Once again it’s time for my annual review of what did well in the garden, and what didn’t. Local weather certainly has a big influence on home gardens, and Happy Acres is no exception. The amount of rainfall, temperatures, and even the wind can have a big impact. For instance, in 2018 we got a whopping 64 inches of rain, which was a record amount. I had a lot of issues with rotting of plants that year. In 2020 so far we have 54 inches, which is at least 25% more than normal but a lot less than 2018. This year the rain seemed to help most of the veggies, especially the cucurbits. So I am calling 2020 the Year of the Squash here, as we hauled in over 300 pounds of summer and winter types combined.
I tried several new varieties this year, and all did really well. I grew a couple of vining C. moschata Korean squashes that were really productive and very useful in the kitchen. One is commonly called an Avocado squash due to the shape, and I grew a hybrid variety from Kitazawa Seed called Teot Bat Put. I trained it to a trellis and the vines were quite vigorous and healthy for me.
The other Korean squash I grew is shaped much like a zucchini and used much the same in the kitchen. It has a mild flavor, and the flesh is drier than regular zucchini which makes it very good for roasting and stir fries. I grew a hybrid from Kitazawa Seed called Meot Jaeng I Ae. I plan on growing both these Korean squashes again in 2021.
Centercut squash is a vining C. moschata type from Row 7 Seed Company that is edible at both the green and mature stages. I’ve been growing it for several years now, and it never fails to produce loads of fruit for me. The green squash have a firm texture and a sweet nutty taste, while the mature squash are tasty in both sweet and savory dishes. I bake and puree the mature fruits, and we use them in our fruit smoothies along with other ingredients. The mature squash are good keepers for me and last for several months after curing.
I set out eight bush summer squash plants, and all did well with the exception of Magda. I’ve grown this light skinned Mid-East type zucchini before with good success, but it didn’t do well in 2020. Thankfully the other bush plants grew and produced pounds of fruit. I freeze quite a bit of the summer squash for later use. This year I grew Green Machine, Dunja and Safari zucchinis, and the yellow varieties Tempest and Zephyr. I also grew Astia zucchini in grow bags, and it did quite well that way. I plan on growing all of those in 2021 with the exception of Magda.
I grow all our cucumbers in the summer greenhouse, and as such I choose parthenocarpic varieties that don’t need pollination. I harvested just under 20 pounds in 2020, which was more than enough to supply us with cukes for fresh eating and a few to pickle and ferment. I grew Mini Munch for the first time and it was a big hit for fresh eating. I’ve grown Corinto, Nokya and Itachi before and they did well this year also. 7082 is an experimental variety from Row 7 Seed Company that I think has an outstanding flavor, and it was a standout performer for me this year.
It was a great year for green beans here too. I’ve been growing the Appalachian heirloom pole beans for several years now, and they produce for me for several months to give us an extended harvest. Lazy Wife Greasy, Turkey Craw, Robe Mountain and Non-Tough Half Runner are a few of my favorites. I grew a few of the bush types as well for an early harvest, and we use these often for roasting. I trialed Orient bush bean last year for the first time and it did well. I harvested 46 pounds of green beans in 2020, which was enough to keep us well supplied for fresh use and to fill the freezer for eating later.
It was a great year for kohlrabi in the garden, and I got over 30 pounds of it from both a spring and fall planting. Beas, Terek, Kolibri, Konan and the giant Kossak are all favorites of mine. We use these fresh, cooked and fermented into kraut, kimchi and kohlrabi ‘pickles’.
It was pretty well an epic year for eggplant. I didn’t set out any more plants than usual, but they seemed to be way more productive. I got over 33 pounds of them in all, compared to 15 pounds in 2019 and 20 pounds in 2018. I grew the small fruited Patio Baby and Fairy Tale in containers, and these two AAS Winners always keep us well supplied. I had good luck with the long Asian types too, and Bride, Orient Express and Purple Shine all did well. The larger fruited types like Nadia, Galine and Dancer are longtime favorites of mine.
I decided to break up the report this year since I had a lot of veggies I wanted to mention. So I’ll be back soon with Part 2 of the 2020 garden recap!