Yesterday I reviewed all the tomatoes I grew this year, and yet there are still so many other veggies that I can’t possible fit the remainder into one post. So today I’ll tackle all the root vegetables. I’ll start with the alliums and move on to beets and carrots and potatoes.
Cipollini Onions: These have been a lot of fun to cook with (see my cipollini onion tart from earlier this week). I bought these and the next two onion varieties as onion starts from Territorial. The cipollinis grew well in a compact space. Given that these onions are expensive and hard to find, I get a lot out of growing them myself. I’ll do these again next year.
Leeks: I haven’t actually harvested any of my leeks yet, since they’re only now getting nice and fat. A disappointing number of the starts shriveled and died, but those that survived are looking nice. The jury’s still out on whether I’ll plant these again.
Red Torpedo Onions: A skinny, cute Italian variety, I only got these because the starts came as part of variety pack with the cipollinis and leeks. They’ve been alright. But I think I’d rather have a bigger, meatier onion next year.
Shallots: My shallots multiplied nicely, but the bulbs never got very big by the time the tops withered (which is when it’s time to dig them up). I love shallots, so I will definitely grow them again, but I might try a different variety. Does anyone know if they can be fall-planted like garlic?
Early Wonder Tall Top Beets: A classic red beet, with greens that are good in salads as well. I jumped the gun and pulled a lot of these beets up when they were still small. I pickled the few remaining beets, but haven’t eaten them yet. I will probably plant red beets again, either this variety or something else.
Golden Beets: These took a long time to get big, but they were a real revelation when I finally got to eat them. I absolutely love their flavor. I will definitely plant lots and lots of these again. I think it would be totally fun to make a golden borscht with them.
Chioggia Beets: This is the “bullseye” beet they serve in trendy restaurants. They’re good, but I found I actually liked the true beet flavor of the other varieties a bit better. I might plant some Chioggias just to use up the seed I have left, but I may not buy more seed after that. Plus, I kind of hate having to say the word Chioggia. I feel pretentious if I pronounce it the Italian way, and uncultured if I pronounce it the American way.
Scarlet Nantes Carrots: Don’t let the name fool you, these are not red-colored carrots. These Nantes were supposed to get to be at least six inches long, but most of them stayed kind of stubby. But I think that has much more to do with my soil not being sifted enough. I liked the flavor of these carrots, although I could certainly be persuaded to try a different variety if anyone has suggestions.
Red Bliss Potatoes: I planted the sprouting remains of a Trader Joe’s potato variety pack waaay back in late winter, so I was able to dig up these potatoes very early in the summer. The Red Bliss performed well, producing many large and small potatoes with good skin and crisp flesh.
Yukon Gold Potatoes: These were also from the Trader Joe’s pack. I’d been told that this variety does poorly here, but mine did fairly well, given how few I planted. This seems to be a good variety for producing new potatoes that will hold me over until the fingerlings are ready.
Purple Potatoes: Total dud. This was the last variety from the Trader Joe’s pack, and even though I planted three or four sprouting pieces, I only got one tiny new potato out of it. The vines couldn’t really compete with the other varieties growing up around them, I guess.
La Ratte Fingerling Potatoes: These were delicious and productive and fun. They weren’t ready until late in the summer, since Moose Tubers doesn’t send out their seed potatoes until pretty late in the spring. But I will definitely plant these again. Like cipollini onions, fingerlings are expensive to buy and not always available, so it makes them a comparatively good thing to grow yourself.
A general note about root vegetables: they are SO easy, and so good. I’ve already made my feelings about roots known on this blog, but it’s worth reminding myself of their benefits. Next year I will probably take space away from some of the fussier vegetables and devote more space to roots.
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