Life and thoughts from a small-scale organic farm . . . and its farmers

This is a blog that explores ideas around the growing of food and community at Glen Valley Organic Farm.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2011 Variety Reviews: Part II

Aside from reviewing some of the new varieties we grew this year, I also put out a call to the organic community for variety reviews. The echos of silence were deafening . . . well, almost. Adam from Sundog Vegetables in Delta (who also worked for us last year) provided notes from his experience this year. 

Peppers: Very happy with the Jalapeno M (conventional OP) variety from West Coast Seeds. Planted in cold frames in highly fertile soil with plastic mulch, they were very productive and vigorous plants. Not as spicy as I would've liked. 

Lettuce: Very happy with the early season vigor of Speckled Butterhead and Merlot (both organic OP) from WCS. Was harvesting them in late May from a cold frame, when other lettuces (Anuenue and Plato, also organic WCS) were not doing well. Early field plantings of Speckled Butter and Merlot also did great. Speckled Butterhead did have a tendency to bolt in summer field plantings.

Celery: Tried both the OP Utah 52-70 and hybrid Victoria from WCS. Not seeing all that much difference between them. Victoria plants are maybe slightly larger, but not a huge difference. Transplanted out in early June, no plants bolted, harvesting now (late Oct.) 

Amaranth: Thought this was supposed to do well on poor soil, so I planted it in the poorest soil on my place. Planted Red Leaf, Emerald Green, and Burgundy Grain (all WCS conventional). Very unproductive... Burgundy Grain only got to be about 1/2 meter tall, with correspondingly low yield. The Red Leaf and Emerald Green varieties produced very little, too. 

Beans: Stayton, Carson, and Royal Burgundy (bush, OP, WCS, conventional) produced a nice first crop from an early planting (late May). Kentucky Wonder Wax (pole, OP, WCS, conventional) was productive as advertised, but did not have a very marketable appearance: pods were susceptible to rust and didn't keep a flattened form like other pole beans.

Cabbage: Pixie (F1, conv., WCS) and Derby Day (OP, organic, WCS) were both great early summer cabbages for me. Both produce rather small heads, but do so quickly on compact plants (was harvesting in early July after transplanting in late May/early June). 

After putting out my call, Eden Balfour also posted some reviews. See them here:


  1. Aw, if I'd known you were going to link, I would have smartened up my reviews a little. I know what to take notes on for next year, now.

  2. Very interesting, thank you for sharing.