Garden Duties: Grow List 2021
Updated: Jul 30, 2022
It's the beginning of February and the snow is falling hard. Whatever the climate, there is a limit to how much you can do in the kitchen garden. Most of us have looked through our seed catalogues and rummaged through our own seed inventory. This down time gives you the perfect opportunity to plan out your spring and summer season. It can be a bit overwhelming, but understanding how these vegetables are classified can help you organize your thoughts and map out a timeline to plant each seed or transplant.
This year I have mapped out what I will grow. I hope that this list will introduce you to new varieties and even inspire you to grow your own vegetables. Understanding the endless possibilities that can be grown in your own backyard is what makes gardening so exciting and never dull.
I would love to hear what you plan to grow this year in your gardens! Whether it be a new one to you or your old faithfuls that you grow year after year. Be sure to drop them in the comments section at the end of this article.
Here is a list of what I plant to grow this year. It won't be going into great detail for each individual variety, but I will give a little description for each along with some pictures to give them some life.
These crops belong to the nightshade family, most these crops are perennials, but treated as annuals and are summer season transplanted crops. These seeds are started in mid February in zone 5b.
Peppers - Start seeds indoor in Mid February
Peppers are my favourite vegetable of all time, there are over 50,000 types in then world. How amazing is that? The amount of varieties you can grow are endless. The flavours have a heat scale and the sizes, shapes and colours are beyond our imagination. They require a lot of heat, sun and time, making it slightly difficult to grow here in Nova Scotia, but I make it work. Sweet peppers take roughly 60-90 days, while Hot peppers can take up to 150 days. I don't have a long enough growing season to grow just any pepper, especially the bigger ones that take a long time to ripen. I mostly stick to smaller varieties that bush out and almost look like summer Christmas trees with little bulbs or colourful peppers.
I experimented last year with my dehydrator and made some homemade chilli powder. I even made some pepper jellies and experimented with hot sauce. This year will be no exception, will lots of new varieties to try. Here is a list of what I hope to grow.
Brazilian Starfish - 90 days, originated from Peru, domesticated in Brazil. Floral and fruity tones, unique star-shaped. Slow to yield, mine didn't come until November of 2020 and they were started in February, however, they amazingly prolific.
Ají Charapita - 100 days, the North Peruvian pepper produces hundreds of hot, small, round peppers. They are hard to source outside of Peru, making them an expensive pepper. They have a distinct fruity, citrus aroma and is equal to the heat of a cayenne pepper.
Chinese Five Color - 85 days, a rainbow of vibrant colours, from purple, cream, yellow, orange, to red
Jalapeño - 70 days, honestly needs no introduction.
Cayenne Long Thin - 60-90 days, popular for drying and using as a spice.
California Wonder (Green Pepper) - 65 days, one of the oldest and largest heirloom bell pepper available.
New Varieties to Me:
Sweet Bonnet - a spin on the scorching Caribbean classic. Small bit of heat, no much more than a jalapeño.
Lemon Drop - 100 days, seasoning pepper from Peru, clean flavour, slightly citrus heat,
Korean Dark Green - 80 days, an heirloom from Korea, very spicy and hot, great for kimchi and other Korean dishes.
Buena Mulata - 75-80 days, a very rare, stunning hot pepper ripening from purple to pinkish, orange, brown, then finishing off to a deep red.
Lemon Spice Jalapeño - 65 days, a sunny lemon yellow variety from New Mexico State University.
Orange Spice Jalapeño - 65 days, a tangerine-orange variety from New Mexico State University, created in response to American's increase appreciation for eating a rainbow of nutrition.
Chiltepin Wild Chile - 80-95 days, an extremely hot pepper, 10-40x hotter than a jalapeño, making it perfect for seasoning pepper, grows wild and it protected in 3 national park.
Sugar Rush Red - long, bright red pepper with a fruity but spicy flavour. Great in salsas, hot sauces, or as a spicy snack.
Sugar Rush Peach - 60-120 days, super sweet tropical flavours with the seeds bringing a smoky flavour. Complex heat in each bite.
