Reviews of 8 garden-grown vegetables regarding growth, flavor, and kitchen use. Includes tomatoes, carrot, broccoli, and pole bean varieties.
In looking back through some old gardening posts to plan for 2016, I saw this one on 8 vegetable varieties to try in 2015 and realized I never posted an update for you in the fall after growing them. While I'm just one person and it was only one season, I thought it would be helpful to you to have my experiences if you were considering growing them in the future.
As a review, these were the varieties I grew:
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It was a great summer here, with more sun and warm weather than we're used to, actually. I kept everything watered and the other plants I grew all did well and didn't suffer, so I don't think that had much bearing on my reviews. Again, this is just for your information - feel free to grow them and try for yourself!
1. Kentucky Wonder Wax Pole Bean. Oops, first one and I'm already going back on my last sentence: DO NOT grow this bean unless you like thick, fat, beans that take a long time to color up - and then within days get too tough. This was a COMPLETE disappointment to us - no one in my family liked them and we just left most of them on the plant to wither. So sad. We are a tender, filet-style bean loving family, so I should've known, since Kentucky Wonder green beans are not our favorite. Lesson learned.
2. Atlantic Broccoli. I was a little concerned at first because after harvesting the main head (which was lovely), it took a long time to start producing side shoots (I plant broccoli 1x and then harvest side shoots all summer and fall for our broccoli). But it did and then they were wonderful and produced until the frost killed the plants in the fall. I'd grow this variety again.
3. Purple Sun Carrot. I really liked that this carrot was purple all the way through, so I'll grow this again. The germination and growth was similar to my other carrots, though I thought these were longer than the other purple carrots I've grown in the past.
4. Cabernet Grape Tomato. Sadly, both the seedlings that I grew from seed of this tomato died before I could even get them planted. I had to purchase whatever grape tomatoes the nursery had (which were prolific, though I don't remember the name!)
5. Tigerella Tomato. A number of readers told me that they really like this tomato, but it just wasn't my thing. The plants were prolific, that's for sure, but I wasn't expecting the tomatoes to be so small - only just bigger than cherry tomatoes. Then they were just really seedy with not much flesh, so they didn't work well for the things I like - thick sauces, drying, and canning. I won't grow them again.
6. Blue Beauty Indigo Tomato. While this was a fun tomato to grow - seeing blue tomatoes in the garden stopped people in their tracks - I won't take the space to grow this again, either. They just didn't pack much flavor and the shoulders stayed bluish, making for some weird-looking tomatoes in salads and recipes.
7. Cordova Paste Tomato. This was just okay. The fruits were pretty small, but they produced well and didn't have blossom-rot which so many paste tomatoes are susceptible to. I don't really have a favorite paste tomato, so I may grow this again, along with Amish Paste and Roma, until I find another I like.
8. Subarctic Tomato. This was another complete disappointment. A tiny plant (barely reached 1-1/2' at the end of the season!), that did NOT produce earlier and succumbed to blight fairly soon (no other plants around it had blight, either). Like most years, Early Girl produced our first ripe tomatoes. Obviously I won't be growing this again, either.
So in the end, I really only discovered 3 new vegetable varieties I would grow again, and the tomatoes didn't fare well at all.
But that's part of the fun of starting your own seeds and experimenting in the garden. Because every once in awhile you discover a Pineapple Tomato, Cherokee Purple Tomato, Emerite Pole Bean, or Cascadia Snap Pea and your garden world is changed for the better!