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  • Successful veggies this past summer?

    If you had a vegetable garden this year, what were your most successful vegetables?

    With the drought, I didn't grow as much as usual, but I did have some notable successes. Tomatoes and zucchini as usual, but of special note were the winter squash - tetsukabuto/kabocha types, and chilies - namely Numex Joe E. Parkers. The kabochas should last the year, and the chilies I flame-roasted, peeled, and froze a significant number. Love those things. I also was able to dehydrate a lot of things. I gave away a lot too.
    SoCal, zone 10.
    www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends. http://www.ourfigs.com/core/images/smilies/smile.png

  • #2
    The first part of the summer was fantastic with zucchini, squash, and tomatoes. Powdery mildew hit like a freight train mid-summer and (with the hearty help of the largest squash bug infestation I've ever seen) destroyed all but the tomatoes despite treating with a milk spray multiple times. The PM moved over and wiped out the cantaloupes, watermelons, and honeydews, too.

    Zucchini--harvested close to 80 pounds, with 48# coming from just one plant. I plan to move the zucchini and squash to the pawpaw trees next year to act as living mulch to shade out the grass and keep the ground cool.

    Summer squash--harvested about 30 pounds before the mildew/squash bug apocalypse happened. These will likely be moved to where the persimmons and some figs will be put in-ground for the same reason as the zucchini above.

    Acorn squash--only harvested 5 total. They tasted wonderful after they finally ripened in the sun. Had to salvage them early from the apocalypse.

    Spaghetti squash--harvested 8 or 9 of good size. These didn't seem to be affected by the powdery mildew as much, but the squash bugs were destroying everything in sight and this is what we could save.

    Butternut squash--harvested 30-40 of these (didn't keep good records...forgot who we gave some to and how many). Best harvest of the squashes and stood up to the squash bug invasion pretty well. Powdery mildew killed the vines and we pulled everything before the squash were affected. Curing in the sun has ripened everything nicely.

    Bell peppers--lots of foliage, but not much fruit set.

    Tomatoes--all heirloom varieties. Our harvest would have been better had we caged these plants rather than relying on stakes. The Black Krem did OK on the stakes, but the Dixie and Azoychka were monsters that needed 7-8' tall full cages for support. We harvested many a little earlier than would be optimum just because the weight was going to damage the plants.

    Dixie Giant was out favorite producing fruits averaging about 1.5 pounds with quite a few topping the 2 pound mark. Big, yellow/orange tomato with few seed pockets and a lot of meat. Low acidity. Perfect for slicing and sandwiches (a 3/4" inch slice that overhangs the slice of artisan bread by a good half inch...doesn't get any better). It also made a nice sauce to go with the spaghetti squash.

    Black Krem is a chocolate/red tomato. Didn't get as many as we had hoped. I think we planted too close and it got a bit too much shade from the Dixie Giants (7-9' tall) and Azoychkas (7-8' tall). We also noted some cross-pollination between the red varieties and the yellow/orange ones, so these will likely be moved to the other end of the garden next summer. Great flavor and a rich color. Excellent paste tomato.

    Azoychka is a Russian variety that took off with a purpose! Produced a lovely medium sized yellow tomato. What you typically expect with seed/meat ratio. A bit tangy in flavor but still fairly low acid.

    Several cherry and plum tomatoes (red, black, yellow). These produced prodigiously and were harvested throughout the season (still getting some). We used these mostly as snacks while working in the garden, but still had buckets that came in and have been a staple of lunches taken to work.
    Last edited by DBJohnson; 09-28-2016, 10:09 AM. Reason: mpre typos....
    Bryant...Franklin County, VA...Zone 7a. Wish List: a 32 hour day....more sleep


    • #3
      I had a rough start, but overall I had a good year. I took a big risk in the beginning by planting on May 2nd. Our frost date is the 15th, but looking at the extended forecast, I went for it. I took the same risk last year with great success, but this year I wasn't so lucky. Sure enough on the 15th we got blasted with cold, and I lost a lot. I replanted on the 23rd. Lesson learned... I might gamble again in the future, but who knows.

