Sunday, March 13, 2016

2016 Planting List

Most seeds are in hand and the seed starting and planting schedules are being worked out. The onions and shallots have already sprouted and are under the grow lights. The following is a list of what is planned to be included in this year’s garden, always subject to the gardener’s whim (whimsy?). Next is to complete the plot layout. I better hurry because given this seeming early spring, I could be out planting peas and spinach right now.

  • Bean Bush Provider (PT)
  • Bean Bush Jade (PT)
  • Bean Pole Helda (T)
After last year’s mosaic virus disaster I decided to go back to bush beans for awhile, since they exhibit a higher degree of disease resistance. Of course, that is subject to seed catalog enchantment, so I succumbed to Territorial’s promise of some BMV resistance and ordered a pole bean to try, Helda, a Romano type bean.

  • Beet Paonaza D’Egitto (PT)
  • Beet Touchstone Gold (HM)
  • Beet Shiraz (HM)
Beets are the same as last year, with the impulse addition of an Italian heirloom from Italy, Paonaza D’Egitto. I hope I have a repeat of last year’s great beet harvest.

  • Broccoli Atlantis (J))
  • Broccoli Blue Wind (T)
  • Broccoli Spigariello Liscia (J)
I am trying a different strategy this year after the broccoli did not like last year’s hot, dry summer. Blue Wind is a standard type that produces heads very quickly and hopefully does well during the cooler, wetter part of early spring. Atlantis is a broccoli/Gailon cross and produces lots of small florets.  The Spigariello is a leaf variety grown for its edible leaves. So I am giving up trying to grow big heads of broccoli in exchange for hopefully more tonnage of broccoli-like shoots and greens.

  • Cabbage Chinese Minuet (J)
  • Cabbage Golden Acre (HM)
  • Collard Flash (T)
Soloist did well the last two years but I am trying a new mini Napa cabbage, Minuet, this year. And Golden Acre is my first attempt at standard cabbage. It is an heirloom compact cabbage that can be grown with a 12 inch/30 cm spacing, making it suitable for raised beds and denser planting. Its disadvantage is it has a short harvest window and does not store well.

  • Carrot Yaya (F)
  • Carrot Cosmic Purple (BC)
  • Carrot Eskimo (T)
Nothing new this year, I will be replanting some varieties I planted last year.

  • Cucumber Ashley (SESE)
  • Cucumber Pickler Calypso (F)
I had a terrible year with the cucumbers, getting only a few small fruits. It was not bacterial wilt, the usual scourge, because the cucumber beetles were not a big problem Rather the hot, humid weather seemed to trigger other diseases that wiped out the cuke plants. This year I am trying Calypso, a pickling cuke with good disease resistance that Mike had insane good luck with last year. And Ashley caught my eye in the SESE catalog, which described it as a cuke with good disease resistance to help it survive hot, humid Southern summers.

  • Eggplant Ping Tung (PT)
This is the only one I grow now. It is fairly early and seems a bit more resistant to flea beetles, but I still have too keep them covered most of the season.

  • Endive Dubuisson (J)
  • Escarole Natacha (J)
I grow these every year and they always do well and virtually never bolt.

Greens (Chinese)
  • Greens Pac Choi Win-Win (J)
  • Greens Tatsoi (F)
  • Greens Komatsuna (PT)
  • Kale Nash’s Green (HM)
  • Kale Nero Di Toscana (F)
  • Kale Red Ursa (HM)
I almost tried some of the kales from Adaptive Seeds but then got attracted by some new kales offered by High Mowing. Red Ursa is a Frank Morton cross that looks a bit like a Siberian kale with the red veining of Red Russian kale. Dave of Our Happy Acres did a Spotlight on it. Nash’s Green is a field selection of Nash Huber of Washington State, a curly green kale. It is supposed to be very cold tolerant and a good candidate to overwinter, even better than Siberian kales. Nero Di Toscana repeats.

  • Kohlrabi Azur Star (HM)
  • Kohlrabi Winner (F)
These are a repeat from last year and I had good luck with them.

  • Lettuce Green Ice (PT)
  • Lettuce Red Sails (PT)
  • Lettuce Buttercrunch  (PT)
  • Lettuce Webb’s Wonderful (F)
This year I am back to my old faithful varieties. What is new is my first crisphead, Webb’s Wonderful, now that seed is available here.

  • Mustard Green Wave (PT)
Tried and true. Slower to bolt and so what, the flowers and stalks are tender and edible so I just keep eating whatever it keeps making.

  • Onion Copra plants (DF)
  • Onion Red Wing plants (DF)
  • Onion Purplette (J)
  • Onion Shallots Conservor (HM)
  • Onion Leeks Takrima (J)
Copra and Red Wing are storage onions I will be growing from plants from Dixondale Farms. And this year I will be trying Conservor for shallots. I am not impressed with Ambition’s storage ability and still miss Saffron, which was a superior and very long storing seed shallot. Also new for me is Purplette, a pretty little fresh onion from Johnny’s with a purple blush. So far, the Takrima leeks are a pricey bust, one seed germinating, so I will likely be buying leek plants again.

