As January draws to an end and the first of my seedlings come up I start planning what will go into the garden for the coming year. I start in my pantry and freezer looking at what is low and needs replenishing.
Jade Bush Bean is one of the few hybrids that I grow consistently. Jade matures in 60 days which means most years I can get two seasons out of them . I can pick beans and plants a new crop around July 4th and get a second crop. They get 18 to 22 inches tall and produce huge yields of 5-7 inch pencil straight pods that snap easily and hold well on the bush. Which means I don't have to break my neck to pick them because they are slow to get tough or form strings. They can wonderfully and I can sell extras easily to the local farmer's market vendor. I have grown Jade for years with very few problems.
Cabbage Early Jersey Wakefield is an heirloom open pollinated cabbage that has been grown in the states since 1872. In 1888 Burpee reported that it was more common than any other early cabbage. In 1901 more seed companies carried this variety than any other. 'Early Jersey Wakefield' is known for the solid conical heads it produces on compact plants. The heads average 2 to 4 pounds and are tender and crisp. Be warned though that in hot weather their flavor turns strong. It takes 60 to 65 days to ripen and I grow it as an early crop. Allowing a few to go to seed. I use it to freeze, eat fresh and make sauerkraut. I grow this because the heads are smaller and I have less problems with them splitting.
Kandy Corn is the other hybrid that I grow. Re buying seeds every year. This is a sugar enhanced hybrid but not drippingly sweet like many. I like my corn to taste like corn. I get good germination and stalks about 8 foot tall. I usually pick in about 90 days from germination. This corn holds on the stalk well although I do not let it linger because of the coons. It also freezes well.
I grow two different kinds of cucumbers in 2 different gardens. For pickles I grow the Russian Pickling Cucumber that I originally obtained from Seed Savers exchange. Originally from Russia it produces a smooth green pickling cucumber with a delicious sweet flavor and a good crunch
The Cucumber that I grow for slicing is the heirloom variety Straight Eight. It is an open pollinated heirloom that I grow every year producing straight sweet crunchy eight inch fruit. I grow mine on a wire fence and rarely have problems of any kind with this variety. Good germination and resistance to disease. My go to variety for a slicer saving my own seed from year to year.
I grow the heirloom variety okra called Cajun Cowhorn. This heirloom is the same okra my parent s and grandparents grew in Louisiana. Growing as much as 12 foot tall with pods 16 inches long if allowed to grow. The great thing about this okra is that it stays tender longer than most. It still is the best picked young. I both freeze and dehydrate my okra for use in soups and gumbos and also to eat smothered in a cast iron skillet with a little bacon and onions or even fried.
Australian Brown Onions are the newest heirloom addition to my garden. Imported originally in 1897 this onion produces a uniform medium to large onion that stores great. I grow mine from seeds originally bought at Baker's Creek Seeds.
Almost any onion sown from seeds can be scallions (also called bunching onions, green onions, spring onions or green tails). I plant an onion called White Lisbon Bunching. Picked young these are great for salads and eating fresh, dehydrating and freezing for use through out the year.
Another great addition was a new variety of pea last year.Through Seed Savers Exchange we acquired a new variety of garden pea called Champion of England . This pea was a phenomenal grower for us reaching a height of almost 6 feet and loaded with peas holding sometimes as many as 10 peas in a pod. We planted 2 rows one for eating and one for seeds so with good germination we are hoping for a really good crop this year. Another great heirloom from Seed Savers.
That concludes Part 1 and tomorrow I will post the remainder of my choices for this year.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter