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What have you learned this season?

Track those successes and remember what didn’t work now while it is all still current in your mind.  It is great to keep track of the different varieties of what you are growing as some varieties just do a lot better than others.  I have gotten fairly particular about what types I grow, as much as I like diversity I also like success.  But also track other things like yields and planting times. These are some things I learned this year.

Most exciting new variety- Ashe County Pimento sweet pepper.  A local gardener introduced us to it at the West County Community Seed Exchange and we are growing it there in our seed garden.  Beautiful, early, dark red, thick walled, old heirloom peppers, the kind I had given up on growing here in West County.  And they ripened in August, while my hybrid Gypsy’s are just fully ripening now.  We will have seed at the seed exchange this winter.

I love growing baby Bok Choy- it is fast and if direct seeded it doesn’t seem to want to bolt as I find larger transplanted kinds do.  I have tried several varieties and had good success with all of them.   I prefer them to the larger bok choy as they have a smaller stem.  If you have flea beetles it is good to cover them with a garden fabric like Remay or Agribon.

And once again I am amazed by secondary heads of broccoli.  You can get four times the harvest if you keep picking the little heads that form after picking the central head.  Keep them picked and they keep producing.   I have been trying a lot of different varieties of broccoli as I have not been that happy with most of the open pollinated older varieties.  I really like Green Goliath and sometimes I have luck with De Cicco and other times not.   Just planted Umpqua and heard good things about it.

The newest thing in my garden that I am excited about to see how it does is Purple Peacock broccoli, it really is a kale and broccoli cross that is beautiful.  Forms little heads like a sprouting broccoli and is very similar to a leaf broccoli, but has gorgeous purple and white leaves.   I’ll let you know how it does.

I sure wish I had planted a third round of beans.  The two successions I did plant caught up with each other and overlapped into a giant two week harvest and now I have very few.  My pole beans seem to not be lasting as long as I though they would.  I wish I had planted a July planting of bush beans to take me into the fall.  I feel like I still can’t get the timing right on beans to get a steady harvest for several months.

Ok now to what you should be planting in your garden right now-  mostly what you can still plant and get a good harvest are the leafy greens.  Lettuce, arugula, Asian mustard greens, corn salad-mache, chard, kale, and also radishes.  If you don’t know mache and like salad greens you should try it.  It is a french winter green that forms small (2-3 inch wide) rosettes of small leaves, really great flavor and can handle the cold of winter.   Everything else like broccoli, cabbage  (transplanted) and beets and carrots ( from seed) will only make it if you have full sun, great soil conditions but should be fine if you get them in now in those good conditions.

Happy Fall Solstice!