Vegetable varieties for the California Central Coast

Red Sails Lettuce
12 May

Red Sails Lettuce-1

Red Sails Lettuce

A great variety for the Central Coast. Doesn’t bolt or go bitter in the summer. Very productive. Open pollinated. Oh, and it tastes great!

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Tres Fine Frisee Endive
25 Feb

This good looking green was a new trial here at Rancho Reinheimer last year and we really liked it.  

Sweet, crisp with just a hint of bitter.  And it did well in early winter despite it not being cold.  It was all eaten up by Christmas.

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Fiesta Broccoli
07 Dec

This is the result of an unintended test.  Both plants were grown in mineralized soil (but without much N added) which had just yielded a very nice crop of tomatoes. The one on the left received feathermeal at about a 200 lbs/ac N rate, a dusting of gypsum for sulfur, and borax at a 2 lbs/ac Boron rate.  The one on the right, grown just 6 feet away, didn’t receive any of these amendments between crops, as there was still a tomato plant growing there.  I think this illustrates two points; first that proper mineralization can produce outstanding heads of broccoli.  Second, that all the minerals need to be in place for this sort of result.  Everything else can be in the soil, but a good dose of nitrogen with a bit of sulfur and boron can make a huge difference. My guess is that without all the other good gardening practices like composting, expert watering, mulching, and weeding neither plant would have succeeded. Big little brocolli

This is the largest head of Brocolli I have ever grown. These seeds are from Fedco seeds in Maine.  We bought the seeds because it produces unprecedented side shoots, so the whole story may not yet be told.

The description is here: http://www.fedcoseeds.com/seeds/search.php?listname=Broccoli&cookies=no&item=3313&index=5

You can see how mineralization helps cheer up the gardener…

Big brocolli

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Oregon Homestead Sweet Meat Winter Squash
16 Sep

Sweet meat is one of the most delicious, longest keeping winter squash.  They keep well into the spring, unlike Buttercup, which begins to decline after the New Year.  These are a Hubbard-type squash and there is a lot of meat in a single fruit.  But don’t despair, even if you don’t have 10 squash-loving friends to help you eat it, it freezes well after cooking.  It doesn’t take an axe to open  one either, just drop it gently on pavement (never mind how we figured that one out!).

This particular variety is larger than normal and is purported to be even tastier.  The seeds are from Carol Depp in Corvallis.  They were mighty prolific this year in our mineralized soil.  The pic below is just a few of them.

Erica and squash-2

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Grow Abundant Gardens tomatoes win the SLO Master Gardeners “Tomato Extravaganza”!
30 Aug

August 18th, 2012… Garden of the Seven Sisters, San Luis Obispo, California

The day was hot. The sun was bright after an early morning fog burned off. Hundreds gathered at the Garden of the Seven Sisters to attend workshops, speak with Master Gardeners and attend the 6th Annual Tomato Extravaganza. The Tomato Extravaganza is the big tomato taste off event of the summer in San Luis Obispo. Hundreds of varieties of tomatoes and basil were entered from farms and gardens around the county. For 6 hours the public is let in to devour, ponder and devour some more, and to vote for their favorities. At the end of the day, with just tomato seeds and basil stems left, the winners of the informal vote turned out to be the two varieties donated by Grow Abundant Gardens:

 

  • New Girl (First Place), an earlier and slightly smaller variety of the old standby, Early Girl
  • Sun Gold (Second Place), a yellow cherry tomato that is a personal favorite here at Grow Abundant

 

These are great varieties but perhaps the soil mineralization had something to do with it…. We think it did!

 

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Good local references — UC Davis and Santa Cruz libraries
22 Jun

This links to a “The California Garden Web”, a good library reference for California gardeners.

http://ucanr.org/sites/gardenweb/Vegetables/

http://casfs.ucsc.edu/publications/for-the-gardener

 

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Onion varieties (from UC Davis Library)
22 Jun

Good information from UC Davis

http://vric.ucdavis.edu/pdf/onion.pdf

If you live south of Bakersfield, use early varieties seeded or transplanted in October for
June harvest. Sets and late varieties are not recommended. If you live north of Bakersfield, seed or
transplant early varieties from November through January for late spring or summer harvest Seed or
transplant late varieties or sets from January through March for late summer or fall harvest.

Recommended Varieties
Early Bulb
Grano (red or white)
Granex (red or white)
California Early Red
Green Bunching (scallions)
(best quality obtained by growing seeds or transplants)
Evergreen White
Southport White
White Sweet Spanish
White Lisbon
Tokyo Long White
Late Bulb
Fiesta (yellow Sweet Spanish type)
Yellow Sweet Spanish
White Sweet Spanish
Southport White Globe
Southport Red Globe
Stockton Yellow Globe

 

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Fractal veggie (Veronica cauliflower)
27 Jan

Everything is nothing by itself but is simply a reflection of everything else in the universe.  The Veronica broccoli / cauliflower is a prime example of exactly how strange that reflection can be.  The fractal spiral whorls of the flower head are similar in shape, no matter what scale they are viewed at.

Veronica

This is a veggie that is best planted in fall on the Central Coast, so that the sweet nutty head has a chance to mature in the cool winter weather.  It takes several months to mature but has a tendency to all get done at once.  Nonetheless it is wise to plant a few, say half a dozen plants, since the plants tend to vary in size and vigor.   The taste is sweet and nutty without any of the strong flavor that broccoli can take on.

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Carrot Trials
09 Jan

Carrots in garden-1
We just harvested the rest of our carrot trials today. They were planted the first week in Sept, and they all did great here in sunset zone 15, on the california central coast.

We compared Chantenay (OP) to 4 hybrids: Nelson, Sugarsnax, Purple Haze, and Bolero. All 5 carrots tasted great. Their flavors changed somewhat during the 60 or 70 day harvest, but I cannot say exactly how. All of the carrots could have stayed in the ground longer. They were just so good that we ate them all!

There was not a huge difference between the flavors of the carrots. It wasn’t until we thought to sample a bite of one right after a bite of the other that the differences were really obvious.

The Chantennay was definitely different from the hybrids. It has an earthier taste. The hybrids were much closer to each other. I would describe all of them as succulent, crunchy, and sweet.

Our favorite is Bolero. It came up and grew the fastest, and reached the largest size. It was also the best tasting, but not by a lot.
Singing Pig had said it was his favorite (he’s in Oregon). Also, I read that in the Territorial trials it was the highest yield.

Nelson has a great taste, but not much yield. Same with sugarsnax, the weakest of the bunch. Neither were very vigorous. The germination
rates on the seed packets were all about 85% – so I don’t think it’s a case of weak seed.

Purple Haze was a real surprise. I though it would be compromised in other ways because of it’s color, but I really like it. I will grow it
again.

I think we will switch to Bolero as our new standard carrot.

Brix on the Bolero is 9.2.

I have no idea how the season, the time of harvest, the day of referigeration affect the reading.

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San Luis Obispo Seed Savers
02 Jan

http://www.sloseedsavers.org/

This San Luis Obispo group has semi-to-regular monthly meetings about seeds, growing, and related topics.

This group hosts a major seed exchange in the fall, usually around Halloween.

Great local resource!

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