The 2012 Garden Report: Part 3 – The Champs

October 1, 2012

I think I had more winners this year than ever before.   It was a great garden year for me….how was it for you?

red cherokee tomatoes

2012 Garden Champs

I will plant all of these again and hope that I have as much luck as I did this year…

Red Cherokee Tomatoes – These were given to me as starts by a friend.  I swear she called them Red Cherokees but my research shows that Red Cherokees are actually much larger than what I got.  So perhaps these were just Black Cherry tomatoes?  They were prolific, large (for cherry tomatoes – a full mouthful) of dark black-red awesomeness.  They practically refused to split (even though watering was, at times, erratic) and they were healthy and strong and honestly one of the best tomatoes I have ever grown.  People loved them at the farmers market too.

trombetta de zucca by rochelle greayer

Trombetta de Zucca is entirely too fun not to love and grow again.  This one looks like a nose…or an earring…another one we sold at the market was carried around by a customer (over her shoulders) and she wandered around pretending she had a boa constrictor around her neck…and then she played like she was Bjork in a pale Green Tombetta de Zucca swan dress.  The shapes and forms that they make are marvels…I plan to grow them just for that…in fact, I haven’t even eaten one yet (it is purported to be like zucchini) so I hope it is tasty.

trombetta de zucca by rochelle greayer


Wasabi Arugula is the best green thing I have ever grown.  It is so good you cannot even imagine (I am a crazy evangelical for this stuff!).  If I had to pick just one winner this year, the wasabi arugula would take the prize.   If you love wasabi anything, you should grow this and harvest it to add amazing flavor to anything you might make with lettuce.  It is shockingly good. I got my seeds from Renee’s Garden and next year I will be buying a whole lot more.

Agastache is my new favorite genus.  I planted ‘Blue Fortune’ and ‘Rupestris’ last year and they are both amazingly beautiful despite neglect.  They smell amazing and you would not believe how many butterflies flocked to the Blue Fortune earlier this fall.  I felt like my one plant might be a monarch migration stop.  I’m on the lookout for more exciting varieties of these awesome plants.

purple cauliflowerPurple Cauliflower – I’m struggling with my lackadaisical record keeping to know where the cauliflower that I planted came from and what exact variety it was.  It was some sort of purple variety like the one in the picture but it never really got fully purple — just blushes and streaks of violet here an there.  To be honest, the bright purple varieties that look like the Violet Beauregarde of  the Brassicas don’t really appeal – seems off.  Woodchuck enjoyed a number of feasts (and really beat it up) but it came back to give me the best tasting cauliflower I have ever had.  More nutty and earthy and sweet than anything at the grocery store — almost like a whole different vegetable.   I must find out where I bought those seeds!

Pennisetum ‘Red Head’ – Proven Winners sent me this plant at the beginning of last summer.  It was a 4″ slip of nothing but I put it in the ground anyway.  It is now about 4 ft wide and 2 and a half feet tall and gorgeous.  It is one of the prettiest grasses I have seen and its seed heads right now are an eye-catching maroon that plays very nicely with Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’.  I have done nothing but ignore it and it is lovely.   I love plants like that…I think need about a dozen more.

Please share your 2012 Champs!

images by rochelle greayer and from summer tomato and tomato growers supply

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  1. S@sha says:

    Fun, I love reports on vegetable garden successes! I’ve never heard of Red Cherokee, only Purple Cherokee which is definitely a bigger tomoato. The best heirloom I’ve grown lately is called Eva Purple Ball. It’s definitely the best tasting tomato I’ve ever grown. Unfortunately I’m gardening on a tiny patio these days with only a couple of pots for my herbs and veggies. No elaborate squashes for me, but I’m happy to live vicariously!

  2. Tina says:

    I love Agastache ‘Black Adder’. You should try it!

  3. Amy says:

    I made myself confess on the last post so I could freely gloat on this one. That’s normal, right? My current favorite tomato is “Black Krim” It tastes amazing, doesn’t crack too terribly, and I get a pretty consistent harvest, which is not true for every heirloom tomato in our summers. I also have this squash, “Sweet Meat”, I think, that grew like crazy and has just the right size of squash – big enough to feed four with enough left over for pies. My newest fave plant is Salvia discolor. I bought it on a whim and it turned out to be very happy in a raised bed on the west side of my house, so super hot in the afternoon and very dry. If it just makes it through the winter, it will be one of my permanent favorites.

  4. rochelle says:

    Sasha — now that I am trying to remember the name — I am wondering if it was Black cherokee (not REd cherokee) — there are so many to try! Eva Ball sounds interesting (I like the name)
    Tina – Will def. try Black Adder. — I am interested in finding and growing ‘ava’ (pretty mauve) and a white version too.
    Amy – Gloat away! Sweet Meat sounds interesting — where did you buy it?

  5. Melodie says:

    I grew Black Cherry this year and it was very prolific. The foliage stayed clean all season while most of my other tomatoes succumbed to wilt or some other fungal issue. I will definitely plant this one again! A Champ, for sure.

  6. Amy says:

    It’s from Nichol’s Garden Nursery. What I loved most about it was that it came up outside from seed and took right off even though our weather was cool and damp all the way through June. Also, while it’s still going out there in our unseasonably warm dry weather, there are enough ripe squashes on it that even if summer ended two weeks ago (which often happens), it would have been ok.

  7. Gaby handyman says:

    I grew Red Cherry this year and they are very tasty , I like it , Great this post , Thanks.

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