2015: Things That Worked

The long nights this time  of year are perfectly suited for curling up with seed and nursery catalogs, the most exquisite pornography available  and about as realistic as most pornography.  It’s also the time of year when I look back over what worked and what didn’t during the growing season.  So here are some things that worked, and some things that didn’t. Your mileage may vary.

image
Silene, also known as bladder campion, always works. It is a common weed in many places, but not in my area, so I had to seek out seed and get it started. Treat it as a perennial and give it a spot where it can establish itself. The flavor of the young leaves is a very muted version of green peas, and the young stocks are tender. It is not exciting in flavor, nor is it a specially productive, but it is wonderfully available in latest fall and earliest spring, when little else is still thriving. It loses most of its volume when cooked, and I mostly use it in salads.
image
Sour cherries worked. My dwarf tree is five years old now and bearing nice crops. From that one small tree I made several cobblers and a full half-gallon of cherry liqueur. The tree also adds to quality-of-life, because in summer sunlight when hung with its hundreds of bright enameled fruits, it is beautiful enough to take your breath away.
image
All the lettuces from Wild Garden Seeds worked. Their devotion to trialing their own crops really shows. Every lettuce variety and all the mixtures that I have tried from them have been wonderfully successful. Choose the size and color of lettuce that you want, and they will have something to suit your conditions.
image
Grafted eggplants worked. The grafted tomatoes grew beautifully but so do my other tomatoes. The grafted eggplants, however, bore more fruit than ungrafted by a large margin. I consider them Roth the expense and I’ll be planting them again.
image
I put in some celery plants as a lark, and I’ll be planting more next year. They need the richest soil you have and some extra water, but they are sturdy and offer delicious crunching and cooking when the rest of the garden is going to sleep for the winter.
image
Goji berries worked. They need some extra water but not a lot, and the berries are pleasant out of hand and in salads. They offer maximum antioxidants for minimum carbohydrates.
image
Rattlesnake beans worked. They are hard to stop. The pods have a very good flavor if picked young but do need stringing, no matter what the seed catalog says. They get quite tough as they age, so pick them over every day or two.

Every year I try some new things, and some work out and some don’t. In most cases a failure only means that you’re out a few dollars’ worth of seeds, so garden boldly.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Heather,
    I was not as adventurous as you were this past growing season. We just finished eating the tomatoes. We had them from June through December. There are still habaneros, jalapenos and various sweet peppers in the greenhouse. Leaf lettuce was very successful and eggplants were as well – but too many critters liked
    munching on those guys. We did not do potatoes this year and the Gai Lan was not very tender. I wonder if Silene will grow in the PNW? I know that rattlesnake beans will grow well here and we may plant those. Thanks for this inspirational post! I will definitely try some new (and exotic?) veggies next season. Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season and a Stellar New Year!
    Azar xx

    Reply

    • Posted by wooddogs3 on December 23, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Azar, always so good to hear from you! I envy you your greenhouse. I want one, but somehow haven’t gotten to it yet.
      I think that silene will grow anywhere once you get it started. I want to be careful not to oversell it because it shrinks so much in cooking that it is hardly worth cooking at all, but it does help winter salads a lot.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: