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I suppose the first thing I should do is update on the garden situation, since that's what the last bit of posts were about. I found heirloom or at least too-old-to-be-gmo varieties of everything I wanted to grow. I had no luck getting brassicas to sprout for some reason and there was some really weird weather this year, but I still did a lot better than she ever did.


Not that I got to eat as much of it as I would have liked, as the beans dried out because she said it was 'too much trouble' to cook them, the one cuke that developed rotted in the fridge because she shoved it to the back and 'forgot' it... and so on. The only things that were appreciated at all were the lettuce (which bolted, but I found a variety that's still edible even when it does), and the banana peppers. I did at least manage to get her to cook the admittedly pathetic looking ears of corn (the weather wasn't good to them), but they came out kind of gummy.

I'm hoping the coming year will be better, planning not to overcrowd the corn this time and NOT grow ANY PUMPKINS. One of the reasons for the crop failure issues other than the weather was that the pumpkin vines, all TWO of them, took over the ENTIRE back yard and shaded everything else out. I've also decided I don't like pumpkin, though maybe that wouldn't have been the case if the first one hadn't rotted underneath. The smell was so horrid it almost made me throw up, and I've NEVER had that reaction to a smell before.

Anyhow, I still have seeds! So that will let me skip the complaints from the Evil Overlord about any purchasing of seed for this year. I've kept them cool, dry, and dark, and in little storage tins... so most should still be viable. Here are the varieties...

BEAN - Kentucky Wonder - These actually grew pretty well considering the weather, and I did convince her to make green beans all of twice. Most of the crop (probably only a couple bowlfuls altogether and over time), tho dried out because she wouldn't cook them. I shelled them though and put them in a little tupperware thing, if I can ever convince her to cook them. If not... does anyone have a microwave recipe for shelled dried beans? I'm not allowed to turn on the stove (she keeps it off at the fusebox and I don't know which breaker it's on, besides)

BROCCOLI - Calabrese - not a single brassica even sprouted this year for me.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS - Long Island - this was not my original choice for the kind I wanted, but at least it was one of the short ones. There's supposedly a red kind that I was more interested in as I wanted to see if it had the same 'rough pH tester' properties as red cabbage. Maybe this coming year I can locate a source of seed for that one. Maybe while I'm doing this I should make a list.

CARROT - Little Finger - I wasn't even really thinking to grow carrots at first, as I was more interested in adding stuff not so easy to get at the store. But then I went and picked up a cheap dollar store packet of this kind. None of the carrots did so great, they were too shaded by the Pumpkins Of Doom. I plan to give them their own spot next year, and have been checking with a non-GMO seed supply catalog for further ideas. These are orange, so I've decided I need seed for purple, red, yellow, and white carrots. Just for comparison...

CELERY - Utah 52-70 - there seem to be very few celery varities, and I distrust this one's name, but most sources say it isn't GMO despite that. Yes, I wanted a challenge. And I got one. Most of my celery grew. Half never grew very much, but is still alive. The other half is STILL GROWING indoors in pots. The largest stems are about a quarter inch in diameter. Given that it shouldn't be taking quite this long to mature clearly something has gone wrong. However, it's still edible this way, so I've taken to harvesting a random stem or so every once and a while like one would leaf lettuce.

CORN - Country Gentleman - a really old white 'shoepeg' variety corn that's supposed to make excellent creamed corn. Either the lousy weather this year or all the high winds (kept knocking em over, but I stood the stalks back up and packed dirt around em and they were fine) meant they were kind of stunted. The pumpkin vines didn't help, as I think they overcrowded the corn. I'm going to give it more space this coming year, in a bed with just it and the beans. It came out awfully gummy/chewy when cooked but I don't know if that was the fault of how it grew this year or if she cooked it wrong on purpose to try to make me give up on the garden.

CUCUMBER - Homemade Pickles - None of these actually produced a thing, the pumpkins got em. I'm hoping it'll be better next year as the pickle supplies are running low and I don't really care for storebought pickles.
White Pickler - supposedly a cuke that is white when small, and matures to a gold orange. Due to the pumpkins and the weather, I only had one deformed cuke about two inches long. I put it in the fridge with the understanding that I'd get half of it... it got shoved to the back of the fridge and since she never 'claimed' her half I never got mine. Next year, maybe I should just eat things out in the garden...

KALE - Red Russian - like the rest of the brassicas, just didn't like this year's weather at all, and didn't sprout.

KOHLRABI - Early White Vienna - I need to doublecheck the background on this variety, as I snagged the packet from the '4-for-$1' seed shelf at the dollar store after Helen suggested trying it. None of it sprouted, but I still have seeds.

LETTUCE - Several kinds here, for a good mix, but one in particular stood out and I may not even bother growing the others once I run out of seed for them.
Speckles - THIS is the winner. It's an old Mennonite butterhead lettuce brought here from Germany and Holland over 200 years ago. Unlike all the others, this one was still mostly edible even AFTER the plants bolted due to this year's weird weather. It never really seemed to form a 'head' though (and one heck of a long stem when it bolted), but we just pulled the leaves off. Other varieties were too bitter to eat and ended up compost, this one just developed a slight tang.
Black Seeded Sampson - a leaf lettuce I might drop now that I have my 'winner' above. I'll use the rest of the seed this year, tho... I'm considering the viability of lettuce as a low-rooting weed-suppressant cover crop between other plants, as it's always good to have fresh lettuce on hand and also to not have to weed...
Freckles - A red and green romaine lettuce. Yes, I was going for variety.
Iceberg - just because that's what I'm used to from the store
Oakleaf - Last of the Lettuce selection for this year.

