Alright, so I’ve reviewed all my tomatoes and all my root vegetables for the year. And yet there are STILL too many veggies left for one more post. I’ll start with the remaining members of the nightshade family, then move on to cucurbits. Tomorrow I’ll finish up with brassicas and herbs.
Señorita Jalapeño Peppers: All my peppers did poorly this year, stunted by the spring rains I suppose. But the Señoritas (a milder version of the jalapeño) managed to bulk up a bit by the end of the summer and produced a lot of peppers. I think I’ll plant these again next year.
Bell Peppers: I had two varieties, California Wonder and Gourmet Orange. They were severely stunted, and stayed that way. Each produced exactly one miniature little bell pepper. If I do bell peppers again next year, I need to keep the plants indoors longer or start them later. Or maybe just buy someone else’s starts. Or maybe give up on bell peppers altogether.
Cayennes: These were how I knew everything was truly stunted. I’ve been growing cayennes and saving the seeds for three years now, and usually they produce two-and-a-half foot bushes with dozens of peppers apiece. My cayennes this year were tiny and produced only a few peppers. They also were a little choked by weeds. But I have such a tradition of growing cayennes that I will have to grow them again next year.
Banana Pepper: Like the Señoritas, my banana pepper plant bounced back after a bad start and ended up producing several long yellow-green beauties. I may try a different variety of non-bell sweet pepper next year, though. People seem to love the Jimmy Nardello pepper, so I might try that.
Eggplants: I started one eggplant from seed, and it got stunted into oblivion. I also ordered one eggplant start (variety: Hansel) through the mail. It survived, but produced only two itty bitty fruits. I think it’s pretty clear that I put the eggplants out too early, but my big question next year will be whether to try again. High quality eggplants are relatively cheap at the market, so it makes less sense to use up a lot of space growing this fussy member of the nightshade family.
Mexican Sour Gherkins: What a star! These unique little cucurbits were totally easy to start from seed, and did very well through all the weird weather we had this summer. I had three vines, which quickly took over a fence with their tendrils (but still let plenty of light through). Every week the vines produced handfuls of little miniature cucumbers, which were a fun snack and quite a novelty among my friends. I will definitely grow these again.
Crookneck Summer Squash: These were easy enough to grow from seed, but sadly they succumbed to some disease or another after producing only two squashes. True, the flavor was fantastic – far better than something from a grocery store. But given how cheap squash is at the farmers market, I think I probably won’t try growing this again next year.
Zucchini: Same deal as the summer squash, only more so. I got exactly one zucchini (zucchino?) from the two or three bushes on the zucchini hill, and then everything withered and died. Maybe it was disease, maybe it was squash borer, I don’t really know. But zucchini is plentiful and cheap at the market, so there’s no reason to take up a lot of space in my own garden with something that seems pretty vulnerable anyway.