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The 2012 Garden Report: Part 1 – The Chumps

October 1, 2012

I’ve said it so many times…my garden is a giant experiment.  I often wonder if regular non-writing and non-hirable gardeners feel that they have the same duty towards experimentation?   I sort of think so  – isn’t that part of the fun? (right?) …but it must not be on quite the same level.

Anyway – as fall is here, I thought I would share with you some of this season’s trials.   As usual – there is nothing particularly scientific about my tests…it is mostly that it works or doesn’t work (in whatever slightly random place I try it) and I like it or I don’t.   The rest you will have to judge for yourselves.  I’ve got three groupings — Champs, Chumps and the Do-Overs (or in other words -“meh…but I’ll try it again”). I’ll start with the worst…

Here’s my list of 2012 Chumps.

Yellow Pear Tomatoes — I tried a variety of tomatoes this year and while these produced prolifically — the plants were floppier and ganglier than all the others (which annoying leaves them blocking my paths)  and to be frank, I just didn’t love the taste of these.  They are a little too small to be used as slices and a little too big to be like candy popping cherries…we didn’t make a love connection.

Soybeans – I had dreams of Edamame…but what I got was remarkably different.  Little, hard, yellowish pods that hardly resembled what I eat at my local sushi shop.   Next time, I am going to focus on those specifically noted for edamame use…and if I can’t find them, I’m not giving up the space for these plants.

Peppers – These are amongst my favorite things to grow and I typically have huge success.  This year I bought alot of locally grown plants from a local nursery and they simply didn’t thrive.    I like to have a huge variety but I am not prone to fantasies of seed starting under grow lights in my living room (so I buy seedings).  Much as I hate to say it…I wonder if my locally grown versions were somehow less strong than some of the nationally distributed varieties that I have bought at big box stores in the past.  Hmmm….
lemon cucumber by rochelle greayer www.pithandvigor.comLemon Cucumbers – novelty will always win me as a customer…once…but not twice (unless the goods really shine).  Lemon cucumbers (from Hudson Valley Seed Company) were too seedy, too little,  and too thick skinned to please me.  I’m not the hugest cuke aficionado, so these won’t be back (but they do look pretty in pictures!)

White Eggplant – All my favorite eggplant recipes involve getting rid of the skin and still having plenty of fruit to work with (whether roasting, grilling, rolling or breading) — the white ones (and all the little odd shaped ones for that matter) just don’t have the bulk to satisfy my simple cooking requirements. They are out!

I’m curious, did you plant any Chumps you would like to review — please, share in the comments!

Next up:  The Do-Overs…’Meh……but I’ll try it again”

images by rochelle greayer.


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  1. Amy says:

    For what it’s worth, while lemon cukes aren’t the awesomest out there, we grow them because they’re fun. You want to pick them though, when they are still greenish and pale. If the ones you ate looked like the ones in your pic, that’s why they tasted bad.

  2. rochelle says:

    Amy — this year my squash patch went right out control…and I couldn’t tell one plant from the next – they all intertwined over the course of a crazy growing week in early july… but I wondered, if I had isolated the cucumbers if perhaps they might have been decorative….maybe even decorative enough to warrant planting outside the veg patch… what do you think? are the vines pretty? could they be useful as a purely ornamental plant and forget the mediocre taste?

  3. Amy says:

    I don’t think so. At least here, they get powdery mildew as the season goes on and they aren’t anything spectacular to start with, they are just dependable producers and taste ok when they’re young. I like gourds better for pretty and vine-y. This year I got some climbing nasturtiums and planted those around my garden and they might be my new favorite.

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