OKRA - Clemson Spineless - I'll need to recheck the variety, as this is another last minute addition from the dollar store and they don't label if they're GMO, hybrid, or anything else I'd want to avoid. All the packet says is that it's an old fashioned variety, and with the loose-to-nonexistent enforcement of advertizing laws, that could be a lie. Couldn't get them to sprout this past year, but we'll see next year. I don't really cook much that has okra in it, except for the Cold Season Soup recipe.

ONION - I tried for variety, but alas growing onions from seed didn't work out for me this year. I think I mostly know what I did wrong, though, but fixing it is going to be the tricky part. I chose not only heirlooms in this case but went for the ones with the shortest possible growing seasons. I can't get safe onion sets at the feed store at the end of the road because they only label their bags by color and not variety, so I can't be sure they're not GMO. I'm thinking this coming year I might corner someone there and badger the heck out of them until they look it up, since they'd hopefully have to know what they bought even if they're too stupid to label them right... that way if the seeds are a bust again I'll still have something.
White Sweet Spanish - white onion
Yellow Sweet Spanish - yellow onion
Red Burgundy - A red onion, 95 day growing period. Red onions are my faves.

PEA - Thomas Laxton - These did pretty good too, though she only agreed to cook them once that I recall. I seem a little low on seed for them, and might have to think of what to do about that. Again, I'm going to look up microwave recipes. If she wants to start some thing about how the garden is a 'failure' because she's too bloody lazy to cook whatever grows, I'll just find a way to eat it myself. Even if I don't really care for peas...

PEPPER - Lots of different kinds here, since I really like the cooler peppers. Not so much on the hot ones tho, so there aren't any (yet). Alas, while my pepper seedlings grew, most of them were eaten by something overnight. I suspect the massive ant nest that was located under one of the cherry trees as a result. Maybe this year...
Banana - yeah, those
King of the North - supposed to be easier to grow in a shorter season, and for me anything that grows faster frees up space for something else. It's a nice big bell pepper turns red when fully mature. Did you know the green ones in stores are actually picked underripe? That might have been the fate of most of these if they'd survived.
Mini Chocolate - teeny popper-sized chocolate bell peppers
Mini Red - teeny popper-sized red bell peppers
Mini Yellow - the same again, in yellow. I wanted these for snacking and salads.

PUMPKIN - Small Sugar/New England Sugar Pie - Small? SMALL? These MONSTERS ATE THE YARD. Even if I have seed left, I am not growing pumpkin this year.

SPINACH - Bloomsdale Longstanding - like other brassicas, just refused to grow this year.

TOMATO - I only had a few develop due to problems with the tomato plants (She refused to help me carry them outside, thus they didn't get enough sun in the kitchen and bloomed far too late. All were very large vines, and all are cherry tomatoes. Another factor that troubled their growth was that I grew them all in milkjugs, but they still produced despite the cramping. I'm going to see about giving them a little more space next year, but I still want to be able to bring them indoors because I wouldn't have had any tomatos at all if I hadn't done that to avoid the frosts. They produced until around the beginning of December indoors.
Brown Berry - Anyhow, these are DELICIOUS. They taste like a big beefsteak tomato in little teeny bites! Definitely a keeper, though I'm growing more next year.
Red Pear - none of these got ripe, and I may not even bother with them after I use up what seed I already have. Red tomatoes tend to have less flavor than other colors.
Blondkopchen - This is some Russian heirloom, and turned out to be a very yummy little yellow tomato. It has a very slight pink blush that almost looks pearlescent.
Snow White - I only had one or two of these, and they were more yellow than white, and not as good as the Blondkopchen, so this is another I'll probably drop when the seeds are gone.
Green Grape - I didn't get a single one of these, so... I still have enough seed to try again though.

WATERMELON - I have two kinds, though I didn't get really get any melons this year. The weird weather, the shade from the enormous pumpkin vines, and my injuries from falling down the stairs (which made it hard to carry water downhill when we had dry patches) were all set against them... and yet...
Sugar Baby - the classic little snacking watermelon produced nothing at all, I'm not even sure if the vines made it or were completely killed by the pumpkins.
Cream of Saskachewan - a rather obscure watermelon that is WHITE inside. It's obscure because it can't be grown commercially due to its tendency to explode with rough handling. The vines were killed off by the pumpkin vines and a case of wilt said pumpkin vines spread, but even with all that was against them I still had two misshapen melons slightly larger than golfball size. They tasted rather cucumbery, but I don't know if that was due to immaturity or not. This year, I'm definitely going to give these a better spot and NOT GROW PUMPKINS.

I also have some Rosa eglanteria/Sweet Briar rose seeds, but so far I haven't gotten a darned one to sprout, some bayberry seeds off my bushes with the wax rubbed off, and one seed company sent me free packets of a variety of garden huckleberry that according to web reviews is possibly the worst of its kind and best suited for wild animal food, and a packet of husk tomato/ground cherry that arrived too late to plant that year but I might try, tho since it doesn't say what variety it is I'm not sure how to verify that it's non-GMO.


And that's mostly it for the garden update unless I've missed anything.

PS: Oh, yeah, almost forgot I had Yukon Gold potatoes (not my choice, the Evil Overlord insisted on that variety.) They went to seed in the unseasonal spring hot spell (I forget if that was right before or after that derrecho or whatever they called it windstorm that knocked out the power). And then later when I went to dig them up there was nothing there. Maybe this year...

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