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A Year in Our Garden - 2019
December 24, 2019

A smaller than usual East GardenSpring carrots and onionsI've had trouble getting started writing this garden review as this year has been one of our lesser years in gardening. I tore up our big tiller early in the spring and never got our East Garden fully planted. In June, I tore a muscle in my arm that still hasn't fully healed. And with fantastic crops of Earlirouge tomatoes and Japanese Long Pickling cucumbers bearing fruit, I grabbed the wrong sprayer and killed both crops! Fortunately, I'd already canned enough whole tomatoes to last the winter, and we still have lots of pickles and relish canned last year.

We actually had some fantastic crops this year. We started with good asparagus, followed by a nice harvest of spinach, and some wonderful spring lettuce. Both our early peas and our later supersweet peas produced nice crops which we mostly froze for winter use.

We got an abundant harvest of spring broccoli, freezing enough to last all winter. But we missed on both our spring and fall cauliflower. The spring crop came in too late. Most of it was yellowed and bitter. The fall crop didn't beat our first killing frost.

Our carrots and onions, planted in close adjacent rows, did well. We had Walla Walla sweet onions store well into December, a first for us. In the same spring bed as the onions and carrots, we grew some really nice celery. It matured all at once, but what we got was excellent.

Pumpkins destined for the food bankWe enjoyed a little sweet corn from the small area of our East Garden we got planted. We also had good kidney beans there. Sadly, our tomatoes there were afflicted by anthracnose. I think I brought the disease in on some seed I didn't hot water treat.

And once again, our lima beans and brussels sprouts were a total bust. I just don't do well with those crops.

On a positive note, we had good butternut squash and a bumper crop of pumpkins.

Seed Saving

This year turned out to be a good one for saving seed from some of our favorite vegetable varieties. Our highlights in seed saving were our first crops of Sun Devil lettuce and Goliath broccoli. Sun Devil is a patented variety (PVP), so we can't share seed from it. And we only got a little broccoli seed before a hard freeze took the plants.

Vegetable Seed Saved Flower Seed Saved

Earlirouge tomatoes
Red Pearl grape tomato (PVP)
Eclipse and Encore supersweet peas (PVP)
Earliest Red Sweet bell pepper
Hungarian Spice Paprika Pepper
Howden pumpkin
Sunray (F1) yellow pepper - we'll see how this one turns out next season
Sun Devil lettuce (PVP)
garlic - elephant and regular
Goliath broccoli
basil
Abundant Bloomsdale spinach
Blacktail Mountain watermelon

snapdragon
zinnia
gloxinia
marigold

When cutting and drying our first batch of peppers for ground paprika, I saved seed from the Hungarian Spice Paprika Pepper variety. A nice thing about peppers is that when they're ripe for eating, freezing, or drying, the seed from them is sometimes mature. For the absolute best seed saving, one probably should let the peppers get a little wrinkly on the vine before saving seed from them. Since Hungarian pepper seed is readily available commercially, our saving of the seed is mainly to let the variety adapt to our growing conditions.

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From Steve Wood, the at Senior Gardening


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