Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thoughts for next year's garden.

When we moved out here, I hadn't had a garden for two years. Needless to say, I was excited :). All this room!!!
I immediately began flipping through seed catalogs and browsing websites planning my very ambitious garden. Thankfully, my common-sense husband pulled me back down to earth and we decided to make this year's garden "experimental" to see what would grow well for us here and what was worth planting again and what we'd rather shell out for at the store. One of the crops I was excited to plant was potatoes. Potatoes are one of the "dirty dozen". I remember hearing somewhere that some conventional potato farmers won't even eat the potatoes they grow because they wouldn't dare give their family something so contaminated with herbicides and pesticides. I almost always opt for the more expensive organic potatoes in the store ( when they have them) unless the sale on conventional is just too good to pass up.
We settled on Yellow Finn. A variety along the lines of "Yukon Gold" . That one was a big hit with everyone.
We recently began putting our garden to bed for the winter and dug up the remaining potatoes I'd allowed to sit. I made them last night for dinner along with the "Purple Dragon" carrots and onions we'd grown. I'm really kicking myself for not having planted more of the potatoes. That one is getting considerable space next year ;). The carrots ( purple on the outside and orange on the inside) were a fun novelty, but were really just so-so as far as carrots go, so we'll pick another variety next year. One thing I WILL NOT devote any space whatsoever to next year is eggplant. Ugh. HUGE disappointment! I was so looking forward to eggplant parmesean and got two hard, dinky little eggplants that I ended up throwing to the chickens.
Something we've had quite a bit of "discussion" over is corn. Until this summer, my husband thought it was a waste of space and tried to talk me out of it right up until we were putting it in the ground. *I*, however, being the good Hoosier girl that I am, HAD to have corn. My awesome Dad sent me some seed from Indiana and it did REALLY well. My husband was doubtful right up until I picked the first ears and made them for dinner one night- I could see by the look on his face that he was converted. There is NOTHING better than fresh-picked corn. Even the stuff you buy at roadside stands isn't as good as corn that's picked a few minutes before you cook it. Almost as soon as it's picked, the sugars start converting to starch, changing the flavor. Thankfully, I've been granted room next year for more corn :). I also grew a variety of winter squash this year that I've fallen in love with. It's a blue squash called "Sweet Keeper". It has a blue outside and bright, bright orange flesh. If I were to use it to make pies, nobody would know the difference between that and a pie pumpkin. I will be growing quite a few of those to store for next winter.
I think now that I've gotten all the funny little novelty varieties out of my system, next year's garden will be more utilitarian. I will only devote room to things that produce like crazy and things that keep well. Back-to-basics!!! Will somebody remind me that when I'm checking out the purple green beans in the catalogs come March? Which, by the way, we were NOT impressed with- yuck.

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