2012 garden winners

Autumn is here. I can tell because I’m spending more time stacking firewood than picking tomatoes. It’s time to cull the seed order for 2013 by picking winners to repeat, and losers (not many of those, really) to drop. Descriptions are from the Fedco Seed catalog, online 2012 version.

Winners include: Minutina

minutina Minutina (50 days) Open-pollinated. Also called Buckshorn Plantain. “Good in a buttered frying pan with fresh snipped chives and a fresh duck egg cracked on top,” informs Jan Sonstrom. Morse Pitts of Windfall Farm brought this spiky green to our attention. As it comes up it looks like little blades of grass. As it matures, it resembles mizuna leaves, only much narrower, less leafy and more succulent. Crunchy with a mild nutty flavor. Slow grower, will regenerate from cutting, but we recommend succession planting. Extremely cold hardy

I love this green – it provides texture, flavor and a lovely bright green accent to salads and stir fry and grew beautifully all summer through drought and torrential rain. I found it energetic enough to “cut and come again” with no problem.

Aromato Basil

aromatoAromato Basil OG Dramatic bicolor ornamental. Broad bushes of mottled purple and green grow to 2-1/2′, providing a focal point. Starts purple and takes on a greener coloration. Pleasing anisey flavor and scent intensify when it is dried. Makes a great herbal vinegar. AGRIOR-certified.

I don’t normally dry basil, preferring to freeze small containers of pesto to retrieve as a fabulous quick dinner on dark February days, but Aromato has convinced me to dry at least part of the harvest. This basil has such a spicy floral scent that I’m tempted to use it in the closets as a sachet. Oh, and it also makes wonderful dark and mysterious pesto.

Dakota black popcornDakota Black Popcorn OG (100 days) Open-pollinated. Outstanding in our observation plots two years in a row. Compact plants with one ear each. Our tasters rated the popcorn “Oh, so scrumptious.” In addition to their popping qualities, Dakota Black’s 4-1/2″ dark maroon-black ears with 15 rows are extremely decorative, a must for the fall roadside stand. 4′ stalks. ICS-certified.

The ears are still drying on the stalks so I can’t tell you how it tastes. It’s so beautiful that I don’t even care if we never pop any.

Blue Gold

Blue Gold or Peter Wilcox This goldie was our best seller at the Portland Farmer’s market, and an easy one to wholesale, too. The twin sister to Red Gold, and practically an early-season potato. Trialing it last year, we had great germination, a high yield, and delicious hash browns. You could dig it later too, as it stores durably. Sets tubers in a wide hill.
Wonderful taste, great texture, easy to dig and perfect skins – my new favorite potato. Harsh drought and high heat with no watering does not seem to have impacted the yield.
Dakota Black Popcorn OG (100 days) Open-pollinated. Outstanding in our observation plots two years in a row. Compact plants with one ear each. Our tasters rated the popcorn “Oh, so scrumptious.” In addition to their popping qualities, Dakota Black’s 4-1/2″ dark maroon-black ears with 15 rows are extremely decorative, a must for the fall roadside stand. 4′ stalks. ICS-certified.

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