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.

WINNERS

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
Carrots-Mokum
Corn-Ambrosia
Garlic-Unknown Variety from Farm Market 9 years ago
Kale-Vates Dwarf Blue Curled
Kohlrabi-Winner
Lettuce-Valentine Mix (Spring) , Black Seeded Simpson and Buttercrunch (summer)
Onions-Copra
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.


NOTES To ME FOR 2017:

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.

DON'T FORGET---ADD YOUR FAVORITE CHERRY TYPE TOMATO in the comments
Thanks!!
Sue

At the Conservatory-Eugene Mahoney State Park, Nebraska

42 comments:

  1. Sungold is universally loved and unusually, is universally available under the same name. Sorry that you won't be around the blogisphere for a whole though.

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    1. Ah, Sue--you know I always SAY I'm taking a break, but heck, I'd miss your posts!!! I'll be popping by off and on.
      Happy Fall
      :)

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  2. Never can predict - some years the same thing does well for me and poorly for my neighbor and vice versa- we have decided there is no predicting. You got some pretty pictures.

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    1. Hi John---I'm sure you'd do a MUCH better job with photos. I just don't have the knack--even with a camera that does all the work for me. Guess you'll just have to keep snapping! Happy Hiking, John.

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  3. Fantastic roundup of the winners (and losers) of the year in your garden! I grew the phlox of sheep a long time ago, and you're right, it was a wonderful performer. I don't remember why I didn't buy the seed again, probably because it wasn't available here? Or more than likely an oversight on my part. That's why posts like this are very valuable, they remind us of what we want to do next season. Looking at your area for leaves, what a perfect place for composting; I was driving down main street in our little town yesterday and saw piles and piles of leaves, so much soil-building potential going to waste, so tempting to stuff the trunk of my car full, but I resisted. :-) I'll miss you but hope you have a restful break! See you soon!

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    1. Karen-we are SO much alike. I can't stand to see all those bags and bags of leaves , etc. going to waste!!! And you haven't gotten rid of me completely--you know I pop in when you least expect it.
      Hope you get to enjoy a bit of "down time" this winter....though knowing you, you'll have even more ideas to keep your GORGEOUS garden fresh.
      Happy Fall, Karen

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  4. Well, I see an expected winner - Sungold! - and a surprise loser - Juliet. We love Juliet for snacking and it was one of the last to keep producing while others fizzled out, including Sungold. As with so much else, it's often down to conditions - such as your success with Copras this year and my harvest of shallot sized onions.

    I'm still trying to find at least one more good cherry tomato - I really liked Yellow Pear but it seemed to bring Septoria Leaf Spot with it each and every time, even when I changed suppliers. I'll be interested to see what everyone else suggests.

    LOVE that huge leaf composting area!! You always make me jealous with your awesome garden, barn, arbours...shall I go on?? I am just bagging the dried leaves in garbage bags to use them in the compost pile next year - not as nice of a solution, but hey, beats NO compost area (other than one of those sorry black bins) which is what I had only a couple of years ago! Ditto on the bags of leaves - if I had that huge area to put them in, I'd be driving down the middle of town just like a garbage truck, throwing those bags in the trailer :)

    I've made a note of the Super Green broccoli - although I'm so in love with Arcadia that it may be some time before I give another variety a try after the lackluster performance of the 2 other varieties I tried this year.

    I have a feeling you'll get your "lots of snow" wish, according to the winter forecasts so far, anyhow. Have a WONDERFUL break :)

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    1. Hi Margaret--Hubby will echo your love of Juliet. I don't know--it must be me. I too, love the yellow pear, but mine do nothing but crack and split. Looking for something like them for taste, just not so particular!

      I grew the Arcadia the year before. Loved the side shoot production. Green Super was even more productive and the taste was sensational! I hope you give it a try!
      Happy Fall, Margaret.

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  5. I don't like raw tomatoes so I'm no good to ask! I love mine cooked.
    I've given up with cauliflower as well, so many nicer veg out there it seems a shame to dedicate the space to it.
    I need to plant more for fall/autumn as well. I had big plans to but life got in the way, just had my last beets and carrots tonight so I was way short on what I needed!

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    1. Hi Kev-no raw tomatoes???? No BLT's???????? Oh dear man, you simply MUST!!!
      So, I guess NEXT YEAR, we'll both be super busy with more fall crops! Deal?! Yes!

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  6. I love sun gold tomatoes also but don't have a favorite cherry one. What a huge leaf compost area! Enjoy your winter. Will look forward to your beautiful gardens next year! Nancy

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    1. Hi Nancy-thanks so much for the visit! Hope you have a terrific fall
      :)

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  7. Your garden is always so productive. I love the potential in your list for next season. My farmer friend Lynn swears by Sweet Millions cherry tomatoes. They are wonderful, I've had 'em. Great for snacking. I'm gonna tell him about your broccoli choice, as his favorite, Packman, is being discontinued.
    Safe travels and enjoy all of your holidays. Hope you'll visit once in a while. Bee well, my friend. ;0D

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    1. Hi Daisy--Sweet Million will be added to my list-thank you!
      I can't believe they're discontinuing Packman--that was always a strong grower. I hope your friend likes the Green Super. It is my new favorite!
      Thanks for the good wishes and you know I'll be popping in and out.
      Happy Fall, Daisy and hope you're feeling well.

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  8. Hello, Sue! I will have to try the sun gold tomatoes. The phlox is beautiful too. I love the dahlias, they are lovely. I think you had a great season. Love the last shot, enjoy your holidays. Thanksgiving will be here soon. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and the weekend ahead!

