Monday, September 30, 2013

...And The Winner Is!

Every year I grow a lot of different stuff.
Somebody visiting on my farm on the weekend asked me why I grow some of the things I do. Like the super ridiculously hot peppers that I don't even pretend I'm going to eat.  Although I do know someone will.
I guess I just like to see things grow. I can grow them, so I do, and if I don't know if I can...well, I'm going to try.
Sometimes I like them, and I keep on growing them. And some things I'm not too crazy about and I don't worry about them again.
So here is a little list of what I liked the best this year. Out of hundreds of varieties, these were my favourites.

-"New to me" tomato of the year- Golden Gates
 The result of the breeding work done by master tomato grower Brad Gates in California.
Mid flavoured and sweet, fleshy and of course just  a darn pretty golden orange striped beauty.

Tomato of the year-Stupice
Well it had to be. These tomatoes started pumping them out in June...and still are. Reliable, delicious and productive, this little red tomato is the tomato that could. And does.

Pepper of the year- Aji Limo
I love this pepper. It's happy bright yellow exterior is my favourite colour, so that's an advantage right off the bat. But the unique citrus flavour, followed by intense heat makes it a winner. It's also very productive.

Hottest pepper of the year-Carolina Reaper
It's hot. Killer hot. I didn't try one, but inadvertently experienced a little bit of the juice on my lip. I still have the lip, but it was a memorable experience. Don't believe me-look it up HERE! What kills me is people want this. Specifically it seems to be young guys who want to prove how tough they are. Yes, you ARE tough and maybe even slightly wacky if you eat this pepper.

Comeback Queen
When I was 10 years old I sent away some boxtops from a cereal box in exchange for some cacti. Why don't cereal companies do this anymore? I bet they didn't think all these years later I would still be enjoying those cacti. I didn't either, especially this spring. They looked pretty rough and I thought that was it. So I put them outside and a miracle happened. They shed the dead parts and sprang forth again. This is awesome and an award well deserved for the older generation.

Ornamental of the Year
Okay, it's a tie. I love, love love my Amish Cockcomb, with their velvety brain look and vibrant magenta colour. But the Red Foliated Cotton is a stunning plant too, with it's deep red foliage and magnificent flower. What do you think?

Volunteer of the Year
Most years I would say tomatillo. They pop up just about everywhere, as do ground cherries, cape gooseberries and morelle de balbis. But this year the chickens with their magical growing powers and a bit of poop, nursed along some amazing tromboncino squash. During the growing season these things doubled in size every week, and most of them are about 3 ft long at this point. The amazing thing is that the chickens don't eat them and neither do the cucumber beetles or squash bugs. They've been very cool to watch.

Veggie of the Year
Yup, it's kale. It just has to be because I eat it all the time. Every day. I may have a kale addiction. I grow lots of different kinds too, but my favourite is the great italian heirloom Lacinato (aka Tuscan, Dinosaur). Great flavour, stunning plant.

Those are my selections-what stood out in your garden this year?

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