      As far as pests and disease go, I had no major problems. I somehow avoided powdery mildew completly this year. Most years I get a little here and there.

      The most successful plants we had were the usual suspects... zucchini, cherry tomatoes, butternut squash.

      For fruit, my raspberries exploded this year, and I got a ton of Methley plums which surprised the heck out of me. I just planted it last year. I probably picked around 60 of them. My mind was blown.
      Last edited by JohnnyK; 09-28-2016, 10:09 AM.


      • #4
        In my hood , the success depends on what the squirrels like or don't .
        The only plant that got to the end with fruits was a brown cantaloupe , the one you can also buy at a grocery store, with a rough skin. I think they don't smell tasty and this kept them under the radar.
        Pumpkins: didn't have a chance to even get to a cherry size. All flowers were eaten, a few every day. They contain moisture and sweet, sounds like a perfect breakfast.
        Tomatoes: squirrels and milddew. Almost none left.
        Figs: I managed to eat about 10%, gave up at some point when the raccoons joined the forces.
        Oranges: had to pick up semi ripe too. The approach of bite-and-drop was leaving a huge mess for too long.
        But I am optimistic for the next year (what do I have to loose, right?). Will plant lots of garlic and onions, lol.
        USDA z 10a, SoCal. WL: Boysenberry Blush


        • #5
          Originally posted by Gina View Post
          If you had a vegetable garden this year, what were your most successful vegetables?

          chilies - namely Numex Joe E. Parkers. The kabochas should last the year, and the chilies I flame-roasted, peeled, and froze a significant number. Love those things. I also was able to dehydrate a lot of things. I gave away a lot too.
          I like the Nu Mex chiles. I use green chiles and do what you do too. I freeze them for future use after roasting. I love making this stew to accent the unique flavor they have. What I like about this recipe, the main ingredients are left on their own, no heavy spices hiding flavor. I grow potatoes, garlic, onions, and I had 8 green chile.
          plants going this year. And they loved the drought, and dry heat. Many vegetables came out smaller than normal, garlic, onions, and many fruits.
          Oh the recipe is here, and I myself skip the beer. http://www.food.com/recipe/authentic...le-stew-277862
          I also like the chiles to go red to make chili powder.
          Chile Powder
          Assemble the following ingredients:

          For mildness and flavor:
          • 4 Ancho chiles (dried poblanos)
          • 3 Dried New Mexico chiles
          For heat:
          • 3 to 5 Dried Chiles de Arbol or Cayenne
          For flavor:
          • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted
          • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
          • 2 teaspoons ground oregano (Mexican oregano, if you can get it)

          I grow Mexican Oregano. I keep it under lights, or in a south window in the winter. it is not a true oregano, it's a shrub too. I have two kinds. I have Mexican Bush oregano too.

          Some photos of this year's harvest.
          Onions, shallots, and some garlic. One of three places I store braids. I like to braid these items for easy access and easy drying.

          I'm still harvesting green chiles. I'm about to go out now and harvest and roast today Here is a photo of the first nice harvest on 2016 07 25

          If anybody has recipes they like to use green chiles, that would be great. I'm always looking for ways to use them. I have loads and loads of them this year.
          Last edited by drew51; 09-28-2016, 01:52 PM.


          • cis4elk
            cis4elk commented
            Editing a comment
            Nice braids!

        • #6
          I was pretty happy with my Cherokee Purple and Brandywine tomatoes as well as Seascape and Mara des Bois strawberries in a bucket.

          The tomatoes were the best varieties I've tried so far. They grow into huge plants that need either a large support system or pruning. The tomatoes on both were a great size with outstanding flavor.

          I've never had much luck with strawberries in the ground so far. Something else always seems to eat them before they are ripe. This year I planted about 20 in a 5 gallon bucket and set it on my driveway. Haven't had much of a pest issue so far. Seascape is a pretty berry with an OK flavor. Mara des Bois can be very good but generally small. I think I want to give San Andreas a try.
          Don - OH Zone 6a Wish list: Verdolino, Sucrette UCD, Rubado


          • drew51
            drew51 commented
            Editing a comment
            I have found June bearing produce better tasting berries. Some exceptions like mara Des Bois, that is a great everbearing. Let them get very bright red. They taste like wild strawberries. Excellent. Mine are still producing but the quality is low this time of year still, nice to have them! I grow pineberries also. White strawberries. They taste a little like pineapple, then you get a strawberry flavor.

