I had originally planned to do this post towards the end of December last year, but I ended up somehow losing my teeny tiny SD card with all my pictures of the 2012 garden on it 😦 However, I finally found it!! Or more precisely, Charity, my 2 1/2 year old daughter, found it. I’ve been getting really antsy lately, with the warmer weather we’ve had and all, making me most eager to get a jumpstart on the spring cleaning. So yesterday I decided to change around the living room and do some cleaning and organization, and all my activity must’ve knocked the SD card free of it’s hiding place and in the midst of it all Charity spotted it and picked it and started carrying it around. I had to trade her my measuring cups and spoons for it (she loves to play with those any chance she can get..) but I finally got it back again 😀 …you have no idea how happy this makes me, I was saddened to the point of crying when I thought it was lost forever!
But it is most fitting that I have not been able to write this until now, because, technically, the garden was never “wrapped up” …we still have spinach, mache (a super cold hardy green from Europe, also called vit or corn salad), and cilantro and parsley still live and my fava beans that I planted in December are increasing in growth rate right along with the increase in temperature. We had swiss chard too, but most of it was killed off, all except “Fordhook” the most cold hardy of the swiss chards, it did die back but is putting out new leaves even as I type this. So far this year we have made new plantings of peas (2 different types so far, over 300 seeds planted), 7 POUNDS of onion sets most of which will be used as green onions, and small “test plantings” of radishes and lettuce, Spring is in the air and the 2013 garden is already getting off to a glorious start!
So, let’s get down to business, before I get too far ahead of myself, and I’ll give you the breakdown of last year’s garden.
Just like in 2011, I’ll give you my top 5 favorite garden performers for 2012 😀
5. Royal Burgundy Bush Bean and The Asian Yard Long Bean – Well, the PURPLE speaks for itself, and the vines of the plants are a dark purple nearly black color with dark green leaves and the flowers are purple as well and it is a very prolific producer! Only drawback is the beans turn green when you cook them, still very fun to grow though. The long beans can get up to 36 inches in length but I think taste best when picked at around 18 inches, very unique taste with a hint of citrus, almost lemony like flavor. All garden season my favorite bean dish was a mixture of these two beans cooked up with a bit of bacon and sprinkled with salt and pepper *drool* 🙂
4. Hungarian Paprika – Love Love Love this! These peppers are simply beautiful and quite delicious, we allowed ours to dry and age and then we ground them into paprika powder, my favorite way to eat these is on EGGS from our hens, although it really good on steak too! Just a bit of spiciness, but the flavor is VERY rich and smoky. We plan to grow these every year from now on.
3. Gelber Englischer Custard Squash – So pretty and delicate, the little squashes have frilly lacy edges and no two ever look exactly the same. Quite unique and tasty and the only squash plant to survive the longest against our awful squash beetle bug invasion last summer, I literally hand squished hundreds of them suckers! I just wish I would have gotten a better picture of the squash 😦
2. Incan Rainbow Corn – Another pretty one and so tasty sweet! We ate a few ears at milk stage and it was super tender and very good…we then let the rest of the ears mature to flour stage and dried them, it’s almost too pretty to eat! But I do plan to make a couple batches of cornbread soon, and it will be an up and coming blog post when I do!
1. Virginia Gold Tobacco – Our first year ever growing tobacco. We grew 6 of these plants in 3 different areas of the garden, they get huge and produce tons of lovely pink flowers from which you can save seeds. The tobacco is very good, mellow and easy to smoke with hardly any harshness especially after you allow it to age a bit. A pleasant surprise about this tobacco is that it attracted TONS of beneficial insects in every place that we put it…ladybugs, parasitic wasps, bees of all types..insects seem to absolutely love this plant, and yet you can make a homemade pesticide from it’s leaves…go figure! We also made our own chew from it, but that didn’t turn out so good, this plant is better suited for smoking than for chew 🙂
To see 2011’s garden wrap up, click here.