A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

2016 Winners and Losers in the Garden and Notes for Next Year

Summer Bounty  July 2016

I always like to get the bad out of the way first so here goes---
The Losers for 2016

1. Cauliflower--Snowball
Pulled on July 30.  Out of 9 plants, 7 of them bolted. The two heads that didn't were tiny. I cut them anyway--I wasn't going to lose them as well.  2 heads-1 serving. Disappointing. This variety took too long to mature and  ended up getting caught in our July heat wave.   I miss my old 40 day variety (Silver Cup 40) . It  always had perfect heads that matured in early June--way ahead of the heat.  I cannot find it anymore. It used to be carried by Pine Tree seeds, but was discontinued.   As I am unable to locate a seed supplier for Silver Cup 40, I don't think I will try cauliflower again.

2, Acorn Squash-Sweet Reba
Poor producer (only 1) and that one had some critter that had bored into it and had to be discarded.
I only use ONE acorn squash per year.....so from now on I'm going to BUY it!

3. Tomato--Juliet
These were a waste. I thought they'd be a nice "snacking" tomato, but they were dry and mealy, PERFECT FOR SAUCE--only I don't make sauce.   I'm looking for lots of cherry type tomatoes for snacking on and that mature in our normally (not this year!!!) short season.

4. Potato-German Butterball
     I wanted to like these, but the fact of the matter is--Yukon is STILL my favorite "buttery"
      potato. This variety didn't yield as well, and the taste didn't WOW me like the Yukons.


1. Broccoli-'Green Super'--OMG--the PERFECT broccoli. HUGE heads that held their beads tightly, and also gave tons of shoots that were almost as big as the original head. I got FOUR cuttings of side shoots. It even withstood a hot and dry summer. What's not to love!

Broccoli, Kale, Romaine, and Mesclun lettuce

2. SunGold Tomatoes.
Yes-I'm late to the party. These were marvelous. The taste was so.......DEEP.  I loved them.
I will grow them again forever!
Pan O' SunGolds and other goodies from the garden

3. Phlox "Moody Blues"
    Bought seeds for these and WOW--the color variations are amazing. It's like denim--in flowers!
Phlox-Moody Blues (with Crystal White Zinnia)

4.  A "New-to-Me" company---    Longfield Gardens
       All I can say is AMAZING company.  I ordered Dahlia tubers from them--they were the                        BIGGEST tubers I've ever gotten .  They arrived FAST and were very reasonably priced.
Dahlia--Lavender Perfection and Fluerel

Dahlia--Nadia Ruth

5. My new SUPER SIZED (14 x 20 feet) leaf-composting area.  Thank you hubby!!  FINALLY -a space big enough to hoard all those leaves!!

So-I have 2 new additions to my Tried and True " best of the best" list of vegetables (SunGold tomatoes and Green Super Broccoli.

My list of vegetables then for 2017 will be:
Beans-bush--Blue Lake 274
Broccoli-Green Super
Celery-Tall Utah
Garlic-Unknown Variety from Farm Market 9 years ago
Kale-Vates Dwarf Blue Curled
Lettuce-Valentine Mix (Spring) , Black Seeded Simpson and Buttercrunch (summer)
Pepper(Green) -Revolution
Potatoes-Yukon, Red Pontiac, Unknown variety Russet (saved from a bag of grocery store taters,
Tomatoes-Brandywine, Matt's Wild Cherry, Prudens Purple,Sungold,  and ???
Zucchini Cocozelle

To Try in 2017
More varieties of cherry-type tomatoes.  Still researching!  Open to suggestions--I'd love to hear
YOUR favorite snacking type cherry tomato (for short-ish growing seasons)

FLOWERS--my 2017 grow list:

Phlox-"Moody Blues"    I would LOVE to find the Phlox -Phlox of Sheep--Thompson and Morgans
   USED to carry it. I see it available in the U.K.  Can't find it here in the states.

Snapdragon--University Mix.  Another new-to-me variety this year--GORGEOUS!
Snapdragon-University Mix.

And the old standbys-Cleome, Zinnias, Sunflowers, Cosmos, Salvia, and Alyssum--all from saved seeds.


More Fall vegetables !!!!!!!

Keep up the sowings of carrots, lettuce, and spinach--you'll appreciate that come fall!

Stagger plantings of zucchini. Helps in case of vine borers, etc.

Pile leaves on ONE SIDE of compost area each year, dummy!  (not the whole area like you did this year)  It takes TWO YEARS for leaves to break down.  Duh, Sue

Vegetable Garden November 2016

Well, that's it for another year. Hope everyone enjoys the upcoming seasons. As for me-lots of
hiking for the next few weeks and hopefully TONS of snow this winter for skiing.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.  I think that covers everything.
Time for my winter break from blogging.

I'll "See you" in the Spring.


At the Conservatory-Eugene Mahoney State Park, Nebraska