Every year we grow a garden. This past year’s garden was not one of our best years, the weather was very very very wet and for that reason the temperatures were also somewhat on the cooler side. We also did not grow any vegetables from the curcubit family (cucumbers, squash, melons etc.) because garden 2012 was the year of the vicious squash beetle bug invasion and so, in hopes of starving them off, we decided to take a year off from growing the type of veggies that they like to eat, so garden 2013 had none of those veggies…no cucumbers, no zucchini, no pumpkins 😥 ..but, despite that, we still managed to grow plenty of veggies and most all of them (except for the tomatoes!) did quite well. So I will recount to you our top 5 favorites for garden 2013 🙂
5. Dragon Langerie Wax Bean – A dutch wax bean, this bean is beauty full! We grew many different types of beans and this one was my favorite overall, not just because of looks but also because of it’s disease resistance. Because of the extreme wetness a good many of our beans would slowly succumb to rust overtime and need to be pulled out and replanted, all except for this type, it had no disease issues whatsoever and gave me a large main crop and a bumper crop in early fall before finally giving up the ghost. The taste is very beany and the texture quite firm even when cooked, they also made great pickled dilly beans using homegrown dill and garlic!
4. Music Garlic – This year, however, was our best garlic year ever with LOTS of big fat bulbs (the above pictured is only about half the full harvest)…we grew 4 different types but the type called “Music” out-shined the rest of them by far! And the taste is very hot and even sweet, I use this garlic everyday in the food that I cook and we still have about 2 pounds of it left and it stores quite well in a burlap bag in the corner of our unheated laundry room 🙂
3. Hungarian Szamosi Dark Tobacco – Garden 2013 was our second year growing our own tobacco and it went even better than the first year! We grew six plants of this tobacco and the seed packet said it was only supposed to get 3 feet tall but these plants got WELL OVER 5 ft….I am 5 ft. 3 in. and they were taller than me! and they had profusions of the most beautiful flowers that I collected seeds from and saved. Most of this tobacco finished up early and began to die back in late August and early September. Just this morning I tried some of the first bit that we harvested and dried, aged almost 5 months, and the flavor was very rich almost like hickory smoke with a hint of earthiness like mushrooms and cedar bark…much more flavorful than the Virginia Gold Tobacco that we grew in 2012. Although I recently tried some of the Virginia Gold about a month ago, it was about 16 months old then and it was very smooth with an almost buttery undertone with some oak mixed in, almost like a really good Chardonnay. I must say, I am very much enjoying growing my own tobacco and plan to do it every year from now on!
2. Budapest Pepper – These little light green, slightly spicy, very sweet hungarian wax peppers did unbelievably well for us! This was our first year growing them so we grew only 4 plants but they grew in such profusion that we were eating them several times a week for either lunch or dinner. My favorite way to eat these is to slit them open in the side, remove the seeds and membranes, and then stuff with homemade homegrown goat cheese and then bake in the oven, covered, at about 375 for about 30 minutes and then remove, top with salsa and sour cream and munch down! 😀
1. Paul Robeson Tomato – Even though all of our tomatoes, overall, did poorly this year we did have one that seemed to have stronger disease resistance than the rest…The Paul Robeson Tomato! I had six of these plants, 2 dozen tomato plants in all of various types, and this one was the last to succumb to disease and managed to give me some tomatoes before they all finally died in late July. The above tomato was one of the best of the bunch and I saved seeds from it which I hope to grow seedlings from for this year’s garden. The flavor is very rich and deep classic tomato flavor, but with more complexity having nuances of smokiness in there as well. I didn’t get enough of these tomatoes to bother roasting, much preferring to use the precious few for fresh eating, but as long as all goes well this year I am thinking that these will make some most excellent roasted tomato sauce!