Friday, April 30, 2010

Quick-Growing Heirloom Veggies

I've had the great fortune of raising a daughter who never needed prompting to eat all of her vegetables.

Other Moms were amazed by this since they spent half the dinner hour coaxing their own children to do the same.

What's the secret? Home grown. I do believe that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy the downright delectable flavor of sun-kissed, vine-ripened, fresh-picked vegetables.

They taste nothing like those veggies you buy at the supermarket.

Time & Sunshine
Recently I've seen all sorts of commercials on what you must do to grow great veggies. Spoiler Alert: If you've been here before you probably know that I'm far too jaded... That said, I wanted to offer up my own how-to advice on growing your own produce.

1) Place seeds in soil. 2) Water. And, there you have it. Give them time and sunshine and they'll take care of the rest. Easy peasy. Oh! And, speaking of peas... they improve the nitrogen in your soil ~ a big help for mountain gardeners.

Not too pretty but the carrots don't care. Storage containers make great, deep planters for veggies. (Add drainage holes in the bottom.)

How much time?
How about fresh lettuce in 4 short weeks? Mountain growing seasons are very short so we mountain gardeners need to get creative. If you've not heard of these goodies you're not alone, but most every vegetable has a quick-growing cousin that reaches harvest in short order and tastes terrific.

Quick-Growing Heirloom Veggies that do well in mountain gardens:
  • Bountiful Bush Bean - this easy-growing small vine bean reaches maturity in about 51 days. (Heirloom)
  • Bull Nose Sweet Bell Pepper - a crisp, crunchy bell pepper bursting with delicious, earthy flavor. Matures in about 60 days. (Heirloom)
  • Red Cored Chantenay Carrots - a sweet, tender variety, ready to harvest in 70 short days. (Heirloom)
  • Four Seasons Head Lettuce - as beautiful as it is delicious, with colorful, reddish brown leaves. Matures in 45-55 days. (Heirloom)
  • Brandywine Tomato - this yummy Amish heirloom has a neat habit of producing tomatoes that mature at different times, on the same vine, throughout the season. (80 days, Heirloom)
  • Cocozelle Bush Zucchini - has a fresh, nutty flavor that is particularly delicious when roasted on the grill. Matures in 55 days. (Heirloom)
Pretty much any deep container is great for growing veggies.

Boring but Helpful:
  • When buying seeds, or seedlings, check the 'days to maturity' on the seed packet or planting guide. Harvest days are measured from transplant time. Allow an extra 10-15 days, if planting by seed.
  • Heirlooms are available in most vegetable varieties, not just tomatoes. These goodies are easier to grow and infinitely more flavorful than grocery store 'fresh' produce.

28 comments:

Liza said...

I love this post, Kate.

Kate said...

Thanks, Liza :)

Titanium said...

This makes me want to start a garden. Right now. Even with the ground still frozen.

Kate said...

These would be great in Alaska gardens! Here's hoping that ground thaws very soon... :)

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Home grown always tastes so much better. More flavor. I love the idea of the totes for plant containers. Much cheaper than these growing boxes and trays you see in catalogs. I bought one for tomatoes last year and now i am kicking myself Kate LOL!

gloria said...

Kate, I love your veggie garden! I have my little tomatoes, peppers, eggplants growing. I take them out to the porch in and cold frame in the morning and back into the house in the late afternoon. I am ready to leave them out, but they are not :)

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Nothin' better than home grown...anything! Glad you have a child that likes veggies. Mine was great about veggies too, except for tomatoes, which he still doesn't like, at least not raw.

jan said...

I love heirloom tomatos! They are so expensive at the grocery store, I have to carry them home in my hand. I can't wait to have a couple of veggie plants on the patio, someday!

donna said...

Thank you for the detailed advice on growing my own veggies:) Plant and water....I think I can do that. Luv the storage container idea. Glad I stopped my here this morning.

donna

GardenJoy4Me said...