          • don_sanders
            don_sanders commented
            Editing a comment
            I've heard that about June bearers being better flavored. I was thinking about Earliglow but didn't want a bunch at once but rather wanted some here and there all summer. I suppose I could do a few June bearers along with ever bearers. Hmm.

          • drew51
            drew51 commented
            Editing a comment
            I have a few different June bearing. They got mixed up, so unsure what is what? The berries are bigger, and taste better. Although like you I want berries all year. So i have both, I'm getting 1-5 strawberries a day right now. A slow trickle. Mara des Bois is nice, most other everbearing don't produce well, soon stop being productive, yet Mara des Bois keeps kicking berries out. yes, small but high quality. Here are some June bearing berries (pineberries are also June Bearing) White D pineberries are the biggest I have found, some in the mix.
            Last edited by drew51; 09-29-2016, 04:24 AM.

        • #7
          Tomatoes did really well for me this year. I tried a hybrid, Paisano. It produced a concentrated set of flavorful paste tomatoes. It was one of my favorite varieties this year. I also enjoyed Bonnie's Best, Watermelon Beefsteak, Matt's Wild Cherry, Dona, Principe Borghese, and my unidentified yellow pear-type.

          I grew more jalepeno peppers than I will be able to use for salsa, so many of them will get dried.

          Our two zucchini plants have overwhelmed us this year. They are finally succumbing to powdery mildew, but not before cranking out two last squash.

          Our neighbors have been feeding the squirrels. For all the vegetables we harvested, I think that the squirrels have eaten bites out of seven of every ten apples on my fifty apple trees. They have planted peanuts and walnuts in the fig pots, and snatched unripe figs off the bushes. Neighborhood cats are definitely not enough to keep them away. Maybe I need to make squirrel stew with all my ripe vegetables!


          • #8
            The tomatoes I grew this year were all Early Girls. They do very well here, are prolific and taste really good, especially when dry-farmed. With our drought, I did not even try any new varieties this year. I wanted 'dependable'. And that's what I got.

            I planted an insane number of chili peppers. Two beds inside my blueberry enclosure, and one outside. I knew I would have a problem with bunnies and ground squirrels and gophers. And I did. But the sheer numbers of pepper plants did pay off, lol. The blueberry enclosure was to exclude birds and the bottom was not anchored well, so it was easy for bunnies to push under. Next year it will be better fastened.

            My favorite thing to make with my roasted peppers is my version of Chili Verde. Pork, tomatoes, onion, garlic, peppers, oregano, cumin. Oh my. I also like quick rellenos, and simply sliced in breakfast eggs are excellent. I freeze them in flattish packets of about a half pound each. With a good knife, you can slice off what you want while still frozen.

            When I have lots of chilies, I only roast and peel the straight ones cuz it's easier. Any not straight are allowed to turn red in color. They get chopped and dehydrated, and then used as either flakes or ground into powder.

            I'm toying with the idea of over-wintering some of the peppers in pots against the warm windows. No frost here. I might just get some pods over the winter. It's not unusual to get ripe tomatoes all year in containers... why not peppers too?

            After a slow start, I also got many zucchini. Many of them I sliced and dehydrated. Some I grated. Those will be tossed into soups, and even ground up for zucchini powder/flour.

            I'm also drying some of my winter/kabocha squashes in chunks. I'm concerned that next year, if we don't get rain this winter, we may not be able to do any outside watering at all. So, I'd rather have dried winter squash I've grown, than none at all.

            I've grown strawberries in containers too. They are so much cleaner and free of pests. But not now because of the drought.
            Last edited by Gina; 09-28-2016, 10:33 PM.
            SoCal, zone 10.
            www.ourfigs.com Invite your friends. http://www.ourfigs.com/core/images/smilies/smile.png


            • cis4elk
              cis4elk commented
              Editing a comment
              What do you use to grind your powders?