  • Pea Snap Super Sugar Snap (J)
  • Pea Snow Green Beauty (BC)
I wanted to grow Green Beauty last year but Fedco sold out. This year I ordered as soon as the catalog was available online and still sold out. Re-ordered from Baker Creek and I finally have seeds.                                                                                                                                                 
  • Pepper Tiburon Ancho (J)
  • Pepper Carmen (F)
  • Pepper Revolution (F)
  • Pepper Jimmy Nardello (BC)
  • Pepper Hungarian Paprika (SESE)
  • Pepper Super Shepherd (SESE)
  • Pepper Lemon Drop (BC)
  • Pepper Jalapeno (purchased plant)
 I already announced I am giving up on baccatam peppers, however much I would like to grow them. The exception this year is Lemon Drop since I already have seeds and I will try growing it in containers that I can bring inside. The only new pepper is Super Shepherd, a long red sweet pepper of Italian origin. It will be interesting to compare it to Carmen, which is a reliable and productive pepper bred by Johnny's in Maine. Bacterial spot was a problem last year and since it can be seed borne, I have to research seed treatment techniques like bleach and hot water baths in the next few weeks before I have to start seeds.

  • Radish Celesta (HM)
  • Radish D’Avignon (HM)
  • Radish Korean Alpine (J)
  • Radish Zlata (F)
Zlata is a repeat, a superior brown radish (similar to Helios). New are Celesta, a red cherry radish, and D’Avignon, a French breakfast type, both from High Mowing Seeds. Alpine is a Korean type radish, shorter and blockier than a daikon. If I get some, I plan to use them in pickles and kimchee.

  • Spinach Tyee (F)
  • Spinach Escalade (HM)
I hope to have some luck with spinach again. Last year I tried starting seeds inside in 3/4 inch soil blocks. About half germinated which is apparently typical for spinach, so I planted twice as many blocks as I needed. The small seed blocks worked well and I had no transplant problems.This year I am going to try scarification and cold treatment first to see if I can improve the germination rate.

Summer Squash
  • Squash Zucchini Dunja (HM)
  • Squash Zucchini Costata Romanesco (R)
  • Squash Pattypan Sunburst (PT)
These are the same as last year. The Costata Romanesco strain from Renee’s is definitely different and more productive than the heirloom seeds I previously used.

Swiss Chard
  • Chard Magenta Sunset (J)
  • Chard Orange Fantasia (PT)
  • Chard Pink Passion (HM)
Repeat, sticking with winners.

  • Tomato, yellow Sunkist  (HM)
  • Tomato, cherry Honeydrop (F)
  • Tomato, cherry Bing (HM)
  • Tomato, Juliet (J)
  • Tomato, Sweet Treats (F)
  • Tomato, Jaune Flamme (HM)
  • Tomato, Rose de Berne (HM)
  • Tomato, purchased plants
New this year will be Bing, a red cherry; Honeydrop, a yellow cherry (not the yellow pear of Russian origin with the same name); and Rose De Berne, a French heirloom producing medium size pink fruit. I still need a full size non-heirloom red slicer and will look for plants locally. That greatly limits my choices since the nurseries only grow/sell the crowd favorites like Jet Star and Early Girl.

  • Turnip White Hakurei (J)
  • Turnip Yellow Golden Ball (PT)
  • Turnip Royal Crown (PT)

These are all repeats. Hakurei is a superior white Japanese turnip, much better than the standard Tokyo Cross. And I found Royal Crown, an F1 hybrid, a much improved version of the standard purple top turnip.

The seed starting season is beginning. This weekend I have plans to start kale, kohlrabi and mustard. Next week it is spinach, then broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard and peppers. We are getting into crazy season, juggling seed trays on the heat mat and under the lights. All this happens just as we are approaching tax filing deadline, which reminds me I have to do my own. The next four weeks will be interesting, but seeing green things growing under the lights makes it  worth it.


  1. That's a nice selection of the tried and true with some new addtions to add a challenge. I tried Green Beauty snow peas back in 2009 and gave up on them since they are a bit too susceptible to powdery mildew, a real scourge in my garden. They did produce some big beautiful tasty pods before they succumbed.

    1. I grew Golden Sweet last year because I couldn't get Green Beauty. Golden Sweet didn't show any PM resistance. Last year was the worst case of PM I have seen in the pea patch.

  2. I love seeing your list and look forward to seeing how everything grows for you this year. I have great luck pre-sprouting the first batch of spinach seeds. I place them in a shallow container with a few layers of moistened paper towels then check daily for sprouts. When I see a seed a sprouted seed, I use tweezers to transfer it into the soil block, cover lightly with soil and place it under lights. That way you are only supporting seeds that sprout.

    1. Good to know. I will be using the paper towel trick but will also try first clipping off the tip of the seed and then soaking in water in the fridge for 24 hours.

  3. That's a wonderful grow list - I'm quite interested to see how the Minuet Napa does. I'm trying Napa cabbage for the first time this year and really wanted to get smaller headed varieties - Soloist is supposed to be one of those but I seem to recall that it actually grew quite large for you? I purchased Conservor shallot seeds (they were backordered on the Camelot I've grown for the past couple of years) and every single one succumbed to damping off - ugh! So unfortunately, no seed grown shallots for me this year.

    1. Too bad about the shallot seeds. I can buy leek seedlings but have never seen nursery selling the shallot seedlings. The Soloist cabbages did fine in a one foot spacing. The outer leaves tend to flop so you need to tie them up to form the head and blanch the interior.

  4. Looks like a great lineup! I'll also be looking to see how that Minuet cabbage works for you. I'm trying Soloist and Little Jade this year, hoping they won't be too big to deal with.

    1. Soloist has done well but there were some new choices and I wanted to try one to see how it compares.


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