Yesterday my mom came over and we took down a lot of the summer garden. A lot of plants still looked healthy, but they just aren’t going to produce any more fruit for the rest of the year. And some plants look like crap but they clearly are still going strong, so they had to stay (much to my mother’s chagrin). Anyway, I wanted to review some of the different varieties I grew this year so that I can remember which ones to go for and which to skip next year.
- Cream sausage: This plant was really very, very productive for me. It had a milder flavor than some of the other varieties and worked great for sauces.
- Hawaiian currant: Super productive, but I really, really didn’t like the flavor. They were super-sweet and didn’t have much tomato flavor. I will say that my friend who hates tomatoes found them more tolerable than other tomatoes. Of course, that tells you a lot about whether they tasted like tomatoes . . .
- Sprite: This is probably the tastiest grape tomato I’ve ever had. It tasted like it was mixed with celery! Like tiny drops of V8! The plant has looked half-dead for well over a month, but it just keeps producing!
- Black Krim: This is just the best tomato in the whole world. Productive plant. Best flavor of all tomatoes ever. I’m not sure what else to say!
- Arkansas Marvel: This tomato was definitely delicious, but the plant wasn’t super-productive. I might have had five to ten of these GIANT fruit. Really pretty though.
- Kellogg’s Breakfast: This was very similar to the Arkansas Marvel, but more productive. I’ll definitely try to grow these again.
- Black Pearl: A really sweet cherry tomato that still tastes like a tomato!
- Yellow Pear: I always grow these. They’re delicious and pretty. And so productive that it’s hard to keep up with them. I will say, do yourself a favor and pick them every day. I missed a few days last year and Yellow Pear volunteers kept popping up in all of my other pots. The plant has looked terrible for some time but it’s still going strong with fruit production.
- Pink Brandywine: Another definite winner. Beautiful, tasty fruit. And it’s still producing into October!
- San Marzano Red Torta: All the San Marzanos make delicious sauce. Of course. And I won’t say that this variety was unproductive. It just wasn’t as productive as other San Marzanos I’ve grown before. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down what those other varieties were!
- Grushovka: I picked this fellow because he’s a Siberian variety and I always try to grow at least one Northern climate variety. That way I’m still harvesting up until Halloween! That said, this plant hasn’t been terribly productive for me. Also, when I look up information on the variety I find some discrepancies. The fruit I grew looks just like the Grushovka fruit, but my plant grew much, much larger than it was supposed to. The Grushovka is supposed to be a compact 2-3 foot bush and I grew a seven-foot vine.
- Manitoba: It’s hard to decide what to say about this plant. It was incredibly productive until August and then just died on me. I’m not sure what happened. The fruit were small and made good sauce.
- Solar Power: I grew this variety because it was so good last year, but I think last year’s plant was mislabeled at the nursery. This year’s plant produced the orange fruit that you’re supposed to get with Solar Power, but it wasn’t nearly as productive as whatever it was I grew last year!
- Mortgage Lifter: Here’s the big loser of the summer. Frankly, this plant can go fuck itself. It became the biggest tomato plant I have ever seen (about 12 feet of strong vine). And not only was it long, but it was full and lush. And I didn’t get a single tomato. No, I didn’t over fertilize it. No, I didn’t under fertilize it. It flowered but never set fruit. Giant disappointment. And not only did I not get fruit from Mortgage Lifter, but I think it hurt the productivity of nearby plants since it was blocking the sun so much.
- Turkish Orange: These were so damn cute. Like little pumpkins in the summer! They were very firm and other people found them delicious. I, however, did not. They tasted like eggplant that had been cooked with green bell peppers, and I am not a fan of peppers at all. So I just gave them all to my mom. I told her to use them in a chicken cacciatore.
- Ichiban: Oh, how I love Ichiban. And I’m certainly not the only one. Every year there’s a scare on gardening forums where someone claims that Ichiban won’t be available anymore and everyone freaks out. I hear that Millionaire is a decent substitute, but I’ve never brought myself to try it. Anyway, Ichiban is a really creamy, sweet Japanese variety. So productive. So good. My mouth is watering as I type this.
- Black Beauty: Everyone grows Black Beauty, right? It’s available everywhere and it’s exactly what most people think of when they think about eggplant: shiny, dark purple fruit that works perfectly in all Italian dishes. Always a winner.
- White Star Hybrid: I love this little eggplant. It’s a very productive bush and the fruit are delicious. It’s important to pick early with this variety, or the skin gets very thick and tough. If you peel your eggplant anyway, go ahead and let it grow! I sometimes let it grow anyway because sometimes I’m in the mood for a lot of seeds in my eggplant. And this variety will definitely give you lots of crunchy little seeds!
- Peter Pepper: I only grew these because they look like penises. And here’s the thing: if you let them ripen on the plant, then they elongate and lose their penis look. So make sure you pick them early to maintain that shape. Edited to add: Mom just tried these for the first time and she said that they’re really, really spicy. So now you know.
- Hot Cherry Red: My mom loves these and they’re pretty. What can I say? I hate peppers so you’re not getting a lot of description in the pepper section!
- Sweet Banana: According to my mother, these must have been mislabeled. They were definitely very, very hot. I will say that this bush was pretty productive.
- Jalapeno: First, I must say that I don’t know how to write the n with the tilde over it. So don’t go thinking I don’t know that the tilde belongs there. Again, I’ll say that this was super-productive.
- Adobo: This plant took a really long time to take off. I think the stupid Mortgage Lifter tomato was blocking all its sun. And since I don’t care that much about the peppers, I wasn’t about to put another plant in that shade!
- Armenian cucumbers: Definitely will grow these again next year. They stayed a nice, thin shape and had very small seeds. Delicious!
- Boston Pickler cucumbers: These fellas were yucky. They never grew the right “cucumber” shape; they looked really cute when they were tiny but then just ballooned out into orbs (even though that’s definitely not what they’re supposed to be). Boo!
- Sun Jewel melon: These little Korean melons tasted like a cross between a pear and a cantaloupe. So tasty! Unfortunately, it turns out I’m quite allergic to this particular deliciousness! I took six Benadryl tablets and the hives just kept getting worse. So I ran to my allergist (and got a lecture about how I should have gone to the ER from yet another bitchy receptionist at that particular doctor’s office). Luckily another patient in the lobby was a nurse and she chewed out the office staff on my behalf and started yelling that no one could be seen before I could. Thank-you, Anonymous Nurse! Anyway, by the time my doctor saw me he actually just said “Damn.” And then called all the other doctors in the practice to come see. And even though I had told him I was hot to the touch, he said damn again when he touched me. I was burning up! Long story short, I can’t eat these again. My mother LOVED them though, so I’ll probably grow them again.
- Clemson Spineless Okra: I didn’t want to grow this variety this year, but my Mammoth Longpod seedlings didn’t take and then I didn’t have time to grow from seed another time. This okra is fine, but you really have to keep on top of picking. Otherwise, it gets woody.