My daughter is the co-manager of the local grocery, and last night she stopped by with two enormous boxes full of this season’s unsold seeds, which the store gets rid of after they don’t sell.  They were all from Burpee, and there were hundreds, if not thousands of packages.  I got to sift through them before they went to the local food bank where my wife serves as secretary.  What a rush.  (I wasn’t greedy, I promise, and I’ll donate some of the results).

Meanwhile, I decided to harvest the rest of the kohlrabi crop for freezing.
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Later in the day I also decided that it might be safe to remove the fencing that I had put around the beans. My experience has been that the critters only chew the tops off the young, tender plants. I hope that holds true this year.

The variety in the middle of the picture (Maxibel) tends to get too tall to stay upright. It grows taller than most bush beans but it’s not really tall enough to be a vine. I’m trying rope between stakes for support. It’s a real pain digging around in flopped-over bean plants for the reward. But the beans themselves are so good; long and thin and tender.

And the carrots are finally getting to the point where they’ll start shading out their own weeds. I like that.



serving my time

Winter’s great for the most part. I’d rather be cold than hot. But these late winter deep-freeze spells just stink.  It was -9° with -24° wind chill last night, and more of that coming.

So I dink around with coop plans and seedlings inside. About a month ago I started Yellow of Parma onions, my first crack at onions from seed.

Yesterday I started a second variety, a storage onion called Australian Brown. Here they are getting their first bottom water in the tub…


I always bottom-water seeds. It’s just easier and less disruptive.

The goal is to have, give or take, 200 onions in the garden. I’m trying two different varieties and two different planting times because I want to learn. I’m also hoping to save seed, so I don’t want the two varieties blooming at the same time to avoid cross-pollination. We’ll see.

And I’m trying an experiment with a single bell pepper plant (King of the North, OP).  If it poops out, no big deal. I want to determine if a pepper planted this early can be kept to a manageable size indoors with pruning until weather permits planting it outside. And I just want to find out how pruning peppers affects yield.

Here’s the little guy, with its regenerated lettuce friends in the background…


what are your favorite vegetable varieties?

Hope you had an enjoyable and happy Christmas!

Part of the beauty of the blogging world is being able to learn from the experience of others. So I have an uncomplicated request; tell me what your favorite vegetable varieties are and why. Just reply to this post. Even if you’re reading this from the future.

I’ll start.


The two favorites that have a guaranteed spot in my garden every year are:

Moskvitch, an indeterminate early season red heirloom that just produces and produces. It survives my early planting mania under protection, and bears medium sized fruit with the best of them for the whole season. It just always seems to find a way to live and thrive for me.

Jet Star, an indeterminate hybrid with nice round medium sized fruit that also seems to laugh at disease and most weather. Along with Moskvitch, my other go-to tomato.

Sweet Corn:

(which I put out at four different planting times for a long harvest):

Avalon hybrid, perfectly-sized ears of the sweetest corn I’ve ever tasted. Never had a failed harvest, although the Japanese beetles have beaten me to a few ears.

Bush Beans:

Maxibel, a long, beautiful filet bean, intended to be picked while slender. The bushes tend to get so large that they’ll flop over, something that I hope to address this year with supports, but they bear tons of the best beans in the world.

Those are a few of my favorites, recommended without hesitation.

Now I’d like to know what you swear by, so I can copy you!