by A.J. Coltrane
We purchased $135 of vegetable starts on Saturday at the Seattle Tilth edible plant sale. (All descriptions from the Tilth PDF.)
[Comments: The cucumbers and zucchini have been planted. The tomatillos arrived in tiny pots that instantly dessicated, so they got planted and are rolled into the garage at night. The other plants are still in their original pots — they come into the garage at night too. I came home today to see the wind beating the hell out of everything, so bedtime in the garage came early. The cucumbers and zucchini are low-slung enough that they should be ok.
I think that each year we’ve targeted shorter and shorter maturity dates. There are no more Bradywines. We didn’t do 80-100 day Brussels Sprouts this year. I’m interested to see if we really *are* moving the maturity dates that much — it will likely result in a mathy blog post at some point.]
Tomatoes (8 total, 2 per box, 4 boxes):
Sweet Million (Cherry) – 65-75 days. Indeterminate. 3 ft. tall plants produce 1-1 1/2 in. fruit in grape-like clusters. 65-75 days. One of the besttasting red cherries with a crisp sweet flavor. Fusarium Wilt (races 1 and 2) and Tobacco Mosaic Virus resistant. Winner of best cherry tomato at the 2007 Tilth Tomato Tasting.
Sungold (Cherry) – 65 days. Indeterminate. Wow! Sungold’s fruity or tropical flavor is a big hit with everyone who tastes it. Apricot-orange round 1 1/4 in. fruit. 10-20 fruits on grape-like trusses. Generally we try to offer open pollinated and heirloom varieties, but we just can’t give up Sungold! Winner of Best Cherry Tomato at the 2005 and 2006 Tilth Tomato Tasting.
Black Krim – 75 days. Open pollinated heirloom. Indeterminate. From the Black Sea region of Russia, these 10-12oz beefsteak type tomatoes have a strong, rich flavor that is common with black tomatoes. One seed catalog noted that the fruit is best when half green and still firm. Very productive. Reportedly is a consistent favorite at tastings, so why not give it a shot?
Cosmonaut Volkov – 68 days. Open pollinated heirloom. Semi-determinate. Ukranian variety named after a Russian Cosmonaut. This tomato delivers that perfect sweet-tart beefsteak flavor in an early-maturing variety. Fruit are large 10oz – 1lb and produce reliably by mid-August.
Oregon Spring – 60 days. Determinate. An extra-early variety that sets loads of meaty fruits weighing 3 to 5 oz. Compact plants set fruits even in cool weather and continue to yield all season long. Nearly seedless. A perfect choice for ketchup and sauces.
Roma (sauce) – 75 days. Determinant. Premium canning tomato, ideal for sauce and paste. Pear-shaped scarlet fruits are thick and meaty with few seeds.
Taxi – 65 days. Open pollinated. Determinate, early, prolific production. The best yellow tomato for short season gardeners. Expect heavy yields of mild, non-acid tomatoes for 3-4 weeks. Grows well in a container.
Tigerella – 65 days. Open pollinated. English Heirloom. Indeterminate. Interesting green turning to red and orange tiger-striped fruit . Very early and prolific – produces throughout the season. Excellent for salads. Low acidity variety.
[Comments: Six repeats. Cosmonaut Volkov is new. I’ve wanted to try it for a couple of years now. This is the first time we’ve had a space and the variety was available at the sale. The other new tomato is the Sweet Million. It should complement the SunGold nicely.]
Tomatillo (2 plants, 1 box):
De Milpa – 60 days. Open pollinated. Mexican heirloom. “Di milpa” means “from the fields”, as this type commonly grows wild in the cornfields of Latin America. Small fruit but great storage quality, remains green and firm weeks after picking.
Mexican Strain – 65 days. Open pollinated. At 2 inches, these fruit are larger than most tomatillos. They are savory and fresh tasting, great for making salsa verde or adding a Mexican flavor to your dishes. Tomatillos produce tons of fruit on sprawling vines, but don’t usually need to be trellised. Fruits will burst out of husks and fall to the ground when they are ripe.
[Comments: Both repeats. The Mexican Strain has a vertical habit. The De Milpa sprawls by comparison. They fit well in a box together. It ain’t broke…]
Cucumber (8 total, 4 per box, 2 boxes):
Calypso (Pickling) – 52 days. An early producer with astoundingly abundant yields, ‘Calypso’ is also highly disease-resistant, making it any easy care and dependible pickling cuke. You can expect 1″ x 3″, blocky, medium-green fruits–just the right size for snacking. Preserve some of the harvest for the lean months of winter, give ‘Calypso’ a try!
