Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Vegetable Selection ( Part 2)

Crookneck Squash Blossoms 2010

Vegetable selections for 2011 are complete and seeds ordered and received awaiting planting. With rain all last week and cool temperatures on the horizons we are just waiting for a good day of dry weather when the soil is not too wet to be worked.  The gardens have all been worked now and just wait to be planted. My cool weather crops of potatoes onions peas lettuce spinach beets and mustard are planted and up. Now we turn toward June and the planting of the warm weather crops.

Boiling potatoes

These are also called waxy potatoes. They come in a variety of shapes and can be long or round. They have a thin, smooth skin and an almost waxy flesh. They are relatively high in moisture and sugar, but low in starch. They are ideal for soups, casseroles, potato salad, roasting, and barbecuing because of their tendency to hold their shape. You can mash them, but instead of smooth and creamy, the results tend to be thick and lumpy. This year we are planting the variety Red Pontiac which we acquired locally. This is the variety I can for new potatoes in jars. In the winter they are added to green beans or cooked with butter, garlic and parsley. Sometimes added to soups and stews as they are dug small.

Baking Potatoes
These are also called starchy potatoes. They tend to be long and have a coarse, cork-like skin. They are high in starch, with a dry, mealy texture. But, they turn light and fluffy when cooked. They are ideal for baking, mashing and French fries. They are light and fluffy baked, light and creamy mashed. I do not can these but rather they are eaten fresh nor do I try to store these as I do not have a root cellar. This year we are planting the variety Norgold  which we also acquired locally.

Green Onions
Every year we plant onions but the last 2 years are different in that I have started planting my own onions from seeds as opposed to purchasing sets or bunches. In starting my own seed I have onions available earlier than they might normally be letting me have more control over when I plant as well as doing better. last year I planted both purchased onion sets and my own homegrown onions side by side. The ones I grew from seeds grew better and bigger than the ones purchased. This year for green onions I planted He Shi-Ko bunching from Bakers Creek as well as Evergreen Bunching from Ferry Morse. I freeze these in bags for cooking.

Bulb Onions
This year for Bulb onions I planted Australian Brown. It is my first year to grow this variety and the seeds were purchased from Bakers Creek. This onion is known for producing well in short seasons and being a good keeper. I like to chop these and put in bags for the freezer. It is so convenient to just be able to take the frozen onions and throw in whatever I am cooking. No chopping or cleaning.

Red Beans
Growing up in Louisiana Red beans are a staple. When I moved North and shopped for red beans all I found was pinto beans and there is a difference. The Louisiana Red Bean cooks down to a thick Gravy which is eaten over rice. I used to ship my beans in dried then decided to try growing a pack of the dried beans. Well every bean came up and now I save my seeds and grow my own red beans every year from the original pack of dried beans I had shipped from New Orleans years ago. I pick them and freeze them to eat all winter. Simmered on the back of the stove all day with onions and sliced sausage and then served over a bed of fluffy rice. Tastes like Home ! 

 Every year I grow plain old yellow crookneck squash. Prolific and easy to grow. Best when picked young and if you happen to miss one the chickens and hogs love them. As a matter of fact we have been known to plant extra just for them. Great just cooked down with a little onion and maybe a little bacon bits. We have also discovered they are great on the grill. Also great in casseroles. I blanch and freeze my squash for winter use in casseroles.   The seeds are easy to save and I have been saving these seeds for probably 15 years.

Horticulture Beans
Before I moved north I had never heard of Horticulture Beans. O Wise One's family introduced me to these beans and I have been growing them ever since. They are like Louisiana Red Beans in that they cook down into a thick gravy but are just not red. They have a great taste and I got my start years ago from Seed Savers Exchange. I plant my own saved seeds from the variety Dragon's Tongue. They can be picked as a shell bean or left to dry. I have done both. My favorite way to preserve these is to can them but I have also frozen them. I cook them down to serve with a little onion and maybe a slice of bacon. These beans truly have an incredible flavor.

Last year was my first year of growing this variety of pumpkin called Long Island Cheese. I am hooked.  This pumpkin was easy to grow and produced more pumpkins than I will ever use. I put pumpkin puree in the freezer for pies and muffins, canned pumpkin in jars for baking, decorated pumpkins for Halloween for both me and my daughter and the chickens ate pumpkin all the way to Christmas from the leftovers. Not to mention that everyone ate themselves sick on roasted pumpkin seeds. This year we are planting these in a garden all by themselves with the field corn. We plan to use them as animal feed as well as human consumption as the chickens loved them. Anything I can produce to help keep my feed bill down I am all for.  The original seed for these came from Seed Savers Exchange.  

Musk Melon
This year we will again be planting the variety Pride Of Wisconsin melon. This variety has performed well in the past and keeps us in melons all summer with the rinds feeding the pigs and chickens. This is also an heirloom variety originally obtained from Seed Savers Exchange.

Pear Tomatoes
Every year I plant the yellow pear tomatoes. I have been growing these for so long I don't even remember the variety. The kids love them and I plant a vine or two near the yard or front porch. The kids are known to carry these in their pockets and munch on them regularly. We eat them in salads and I have even pickled the green ones. Again an heirloom originally obtained years ago from Seed Savers Exchange. 

Lettuce season has begun for us and we are enjoying salads regularly. My standby for lettuce is the Black Seeded Simpson purchased every year fro the local hardware store. I plant it in intervals about every two weeks and harvest lettuce clear into hot weather. Once it bolts I cut it and give to the pigs and chickens.

Well that pretty well sums up our main garden crops. A few other crops will be added during the season such as mustard, spinach, turnips and this year we are adding field corn and field peas and sunflowers as animal feed. With the price of grain continuing to rise we are research things to feed our animals that we can produce ourselves.

But that's a post for another day.

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter 

1 comment:

  1. I love that you save your seeds to replant the next year. I have...with NO success tried this. The seeds I purchased were not true seeds and I ended up with some strange stuff. Have you considered reselling the seeds that you save. I would love to purchase them if you have a surplus.


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