It seems with each garden, there’s new things to learn. With this latest ‘Apocalypse’ garden in this Time of Covid, I’ve learned that there is a huge reason why some varieties are much more popular than others.
Usually, for the gardens here, the first criteria for seed selection is if they are Open Pollinated and/or heirloom. That allows for seeds to be saved for the next season’s garden and the seeds are from the plants that produced the best in our specific garden climate.
The next selectors are variety of plant as well as growth habit. That would be beans and either pole or bush. Tomatoes and either determinant or indeterminate, etc.
The third selector criteria is taste. If there’s no mention of tasting good in the seed description, I’ll generally just pass it by.
Now, here’s the one that has just been brought to my attention that I think I’ve been choosing the wrong seeds. Generally, I try to grow varieties I’ve not grown before and I’ve lately been selecting ones I’ve not even heard of before. I now think this is a mistake since if they were the best varieties, then they’d be much more popular. This, of course, is only applicable to older varieties which are still obscure, if it’s a new variety, then it wouldn’t fit this possible ‘lemon’ classification. (Which really isn’t fair to lemons, come to think of it.)
I’d planted ‘True Gold’ corn and it did grow well as advertised. Many of the stalks had two ears, also as advertised. The taste wasn’t exactly as advertised, although perhaps I’d made assumptions about ‘good old fashioned corn taste’ as being sweeter than what appeared. It was, let’s be polite and call it a ‘butter’ corn. It also got really starchy as it aged, the younger ears were tasty although not sweet, any much more mature than ‘younger’ and it got to be very starchy. Even though I’d saved seeds, they won’t be planted again. Now that the garden has been replanted, the two varieties of sweet corn planted are from the U of H.
Another disappointment in seed selection from the Apocalypse garden was in the choice of watermelon. I’d never heard of a variety called ‘Strawberry’ before and now I know why. It did grow and produce watermelons. Picked dead ripe, they weren’t as sweet as had been hoped, the white seeds were huge - almost gourd like - and the flesh of the melon was coarse with almost woody veins running through it. So, watermelon variety choices will go back to more usual selections. The last good ones that have been grown here were ‘Charleston Gray’, but that’s one of many possible choices that are well known.
‘Greasy Grits’ green/soup pole beans were planted. They had a slightly odd taste as green beans, had a smaller bean as a soup bean and made an okay soup, but not one worth growing the beans for. I’ll replant ‘Good Mother Stallard’ beans or ‘Golden Eye’ beans, those make a much more worthy soup.
Have you had good luck with seed choices? Any obscure varieties which turned out well?