Sunday, December 30, 2012

Season Roundup Spring 2012

Yes yes, I realize I 'didn't do a garden' this spring.  Mostly because I was afraid of a continuing drought.  But I have a problem - I can't say no.  To free plants, a good deal, or an experiment.  So, I had the following in my non-garden garden:

Oriental Eggplant:  Free from Renee Studebaker.
Notes:  Only 2 eggplants, 1 was eaten by bugs before I got to it.
Experience:  Meh.  Nothing has come close to that Cloud 9 eggplant from a few years ago.

Unknown Tomato:  Free from the East Austin Garden Faire
Notes:  I think it may be a black krim - the tomatoes look and taste similar.  I grew it in the grow box I made.  I was most surprised that even though the tomatoes had constant access to water, they still split.  a lot.  I don't remember how many tomatoes we got - more than the normal 5 I get from the conventional way of growing a black krim.
Experience:  pretty good - too bad I'm not positive on what type of tomato it is...I would normally save seed, but I'm not happy with how easily the type splits.

Black Pearl Pepper: Free from Renee Studebaker
Notes:  Took a while to really take off.  Now the plant is about 3' tall.  I haven't eaten any of the peppers yet.
Experience:  Pretty good.  I'd definitely think about planting this plant again - though I gotta admit that I'm more taken with the black jalapenos.

Renee's Black Jalapeno (green):  Free from a black jalapeno plant that Renee had - it was apparently a reverted Black Pearl Pepper.
Notes:  I planted 4 seeds, and all four came up.  Two of the plants ended up being a "green" plant (that is, they had all green leaves), while the other two were "purple" (having leaves that look like they've been dipped in purple).  The flowers on the plants are a white with a purple tinge.  Of the green plants, one went crazy producing black jalapenos, while the other really didn't.
Experience:  Awesome.  I've already saved some seed, hopefully it will come back true to form.

Renee's Black Jalapeno (purple):  Free from a black jalapeno plant that Renee had - it was apparently a reverted Black Pearl pepper.
Notes:  I planted 4 seeds, and all four came up.  Two of the plants ended up being "green", while the other two were "purple."  Of the plants, both of the purple ones grew quickly but didn't flower until late summer.  The flowers on this plant, by contrast are purple.  One of them is finally starting to produce peppers.
Experience:  Awesome.  I will be saving seed and hopefully it will come back true to form.  [UPDATE: I saved peppers from the plant, but I don't really remember which ones came from which plant...dammit, I knew I should have labeled them as soon as I pulled them off the plant...I'm pretty sure the red peppers came from the purple plant, but I'm not positive.]

Garlic Chives:  Free from Bonnie.
Notes:  I only planted this in the garden because I didn't know where else to put it, plus the cats tend not to eat plants in the garden, but they'll munch on plants elsewhere in the yard.  The plant really just looks like a giant clump of grass (not unlike liriope) until it blooms when it gets awesome white pom-poms.
Experience this year:  Not bad...not great - I never used them really (not surprising), and they're taking up precious space in the garden.  It's actually the Garlic Chives in combination with the Lemon Balm that have convinced me I need to make an herb specific bed.  Also, it looks like they'll need to be divided in the who wants some garlic chives?

Lemon Balm
Notes:  I originally got these two plants as part of an experiment to see if they repelled the squash vine borer (I didn't notice a difference).  I now use them for mosquito repellent when I'm outside and the mosquitoes are bugging me (ha! bugging!).  My in laws like to use the plant in salads.  We don't do that since Shawn isn't a fan of lemon flavored anything.
Experience this year:  I may have to pull out the plants - they're looking really spent...The salt marsh caterpillars did a number on them this fall - so now they're much more like a mat-type ground cover instead of a bushy herb.

Notes:  A hold over from last year - Yes, I managed to keep it through the winter (not a difficult thing though with the last winter we had).  Of course, it was pretty hilarious when I realized that the plant was the habanero - for some reason I thought it was the Thai pepper plant (we're still working our way through the 149 peppers from that plant, by the way).  Put the plant in the compost bin on 11/4.
Experience this year:  Not bad - I don't remember how many we've gotten from the plant...5 maybe?  I've saved seed, so maybe I'll get more next year.

Naga Jolokia:
Notes:  A hold over from last year - yes I managed to keep it through the winter.  I have cut it back to try to keep it through the winter again.
Experience this year:  Managed to get 3 peppers from the plant.  I've saved seed, so I may try growing from seed if the plant looks iffy during the winter.

Thai Basil:
Notes:  I don't remember spreading seed this year...
Experience this year:  Remember how I mentioned before that this stuff reseeds aggressively?  Yeah...since the drought killed off the grass, the basil started growing in the yard... Nice when Shawn mowed because it smelled like basil.  in mid-October, Shawn insisted the plants needed to be removed so I pulled them all out and turned them into basil cubes. I've gotten to the point where I think normal basil tastes funny that's probably not good.

Sweet Basil:  $1 at East Side Succulents
Notes:  I got this because it was on sale.
Experience this year:  I used it a few times, but most importantly, when I pulled out the plant on November 4th, I used the leaves to get some herb infused vinegar going.  Also...I really need to get back into using regular basil instead of Thai basil.

Aurora Pepper: $1 at East Side Succulents
Notes:  I got this because it was on sale and the pepper goes through 4 different colors before being fully ripe.
Experience:  Tis but a tiny plant.  I've dug it up to try to keep it through the winter.

Aji Pepper:  $1 at East Side Succulents
Notes:  I got this hoping it was close to the yellow hot pepper from a few years ago.  Unfortunately, it ripens to a red color.  It is supposed to be spicy.
Experience:  The poor plant was covered for most of the summer by the gomphrena, but it's still keeping on keeping on.  I pulled 2 peppers off of it on 11/4.  I've dug it up to try to keep it through the winter.

Tequila Sunrise Pepper:  $1 at East Side Succulents
Notes:  I got it because it looked like a carrot on a pepper plant.  After planting, I pulled the pepper off and ate it.  It is a sweet pepper variety.
Experience:  The plant never really grew any.  It had a new pepper on it, but a bug got to it on 11/1.  I've dug it up to try to keep it through the winter.

So...Uh...yeah...this is quite the list of plants considering I 'didn't have a garden' this year...


gwenniesgarden said...

A few comments on your blog :
the garlic chives are lovely in a green salad or in a potato salad and as for the lemon balm ; it spreads like wildfire but is easily removed where it is not wanted, you can add some leaves to your tea to give it a bit of lemon taste, or use it with fish, you cut the plant back in Spring, it grows back in no time

Lancashire rose said...

I think you should change your name to The Economical Gardener. I'm with you.

katina said...

Jenny - HA! I hadn't even noticed that. I guess it is pretty economical when I only spend $4 on plants. I totally need to point this out to my husband since he generally thinks my food gardening is a waste of money. Surely we got $4 worth of stuff out of it (probably another $4 if I include water cost...of course if I wasn't watering the garden, I'd probably be watering something else).