I think it would be extremely useful if we could, on this site,
compile information regarding which varieties and which crops do well
for us in any given year so that we could know, X grows well with
extreme summer heat, Y does well with cool,wet springs, Z survived
hailstorms relatively well. Given how variable our weather is on the
Front Range, knowing varieties that do well in different circumstances
and planting some of each each year, seems like a really smart way to
Given that we had a record hot summer this year, I think it would be
excellent to start noting what varieties performed well or didn't for
each of us (this does presume that you all are better at keeping
records than I am, but that wouldn't be hard to achieve :D )
I'm going to start the ball rolling with what I can remember/research
about my own plantings and I would love it if as many of you as
possible could add your results as well:
Planted yukon gold, dark red norland, purple viking and a russet. Got
mediocre yields from all 4, maybe 5 to 1. My soils could be to blame,
heavy clay in two of the four beds. I will persevere with potatoes but
don't have any brilliant ideas about how to do better next year, at
Ugh. I have a freezer full, but given that I planted 25 or so plants,
I should have had a pantry full of tomato sauce (presuming I were a
diligent canner, of course, which I"m not). Stupice yielded well and
deliciously. Moskvich, the other early tomato, was slow and ripened
blotchy and with a thick skin when it finally did.
Big Beef was a champ this year for flavor, size and production and,
because I started it in a wall o water, it was almost as early as the
Stupice. Sun Gold Cherry, an orange cherry tomato, is my husband's
taste favorite and it yielded well.
I had poor results with all the rest of my varieties, especially the
paste tomatoes: amish, Vilm's and Orange Banana paste all were anemic
producers and didn't ripen up much volume. Gardener's delight cherry
produced a lot but the flavor was uninspiring to my husband. Yellow
Pear tomatoes, as always, did very well and were appreciated early
season, but got eclipsed by SunGold as the summer went on for taste
reasons and I've been giving them away by the bagful to the soup
kitchen. Black Krim and Cherokee Purples yielded modestly before the
plants tired out and started dying off. I think I'm done with these
New Ace, a hybrid, performed well, as always. I trialed King of the
North, Peace work and WIsconsin Lakes sweet peppers in search of a
seed-saveable variety. King of the North did the best of the three. I
may trial all 3 again next year to get a clearer picture. I have
always liked Jimmy Nardello, a silly long thin curly sweet pepper that
ripens up to red slightly faster than the blocky bells, and it did
well enough this year. (Not a good candidate for roasting, but fine
for dicing up and fresh eating. And it's an heirloom variety.)
Done, done done with DeCicco. I should have looked up it's growth
habits two years ago and given up on it. (It produces small heads and
lots of side shoots, I want the exact opposite.) I'm going to revisit
a variety we sold seeds of a couple years ago that produced large
heads, Fiesta, I believe it was.
Super Red 80 (hybrid) cabbage and copenhagen market cabbage (heirloom)
both did really well this year. I had more cabbage than I knew what to
do with. Early snowball cauliflower did fairly well, given the heat
but I lost about 25-30 percent to buttoning (not forming a proper
Alliums: I planted redwing and copra as my storage onions. Redwing
sized up beautifully, copra were a respectable crop as well. I got a
mixed bag of onions from Plantorium just cause I had extra space out
at Teresa and Randy Redmond-Ott's garden, and they sized up decently
as well. Shallots were surprisingly low-germination for me, given that
they were a fresh seed batch. King Richard leeks have done well,
growing slowly but steadily, as always.
Zucchini did great, always does. Tomatillos produced reasonably well.
Blue lake green beans did great, but I planted mid season a variety I
liked a lot better: Maxibel bush haricot vert. Hoo boy! It's a bush
bean, so not ideal from a space useage perspective (I'm going to check
fedco for a pole variety of maxibel this winter) but it produced
lovely, long, thin delicious green beans and I will definitely plant
that again. Planted black cocoa beans as a dry storage bean. Yielded
well, have yet to figure out how to cook them so that they soften up
sufficiently. Maybe pressure canning them will do the trick.
Scarlet Nantes carrots, when they germinated, sized up nicely but boy
it was hard to get them started in the heat of the summer. I guess I
really do need to overseed those and commit to thin them. They did
germinate well for me in a 5-gal bucket drilled with holes and filled
with potting soil. I could keep the bucket in the shade or even the
garage during germination mid summer, then move it into sun once the
starts were up.
This year sugar pie pumpkins grew like gang busters, as did buttercup
squash and hubbard (the size hubbard's grow, it only takes two fruit
to out perform most of the other squash plants). Lesser yields from
butternut, and my acorn squash were numerous but quite small. More
like a personal squash.
Sweet corn did marvelously, as always (Silver Queen seed from fedco, I
finally used up the last of the four year old seed this year.)
Discovered the joys of kale chips this year (properly roasted, the
aphids are completely unnoticeable! :D ). The lacinato kale was too
narrow and delicate to make a good kale chip but the curly leafed
dinosaur kale I planted was perfect.
Beets, detroit red, I believe, I just harvested and they were on the
small side (likely due to grasshopper pressures and some droughtiness)
but probably are tastier that way. Forellenschusse lettuce lasted a
lot longer than I thought it would in the late spring heat. Summer
plantings of lettuce were a bust. Rainbow chard produced like a champ,
as always; sadly, I am sick of chard.
Raspberries are perennially productive and long-yielding. We have
autumn britten and heritage as fall bearers and one sets huge,
delicious berries. I believe it is the heritage. Both yield well. We
also have Anne yellow raspberries that are summer bearing and those
have a lovely flavor and sweetness as well.
Strawberries did fine also this year and yielded at least 3 weeks
Neither of my honey crisp apples blossomed much or set fruit. Dunno if
they are taking the year off or lacking a pollinator. I've bought a
granny smith green apple (and four other stone fruits) this fall to
rectify the pollinator issue, if it is the issue.
My asian pear tree bore heroically as per usual, though some sort of
grub (coddling moth?) got into about 25-30 percent of the fruits for
the first time ever. Standard pear tree produced a handful of pears,
despite being decapitated by a falling limb in last October's
snowpocalypse. My sour cherry yielded well this year, as always,
despite losing its leader in the same catastrophe.
Phew, that's about all I can reconstruct/remember.
Thanks in advance for any info that you all add to our collective