Wednesday, December 31, 2014

End of Season Review - Spinach & Swiss Chard


This was my first time growing spinach and it was, without question, the crop that I had the most trouble with.

I grew three varieties of spinach – Monstrueux de Viroflay, Galilee, and Tyee - and I had problems with all of them.  These issues ran the gamut from seeds not germinating (Viroflay), to seedlings bolting before or shortly after transplanting (Galilee), to spider mites (Tyee).  And all of the varieties were decidedly sparse in their growth.

My overall favourite in terms of taste was Viroflay.
Monstrueux de Viroflay

Monday, December 29, 2014

Harvest Monday - December 29, 2014

The last harvest Monday of 2014 and, wonder of wonders, I actually have an itty bitty harvest to report.

Our weather in the last couple of weeks has been downright balmy.  This past Saturday, we reached 9°C (48°F) - the typical high at this time of year should be around -2°C (28°F).  Quite the difference.

So here we were, preparing all the yummy food for Christmas dinner, and I was able to go out (without a jacket, no less!) and pick some fresh herbs from the garden.  Just heaven.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

End of Season Review - Lettuce

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday!  We do our big Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.  My parents usually stay over and then there is the early wake up call on Christmas morning by one of the kids.  This year it was extra early - 6am (yawn!) - because my son actually set his alarm clock.

Note To Self - Next year make sure to check that all the alarm clocks are turned off!

Presents are opened, coffee is brewed and a leisurely festive breakfast follows.  The rest of the day is spent relaxing and eating leftovers from the day before.  As both of my kids said - "This was the BEST Christmas EVER!"  Don't you just love hearing that?

It's been almost a month & my poinsettia is still alive.
I'm such a brown thumb with houseplants that it's indeed a miracle!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

End of Season Review - Brassicas - Part 2

In Part 1 of my Brassica review, I gave the results on two crops I had grown in prior years – Chinese greens and collards.  Part 2 is all about new to me crops – those that I grew for the first time this year.


I grew two varieties of rapini this year - Zamboni & Sorrento.  I absolutely love rapini so I'm not exactly sure why I had never grown it before.  It’s one of those “scratch your head” moments – like in my first garden when I had a spot for tomatillos (which I had never even tried before) but not for carrots.

The one lesson I learned about rapini this year is that it is a super-fast grower - from seed to harvest, it takes only 35-45 days, depending on the variety.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

End of Season Review - Brassicas - Part 1

All season I complained about how cool and wet our summer was. But, as is so often true in gardening, when one crop is suffering because of the weather, there are usually others that are thriving. And this was definitely the case with the greens and brassicas – until the slugs got out of hand in late summer, that is.

Chinese Greens

I absolutely love bok choy and this year I grew two varieties – Joi Choi Hybrid and Mei Qing Choi.

Throughout the year I have referred to these as Chinese cabbage, which of course they are.  But since Chinese cabbage also refers to the heading napa types, which are significantly different from the choy types, I’ve decided to start using the term “Chinese greens” instead.

This is my second year growing Joi Choi Hybrid and I simply love it.  Not only is it delicious but it is very slow to bolt, so production is outstanding.  I transplanted the original seedlings on April 30th and started harvesting on June 1st.  They kept producing until almost 5 weeks later, bolting in the 1st week of July.
Joi Choi Hybrid

Sunday, December 7, 2014

End of Season Review - Peas

This year I grew 3 varieties of sugar snap pea – “Sugar Snap” (presumably this was the original sugar snap), “Super Sugar Snap” and “Cascadia”.  I gave a description of these varieties HERE.

Sugar Snap Peas

Thursday, December 4, 2014

End of Season Review - Beans

This year I grew 3 bean varieties, a yellow Romano bean (Golden of Bacau), a fresh green bean (Contender) and a dried black bean (Cherokee Trail of Tears).  I have grown all of these beans in the past and loved them all.  I gave a detailed description of them HERE.

Cherokee Trail of Tears
Harvested as mature beans for drying