I’m guessing that most people reading this blog who have gardens, like me planted more than tomatoes this year. I’ve lamented more than enough about how I’ve had a fairly bad year for tomatoes starting from germination issues to mislabeled greenhouse seedlings to extremely late maturity, but I’ve had other plants that did really well (and a good many that went the way of the tomato). I thought it would be fun (and for my own garden journaling records) to list some of the other edible things I grew this year and how they did. I’ll try to keep each crop to a couple sentences but this post is still likely to be long.
Cucumbers – Direct seeded (new to me variety) Saladmore Bush, an AAS winner, close to May Long, timing which has never let me down. Only one of 10 seeds germinated, so I went back to National Pickling, which worked well for me last year (they all germinated quickly). All cucumber plants sat around doing almost nothing until late July, which was really weird but likely due to cold weather. They are producing now, and I’m hoping for warmer fall weather to get an okay pickle harvest during September. Not impressed with Saladmore Bush, will stick with National Pickling in the future.
Peas – Pretty sure I grew Homesteader. Did one row and then a second two weeks later for slightly more continual harvest. Did a bad job of staking them which contributed to lower harvest. Planted a third row in late July, not sure if it will do anything. Poor harvest overall, probably mainly my own fault.
Carrots – Planted Deep Purple, paid good attention to my seed spacing this year. Did two rows, they grew really well! I have had issues with carrots in the past so I’m happy with them this year. And bonus alien specimen. Would grow this variety again; it’s pretty and tastes great.
Pak Choi – forget it. Bolted immediately. Won’t grow again.
Arugula – For once, the arugula lasted more than a couple weeks! I was harvesting until early August. Likely due to the cooler than usual summer!
Lettuce – I grew a salad mix, and like with carrots tried to space it out better than usual. Like arugula, this lasted forever – I still have lettuce that I can pick and eat and is in relatively good shape. Likely due to cooler summer weather as it was actually planted in one of the sunniest spots in the yard.
Sunberries – These came up like usual, I had to pull tons of plants out, but I’m definitely going to get a good jam harvest this year. They also seem to give the cucumbers something to grab on to.
Cucamelons – WHY do I keep trying with these? They sound so fun and cute and apparently make incredible pickles, but they don’t do well for me. Still no blossoms. I might try the leftover seeds in my front boulevard garden next summer for one last chance. Also, I should probably start them indoors like the package says to…
Herbs – Oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, dill, mint, it all did well. Herbs are nearly impossible to screw up. However, I was disappointed that I couldn’t find a lot of the varieties I wanted to grow.
Hot Peppers – I did one pot of jalapenos and one pot of serranos and they are pretty bad. One of the pepper plants in the four pack of jalepenos was definitely not a jalepeno (why does this seem to be so common for 2020?). Each plant produced about 2 usable peppers. As per usual I am bad at growing hot peppers, this is not surprising, but they’re even worse than normal.
Padron Peppers – Mixed results, seem to be based on what kind of pot I planted them in. Very very slow to get going but my best plant is finally producing. I’m babying it now and moving it indoors at night to try and keep it warm to extend the growing season. Would try and grow again but plant directly in the garden.
Strawberries – Planted in the boulevard garden, had all sorts of trouble getting them going. Seemed like animals were biting off the blossoms. I have some sort of random mix of cultivars in there right now and only about 4/10 plants actually produced a modest harvest. Might not be the best spot for them. I may put them in the kohlrabi bed next year and see if that’s a better spot.
Kohlrabi – I decided to try Gigante Kohlrabi, which is a Czechoslovakian heirloom kohlrabi that can get very big but apparently doesn’t get woody. It’s a long grower, 130 days, and I don’t think we had great weather for them this year. I think I put them in a spot that is too hot. I also waited too long to put on row cover and it got eaten by cabbage caterpillars. So now every day I brush off the eggs by hand and then blast the leaves with water. It’s growing, but slowly, and I’m hoping they’ll get to softball size by October. Starting them indoors early was pointless.
Melons – On a recommendation from Lyndon Penner’s USask melons class, I picked up some Kazakh melon seeds from Prairie Garden Seeds (amazing selection of heirloom seeds, out of Humboldt of all places!). They were VERY slow to bloom but finally there are a few little melons. Hoping they are very cold tolerant and that I might get a melon or two by October. If not, I would try them again next year. It seems they might need to be hand pollinated as I’ve only seen a bee on them once, so I’ve been taking a paintbrush out every morning for the last week or so.
Garlic – My trusty garlic never lets me down. The heads were smaller this year than in the past I think, but that’s probably my fault for letting too much dill grow in the bed with it. Still, I’ve got 48 heads now curing which should last most of the winter.
Ground Cherries – Producing like crazy and ripening faster than I care to eat them. My friend’s two year old loves them and will be eating many more this season.
Raspberries – Ripened REALLY late and are still ripening. The week of intense wind at peak ripening blew them around a lot, ripped some leaves, and bruised at least half the fruit. Not a great year but not much I could do. Planted more canes this year along the side of the garage to hopefully increase yields in the future.
Haskaps – Got a ton of berries, even after generously sharing the first harvest with the local cedar waxwings. Made jam and have some frozen for baking or more jam.
Apples – Our Gemini tree produced exactly one apple this year which we are looking forward to enjoying when it ripens.
2020’s garden winners are: haskaps, ground cherries, herbs, sunberries, arugula, lettuce and carrots. An honourable mention goes to garlic, and the jury is still out on cucumbers, Kazakh melons, and padron peppers.
I also have to say that I wasn’t super impressed with the quality of seedlings I got from greenhouses this year. There were multiple plants with label mix-ups, which is really frustrating, and they just didn’t grow as well as the ones I started from seed. Since Helga of Helga’s Herbs (at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market) retired, the variety of herbs I was able to find was also severely lacking. I am thinking next year I just need to start everything from seed and be done with nurseries, at least for my edible crops.