|Territorial has the BEST artwork|
I also use the spreadsheets to design my layout and keep notes as to planting dates, yields and supports required. I've learned to keep careful notes on what height a given variety of peas might get to. I save these layouts from year to year, and I start a new one each summer late in the season when I know what errors I've made, what I'm missing that I didn't grow, and what I planted too much of or too early/late. I start thinking about what I would have done differently. It is also useful for tracking crop rotation from year to year.
I always try to do a little something different each year. Try some new varieties. Grow something I haven't grown in awhile. Try something brand new that I've never grown before. Changing it up is what keeps things interesting. I make a few goals, and see what happens.
|Pole Beans 2012|
And I am also trying a new Bush variety. Last year I added Jade to my list of veggies and they both outgrew and out produced the Blue Lake. This year I am stepping it up one more notch and trying Jade II.
Sweet corn is a little more complicated. I know I've said before to slap me if I ever consider growing sweet corn or melons because so many people can do it so much better, and all I have to do is go down to the farmstand and get what I want. But in 2018 the farmstands failed on taste so last year I grew some of my favorite super sweet Gotta Have It corn with good results. I'm trying again.
|Gotta Have It|
But I also am going heed another great gardening concept to not put all of my eggs in one basket. I want to try a second variety of sweet corn at the same time. This is where things get complicated. With the modern super sweet varieties you can't just grow two different kinds of sweet corn without careful choice. It matters what two varieties you expect to co-habitat because if super-sweet varieties cross pollinate with other types of corn, the quality of both is reduced. And I'm not just talking about the hybridized saved seeds. I'm talking first-generation-what-you-are-going-to-eat-this-year problems. So you have to learn about super sweet varieties. Gotta Have it is an (sh2) variety and you have to isolate it away from (se) and (su). So I found SS3778R which is also an (sh2).
This will be the second year I have seriously tried to grow cauliflower. Last year was a success and I learned a lot even if it seemed like the longest growing experiment of my life, beginning the fist of March with no serious results until early August. That is DAILY attention to a plant for over 150 days in a row. And then you get ONE veggie from it.
Honestly I never really like cauliflower all that much until I grew it. My husband loves to have it ready in the fridge for a snack. I didn't mind eating it if it were mixed in with some broccoli and perhaps smothered with cheese. But growing several varieties really made me appreciate the subtle differences in the taste. Now I am a cauliflower fan. The yellow variety Flame Star was our favorite for its mild, sweet taste and attractive color. It made the regular white varieties taste stronger and more challenging by comparison. I will try Snow Crown again from old leftover seeds because it was the white variety that did the best in my growing conditions. Because we are both intrigued by veggies that are not the same color as what you get in the store I am trying Graffiti as well.
When all is said and done I prefer to grow them in containers. In 2017 I grew them in Sterlite tubs. I have a lot of these tubs because they are inexpensive and useful. They come with lids if you need, and you can stack them neatly to store. But they aren't so good for potatoes.
Now those potatoes in tubs look quite nice. But they weren't. The plants were very healthy, but not only was the overall yield the lowest I've had, the taste was just... off. None of the potatoes were actually green which would suggest that they were not covered deeply enough, but they did have a faint soapy taste indicative of a high concentration of glycoalkaloids (natural toxins produced by the nightshade family). It wasn't enough to make you sick, but it was enough to make me glad that I didn't have a lot of them. Why is this? The only thing I can think of is that the light colored plastic allowed too much sun in to the roots from all sides. So this year I am going to try the popular method of grow bags. You can go broke on grow bags. But I found some on Amazon that are at the right price point. If this works out well and the inexpensive bags don't hold up, I can spend more in the future.
One variety I am going to try is the Dark Red Norland I've grown the Norland variety many times with good results. Last year I had some very dark red ones that I purchased at the grocery store. When they got too sprouty, I planted the last of them in the garden, late, probably in July, and I got great results. The tubers were beautiful which, when you are spending too much money to grow something you could buy much more cheaply, is a very important factor.
So that's my plan. I'm counting the weeks until I can put it into action. It will only be five more weeks until I start the cauliflower seeds. And then I will be counting the weeks until harvest.