Planning the 2016 Garden

For me, part of the fun of gardening is trying new things. This time of year there’s not a lot of actual work to be done in the garden, so I have time to research and plan for the new gardening year. During the main growing season I make notes and keep records about how the garden is doing so I can refer to it later. I also make note of any interesting varieties I may want to try in the future, often getting ideas from other gardeners and bloggers. So now it is time to come up with a list of what I plan to grow in 2016.

2015 harvest of Juliet tomatoes

2015 harvest of Juliet tomatoes

I do love to experiment in the garden, and my list is always long. I’m calling 2016 the Year of the Tomato since I am trying so many new (to me) varieties. From Artisan Seeds I will be growing Blush, Captain Lucky, Green Tiger, Jazz, Lucinda, Marzano Fire, Purple Bumblebee, Spike, Sunrise Bumblebee, Taste, and several unreleased o/p varieties. I am especially excited to be trialing some of the hybrids they are working on. From the University of Florida tomato research program I will be growing Garden Gem and Garden Treasure. Rounding out the new tomatoes will be a couple from Secret Seed Cartel called Champagne and Ron’s Carbon Copy. I’m going to give Maglia Rosa and Spike a try in containers and give them a head start in the greenhouse. My old favorites like Juliet, Golden Rave, Viva Italia, Sun Gold and Black Cherry are also in the plan.

Aji Angelo peppers

Aji Angelo peppers

I’m also trying a number of new peppers this year. Flaming Flare is an F1 hybrid Fresno type pepper that was a 2015 AAS winner. I’ve also got seeds from two sources claiming to be the pepper grown and processed to make the famous Aleppo pepper flakes. Of course while shopping for seeds one thing leads to another, and I wound up getting seeds for two hot Turkish peppers called Urfa and Maras and a sweet Italian pepper called Friggitello. I also plan to try Senorita jalapeno, since the so-called ‘mild’ Tam jalapeno I grew last year was a shy producer and was just as hot as most other jalapenos I have grown. I’ve become a fan of the baccatum peppers and this year I want to add Aji Amarillo, Aji Lemon Drop and Criolla Sella Chili to the plan along with ones I have grown before like Aji Angelo, Aji Golden, Aji Panca, Kaleidoscope and Malawi Piccante. I think I counted 37 peppers on my growout list, and some of them will wind up as container plants if I fill up all the garden slots.

October harvest of pole beans

October harvest of pole beans

After disappointing results with onions the last few years, I have ordered a bundle each of Red Torpedo Tropea and Candy from Dixondale Farms and that will be all I grow. I’m also going to simplify my carrot choices and grow only Mokum and Purple Haze. I want to concentrate on other things this year (like tomatoes and peppers) and I have cut bush dry beans from the list too. I still plan to grow Good Mother Stallard pole beans, but I’m not sure about the Cherokee Trail of Tears beans which have been real shy producers for me here. Definitely coming back are the two ‘greasy’ beans from Sustainable Mountain Agricultural Center I grew last year called Robe Mountain and Lazy Wife Greasy. They will join my old standby pole beans Fortex, Musica, Gold Marie, Rattlesnake and Trionfo Violetta. I also plan on growing tepary beans again this year, and yardlong beans.

baked Bonita sweet potato

baked Bonita sweet potato

Last year I grew the white fleshed sweet potato Bonita for the first time and it was a big hit here. So this year I placed an order with the Sand Hill Preservation Center for the white fleshed Red Japanese and Purple Korean sweet potatoes as well as for Garnet and Golden Sweet. I’m looking forward to finding an alternative to Beauregard which yields well but often produces large and misshapen tubers in my garden. I know, too much sweet potato is a good problem to have but size and shape do matter in the kitchen, as do taste and texture. The purple fleshed Purple is one that will be back for sure.

young Tromboncino squash on the vine

young Tromboncino squash on the vine

I also want to tweak my lineup of winter squash varieties. We love delicata squash, so I am going to grow more of the Bush Delicata and give Honeyboat and Candystick another shot. I also want to give the Butterscotch mini butternut a try, and bring back the bush Early Butternut which has always done well for me. Tromboncino is back on the list too, after being absent a couple of years. I’m pretty happy with my lineup of summer squashes, but I will bring the yellow pattypan Sunburst back. It can join the white scalloped squash that I’ve been growing off and on for so many years. My mother really liked pattypan squash and I learned to like eating it even before I began growing it in my own garden.

white scalloped squash

white scalloped squash

As for brassicas, I’ll grow the same broccoli varieties I grew last year, and most of the same kale, cabbage and kohlrabi varieties. I do want to try a savoy cabbage this year, but I haven’t settled on which one just yet. I’ve grown Deadon and Alcosa in the past, and I would love to hear suggestions from other gardeners if they have a favorite savoy variety to recommend.

