Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vegetable Hits and Misses

I tried a lot of new vegetable varieties this year, in two different gardens at opposite ends of the city, so I thought I'd review a few of them. Bear in mind that we're Zone 3 here, and I grew organically, so your mileage undoubtedly varies.


The clear winner was the Witches Fingers pack I got from Tourne Sol farm near Montreal. I am going to have to write and ask them what varieties are in the pack - I know the seeds are open-pollinated varieties. They germinated well, were early, long, big, delicious, and untouched by insect or disease.
A loser was Purple Haze, which I got from Veseys. In both gardens, it was skinny and small, and in one it succumbed to Alternaria leaf blight (although the Red Cored Chantenay inches away did not).


I was really excited about Andrina, a cute little 6" high cherry tomato that I got from Heritage Harvest Seeds and grew in a pot. Two disadvantages: first, the leaves grow so low on the plant that I had a lot of backsplash when watering. Second, it tasted TERRIBLE! My sister grew one in Montreal and disliked the taste as well.

However, Silvery Fir Tree was a winner, also from Heritage Harvest Seeds. This pack was thrown in my large order as a freebie, so I only planted one. Reasonable size plant, medium sized tomatoes, quite tasty, and a good yield.


The Bohemian flat podded sugar snap peas that we got from a friend who got it from his mother who got it from an elderly neighbour who immigrated to Canada decades ago yielded decently, had a long harvest season, and were still tasty when they looked like they should be overripe and overgrown. Unfortunately, you can't get any of these unless you ask me very nicely.

Sugar sprint snap from Veseys had so many problems. An unidentified insect ate the life out of them in one garden, and in the other the yield was very poor. They succumbed to powdery mildew and had leaf miners. A cousin of mine also grew them and had problems.

Leafy Greens:

I had way more lettuces than I needed - Black Seeded Simpson and Matina Sweet. But what I really liked was the Mizuna from Veseys. A delicate taste hinting of cabbage, a very fast grower (we got four cuts), the only problem was that eventually the cabbage butterflies found it.

Mizuna at the bottom, Matina Sweet at the top, BSS in the middle

Would you believe, I still have seed packs in my fridge that I didn't even crack open this year? I look forward to more experimenting next year!


  1. Interesting, I have had similar experiences with the Purple Haze carrots. We grew them in the previous two years and some of the tops suffered from disease and all were slow to develop, most not reaching a harvestable size while all other carrots fared well. Looks like you recieved an excellent mix in that Witches Fingers variety pack.

  2. I'm glad to know it wasn't just our soil or my growing methods. I'll let you know if I find out what was in that variety pack!