Which varieties for a vegetable garden in the North?

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The constraints that are mine:

Each field is different, each soil, each condition has an influence! Without going into too much detail, mine are:

  • Relatively clayey soil , very heavy in places, even if it is improving significantly.
  • No greenhouse – it’s a choice, at least for the moment.
  • Small area – even if I nibble bit by bit!
  • South full exposure . It’s a minimum at home 🙂

The postulates of departure:

  • I plant rather what I like to eat , and I avoid productions too greedy resource, surface, and watering the summer (you never know, sometimes it does not rain here, it surprises me myself! ). So, this year I will do little squash, and neither cabbage nor potatoes.
  • I choose local varieties whenever possible – Tilques carrots, Lille lettuce, yes, our region is full of varieties! – otherwise I seek varieties adapted to a similar climate, and reproducible seeds – with one exception, duly justified below.
  • I’m doing tests and I’m trying to draw some conclusions – just the exception above – and I’m learning: gardening is progressing and correcting mistakes.
  • I try to keep a vegetable garden alive , with flowers, bebettes (yes, even slugs <3) and maximum variety .

The varieties this year:

tomatoes

Difficulty of the tomato in the garden in the North: a slight lack of sun, and the threat of mildew! Of course, there are not really any local varieties (1), so I’ll look further – Icelandic or Belgian varieties! Last year, I got a big production but poorly controlled (in particular because the seeds of a seed have turned out to be another variety than the one planned, hum hum) and which ended in fireworks of mildew (while the year before, nothing). This year, I decided to diversify (a) by choosing one or more varieties that are theoretically resistant to mildew, and (b) by also selecting more local varieties or used to slightly cold climates, and (c) by moving my plants away. from each other, by better monitoring them, and by removing leaves under the fruit of indeterminate growth plants. So I added for this year:

  • The Glacier tomato , a former tomato very early, good same production in cooler areas short season does not exceed 1 meter.
  • The triumph of cork , a variety of Liège tomatoes, therefore, known to resist moisture well.
  • The Rose of Berne , also known to resist mildew
  • The Icelandic tomato, a cherry tomato with a determined port, accustomed to the not very Mediterranean climate,
  • I have A seed of Persimmon , an American variety (not to be confused with Russian Persimmon, from Ukraine) with orange fruit, sent by a gardener, I hope she will give me a beautiful plant to be able to my turn distribute seeds!
  • I finally have some seeds from Red Robin , which I will use again this year.

I hesitated for Siberian varieties too. I will try next year. If you have an opinion, hop – in comment!

(1): Erratum! I am spoken in the ear of the variety Sweet Tomato of Picardy, an old French variety and almost from the North – say Hauts de France! I will try!

carrots

Great classic vegetable garden in the North, the carrot! For me, the complexity lies in the soil, a bit heavy, which tends to give cores twisted and short! Nevertheless, the carrots help to loosen the soil by their pivoting roots! This year :

  • I’m trying this year Camberley carrot , a 1/2 long suited to heavy soil.
  • Also, the Little finger , a small carrot fine also for heavy soil.
  • I will also try the Tendersweet , a fine, probably in part already well loosened.
  • And especially, the carrot of Tilques , a big local carrot, for clay soil.

lettuce

Other permanent resident of vegetable gardens in the North, the lettuces, and at my house it will be this year of:

  • The 4 seasons , easy and without worry. Finally, I think it’s a four season, but these are seeds that come from long ago!
  • The innovation lettuce this year, it is the most local Laitue Lilloise !
  • I’m also trying this year a variety of Sucrine , just because I love it!

Zucchini and squash

Not a lot of zucchini and squash, I do not have enough room for that, but still:

  • little Jack be little , round gourds big like a big orange, because in the oven, with a little cheese, it’s very good! 
  • And try this year: the Nimba zucchini , of Polish origin – which should perhaps better withstand our climate.

Cucumber

Cucumbers succeed at home, it will be this year the Early Fortune , a very early and fast variety and Generous , smooth skin.

leeks

In leeks, it’s again on the Liège side that I went to get the variety: the Gros vert de Liège will be in my garden this year!

Corn

Not much for lack of space, but 2 or 3 ears of the double standard , a very early variety adapted to the fresh regions.

Rowing bean

Another Belgian variety: the Princess of Maline , an early ripe snow bean, will climb around the maize!

Chewed up

I just love it ! To be sown to harvest until the beginning of the winter, the corn salad of Comines , a variety could not be more local, well resistant to cold.

Melon

Big attempt this year with a Breton melon – it’s raining too much there, right? – the little gray of Rennes .

But also flowers

I am a maniac of the recovery of seeds, in season, I walk with envelopes full my pockets! So I have a good collection of flower seeds of all kinds – among others borage , Escholtzia californica , consoudes , nasturtiums will still be there, with more helianthes, worries, cosmos , flax (although I do not no potatoes this year), and Tagetes .

And also, exotic vegetables

Because my sweetheart is deliciously doing Asian cooking, this year I try the Pak Choi “China choi” , the Ishikura and Shiso cebettes !

But still

Eggplant

The aubergine in the garden in the North without greenhouse, it is probably impossible! So who does not try to be wrong once, this year I try an F1 (and yes … Do not hit !) The Baluroi . It will be the only F1, and probably the last of my life, unless I change my mind 🙂 – wink at Leah, who will probably scream in my ears that it’s paaaaas good!

Beet

Do not forget the beets, this year with the McGregor favorite , an old Scottish variety, which may be at home.

And also…

I will also have this year the essential coriander (for Asian cuisine), peas eat everything , and quite a lot of aromatics, parsley , basil , mint , chives , sage … Towards the end of the season, I will plant onions , garlic and shallots , not to mention spinach and radishes !

And then, this plan?

I told you, my garden is small! And as for the plan, my rules are:

  • I move tomatoes, squash and zucchini every year.
  • I avoid leaving tomatoes together – rather, I scatter them everywhere for the transmission of mildew!
  • I make cucumbers climb (and everything that climbs …) in front of the salads, and in a general way in front of all that is satisfied with a medium shade.
  • What else? Myosotis at the foot of raspberries, basil in front of tomatoes, and flowers as soon as there is a hole!

Important note : I obviously do not advise to take this list and use it at home without distinction: make your own tests, your own choices!

Dr. Kimberly Seltzer

Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley Research Assistant, MIT

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