Hungarian Hot Wax - 70 days, ideal for short season areas and very popular for canning and pickling
Rezha Macedonian - 80 days,
Banana - 60 days, sweet wax pepper, 6-7 feet long, superb pickled or stuff, in salads, and more.
Hungarian Cheese Pepper Mix - 65 days, fruits are flattened and round, very early to mature and sets continuous high yields.
Habanada - 70 days, they have all the fruity and floral notes of a habanero with any spice.
Zulu - a beautiful pepper from Poland, great addition to salsa and salads.
Corbaci - 80 days, long 10-inch fruit curved, twisted, and very slender from Turkey, Perfect for pickling or frying.
Tomato - Start seeds indoor in Mid February
Tomato. Roma - 75 days, needs no introduction, Roma is ideal for canning, making tomato juice and sauces,
Tomato, Patio Hybrid - 70 days, dwarf tomato, strong determinate vines remains compact, yet produce an abundant of early harvest.
Tomato, Little Bing - 60-65 days, sets tasty fruits that ripen over a period of a few weeks. Best grown in containers.
Tomato Sungold F1 hybrid - 57 days, exceptionally sweet, bright tangerine-orange cherry tomatoes, makes regular cherry tomatoes seem a thing of the past.
New Varieties to Me:
Tomato, Orange Jazz - fruity in flavour, juicy and even crunchy in texture. Sugary sweet and complex flavour with a hint of peach. Plants require sturdy staking.
Tomato, German Pink - 85-90 days, this originated in Bavaria, debut in the US in 1883, high yields with nearly seedless meaty fruit. Excellent for canning, freezing, slicing and juicing.
Tomato, Orange Hat - extra dwarf bush plants reach just 6-9 inches in height but the plants are widely prolific.
Tomato, Riesetomate - this tomato is lie a big bunch of cherry tomatoes all fused together. Bright red tomatoes taste rather sour, strong and acidic, perfect for those who love raw lemons.
Tomato, Striped Roman - 80-90 days, A perfect midsize beauty with brilliant color, meaty flesh, and excellent flavor. This variety was developed by John Swenson.
Tomato, Napa Chardonnay - 65-70 days, cherry tomato, yellow mutation from Napa Rosé Blush, easy to grow and does especially well in containers.
Tomato, Sunrise Bumble Bee - 70 days, cherry tomato, has swirls of red and orange, sweet, fruity taste and weighs less than an ounce.
Tomato, Green Doctors - loaded with sugar and fruitiness, apparently one of the best-tasting tomatoes of all time. Harvest when slightly soft for the sweetest taste.
Tomato, Lemon Boy - 72 days, unique variety yields a generous bounty of eye-catching, low-acid medium-sized tomatoes with lemon coloured flesh.
Tomatillo, Toma Verde - flavour becomes sweeter as the fruit ripens, perfect for salads, and other Mexican dishes. Plants are semi-determinate and grow the same way as tomatoes.
Corn - Direct seed in late April
My interest in growing my own corn is not just for the fun summer time corn on the cob, but to actually use the kernels to pop my own fresh popcorn. It's best if seeded directly into the garden, in good, rich, well-drained soil, right around the time of the last spring frost.
Strawberry Popcorn - Cute little ears, the 4 foot plant produces 2-4 ears per stalk. The ears are 2 to 3 inches long. Makes delicious popcorn.
Mini Blue Popcorn - Shiny blue ears, the 6 to 7 foot plant produces 3-4 ears per stalk. The ears are 2 to 4 inches long.
Montana Lavender Clay - Stunning lavender colour, 8-12 inch long ears in an attractive shade and soft cornmeal.
These crops have a fleshy underground structure and are direct seeded winter season crops.
Carrots, Cosmic Purple - 60 days, beautiful purple flesh on the outside and orange flesh on the inside. The roots are spicy and sweet-tasting.
Carrots, Purple Dragon - 60-70 days, named for its deep purple exterior, although the interior is a fiery dark orange with a bright yellow core. It has a most uncommon spicy flavor and is crisply-tender.
Carrots, Nantes Scarlet - 68 days, one of the most popular carrots.
