2018-11-21 / Gardening Tips

2018 Vegetable Garden, Part 1

by Bob Beyfuss

The daily rain showers paused just long enough to allow me to finish harvesting the last of my vegetables and clean up my garden last week. Looking back on the 2018 gardening season, I am pleased to say it was a pretty good year, despite the record rainfall and record heat. I finished pulling my carrots and was delighted to harvest almost 20 pounds of these versatile roots from a plot that was not more than 8 feet long by 2 feet wide. The variety I planted was “Danver’s Half Long” and it performed extraordinarily well in one of my raised beds. Carrots are slow to germinate, require a good deal of weeding and thinning early on, but boy do they yield! I have decided that these tasty roots (much better than store bought) shall be a staple for all my future gardens. They did not require any spraying at all and although they were not properly thinned, they still grew amazingly well and much larger than I would have expected.

I also picked the last of my Brussels sprouts, which also grew extraordinarily well this year. The variety I grew was “Diablo” and I shall look for transplants of it next year as well. I think the “trick” to getting a good Brussels sprouts harvest is to break off the top of the plants in early August. This ends the vertical growth, but also forces the plant to develop good sized sprouts, buds actually, from the top to the ground that mature somewhat early, beginning in September, at my house.

I also tried a couple of new crops for the first time this year, mainly because I was given some vegetable transplants that were raised by students at Cobleskill College. One of these vegetables, Red Malabar spinach, has got to be one of the prettiest crops I have every grown (along with Bright Lights Swiss Chard). I did not get around to actually tasting the green leaves until October and they tasted OK, but not as good as regular spinach. Regular spinach always bolts in my garden before I get around to harvesting much, if any of it, anyway. Malabar spinach is a twining vine that will happily and rapidly twirl its way around any vertical structure it encounters. I left my scuffle hoe leaning against the board surrounding the raised bed it was growing in and a couple of weeks later, the vine had twined its way up to the top of the hoe handle! It looked so pretty that I left it there for the rest of season! The somewhat succulent stems and leaves have a distinct reddish tint that would look lovely on a wooden trellis. They also seemed pretty immune to any pests and did not require any spraying at all. I may grow this again next year, but not necessarily in the vegetable garden area.

Next week, I will continue the vegetable evaluations

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