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  • Spring Garden Care March 26, 2015
      Spring Garden Care People who care about attracting wildlife to their gardens usually learn over time about best practices for fall cleanup and especially the fact that it’s really beneficial for our birds if we refrain from relentlessly cutting perennials to the ground before winter. But what then happens in the spring for garden care?   Here in […] We lo […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Downy Woodpeckers March 24, 2015
    A welcome visitor to my garden, throughout the entire year: the Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens. They are small woodpeckers. In fact, they are the smallest woodpecker native to North America. The Downy is generally about 6 3/4 inches long. The picture, above, is a female. She is dressed entirely in black and white, while the […] We love hearing from you […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Spring has sprung at Cincinnati Nature Center March 23, 2015
    My family spent the day hiking the trails at the Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford, Ohio this past Saturday.  It was a beautiful, perfect day to get some fresh air and snap photos of all the new life popping up in the woods and at the ponds. The amphibians have already been busy laying masses […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the b […]
    Judy Burris
  • Bluebird Babies Shepherd in Spring 2015 March 20, 2015
    Big doings at my Central Florida home today.  First day of spring and what could be more rewarding than having the first brood of Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) hatch?  NOTHING! I saw mom and dad doing a bit of back and fourth to the nest box early this morning. Such activity is a sure sign […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the be […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Springtime Means Native Plant Garden Tours: Put on Your Walking Shoes March 19, 2015
    When spring comes, I welcome the chance to put on my walking shoes and head out to native plant garden tours.  Garden tours are a great way to get ideas of what you can do with your own native plant garden.  Sometimes, we go to botanical gardens to get ideas or look to see what’s […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Don’t Skip the Long-Tailed Skipper Butterfly March 13, 2015
    I spotted a skipper butterfly flitting from leaf to leaf on the ticktrefoil (Desmodium spp.). This woody somewhat vine-y genus of plants has many different species.  I’m still not confident in my identification to species, and I tend to think that this one is introduced rather than the native. Since I saw the butterfly on […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Maplicious March 12, 2015
    For most of the year the red maple (Acer rubrum) is an overlooked and underappreciated tree. It is native throughout the eastern US, from the South to the Mid-Atlantic and beyond. It hops right over the Mississippi River and sashays down into eastern Texas. Such a ubiquitous plant is bound to be taken for granted, […] We love hearing from you! Please click h […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • It Must Be Spring—I Saw a Robin! March 10, 2015
    This time of year in Indiana I often hear people say excitedly, “Spring is not far away; I saw a robin!” Actually robins should not be used to herald the arrival of spring. This is a common myth. Every autumn robins migrate southward but every winter many robins stay in the northern states and southern […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see a […]
    Joni James
  • Butterflies are Free March 6, 2015
    Planting beautiful and aromatic nectar sources is an easy way to attract adult pollinators. A flower garden will really draw them in. And everyone enjoys the beautiful colors of the flowers and the butterflies and bees that land. But, it is equally important to provide for the next generation. This means planting larval host plants. […] We love hearing from […]
    Loret T. Setters

#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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