Way back when we were planning the garden last Winter, we made a point to make sure we would review our choices not only at the end of this growing season – but at the midway point as well. Why? Because it gives us so much more information to help choose what varieties to plant in next year’s garden. It’s important to know how the garden progressed and when – so we know what to expect in the coming years, and what to repeat and what to avoid. So we have divided this review into four categories – Top Performers, Holding Steady, A Little Disappointing, and the Jury Is Still Out. So here are our thoughts on the garden so far:
Cajun Belle and Tequila Sunrise Peppers,
The Mini Belle and the Tequila Sunrise we grew from seed -so a little bit of extra pride with how they are coming along. Both varieties are topping out at about 18″ of good growth and of the 18 total plants – all of them already have at least two or three peppers hanging, with a lot of blooms as well. The Cajun Belle – well it just continues to amaze us. We have already picked four to five peppers that are crisp and have good heat…and the plants are just super healthy, and loaded with blooms.
Celebrity and Rutgers Tomatoes : Even though the Romas are still the workhorse of the garden (30 plants in the ground) – these two varieties are just booming in the garden. Both the Celebrity and Rutgers have filled out the Stake-A-Cage’s with about 3 feet of solid growth. They all have a good start of mid-sized green tomatoes on the vine – and should produce a bounty of nice, firm slicing tomatoes that are baseball size.
Purple Green Beans (Royal Burgundy)
We are so happy with this variety – so far the bush beans are showing good growth and a lot of seed pods. We had really good germination rates with the seed – so we are hoping for a bumper crop. They are a beautiful shade of deep purple until cooked – so they add some color to the garden as well. They also hold a little bit of sentimental value – my parents grew them growing up.
Roma Tomato – A mainstay and workhorse of our tomato crop. We use the Roma as a main ingredient in canning our sauces, tomato juice, ketchup and salsa. The plants are doing really well – filling out the cages and filled with blooms and small green tomatoes. With 30 plants in the ground – it should be another good crop to help us reach our canning goals.
Zucchini (Elite) Continues to be a good performer. We have already picked a few nice sized fruits – and have a good 5 to 7 on each plant that will be ready soon.
A LITTLE DISAPPOINTING:
Straight Eight and Bush Cucumber – Although they are starting to come on strong and the plants are looking healthier every day – our cucumbers have lacked the size and strength of the other plants in the garden. We did have a very close call on a frost a few days after putting them in the ground -and we both are starting to think they were hit and stunned with it. Either way – we want to look into some other varieties for a fall crop and for next year.
GREEN BEANS (Blue Lake)
Very low germination rate on our Blue Lake variety – although, quite honestly, we were using left over seeds from last year. We are going to plant some new seeds for a late summer crop and see if we like any better.
INTRIGUING….BUT THE JURY IS STILL OUT:
THE BIG MAMA ROMA -
What can you say…the plant is producing…it has 5 to 6 huge tomatoes that are already turning red on the vine – way bigger and faster than any of our regular romas. If it holds up to its promise of producing 12 to 16 oz. roma’s with little seeds- then it may quickly move into the TOP PERFORMER category for us. So what’s holding us back from putting it in there? Well, for one, we haven’t tasted any yet – and quite honestly – the actual plant just lacks the good looks of a big leafy plant. (how shallow are we? :) )
Hope you enjoyed the review – we would love to hear about how your garden is faring as well!
Jim and Mary