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    1. Hi Eileen-I think this month is going REALLY fast---hope you guys have a very nice Thanksgiving.
      Happy Birding in your new digs
      :)

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  9. You're a leaf hoarder! :-o
    The Phlox "Moody Blues" is indeed pretty.
    This year, I tried Sun Sugar cherry tomatoes. Wow, sweet! They're an orange color. So fitting. They were a big hit with my hubby and all we shared them with. Have a great holiday season!! Hope you get tons of snow.

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    1. Hi GonSS-Thanks for the recommendation--it's now on "the LIST". I have space to try quite a few different kinds and am excited to try as many new ones as possible.
      Best wishes for the holidays to you and your hubby. Happy Fall and thanks for the visit
      :)

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  10. What a great idea to keep track of the winners and losers right here. No having to wonder about things in the future.
    The phlox next to the daisies is such a pretty combination.
    My summer garden was tiny and a big disappointment this year. For cool weather I am now enjoying a variety of lettuce and Swiss Chard is a fantastic performer in my patio pot. I think it is called "Bright Lights." It grows well and also looks pretty.
    Enjoy your well deserved break and Happy Holidays to you too, Sue.
    Thank you for all of your visits and kind words.

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    1. Hi Kim-thanks for stopping-Those fall vegetables are always welcome, aren't they? I've grown Bright Lights chard, but never in a pot. Hmm---Next year!
      :D
      Loving your Thankful Thoughts posts. A great reminder of how much we really have (and take for granted )

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  11. Totally off-subject . . . but are we going to have to start sending you care packages of food? You are getting so skinny!! (Okay, so I'm just jealous. You're lookin' GOOD, girl!)

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    1. I would certainly take a care package ANY DAY from you!! Let's see. I like pie, cake, cookies, oh heck--just send your goodie stuffed freezer! Teehee!
      Smarty pants! I adore you!!!

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    1. Hi Linda-thank you so much. Hope your week is going well.
      :)

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  13. You have much better luck with snapdragons than I do. How do you keep them from getting mildew? Pics are gorgeous as usual.

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    1. Hi Kris--can't get mildew if it never rains, so I'm thinking it's not ME, but the desert like climate that keeps them nice.
      Oh well, I can pretend --teehee!
      Have a Happy Thanksgiving

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  14. Good report as always. Your careful and meticulous approach makes me think I wasted several decades vegetable garden by no pay close attention to what I was doing. Or too much blaming on the weather and the weeds which I grew to hate...:) Enjoy your break

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    1. Hi TB-thanks so much---and being in a vegetable garden, even weedy, is NEVER a waste! Have a happy fall, you two!

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  15. Not too many losers and that is a good thing. Sun Gold and Sweet 100's were our two favorite snacking tomatoes and both did well in New Hampshire as well as Maine.

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    1. Thanks, Karen. I think those two are terrific as well. Have a happy Autumn.

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  16. I looked it up and found that Fedco carries the Green Super broccoli. I sometimes have trouble finding my old favorite (Premium Crop) and I'm always looking for something better, so maybe we'll give it a try!

    As for cherries, I've found nothing better than Matt's Wild. What a great tomato, and the only heirloom cherry I know of. It's also the only naturally blight resistant heirloom. We grew Sungolds and they were delicious, but cherry tomatoes are so prolific we only need one.

    I really enjoyed this post.

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    1. Hi Bill-thanks for stopping.
      We grow several cherry types simply because they are usually the only kind that has time to ripen. I think I am sticking with Matt's and SunGold too.
      Hope you enjoy the Green Super as much as we did. It was certainly prolific, pest free, and super tasty!

      Happy Fall!

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  17. Gosh I can't believe the size of your leaf compost area. Won't your garden be thanking you for all the nourishment it will provide. I just love those Phlox "Moody Blues". How pretty! I don't have a ton of experience with cherry tomatoes, but I would plant the Tumbling Toms I had this year again next spring. Happy Holidays Sue!

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    1. Hi Jennifer-I saw those Tumbling Toms in a catalog and thought those would be neat to try--thanks for the heads up on your experience with them.
      Merry Christmas to you!

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  18. Sue...well I have done it...headed north, left Georgia behind. I am now a Michigander and learning all over again about gardening. So I have been reading your blog like a how to manual. Thanks for all the notes.
    Carrie (AKA The Handmade Homemaker...don't do this blog any longer)

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    1. Carrie-so wonderful to hear from you again. I've often thought of you and wondered what you were up to. Email me if you wish to chat sometime.
      Wow-Michigan is worlds away from Georgia. I have no doubt you'll do fine.
      Thanks again for commenting. Happy New year to you!

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  19. we've only grown moneymaker before but they do very well

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    1. Much appreciated! Hope all is going well with you guys. Happy New Year!

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  20. oh my.... how I've missed those lovely photos of yours! The raised bed garden is to die for. Hope you are doing well and having some great winter adventures!

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    1. OMG-Erin--I've so missed your posts! Where have you been????
      So good to hear from you. Hope all is well with you and the kids.
      Not much of a winter here--the snow is slow in coming. We hike, though, so it's not a total loss. Thanks so much for stopping. Please post again!!

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  21. I'm a Fall crop gal. I used to be able to leave them in the ground all winter-very handy to dig up when needed. This year our pattern of mild frost two or three days twice a season changed to a continous month of hard frost-everything is draped in all the spare sheets, blankets and towels I possess. Some turnips, parsnip have survived but some is frozen into the ground rock solid. High winds have done their best to rip all the covers off. A rethink is required. I'm going to be growing broccoli for the first time next year-glad of your recommendation.

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    1. Hi Susan--the best advice I can give you for the broccoli is KEEP IT COVERED against those butterflies/moths! The fabric protects them well and it's nice to eat broccoli with no worm surprises.
      :)

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