15. Superlatives (Now and Then)

Last year Spy Garden participated in a nationwide heirloom vegetable gardening contest on www.yourgardenshow.com . We didn’t have a deer fence or the teepee area last year so what we enjoyed eating and photographing was pretty limited, but still we came in 15th place (out of around 400 gardeners)!

Spy Garden September 3, 2012

Spy Garden September 3, 2012

The Hungry Gap is a fellow garden blogger who wrote today in consideration of an Emerson quote about how we don’t ever really see the same thing twice. Last fall I wrote some “Superlatives” about what we were growing. It was a much different growing season (largely because of the lack of a deer fence). It is fun to look back and see what my favorites were last year. I grew many of the same varieties this year but now I look at them in an entirely different way. It is certainly true that we never really see the same thing twice, especially in the garden!

2012 Superlatives (what was written in fall of 2012 is indented and italicized all of the photos in this post are from 2012)

Most Photogenic: Garlic scapes and Love-in-a-mist flowers

Garlic Scapes at Night

Garlic Scapes at Night

Love-in-a-mist seed pods

Love-in-a-mist seed pods

Love-in-a-mist seed pod

Love-in-a-mist seed pod

2013 Most Photogenic would have to go to the Violet de Provence artichoke plants. Even last year without fruiting they were beautiful plants:

Violet de Provence Artichoke Plants

Violet de Provence Artichoke Plants

Violet de Provence Artichoke Plant

Violet de Provence Artichoke Plant

Least Likely to Succeed: Carrots. My dirt is too clay for root veggies. In the future any carrots grown in Spy Garden will be for fun only (i.e. for snowmen’s noses)

2013 Least Likely to Succeed: Eggplants. A cool summer? Too much shade from the asparagus foliage (and other plants)? Still no eggplants in site (a few of the plants are straggling along so we may have one yet).

Best All Around: Chinese long red noodle beans: great color, flavor, good producer and unique

Chinese Red Noodle Beans

Chinese Red Noodle Beans

2013 Best All Around: I’d have to think about this one. Probably have to go with the lemon cucumbers since they’ve produced so many, taste good and are very pretty.

Most Reliable: Herbs of any kind, they all did great.

Herbs are always reliable and real workhorses of the garden. Flavoring the produce, scenting the air, discouraging bad bugs. Herbs should be abundant in every garden!

Most Unique: Tie between Hartman’s Giant amaranth and Yellow Bonnet Sorghum–winner from years past would be Lion’s Tail/Wild Dagga

Hartman's Giant Amaranth

Hartman’s Giant Amaranth

Love-Lies-Bleeding Amaranth

Love-Lies-Bleeding Amaranth

Most Unique for 2013? I would go with the Tigger melons.

Best Looking: Violet de Provence purple artichokes (even though they didn’t fruit the plants look really great, hoping they will winter well and fruit next year). Also really loved Court Jester Marigolds.

Nasturtiums and Violet de Provence Artichoke Plants

Nasturtiums and Violet de Provence Artichoke Plants

I definitely missed the court jester marigolds this year and can’t believe I didn’t save some of the spent blossoms (seeds) because it is so simple to do so. Will have to put on the seed list to buy this winter!

Court Jester Marigolds

Court Jester Marigolds

Best Looking 2013: Patisson Golden Marbre Scallop Squash. I just think these squash are so pretty!

Most Likely to Succeed: Mystery pumpkin. Of all the dozens of summer and winter squash I have a lone mystery pumpkin the size of my head –still green so not sure if it will turn or what but will save the seeds!

Pretty sure that mystery squash was an Upper Ground Sweet Potato.I had a terrible time last year with the squash bugs (click here to read about my squash bug offensive!) and the deer eating squash, but that Upper Ground Sweet Potato made it through multiple attacks.

Most Likely to Succeed 2013: Garlic. So easy to grow! Will be planting the cloves and seeds very soon!

Best Dressed: Nasturtiums: Tempura fried nasturtiums were a special treat and they had such a great comeback in late summer these will always be grown in Spy Garden. Hoping to add some new colors next year.

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

Best Dressed 2013: The mix of greens (rainbow swiss chard, rocky top lettuce mix) and kohlrabi was so colorful and pretty throughout most of the season.

Those are all the standouts I can think of which is kind of pathetic considering I planted like 60+ varieties of stuff (DEER, DEER, DEER)

There are LOTS more standouts now (especially in terms of things to eat: thank you deer fence!) but we’ll save more reviews and “will-grow-agains” for another post!

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