Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mid Season Veg Variety Winners

If the season ended today - who would make the playoffs?  I think this is how persons who are paid to cover any particular sport can manage to create something to talk about when they don't have anything else.  Well, we're in the middle of a blog blitz and there has been plenty to share.  And it is typical for us to begin evaluating how our crops have done and are doing.  Notes we make now help us to make our decisions over the Winter or the next season.

Besides that, you might get a little insight as to why we are growing some of the things we grow (or if you are a CSA farm share member, you'll see why you are getting so much of X this season).


We're in the middle of the peak picking season and we're always dismayed by how many fruit go bad before we can pull them out and find homes for them.  But, rather than go into that, let's talk about what is going right so far.

Nebraska Wedding

This variety has been with us for a while and we've usually been pretty impressed with it.  Fruit started a little small this year, but the current pick is yielding some bigger fruit.  Plants are a bit on the smaller side and work very nicely in the square cages we have.  Average size this season is barely over a half pound and the taste has been good.  About 140 have been pulled in so far with another 20 or so ready to come in today.  Considering the low growing degree days for the season, these plants are doing just fine.

Nebraska Wedding

Black Krim
It's always a good thing when a variety you tout as having the best taste also produces reasonably well for you.  This year, we have a batch of Black Krims in the high tunnel in addition to the field.  Again, these are smaller plants that are in the small cages.  You're going to see a theme here with plants that tend to be smaller doing better than those that tend to be bigger. 

We are noticing higher loss levels of Black Krims in the high tunnel than we are used to, but we think it has more to do with using stake and weave trellis rather than cages.  The leaf cover isn't protecting the tomatoes as well as we need it to.  As a result, some of the fruit are getting scalded. 

We've pulled in over 280 Krims so far this season and we see a second set in the field getting ready to turn.  It has been a goal over the past five years to find ways to improve our production methods for this particular tomato and we seem to be doing just that.  This is one of those cases where it is possible that the variety gets consideration as much for our growing practices that favor it as for its characteristics.
Black Krim

Just like the tomatoes, it seems like plants with smaller growth habits have done much better than those with larger growth habits.  However, we are getting some September surprises that may very well change our minds about which peppers are doing best this year.

We recently featured Purple Beauty, so we won't talk about it much here other than to say we've picked more Purple Beauty bell peppers than we have Jimmy Nardello's Frying Peppers.  Normally, that would be an absurd statement.  But, the weather has not favored the latter.  On the other hand, our next picking for Jimmy should change that status easily.

Garden Sunshine
The picture you see below is from 2012, which was a good year for peppers (except for the event that prevented us from eating any of them).  If we took a picture of this year's plants, there would be more peppers than leaves.  These peppers hold on the plant for a long time and we like to make sure the pepper turns fully yellow instead of yellow-green before we pick them.  A little bit of orange on them is even better for full flavor. 

The difficulty of picking a winner so far this year is that nearly every bell pepper variety we are growing is doing quite well.  Even if we think some of the plants have been less than stellar in quality.  In fact, if you look at the plants, you might be tempted to say that we're having a poor pepper year.  They are inconsistent in size and leaf cover.  Except for Purple Beauty and Garden Sunshine.  Both are consistent in size and shape and production throughout.  They might be about 80% their normal size for September.  But, it doesn't appear to be hurting production levels.

Garden Sunshine
We are focusing on plants in the same family today.  This is partly because we are in the midst of peak production for each of them.  And, these are continuously producing plants, so we're seeing the most activity here.  Things like lettuce, garlic, potatoes, pok choi, etc all get one picking.  So, they are harder to analyze with harvest numbers in the middle of the season.

This year, the eggplant are a mixed bag, but this is partly due to splitting up our eggplant to multiple locations.  It appears to have paid off since we didn't have complete losses that we might have had if we had put them all in one spot.

Listada di Gandia
If you asked most vegetable farmers to place a bet at the beginning of the season between an open pollinated eggplant and a hybrid eggplant for production numbers, I suspect most would go with the hybrid.  We favor the open pollinated (often heirloom/heritage) eggplant.  However, we grow one hybrid standard purple eggplant (Black King).  Our past experience has been that the hybrid will outproduce most of the other eggplant, but not by all that much if it is a good year for eggplant.

Well, this year has been a slightly poor year for growing eggplant (a bit too cool).  But, we must have hit the window that Listada likes this year.  The fruit have been gorgeous, with excellent size and texture.  The plants have been healthy (with one exception).  On the other hand, Black King has struggled with health and consistency.  We actually have one more Black King plant than Listada AND the rows are next to each other.  Both are next to green beans.  The results so far?  Black King : 139  Listada di Gandia: 248

We're easily going to push past 10 marketable fruit per plant for Listada this year.  And they are cool looking to boot.  What's not to like?

Listada di Gandia

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Your produce looks like it should be in the seed catalogs! Lovely,


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