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  • Hackberry January 27, 2015
    Here on Snow Mountain, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, I see quite a few hackberry trees, Celtis occidentalis. Most are trees with circumferences of 5 inches or smaller, trees that have not been around long. Their small size may be, in part, because the forest up here is a young forest. Back in the 1950s […] We love hearing from you! Please click he […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Beer and Butterflies, Hops and Commas January 26, 2015
    This is the time of year I think most of us gardening folk are itching to get back out there tending to our plants and critters.  I’ve been taking inventory of my seeds, shopping around for new bee boxes and bird houses and mentally designing new flower beds.  Since my brother and I spend so […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beau […]
    Judy Burris
  • Florida Winter Birds January 23, 2015
    I’ve had two recent avian visitors that for me are a real treat.  You see migrating birds aren’t exclusively a phenomenon of northern climes.  Florida also has migratory visitors, some merely passing through and some that stay a few months but don’t breed here. If you prepare a Florida winter wildlife garden to their liking, […] We love hearing from you! Ple […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • The Undisclosed Location January 22, 2015
    I love January in Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains. Recent rain has brought new life to the drought-stricken soil, and new spring green seedlings are sprouting up everywhere. Trails are still wet one week after our 1-day rainstorm.  After waiting all year for rain, native plants waste no time in asserting themselves. This month, the air […] We lo […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Dead Wood is Not Dead Weight January 21, 2015
    Dead wood from trees provides abundant habitat for wildlife in your garden. We talk often of the value of native trees in your wildlife garden. Trees provide all manner of ecosystem services, and provide food and shelter for many different kinds of wildlife. In fact, native trees support vastly larger numbers of different species of […] We love hearing from […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Arbor Day? Yes! And It’s All About Florida Trees! January 16, 2015
    Florida weather puts us ahead of the April National Arbor Day planting curve.  The third Friday of January is officially designated as Florida Arbor Day (in Louisiana too!).   Tis our dry season, so I suppose we plant now to get the roots reaching deep for water before rainy season hits and makes it easy.  This […] We love hearing from you! Please click here […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Can I Make a Difference? January 15, 2015
    How many of you ponder this question? You’re living in a house with a small yard in an urban area. After you plant your tomato and pepper plants, there just isn’t much room left. You hung up a bird feeder – could you do more, you wonder? You hear about the problems with the bees […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Resources for Planning Your Wildlife Garden January 14, 2015
    It’s the Dreaming Season–winter is upon us, and for most of us snow and cold are keeping us inside where it’s warm and cozy, and not outside working in our wildlife gardens. This is the perfect time to plan, and dream about, the steps we will take in our gardens in the coming spring to […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Start your rain barrels now January 12, 2015
    This is Old Man Winter’s time, which at a school can translate into a lot of indoor recess time and little to no garden time. Here’s a winter project to keep students’ minds on the gardens and focus their energy when they can’t get outside: Painting rain barrels. We have two rain barrels at Belvedere. Although we don’t use […] We love hearing from you! Pleas […]
    Stacey Evers

#GardenChat

My Garden Favorites: Heirloom Vegetables

How timely that the first of the 2010 garden catalogs appeared in the mailbox today. I’ve been busy choosing my favorite heirloom vegetable performers of the year and making final selections of varieties to grow next season. I hope to include a few heirloom flowers and ornamentals as well.

With July’s non-stop rain and August’s cooler than normal temperatures, these plants amazed me with their vigor. Late blight devastated tomato crops along the Northeast early this year, but the heirlooms in the garden remained untouched and the yields were tremendous. ( I thank God for that.) The peppers and beans were prolific in production and warm fall temperatures allowed a second harvest. Heirloom French winter squashes were the star performers of the garden this year… abundant and truly beautiful as well as delicious. They’ve earned a perennial spot in the line-up.

2009 Best Performers:

  • Trionfo Violetto pole bean
  • Chiogga beets
  • Dragon Tongue bean
  • Forellenschluss, Merlot, Lolla Rossa lettuces
  • Rhubarb Chard
  • Sunburst pattypan, Patissons Panache scalloped squash
  • Rosa Bianca eggplant
  • Rouge Vif d’Etampes pumpkin
  • Galeux D’Eysine winter squash
  • Corno di Toro pepper
  • Mammoth Red Rock cabbage
  • Cherokee Purple tomato
  • Brandywine Pink tomato
  • Amana Orange tomato
  • Golden Ball turnips
  • China Rose radishes
  • Jenny Lind melon
  • Amish Paste tomato
  • Hungarian pepper
  • Sweet Banana pepper
  • San Marzano paste tomato
  • Pepperoncini
  • Blue Podded Pea
  • Yellow Snow Pea

2010 vegetable garden:

  • Musquee de Provence squash
  • Jarrahadale Blue squash
  • Telegraph Improved cucumber
  • Prescott Fond Blanc melon
  • De Bourbonne cornichon (gherkin) cucumber
  • Navet Des Vertus Marteau turnip
  • Boothby’s Blonde cucumber
  • Moon and Stars watermelon
  • Ancho Gigantea pepper
  • Mini chocolate, yellow, red bell peppers
  • Feher Ozan  paprika pepper
  • Tequila Sunrise pepper
  • Chervena Chushka sweet pepper
  • Beaver Dam pepper
  • Waspsipinicon Peach tomato
  • Great White tomato
  • Vintage Wine Striped tomato
  • Black from Tula tomato
  • Silvery Fir Tree tomato (indoor growing now)
  • Manyel tomato
  • Black Cherry and White Currant cherry tomatoes
  • Rattlesnake pole beans
  • True Red Cranberry pole beans
  • Christmas Lima pole bean
  • Hutterite Soup bean
  • Black Valentine bush bean
  • Broad Windsor fava bean
  • Red Garnet amaranth

That’s it! I’m looking forward to having more beans in the garden as well as trying new pepper varieties. Naturally, grinding fresh paprika and red pepper is appealing and right at home in the herb garden. For now, though, back to the indoor garden where it’s time to pot up the eggplant and peppers.

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