I’ve been thinking about the type of garden I want to grow this year. I mean, it’s the new year. Spring is just around the corner. Or so I like to delude myself on these below freezing mornings. My major goals are green beans and tomatoes. If I grow nothing else, I want to grow and can enough green beans and tomatoes to take me through the following growing season. Right now we are down to 20 pints of diced tomatoes and 12 pints of green beans. Those won’t make it through summer, although they might take us through spring. So the way I’ve figured it, I need to grow 106 pints of tomatoes. 52 for dicing and 52 for making salsa and spaghetti/pizza sauce. And I need to grow 106 quarts of green beans.
For tomatoes I am looking at heirloom plants that produce well and mature in no more than 80 days from plant out and that grow well in my climate. I’ve narrowed the list, but will likely be narrowing it further from here:
1. Paul Robeson 78 days
2. Eva Purple Ball 68 days
3. Rosalita 60 days
4. Sunset’s Red Horizon 72 days
5. Stupice 52 days
6. Yellow Submarine 70 days
7. Gramma Climenhaga (yellow) 78 days
Stupice, Eva Purple Ball, Rosalita, and Sunset’s Red Horizon will make my list for sure and I’d like a yellow one, but it’s not necessary. Not sure on that yet. And I may just go for all of them, but the shorter growing seasons are definitely more attractive to me.
As for green beans I need to choose amongst these:
1. Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean 55 days
2. Blue Lake Bush Beans 55 days
3. Bountiful Bush Beans (broad) 45 days
4. Contender Bush Beans 50 days
5. Royalty Purple Pod 55 days
I know that Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake are ones we like and they are the easiest to find as they are common. They are both prolific and reliable. But I would like to try some other beans. I have grown the purple beans in the past. They turn green once cooked, but are pretty in the garden and easy to find when picking.
Aside from that I am looking at Fordhook Lima Beans (pole type, 75 days), Rainbow Chard (60 days)(for the rabbits), Forage Kale Proteor (for the rabbits), Blue Curled Scotch Kale, Early White Vienna Kohlrabi (the rabbits get the tops, we get the bulb), Mammoth Melting Snow Pea (65 days), Laxton’s Progress # 9 Shell Pea (65 days), and Early Scarlet Globe Radish (22 days)(rabbits get the greens). I haven’t figured out if I want to grow other brassicas this year. I love broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, but they are generally pretty cheap. And since I don’t like them frozen or pickled, only fresh, it would only be for eating during the season. I do want to get a mix of lettuces, though and about a dozen herbs. And Jerusalem artichokes (which are neither artichokes nor from Jerusalem but are a member of the sunflower family), because they are a food the bunnies can eat as well as us. I will grow them in pots though. They are invasive. And maybe some black oil sunflowers for the seeds.
Not sure about potato, onion, and garlic varieties yet and I have never had much luck with growing carrots, but organic carrots are cheap and we like them canned. Probably a pretty standard russet for the potatoes, Music for the garlic, and some long-keeping yellow onions of some sort. If I get that far. Like I said, I will be happy if I can grow enough tomatoes and green beans to meet our needs. With my disability I try to keep the goals reasonable, and then go from there. Though this year the son has promised to help in the garden, so it won’t all be up to just me.
For anyone keeping track, the rabbit cheeseburgers we had were outstanding. They tasted better than beef. We added about 1/8 cup of tomato sauce to the 1.25 lbs of meat to make 5 patties. The tomato sauce helps retain moisture in very low fat ground meat. Then each patty was sprinkled with onion salt and Lawry’s seasoned salt and cooked in a bit of olive oil. Simple, easy, and delicious with a slice of Tillamook cheddar on homemade buns with a bit of organic ketchup.