As we approach the end of the season, we start playing the good/bad crop game. When you’re cleaning up a bed of one crop at the end of the year, you can’t help but judge how the year went. So, kind of like the Oscars for vegetables, we have the good, the bad, and the ugly for the year.
• Peppers: Hey I was just in the entryway where we have a few bushels of peppers and I can still smell them…great. Now that a number are turning colors, these clearly go into the good category. Not only did we have a lot, but they were a good size too…last year the Italias looked like big jalapelos or something.
• Salad mix: I’m finally getting the hand of growing this stuff well. We should have had a second planting for mid-season, but the stuff we put in the box looked great.
• Spring brassicas: this is the cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, and cauliflower at the beginning of the season. The cool wet spring worked well for these crops. What was most impressive is how long the spring bassica season lasted…you probably got sick of broccoli or cabbage at some point there!
• Tomatoes: a surprise here. Although it has taken forever for them to ripen, the plants set a lot of fruit and they look in good shape.
• Garlic: A real disappointment because I just go crazy for a good garlic crop. These plants do not grow well in a mud puddle like they had to this season.
• Green onions: This is in the bad category because it was the crop that never happened…do you ever remember getting green onions? They got planted first thing in the spring but that entire patch got overrun with weeds and I never got another succession planted—you can also put cilantro in this camp too.
• Head lettuce: After last season when we had a bumper crop, the lettuce was worthless. The window of lettuce was short and a lot bolted before it came of size.
• Melons: There’s been a whole lot of ugliness here. The main factor is all of those cucumber beetles, who attack the plants and kill them off mid-season and then chew up the fruit if it starts to grow. Ugly.
• Second set of cucumbers: in part due to those pesky cucumber beetles and the new ground, this second planting put on nothing but deformed cukes. The timing was right to take over when the first planting pettered out, but they were too ugly to use.
All told, I can’t complain too much about the season. The weather was funny, but things still got produced and I know we improved on last year overall even if some crops did worse. Since you have to be optimistic in this line of work, what we do is ask ourselves how we can improve for next year.