I’m sure there will be changes to my list, but this is my current list close to what I plan on growing this year. I’ve already ordered and received a few seeds, and I will work on getting the rest in the next month or so. It won’t be that long before it will be time to start some seeds too!

Asian Greens: Komatsuna Carlton, Mizspoona, Mizuna Kyoto, Pak Choi Mei Qing, Yukina Savoy

Beans (bush): Derby

Beans (pole):  Fortex, Gold Marie, Good Mother Stallard, Lazy Wife Greasy, Musica, Poletschka, Red Noodle, Robe Mountain, Trionfo Violetto

Beans (Tepary): Black, Blue Speckled, Sacaton Brown

Broccoli: Apollo, Bay Meadows, Diplomat, Green Magic, Gypsy, Goliath, Imperial, Packman

Broccoli Raab: Cima di Rapa Quarantino, Sorrento

Cabbage: Chieftain Savoy, Farao, KY Cross, Katarina, Melissa Savoy, Tendersweet

Carrots: Mokum, Purple Haze

Cucumber: Corinto, Diva, Green Fingers, Manny, Summer Dance, Tasty Jade

Eggplant: Dancer, Fairy Tale, Galine, Millionaire, Nadia

Greens: Apollo arugula, Golden Corn Salad, Granon Corn Salad, Speedy arugula

Kale: Baltic Red, Beedy’s Camden, Gulag Stars, Lacinato, Madeley, Prizm, Red Ursa, Sutherland, Western Front, White Russian, Wild Garden Mix

Kohlrabi: Kolibri, Konan, Kossak, Superschmeltz, Winner

Lettuce: Anuenue, Black Seeded Simpson, Cardinale, Hanson, Jester, Oak Leaf, Outstanding, Pele, Radichetta, Red Sails, Sierra, Simpson Elite, Slobolt, Smile, Three Heart, Total Clown, Unicum, Tango, Winter Density

Onion: Candy, Red Torpedo Tropea

Peas: Avalanche, Oregon Sugar Pod 2, Sugar Ann

Pepper(hot): Aji Angelo, Aji Golden, Aji Panca, Aleppo, Anaheim, Ancho 211, Biggie Chili, Cayenneta, Criolla Sella Chili, Czechoslovakian Black, Flaming Flare, Fooled You, Guajillo, Hot Happy Yummy, Holy Mole, Kaleidoscope, Leutschauer Paprika, Malawi Piquante, Maras, Maule’s Red Hot, Ozark Chili, PCR Paprika, Senorita Jalapeno, Thai Bird, Urfa

Pepper (sweet): Big Bertha, Celia Dulce, Cornito Giallo, Corno di Toro Rosso, Dulce Rojo, Early Sunsation, Escamillo, Feher Ozon Paprika, Flavorburst, Friggitello, Goliath Goldrush, Sweet Happy Yummy, Jimmy Nardello’s, Orange Blaze, Stocky Red Roaster, Topepo Rosso

Potato: German Butterball, Kennebec, Red Pontiac

Radish: China Rose, Minowase Summer Cross, Misato Rose, Plum Purple, Shunkyo

Spinach: Gigante Inverno (Giant Winter), Space, Viroflay

Squash(summer): Astia, Clarimore, Enterprise, Gentry, Kumi Kumi, Raven, Romanesco, Spineless Beauty, Striato d’Italia, Sunburst, Tatume, White Scallop

Squash(winter):  Butternut Rugosa, Butterscotch, Cornell’s Bush Delicata, Early Butternut, Gold Nugget, Honey Nut, Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck, Seminole, Sugarloaf, Thai Rai Kaw Tok, Tromba d’Albenga, Violina Rugosa

Sweet Potatoes: Beauregard, Bonita, Garnet, Golden Sweet, Korean Purple, Purple, Red Japanese

Tomatoes: Better Boy, Black Cherry, Blush, Candyland Red, Captain Lucky, Celebrity, Champagne, Chef’s Choice Green, Chef’s Choice Orange, Cherokee Purple, Early Girl, Eva Purple Ball, Golden Rave, Garden Gem, Garden Treasure, Golden Rave, Green Tiger, Health Kick, Jetsetter, Juliet, Lucinda, Maglia Rosa, Marzano Fire, Mexico Midget, Orange Caprese, Orange Jazz, Purple Bumblebee, Rio Grande, Spike, Sun Gold, Sun Sugar, Sunrise Bumblebee, Super Sweet 100, Vinson Watts, Viva Italia

Turnips: Hakurei, Oasis, Mikado, Royal Crown, Tsugaru Scarlet


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21 Responses to Planning the 2016 Garden

  1. Phuong says:

    It looks like you’re growing a ton of different varieties of everything. I grow lots of different types of summer squash as well, they have such a high pest pressure in this area it makes it necessary. Fingers crossed for great gardening weather this summer.

