Monday, January 07, 2008

2008 Garden Plan

JunkMale and I live in a fairly warm climate, so the main 2008 growing season has already begun. Two days ago, we began germinating our tomato seeds. As you can see in the picture above, I received a set of gardening tools from my Mother-in-law over Christmas. Also in the picture, JunkMale and I bought a plant grow light for the plants after they have germinated. This will hopefully result in large, strong tomato plants ready for transplanting after the threat of frost is over - and of course we hope that will mean an earlier tomato harvest than we enjoyed this year.

(EDIT by JunkMale: We got a bit of a late start last year.)

The seeds are now, presumably, on their way to germinating.
We placed them away from windows (which are cold and drafty this time of year) on top of a heating pad. The heat is slow and low, but it should be enough to stimulate germination. The 'greenhouse' will keep the seeds moist and happy.

Here is the list of vegetable varieties we will be growing this year (because I know you're all dying to read about it!):

*Super Marmande - This is the variety we grew last year. We saved seeds, and will give it another go this year. The results from last year were decent, and truthfully I would like to look for another variety. If they aren't impressive this year, they will be replaced in the 2009 garden. Supposedly fusarium and verticilium wilt resistant. The variety is supposedly determinate, but one of our plants last year grew in a decidedly indeterminate way - high and sprawling and a harvest spread over a couple of months.
*Siberia - Supposedly a very early and very hardy tomato variety. According to most of the seed sellers, Siberia can set fruit at temperatures as low as 38 F (some sources say 36F). We attempted to grow Siberia over the fall, but the crop was a failure after an unexpected frost. We have plans to grow this summer and fall. Again, this is a make-or-break year for this variety. There are too many good tomato varieties out there to commit to one that doesn't do well under our conditions.
*Victory - Indeterminate (unlike our other two varieties), with small, tasty fruits.

*Serrano - A hot (2500 to 4000 on the Scoville scale), open-pollinated pepper variety. I saved seeds from a pepper I got from the grocery store. I am not expecting germination rates to be very high, but perhaps we will get one or two plants out of the batch.
*Super Shepherd - We were very unhappy with the sweet pepper variety we grew last year, so this year we are replacing with Super Shepherd.

*Henderson Bush Butterbeans - Our greatest success (in my opinion) from last year. We have more seeds than we can use in three years, and if all the plants produce like the one we planted in the ground last year, we will have more than enough to last us through the season. Yum!
*Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans - A new venture for us: pole beans! I do enjoy a good green bean, and Kentucky Wonder is one of the best.
*Little Marvel Peas - A dwarf variety, and very prolific. Supposedly good for the home garden. This mostly replaces Alaska peas, which are very hardy and certainly have their place. But I wanted a sweeter pea for this season.
*Alaska Peas - Our fall crop Alaska peas are still growing outside, even after temperatures fell into the mid 20's for a few days. All of our supposedly 'freeze-hardy' plants are dead (except the carrots), and the peas, which shouldn't have lived at all, are clinging to life. If you live in a cold climate and enjoy pea soup, I seriously recommend these to you! We did not find them to be a very sweet variety, though, and our yields weren't impressive. When we have more space, I might bring these back. I do enjoy a good split pea soup. :)

*Small Sugar Pumpkin - JunkMale loves his pumpkin muffins, so we need a supply to feed his addiction. ;-) These are pretty much the pie pumpkins you get from the store. I have great memories of my mom growing pumpkins when I was little, so I'm really looking forward to growing these this year!
*Round Zucchini - This is a bit of a gamble for me. They might be great, or they might not be good for anything. We use zucchini for zucchini bread, zucchini casserole, and pan-fried zucchini.

*Green Goliath - Supposedly a good variety for the home gardener, and easy to grow. This is good, because I have NO experience with broccoli. I just know that I like it, and JunkMale's favorite meal is broccoli noodles.

*Spacemaster 80 - In a small garden, some corners must be cut. By necessity, something has to be grown in containers, and the cucumber is our pick. We don't eat a whole lot of cucumbers, so if the yields are low I won't be too disappointed.

*Unknown - JunkMale and I bought a watermelon from a local farm this past summer, and it tasted good enough for us to save seeds from it. My best guess is that we have seeds from a Crimson Sweet. Presumably it was not a hybrid and the seeds will be true. If not, we will buy seeds for 2009.

We're also growing garlic and carrots, which will carry into the main season. Now the only thing left is for me to find room in our garden to grow all of this!

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