Carrots, Rainbow Blend - 60 days, distinct sweet flavour with atomic red, bambino, cosmic purple, lunar white, and solar yellow.
Radish, Easter Basket Mix - this mix consist of 15 different heirloom varieties.
Radish, De 18 Jours - 18 days, unbelievably rapid yields. fresh, crisp and juicy.
New Varieties to Me:
Beets, Ruby Queen - 55 days, one of the best varieties for garden fresh beets and most popular for canning in the Northeast.
Beets, Touchstone Gold - 55 days, sweet flavour, bright yellow flesh that stays yellow when cooked.
Carrots, Longue Rouge Sang - French Heirloom with a rainbow body, with constantly sweet and with good carrot flavour.
Parsley, Parsley Root Eagle - If you plant curly or Italian flat leaf parsley you won't get an edible root. If you plant parsley root, however, you’ll get a big parsnip-like root, as well as greens.
Pea and Beans (Pod Vegetables)
Belong to the Pea Family, these crops are legume vegetables and are directly seeded.
Bush Beans, Borlotto di Vigevano Nano - 60 days, pink and white seeds, superior shell beans or used as a snap bean
Bush Beans, Red Swan - 55 days, a bean from Minnesota, nearly a true red shade on the thick, flavourful pods, with lovely pink flowers.
Bush Beans, Golden Butterwax - 50 days, the classic yellow beans. No introduction necessary, certainly better than green beans.
Soya Bean, Chiba Green - 70-80 days great for eating fresh out of the pod, canning or freezing. Who doesn't want home grown fresh edamame? I do!
New Varieties to Me:
Pole Beans, Scarlet Runner - 65-80 days, bright red blooms that attract hummingbirds, harvest young for best results.
Belong to the Brassicas family, these crops are winter season and transplanted.
Kale, Russian Red or Ragged Jack - 50 days, very tender and mild at any size, but well suited to use as baby greens.
Kale, Borecole Scotch - 30 days baby, 55 days mature. The bright green leaves are extremely curly and very attractive.
Pak Choi, Shiro F1 - 30 days, this single serving Pak Choi is ideal for gardeners with a tall mild flavour, for cool season only as it tends to bolt in warm weather.
Spinach, Seaside (baby leaf hybrid) - 25-30 days, to baby leaf, very uniform, smooth, thick, very dark leaves.
New Varieties to Me:
Bok Choy, Hedou Tiny - the extra-dwarf heads are perfectly bite sized, it is said to have been grown first in the small Hong Kong village of Hak Tau.
Brussels sprouts, Long Island Improved - 90-100 days, a traditional variety, excellent taste, heavy set of firm sprouts over a lengthy period.
Cabbage, Red Acre - 100 days, 5-7" in diameter. but should be timed so heads mature in cool weather.
Cauliflower, Amazing - 75 days, it can be harvested either at the "baby head" size or when fully mature at 10 inches. Self-blanching, it keeps well and is heavy bearing, so pick as needed and prepare for a large harvest.
Kale, Dazzling Blue - unique colouring and rich flavour, ideal for raw kale salads.
Kale, Lacinato Dinosaur - 60 days, thick, solid leaves, dark green, extremely cold hardy and heat tolerant. Delicious steamed or added to soups.
Mustard, Japanese Giant Red - nutrient-rich loaded with antioxidants, incredible rich flavour, purple red leaves strong, sharp, almost garlic-like, mustard flavour. Tasty stir fried or boiled & make a great pickling variety.
Belong to the Gourd family, these crops have tendrils, fleshy fruit and are direct seeded summer season crops.
Cucumber, Cucamelon - 65-85 days, grape-size watermelons. Easy to grow and vigorous climber.
Cucumber, Lemon Cucumber - 65 days, small, round, pale yellow cucumbers, typically 4-7 cm, sweet and flavourful.
Pumpkin, Baby Boo - 100 days, miniature white pumpkins, really cute, amazing for decor.
Pumpkin, Jack Be Little - 105 days, grows to about 3" in width, plants grow on average 12 per vines and beautiful for decoration.
Pumpkin, Early Sugar Pie - 90 days, the premier pumpkin for eating and favourite for pies, sugary-sweet flesh that's big on flavour.