Kate girl !
I would never have thought of that method of using the deep storage containers !!
That is wonderful .. you have me thinking about it .. but this year is a bit dicy .. too much going on with the landscaping .. yes girl .. pictures will come soon .. I'm waiting for it to be finished which hopefully means next week some time !
Sadly .. I could never get number one son to eat veggies .. I don't know how he exists on garbage fast food .. well it is scary .. his girlfriend worries too .. jeez ! LOL .. great post girl !
Joy : )

Kate said...

Hi, Lona;
I'm a sucker for those pretty planters, too. But, I'd rather use them for flowers. :)

Kate said...

Hi Gloria,
Mine aren't ready to fend for themselves either. Every time I think it's spring we get another winter storm warning! :(

Kate said...

Hi, Jodi;
Our kids were lucky to have passionate gardeners for Moms. They may find that debatable - I know my daughter does - but I still think they're lucky. :)

Kate said...

Hi, Jan!
A $6 heirloom tomato was how I got into veggie gardening! I was so outraged by that price that I saved every single seed from the tomato and have planted those seeds (from the offspring) every year since. Am I a cheapskate or what? :D

Kate said...

Thx, Donna;
You probably don't need to get very creative with types of veggies. Sometimes, I miss my Minnesota days of warm nights and long summers...

Kate said...

Hi, Joy! Who's got time for veggies when you're searching for the perfect spot for the maple and more? :) I have some landscaping plans on my horizon, as well. Though I'm not positive they'll ever get done. :D

sweet bay said...

I agree that there is a world of difference between home grown and your standard plastic grocery store produce. There is no comparison!

Rose said...

Love all your creativity in container gardening, Kate! And I thought I was the "Rubbermaid Queen":) I may not live in the mountains, but this is still helpful advice because I often get a late start planting the vegetable garden.

I've always said there's nothing like a tomato fresh from the garden!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I agree home-grown is better, but sometimes you just can't fight taste buds. My nephew loves all veggies, my niece corn and potatoes. She just doesn't like tomatoes, not even my great ones!! ;-) (I should mention, they're adults now and still feel the same.)

Kate said...

Hi, Sweet Bay
I'll bet you can grow some amazing veggies in your kind climate. 3 cheers for home grown!

Kate said...

Thx, Rose;
You might really love that Brandywine tomato. It's easy to get overwhelmed with tomatoes. I like the fact that this heirloom spreads out the harvest, giving us more time to gobble all of those fresh tomatoes. :)

Kate said...

Hey, Monica;
I'm the same way... you can't make me eat a carrot no matter how hard you try. I grow them for the horsies. :)

Priscilla said...

I know about the short mountain growing season. It's barely finally starting to warm up here. Hurry up sun, so I can plant my veggies. I have seedlings growing under grow light!

Diana said...

Dear Kate, I love your detailed instruction: "1) Place seeds in soil. 2) Water." ;)

We do have the luxury of raised beds and a rather large garden space, but are putting more of our heirloom tomatoes I started into flower pots. I think this will give us a bit longer growing season if we can move a few of the favorites into the potting shed/"green" room when frost is upon us. Will let you know.

Hope you are enjoying this wonderful weekend.

Kate said...

Hi, Priscilla;
My seedlings are in the 'traveling' phase - outdoors on the days when the sun is shining, indoors while I impatiently wait for cold nights to disappear. :)

Kate said...

Hi, Diana;
I do the same thing. My veggies are in containers to stay warmer at night. Plus, I can quickly drag them indoors on those nights when I'm surprised with a freak frost (an all too common occurrence in the mountains.)

Brad said...

Brandywines are quite possibly my favorite tomato ever. They are unreal. I think you're onto something with the idea that children would eat homegrown delicious veggies. There were many fruits and veggies I hated or just found boring as kid, but as I got older and tried some from people's gardens or the organic version at the store I suddenly found them much more interesting. Apples would be a good example. I would eat them, but they tasted like nothing to me. Until I discovered organic ones (my new favorite is Ambrosia apples).

Kate said...

I like Ambrosia apples, too. The Haralsons are my favorite, though very hard to find...