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2013 garden review: Vegetables

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It’s time to evaluate the past year’s garden and get ready to order things for 2014 – the Buffalo Gardening Examiner thoroughly enjoys this time of year! First up – the vegetable garden.

The garden – For 2013, I eliminated a past garden I used for mixed vegetables and perennials and put up a raised bed garden for vegetables only – the Greenland Gardener Four-Square 5’ x 5’ bed that was available at Sam’s Club in spring of 2013 (it’s still available online). The raised bed itself was very easy to put together and is sturdy. After surrounding it with two layers of fencing (because my deer and rabbits are really that bold!), I was able to start my first real vegetable garden.

The vegetables – For my first real vegetable garden, I tried a mix of standards (tomatoes, peppers and beans) and some new things (cucumbers, zucchini and corn). I purchased my tomato and pepper plants to HiWay Gardens on Tonawanda Creek Rd. in Amherst – one of my annual stops, and a place I’ve had luck with both tomatoes and peppers before.

Instead of my normal Burpee Big Boy tomato plant, I tried a Heinz 1350 plant – it produced around 20 very big tomatoes, and unfortunately had a bunch of new tomatoes trying to make it to the end of the season. I also bought a Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant – I wasn’t ready for that one! More than 400 cherry tomatoes later, it still had new buds in September when things finally died off. I also wasn’t ready for the size of both plants: each over 4’ tall! Unfortunately, since I wasn’t expecting that, my poor pepper plant was crowded and barely produced a thing. Lesson learned – give the tomatoes their own area!

I also ordered some seeds to try out – Kentucky Wonder 125 bush beans, Poquito zucchini and Spacemaster 80 cucumbers for Park Seed, plus two lettuce/mesclun blends and my novelty “gotta-try-it” seed of the year, the On Deck Hybrid corn – the last three from Burpee. The beans did well, but I planted the second season crop about two weeks too late to amount to anything. The cucumbers and lettuce also did well, but what really impressed me was the Poquito zucchini – not only is the fruit manageable (about 3” to 4” and looking like a mini-watermelon), but the crop was also manageable: five plants produced one or two zucchini every couple of weeks, not everything all at once. The corn, on the other hand, was a disappointment – a neat novelty, but for the price of the seeds, I could have bought a couple dozen at the produce stand.

Stay tuned for a look at my annual and perennial purchases from 2013.

Disclosure: The Buffalo Gardening Examiner received no compensation for any part of this review.

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