13 May 2013

Time to start seeds

It is undoubtedly time to start seeds in peat pots; in fact, perhaps the task  should have been initiated a fortnight ago. Despite the high temperatures experiences in the last two months, it is the lows which much concern the gardener. At sun rise this morn, the temperature was a scanty 37F and tonight is forecast to be somewhat colder. Then by Wednesday, a high of 84F (no, dearest reader, that is not a typographical error).

Despite the irregular conditions, some flowers are ahead of schedule. For example, the clematis to the left, which burst into exquisite bloom this very day. One iris next to a west facing wall should open in a day or two and the poppies blooms are round and full, ready to erupt into colour.

It is perhaps past time to relate some of the successes of the 2012 vegetable garden. Going against tradition, Mr. Fuzzy planted several hybrid varieties and was more than amply rewarded by their bounty. Sunburst Hybrid Patty Pan Squash produced dozens of large patty pans per plant, beautiful and flavorful, they dominated the kitchen larder for two months before succumbing to an infestation of squash bugs.

Cucumbers brought pounds of produce to the kitchen. Some were pickled, some were salad makings. Alibi Hybrid Pickling Cucumber was said to be edible if picked young and this was true. Mr. Fuzzy is not a major fan of cukes but this variety made him reconsider. The other very successful cucumber was a venerable old variety, Edmunton. Delicious fresh and superb pickled. Both varieties yielded bushels of produce until the plague of stem borers struck. By that time, Mr. Fuzzy couldn't look at another cucumber.

Not as prolific as those listed above, Hokkaido Stella Blue winter squash deserves special mention for outstanding flavor. Each one was about 2 to 3 pounds, an enchanting blue color on the exterior and a rich orange meat which beyond any doubt was the most flavorful of the squashes Mr. Fuzzy ever masticated. Only two squash per plant - thus this year about a dozen plants will be cultivated with hopes of enough to last through the winter.

Various sorts of peppers yielded well and were robustly flavored. World Beater bell pepper was a heavy yielder per plant and they were delicious. Italian sweet pepper seemed a delicate plant but the brilliant red succulent peppers were well worth the land space. Gourmet sweet pepper (both of these peppers were sourced from Territorial Seed) plants looked sickly and frail but pumped out the peppers and were off the charts sweet when lightly roasted over a hot fire.

All of these will be replanted again this year and a favorite from two years ago, Seminole winter squash as well. These flesh colored squash were said to "store well" and indeed, beyond all expectations, they were edible for ten months and kept without decay or mold for an amazing fourteen months.

So, there dear reader, you can see the core of this year's produce garden. May your garden prosper and provide your family with healthy and flavorful nutrition this summer and autumn.

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