New Varieties to Me:
Cucumber, Wisconsin Pickling SMR - 56 days, a popular pickling cucumber
Pumpkin, Jack O'Lantern - 100 days, this pumpkin is great for as the name suggests for Jack O'Lanterns, but it also makes fantastic pies.
Squash, Honeynut Butternut - 85 days, higher yielding than traditional butternut squash.
Squash, Waltham Butternut - 100 days, slightly nutty, sweet flavour, that is excellent when baked.
Squash, Baby Blue Hubbard - 90-100 days, Hubbard-shaped fruit, yellow-gold flesh that is sweet and of excellent quality. Semi-bush vines are easy to handle.
Squash, Musquee De Maroc - 90 days, round-to-bell-shaped fruit and warted very attractively, incredible variety from North Africa.
Salad Greens does tend to denote leaves that are eaten raw.
Mesclun, Salad Mix - 45 days, a mixture of different salad greens with exotic colours, textures and flavours.
New Varieties to Me:
Celery, Chinese Pink - Stunning bright pink celery from China, great choice for beginner gardeners, its brilliant bubblegum pink color making an addition to the veggie patch.
Lettuce, Parris Island Cos - originally introduced the 1951, super uniform, upright leaves, and perfectly folded centers.
Lettuce, Tom Thumb - 60 days, heirloom lettuce that dates back to 1850, small cabbage-like green heads, very tasty.
Lettuce, Merlot - 55 days, darkest red lettuce, wavy to frilly leaf, excellent bolt resistant, good cold tolerance for a late fall to winter crop.
Lettuce, Merveille Des Quatre Saisons - 48 days, crisp and tender. This can be grown almost all year round, the leaves have a reddish colour.
Belong to the Alliaceae family, these crops grow just below the surface and produce a fleshy bulb, and a leafy shoot above ground.
Garlic, Argentinian, White Porcelain and Continental - Planted in the fall, harvested in July
Onions Sets: Red, Yellow and White
Onion, Tokyo Long White Bunching - 65 days, tender and tasty, also known as green onions or scallions. No introduction needed.
New Varieties to Me:
Leeks, American Flag - 85 days, delicious, long and firm white stems.
Basil, Red Rubin - combines ornamental appeal and compact growth-habit, smooth flat, reddish-leaves, great for flavoured vinegars and unique salads.
Bee Balm Lemon - an annual, lemon-flavoured variety, superb tea plant.
Coriander/Cilantro - sharply flavoured leaves (cilantro) and aromatic seeds (coriander)
Dill, Bouquet (dwarf) - an annual, feathery foliage, an essential ingredient in pickles, foliage is used to flavour salads, sauces, soups and more.
Mint, Marvelous Mix - 80 days, a perennial, ranges from spearmint, peppermint to even apple mint. Its quite invasive and belongs in the herb bed or in a contained location.
Parsley, Italian Flat Leaf - slightly richer flavour than curled parsley and are used for its flavour as a garnish.
Thyme - 85 days, a perennial that boast strongly scented leaves with a clove-like fragrance.
New Varieties to Me:
Basil, Siam Queen Thai - this is a must for curry and all Thai cooking, beautiful flowers, very tasty.
Basil, Dark Purple Opal - a beautiful and ornamental variety, deep purple.
Chives - a perennial, spiky onion-flavoured foliage and blooms.
Lavender - a hardy perennial, rich fragrance, delicate flowers, and silvery-green foliage.
Lemongrass - a quick growing herb can be grown indoor or outside, widely used a culinary herb, can be dried, powdered, or used fresh.
Rosemary - 86 days, a tender perennial, shrubby evergreen may be used fresh or dried.
Sage - 75 days, a hardy perennial, attractive silvery-green leaves with spiky purple blooms.
Well, that was more than I expected.
It's going to be an amazing year for growing food. I am hoping for an unreal summer, a lot of time to get my hands dirty and trying all new varieties. Now, I haven't decided where and when to plant it all, that's next!
It's always fun to go through what you have and decide exactly what you want to grow. The hard part comes when you have to figure out where to plant it and when to get it all started.