush Delicata, Early Butternut, Gold Nugget, Kakai, Kumi Kumi, Marina di Chioggia, Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck, Seminole, Thai Kang Kob, Thai Rai Kaw Tok, Triamble, Waltham Butternut
Sweet Potatoes: Beauregard, Carla’s Purple
Tomatoes: Amish Paste, Better Boy, Big Mama, Black Cherry, Celebrity, Champion II, Cherokee Purple, Early Girl, Eva Purple Ball, Golden Rave, Golden Sweet, Health Kick, Italian Heirloom, Jetsetter, Juliet, Ludmilla’s Red Plum, Mountain Magic, Rio Grande, Sun Gold, Super Marzano, Super Sweet 100, Ten Fingers of Naples, Vinson Watts, Viva Italia
Turnips: Hakurei, Oasis, Purple Top White Globe, Tokyo Cross, Tsugaru Scarlet