If there is a silver lining to the crazy cold weather we experienced this week, it is that it provided me the luxury of slowing down enough to spend some quality time with a nice stack of seed catalogs and garden books. It was the perfect escape from the ugly reality of wind chills and worrying if the car would start the next morning.
As I have been jotting down varieties and ideas over the past week, it also got me thinking: In past years, I haven’t shared many specifics about my garden plans until they were final (or, you know, as “final” as garden plans ever can be). I don’t know if there’s a good reason why, other than the fact that they are constantly changing from these earliest days of planning until the garden goes in, but this year I thought it might be fun to share a little more of the process and have something to look back on later to see the evolution from a collection of ideas to a garden.
I decided to start out by picking from my lists the top 14 new (to me) varieties that I really want to try this year. They are all varieties that I have not grown before, so if you have any firsthand experience or growing advice, please share! They may or may not make the final cut, but obviously I’m hoping that there is a place for them alongside the must-grow-again varieties. Who knows, some of these might be on that must-grow list next year!
Here are 14 new-to-me varieties that I would like to try in 2014:
- Purple Russian Tomato: I love the rich, complex flavor of black/purple tomatoes, so of course I’m slightly obsessed over the idea of a purple paste tomato that is supposed to be exceptionally flavorful.
- Green Globe Artichoke: This artichoke variety is apparently one of the more successful varieties for growing artichokes (as annuals ) this far north.
- Joe’s Round Pepper: These little round hot peppers are supposed to be one of the best peppers for pickling and excellent in fresh salsas. They’re pretty cute, too!
- Rue: An herb that supposedly deters Japanese Beetles? How am I only finding out about this now!?!?
- Russian Pickling Cucumber: After years of growing only slicers, I’ve got the pickling bug this year. Since Russian varieties typically do very well here in Minnesota, this one seems like a good choice.
- Kyoto Chinese Cabbage: Because a certain nappa cabbage and pickled rhubarb salad has been haunting me for the past 6 months.
- Munchener Bier Radish: The name alone brings me back to our Oktoberfest Honeymoon in Munich – maybe an authentic Oktoberfest spread is in order for our 5th wedding anniversary this September?
- Five Color Silverbeet /Rainbow Chard: I will admit I don’t have fond memories of eating chard when I was younger, but I think I’m ready to give it another chance (the amazing colors will be my consolation prize if I’m wrong)
- Lina Sisco’s Bird Egg Beans: I like that these pretty pink and maroon speckled dry beans are bush habitat instead of pole.
- Moon and Stars Watermelon: This one has been on my want-to-grow list for a few seasons now, and this is the year I want to see its beautiful spotted foliage for myself (maybe just not at the community garden!).
- Mexican Sour Gherkin: Go ahead and judge if you must. Yes, I am totally being sucked in by the trendy “baby watermelon” cucumbers.
- Fish Pepper: I’ve always been curious about this hot pepper with colorful fruit and variegated foliage. It is supposed to be a great spice pepper, especially for seafood (hence its name)!
- Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch Kale: This kale variety is hardy enough to overwinter (with the help of a good layer of mulch, I presume) in zone 4!
- Silver Edge Squash: This winter squash is grown primarily for its seeds (most reviews say the flesh is unpalatable), which are not only quite pretty, but large and easy to hull, too.
How about you? Are there any new-to-you varieties that you would like to try this year?
- These pages are dedicated to all things home gardening. From planning a garden to preserving the harvest, you'll find practical and creative ideas to satisfy your sense of garden adventure!
- tomatoes recipes peppers seed starting preservation Photo of the Day seasons Salsa Week rhubarb photo post garden planning Grow It Forward 12 Weeks of Garden Inspiration raspberries herbs garden projects garden plans heirloom lettuce broccoli yard projects onions seeds seed saving recipe radishes beans fall canning winter strawberries spring salsa varieties tomatillo seed garlic squash cucumber transplanting A Seed Starting Diary kale dry beans frost pollinators pumpkin planting community garden basil guest post scallions mint beneficial insects Garden Planning 101 soil spinach kohlrabi asparagus beets red romaine cucurbits Garden Photography 101 vertical gardening Minnesota Locavore Good Garden Reads Year in Review sunflowers garden harvest totals horseradish pickling onion corn coir seed starting mix winter sowing seed starting containers variegated tomato gardening with kids organic gardening potting up cabbage vacation Three Sisters seedlings carrots brassicas seedling care apples squirrels garden clean up fall garden jelly watermelon Holiday Gift Guide resources Opalka giveaways zucchini flowers garden indoor gardening Black Hungarian garden pests house projects parsnips photography Seed Starting Q + A rue #garden365 #garden365 photo challenge garden photography zinnia blogging ground cherries pumpkins mexican sour gherkin gourds lemon parsnip olive grapes tomato ground cherry rainbow chard Measuring Up herb overwintering Grow It Forwards botanical gardens shallots patty pan squash horseradish root dividing rhubarb brussels sprouts wrens San Francisco reader question compost jam cantaloupe wildlife-friendly garden bees Bees in the Garden aster reader questions alpine strawberries artichoke Linda Ly The CSA Cookbook Garden Betty book review garden quote cayenne plant markers slugs organic pest control pruning jalapeno tomatillos rosemary seasonal preparing for winter harvest starter pots sage garden organizataion garden inspiration San Marzano quinoa mulch litchi tomatoes watering amaranth tomato blight paste tomatoes Federle Red Romaine Lettuce social media garden beds snow birthday garden musings Big Mama Amish Paste Anna Russian Tomato litchi tomato peas mesclun pests organic mojito container gardening disease seed starting timeline soil blocker soil blocks peat Building Better Soil Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds oregano trellising rapsberries peanuts pepper Extending the Season seed packet John Denver love yellow pear printable