    • Dave says:

      Yes, I do like to grow different squashes since many of them perform better under different circumstances. I too am hoping for a great gardening year!

  2. Sarah C says:

    I love seeing what you and your garden are up to. It helps me plan as well since I am also in Indiana and our weather is similar. I am downsizing the variety in my garden this year just soiam focus on what does really well and what we actually eat. I am hoping on doing a successful crop of broccoli this year. Last year the damned bunnies ate every one of my plants down to the soil. 🙁 I see you have a pretty good selection of broccoli planned for 2016. Can you suggest one or two varieties that are sure producers and maybe have smaller side shoot too? Also where do you source a majority of your seed?

    BTW, the aji lemon drop did fabulously in my garden last year. I fermented them into a hot sauce using the method from your website. My husband is forever in your debt!

    • Dave says:

      Hi Sarah, Green Magic and Diplomat broccoli have done well for me here. Apollo is a ‘broccolini’ type that makes a small main head and lots of side shoots with long tender stems. I get many of my seeds from Fedco and Johnny’s. I’m looking forward to growing the Aji Lemon Drop too, and using it in hot sauce or pepper jelly.

  3. That’s quite a list.. I’m envious of your amount of space.

    I’m looking forward to how your tomato plants do. I haven’t heard of most of them.

    Finally, we love the PM resistance of Tromboncino. As for eating, we now like the texture better than “regular” zucchini, and the seeds are conveniently bunched together in the “ball”, which makes them a cinch to handle.

    How many square feet is all of that going into?

  4. Marie Brown says:

    Thanks for the detailed seed list!
    Do you have trouble with squash vine borers and carrot flies?
    They have gotten the better of me but I would like to try again this year….

    • Dave says:

      Hi Marie, we rarely get SVBs here, and thankfully no carrot flies. Squash bugs and cucumber beetles are the main pests here that bother the squash family.

  5. Bettye Mitchell says:

    Proud to have planned 4 of your choice for my small garden plot. Taking serious note of your other choices. On my way to betterment. Thanks for the newsletter.

  6. Jennifer says:

    I’m curious on your opinion of the Franchi seeds that you posted about last spring. They’re available locally to me and I saw them, but haven’t ever grown broccoli rabe or rapini.

    • Dave says:

      Both varieties did well for me, but I think the non-heading Quarantino did the best. I plan on growing it this year. In general, I am a fan of the Franchi seeds I get from Seeds from Italy.

  7. Michelle says:

    It is so fun to check out your list, there’s so many interesting things, especially the peppers! I can’t wait to see how the Aleppo, Urfa, and Maras do in particular. I have always got to try new things also, it is a lot of the fun in my opinion. I’m almost afraid to start ordering up, there’s already interesting things I’ve spotted in the catalogs I’ve received that I really don’t have room for.

    • Dave says:

      I have a few more peppers I got as freebies, but I don’t know if they will get planted or not. I’m trying not to look at catalogs, since the garden is already full!

  8. Margaret says:

    Your variety of tomatoes is basically the same as the number of tomatoes I’ll be growing in total! And 37 peppers? I’m envious! I’m still working on my list – and getting a bit anxious as it is getting rather late. I’m not planning on ordering a whole lot this year as I will be giving most of last years new varieties another shot. So many things went wrong this past year that I’m reluctant to drop any of them too quickly.

    • Dave says:

      A lot of those tomatoes will be one of a variety only, except for my old standbys. Since I discovered using a high-speed blender to process tomatoes for sauce I no longer rely on as many paste types. I am counting on the small fruited tomatoes to give me enough for fresh eating and for processing. We will see how that works!

  9. David Velten says:

    That is an ambitious list. Since I assume you will grow the peppers and tomatoes from seeds, that is an intimidating number of plants to have to start and manage under grow lights. We have some good local growers and I prefer to purchase plants if I can to reduce the seed starting load, but I can’t count on them having what I want very year (like Juliet and Carmen peppers, of all things), so I will be joining you in February under the lights.

    • Dave says:

      It is a lot of varieties to start from seed, but the total number of plants is less than when I was starting over 1000 for various garden projects I was involved with (like the MG garden). That’s one reason I use plug trays, since I can cram in a lot of plants under the lights.

  10. Jenny says:

    What a wonderful selection of veggies to look forward to having next year! Can’t wait to see how the newcomers will perform.

  11. Phila Gardener says:

    Great line-up, Dave! We are all looking forward to the coming season!

  12. Norma Chang says:

    Sure wish I had more garden space to grow more variety of crops. Looking forward to reading about your different white flesh sweet potatoes.

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