Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Planning for Spring Seeds

2016 was a great year in the garden. It was our fifth summer gardening at the Campbell Community Garden and we continued to learn more about how to best grow veggies. We have tried many varieties of plants over the seasons and have found a few that really stand out as good ones. We are very thankful to Renee’s Garden Seeds for the donation of many seed packets to our garden. Below are a few of the standouts.

Raven Zucchini
We have found the Raven Zucchini to be one of the best producers in our garden; it is late to get powdery mildew, doesn’t scratch the picker like many other varieties, is a compact form and tastes great. We direct sowed 3 rounds of Raven Zucchini in 2016, the first planting was under row cover in early May, it grew fast and strong. The second planting was in late June, it did not do as well as the early planting, it was stunted and never really produced, I think it failed due to too hot weather and the fact that it was shaded by the earlier plants. Our third seeding in mid-July did great, producing all the way to the fall rains in Mid-October. In 2017 we will plan better to provide full sun for all seedlings, and absolutely plant a mid-summer group for fall harvest, we may even try a fall row cover to extend the season to Thanksgiving.

Green Fingers Cucumber
Another outstanding veggie is the Green Fingers Cucumber. These little cucumbers happily scrambled up a trellis and produced handfuls of cute little thin-skinned fruit all summer long and continued to produce into mid-November (in spite of have the second wettest Octobers in history!) We have grown Marketmore 76 for donation in the past, but plan to plant Green Fingers for donation in 2017; we think the small size and thin skin will be appreciated by the food pantry.

Baby Honey Nut Squash
Baby Honey Nut Squash! Wow it was great in our small garden plots. Our squash were about one pound each; the small size is perfect for a meal for two. And I think the small size is great for beginning vegetable eaters and for donation to the food pantry, a full size butternut squash can be intimidating, but Baby Honey Nut is cute!

Peppermint Stick Chard
Peppermint Stick Chard is one of the prettiest greens in the garden. It deserves a place in the front border, an annual you can eat! We direct sowed it and also grew transplants; we found the transplants did a little better. Leaf miners were kept away with row cover early in the season and later we kept a watch for their eggs and rubbed them off as we saw them. We were able to donate many gorgeous bunches to the food pantry.
Lettuce picked for donation
We have been told that the food pantry had trouble using of the kale we have been donating and we have had trouble with white flies in the garden, so in 2017 we will focus more on growing lettuce. Garden Babies Lettuce has performed very well for us and is a good one to donate. We cut it as a full head and donate it whole. The “stump left behind makes a second set of baby Babies! The whole heads are easier to rinse and stay fresher than cut leaves.

In 2017 we plan to plant the following Renee’s Garden Seeds in the Campbell Community Garden’s Harvest Sharing plots:

Raven Zucchini
Green Fingers Cucumber
Baby Honey Nut Squash
Summer Perfection Spinach
Crimson Crunch and Pink Punch Radish
Bush Improved Roma Beans
Little Jade Napa Cabbage
Peppermint Stick Chard
Kohlrabi Crispy Colors Duo
Garden Babies Lettuce

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