Vegetable Garden Plans for 2011

What shall I grow this year?  Even better, what new things should I try this year?  I always make a point of experimenting with new plants, or at least new varieties of plants I like.

For my vegetable garden I have purchased seeds for Kohlrabi Superschmelz, which promises to stay tender even when it gets big…I’ll let you know.  I haven’t grown Kohlrabi for a few years because I kept forgetting to harvest while it’s still young and tender, then nobody would eat it because it was tough and woody!  I just like growing it because it looks like a fleet of vegetal alien spaceships has landed in my garden!

Take me to your leader

I’ve also ordered a winter squash from West Coast Seeds called KaKai.  They say it’s an Austrian type pumpkin (whatever that may be), with completely hull-less seeds.  I adore pumpkin seeds, and the hull-less ones are absolutely delicious!  Last year I grew a variety of pumpkin called Triple Treat which was supposed to be hull-less, good for pies and for carving, but it came up a bit short for me.  Germination was poor and the seeds, while plentiful and tasty, weren’t completely hull-less, they were encased in a thin, soft shell.  I don’t know how one would carve such a small pumpkin, I didn’t even attempt to whittle a scary face into the approximately  1 kg fruit, and while the flesh was sweet and flavourful for my pumpkin muffins, there was precious little of it.

Kakai Pumpkin

Of course last year was a poor season for growing pumpkins, being too cool and wet, so I will give Triple Treat another chance, but I have high hopes for Kakai and look forward to snacking on yummy green pumpkin seeds.

I’m planning to buy a Black Cherry tomato plant for my husband, who enjoys cherry tomatoes much more than I. My co-workers at the garden centre rate it the tastiest cherry tomato and they’re the experts so…

Black Cherry Tomatoes

I’m sure I will end up with a few new varieties of tomato in my garden, I can’t resist! But I do intend to plant several of my favourite; Big Beef.  This indeterminate beefsteak has proven reliable, disease resistant, and prolific in my garden over many seasons.

I also love Costoluto Genovese, even though it needs heat to produce well.  The fruits are so heavily lobed they look odd, but when you slice them along their equator, the slices look like flowers – crimson, juicy, flavourful flowers.

Last year I grew Imperator carrots for the first time and was impressed with the large roots.  Carrots are difficult here.  They don’t refer to Vancouver Island as “the rock” for nothing.  Our soil is full of ‘em, and when a young Daucus carota encounters a rock, the rock wins!  The soil in my garden is all rock and clay, heavy and wet, which is not especially hospitable to the tasty orange root.

Imperator Carrots

I used to love to grow a carrot called Mokum, it’s super sweet and exquisitely tender but it has one flaw; when you harvest them, more often than not the top breaks away from the root so that you have to dig the roots out.  Because I grow carrots intensively in a block rather than a row this meant I was constantly grubbing around trying to remove the carrot I wanted without damaging its neighbours.  And they were little, topping out at around 6 inches.

The Imperator carrots were twice that size, and slid nicely out of the ground, intact.  Maybe they weren’t quite as sweet, but they still put supermarket carrots to shame for flavour and freshness.

So I have bought my Imperator seed, along with a new (for me) variety called Napoli.  This variety is touted as being one of the best tasting carrots, maturing quickly (55 days), and possessing strong tops.  Napoli is also recommended for summer sowing to harvest in winter.  If it lives up to this billing I will be impressed.

So far these are the new vegetables I plant to experiment with this year, there will likely be others.  When the new plants start rolling into the garden centre I will undoubtedly be tempted, and I have no willpower to resist new plants.

About hortophile

I am a very opinionated, slightly obsessed gardener with decades of experience in the retail nursery industry. A lucky resident of the "Wet Coast" of British Columbia I tread a muddy path between practicality and beauty, with my veggie patch, herb garden and fruits vying for position with the beautiful trees, shrubs and flowers that I can't resist. DON'T ask me to choose between them! I believe in environmental responsibility and common sense.
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15 Responses to Vegetable Garden Plans for 2011

  1. I loved reading about your planning! What fun. Have you ever tried grape tomatoes? I love them (in the supermarket) and use them in place of cherry tomatoes — they are always flavorful and sweet. Just wondering if there are any good varieties of grape tomatoes that can be grown in a home garden.

    Have you amended your soil at all? The reason I ask is that I worked with a woman last year who has composted down about 4′ and her garden is a dream! She did it over several years and has been gardening in that space for 17 years, so her soil is just about perfect. I’ve never had a chance to do that, but once I get my own garden space again plan to do soil amendment so that my soil is as nice as hers. Your description of the soil in your area and growing carrots got me to thinking about soil amendment.

    So looking forward to more pics and posts about your garden! I know spring is a busy time, but hope you will take pics and post. Will enjoy living vicariously through you this garden season.

    • hortophile says:

      You should be able to find starter plants for grape tomatoes at your local garden centre this spring. They’re really just cherry tomatoes with an elongated shape, but these varieties are often very sweet.
      Yes, I amend the soil in my garden every year. I add my own compost and various things such as; peat moss, coir, sand, bone meal, composted animal manure, alfalfa meal, canola meal,greensand,rock phosphate, and dolomite lime.
      Not all at once of course! What and where depends on the overall condition of my soil. what I grew there the previous season and what I intend to grow this season!
      It sounds complicated but it’s not. Just like cooking, if you know what the purpose and effect of an ingredient is, you can build your own recipe determined by your desired outcome.

  2. Does Kohlrabitaste like squash, lettuce, root vegetables, other?

  3. Slowvelder says:

    You sound so knowledgable about this all – I start my first ever patch soon. Its built and gets its soil and manure on the weekend. I also plant my seed this weekend. Wish me luck – I hope to sound like you in a couple of years 🙂

  4. Hahahahhaha….what exactly do Aliens taste like?????

    I truly did LOVE the black cherry tomatoes!! I had tomatoes right up until November with them under a protected porch. They just kept growing and growing. A must have in my garden again this year for sure!!

  5. Ross Munro says:

    try black russian cherry tomatoes, Kuri squash

  6. Megan Eliza says:

    Florence Fennel was my new favourite in the garden last year. It’s lovely to look at and yummy to eat. And it does well in west coast gardens!

  7. kate says:

    Isn’t the planning stage fun? So much potential!

    I tried Costuleto Fiorentino a couple of years ago but didn’t have much luck, so I’ve moved on to Cuor di Bue, which has been more successful (and they taste good, too). I love Black Russian tomatoes, so I must give the black cherry toms a go…

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  9. Pingback: Carrots | Suburbhomestead's Blog

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