National Pickling (Pickling) – 52 days. The premium pickling cuke! Bears heavy crops of 6 inch average cucumbers perfect for pickles. Crispy and sweet, this cucumber is also good for slicing.
Lemon (x2) – 70-75 days. Open pollinated heirloom. Dating back to the 1890’s, this old variety is a favorite among many cool season gardeners. 3-4 foot, semi-bush type plants bear loads of apple-shaped cucumbers with lemon-colored skins. Thin skins and mild, sweet flesh make them a joy to eat whole right from the garden! Best harvested when the size of limes. Hermaphrodite – Flowers contain both male and female reproductive parts, which means abundant yields in the garden!
Marketmore 76 (x4) – 63 days. Open pollinated. In the Marketmore series, ‘Marketmore 76′ is very popular with organic growers due to its high level of disease resistance. This dark green slicing variety produces abundant, high quality, uniform fruits about 8 inches long with a wonderful cucumber flavor. This is your classic, all-around cucumber!
[Comments: The Marketmores have been hugely successful both years, so they get their own box. We had a Lemon cucumber two years ago that did great, so those get 1/2 of a box. Two new varieties of pickling cucumbers fill the 2nd box. Each of the pickling cucumbers is super early. Hopefully we’ll get a staggered harvest from the three broad types.]
Zucchini (4 plants, 1 box):
Tromboncino – 60-80 days. Open pollinated heirloom. A Seattle Tilth favorite, the flesh of this variety has a smooth buttery texture and a mild flavor—the taste of summer! The 12 to 18” long fruits are “trombone”- shaped and can grow in curly cues or hang like bells on a trellised vine. Harvest when they are a pale, grass green or leave a few fruits at the end of the season to mature to a buff color and enjoy them as you would a winter squash.
[Comments: We have yet to have much success with zucchini. This is the 2nd year of the Tromboncino. They’ll get a more premium location this year, and I’ll probably harvest them more aggressively. They will also be less crowded — the weak sisters are going to get pruned. Hopefully all of that will contribute to us harvesting the same million pounds of zucchini everyone else gets…]
Peppers (18 plants, 6 per box, 3 boxes. The first three are hot, the rest are sweet.):
Anaheim College 64 (hot) – 74 days. Open pollinated. Medium hot flavor make these short season peppers a hit for dips, sauces, stuffing with cheese or roasting. They are just like the anaheims you find in the store but without having traveled all those miles to get to you!
Early Jalapeno (hot) – 66 days. Open pollinated. Hottest and fully ripe when they turn red but most is familiar in the green stage. 2 ft. tall plants produce 3 in. peppers. Will set fruit in cooler conditions better than other hot peppers.
NuMex Highlander (hot) 65 days. An early Anaheim type pepper in the NuMex line developed by the Chili Pepper Institute of New Mexico State University. Produces earlier and has longer fruits than Joe E. Parker. The plants are large and tall and very productive bearing 7 inch long fruit. Try these peppers sliced and stuffed with red rice, goat cheese and parsley for a simple dinner. Or throw on the barbecue and blacken to accompany your favorite grilled fish.
Bullnose Bell (x2) – 58 days. Large Sweet Spanish. Heirloom. An extra early maturing variety that ripens from green to red. Sweet, sweet flesh contrasts with spicy interior ribs–very nice! Originally from India and very prolific!
Carmen (x2) – 60 – 80 days. Lusciously sweet when left to fully ripen to a deep red, this pepper is perfect for chopping and tossing straight into a salad. A great container plant and a good addition to a sunny veggie bed. 6 inch fruits on an upright plant.
Iko Iko (x2) – 65 days. A reliable, sturdy and upright sweet pepper for cooler climates. Produces a variety of colors, from lavender, purple, yellow and lime green when immature to tangerine and red streaked with purple when fully ripe! Lovely specimen plant for containers
King of the North (x6) – 76 days. Open Pollinated. Here is a sweet bell pepper that will mature in short season climates. Its crisp, blocky fruit will turn from medium green to red if left on plant longer. Excellent raw in salads or dips. Great to use as stuffed pepper or in tempura recipes.
Lipstick (x2) – 55 days. Open pollinated. Early and productive, a great choice for a short season! Chunky, triangular peppers with very nice, sweet flavor.
Yellow Mini Bell (x1) from the Master Gardeners plant sale.
[Comments: The King of the North have been our most successful, so they get a full box. The Lipstick, Anaheim, and Jalapeno are repeats. The others are relatively fast maturing varieties that looked interesting.]
and Sweet Basil. 6 plants. 1 box.
[Comments: It’s Basil. We Love Basil.]
That was a way longer post than I’d intended, but now it’s documented for next year.