Plants in Our Victory Garden
By ALLISON PARROTT
Site Lead, 1930s George Ranch Home
Curious about the plants we’re growing in our Victory Garden at the George Ranch Home? Here are the plants that are currently growing or will be growing later this summer in our garden, along with planting tips. Did you plant a Victory Garden this spring? What varieties are you growing? Share a picture of your garden with us on Facebook or Instagram!
Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach– Vigorous upright plants with dark green, glossy, savoyed leaves. Fine quality, very tender, excellent flavor. Quick growing variety with heavy yields. Well-adapted for late spring or summer plantings, slow to bolt. 39-60 days. Spinach grows best in cool weather and should be planted in early spring or late summer to produce a fall crop. For best yields, harvest continually and make successive plantings every ten days.
Early Jersey Cabbage– This early-maturing variety is delicious when eaten fresh. The conical, solid, tightly-held heads grow up to 15″ long by 7″ wide and weigh 3-4 pounds each. 60-75 days from transplant. Cabbage is easy to grow. Sow seed indoors ¼” deep 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Plant out just before the last frost. Take care not to disrupt the shallow root system while transplanting and weeding. Make sure cabbage has a regular supply of water. Mulching will reduce weeds and keep moderate temperatures and even moisture in the soil. Cabbage is a heavy feeder and needs an even supply of nutrients.
Ella Kropf Lettuce– Tender green softball-sized heads with round leaves and pleasantly sweet flavor. Butterhead, 50-60 days. Sow continuously for a constant supply of lettuce. Best grown in cooler weather. Plant in full sun or partial shade.
Feaster Family Heirloom Mustard– This green-leaved mustard is mild and slightly sweet when cooked and was donated to Seed Savers Exchange by Jerome Feaster in 2014. Bearing long, broad, smooth, upright leaves with a toothed margin, these plants reach 20-25″ tall and 16-18″ wide. Start indoors. You can directly seed your mustards into the ground, placing 3 seeds every 8 inches. Plant them 3 months before your first frost in rows 18-30 inches apart. The seeds should be planted 1/4-1/2 inch deep. As they grow, thin them to 1 plant every 8-10 inches. Mustards may bolt early if planted in the spring.
Giant Musselburgh Leek– Enormous leeks that are 9-15″ long by 2-3″ in diameter. Tender white stalks, dark blue-green fan-shaped leaves. Mild flavor stands winter well. Good buncher for market gardens. 80-150 days from transplant. Sow seeds indoors ¼” deep and space 1″ in all directions. Germinate after 1 week. Transplant as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Hill or mound soil around stems several times to blanch as leeks grow.
Ailsa Craig Onion- Large straw-colored onions with small necks that average 2 pounds. Best for fresh use, not extended storage. Long-day type. 100 days from transplant. Sow seeds indoors in flats ¼” deep and space 1″ in all directions, germinate after 4-10 days. Transplant outdoors as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Keep onions well weeded with shallow cultivation.
Hidatsa Red Bean Bush– The dark-red seeds are reminiscent of kidney beans, and the productive, sprawling bush plants will climb to 3′ if given support. Bush habit, dry, 80-100 days. Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Harvest snap beans frequently for increased yields. Leave some pods on the vine and harvest when completely mature for dry beans.
Calypso Bean Bush– Originally from the Caribbean. One of the best for baking and soups. Round black and white seeds with contrasting eye borne heavily on strong 15″ plants. Averages 4-5 seeds per pod. Adapts well to all types of production areas. Bush habit, dry, 70-90 days. Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Harvest dry beans when the pods are completely mature and dry.
Kentucky Wonder Bean Bush– Tender, stringless, plump, fleshy 8″ pods have excellent flavor. Bush habit, snap, 65 days. Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Harvest frequently for increased yields.
Wicks Lima Bean Pole– Flat seeds are either white with dark purple mottling or solid purple. Fresh shelling limas are sweet, dry limas are nutty tasting. 90-100 days to dry beans. Lima beans thrive in hot temperatures. Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Seeds will germinate in 7-18 days. Limas prefer full sun.
Golden Sweet Pea Pole– Tall 6′ plants with beautiful bi-colored purple flowers and bright lemon-yellow pods. Best eaten when small, excellent for stir-fry. Seeds are tan with purple flecks, can be dried and added to soups. One of the few yellow edible podded peas in SSE’s collection of 1,200 peas. Edible podded, 60-70 days. Peas thrive in cool weather. Sow seeds outdoors as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days. Double rows of peas can be planted on each side of a trellis.
Climbing Frenchbean Pole– Sweet, stringless, and flavorful off the vine, the snappy, green 4-7″ pods cradle shiny, dark-purple seeds when mature. Pole habit, snap, 65-75 days. Sow seeds outdoors after danger of frost has passed and soil and air temperatures have warmed. Harvest frequently for increased yields.
Golden Bantham Improved Corn– Producing an early crop for home gardeners and market growers, this historic variety has an excellent sweet flavor and is ideal for freezing and fresh eating. 70-85 days. Sow seeds outdoors 1” deep after danger of frost has passed. For good pollination and full ears, plant in blocks of 3-6 rows instead of one long row. Thin seedlings to 8” apart. Corn is a heavy feeder and does best in well-drained, fertile soil with plenty of water.
German Pink Tomato– Potato leaf plants produce large 1-2 pound beefsteak fruits. Meaty flesh with few seeds, very little cracking or blossom scars. Full sweet flavor. Excellent for canning, freezing, and slicing. Indeterminate, 85 days from transplant. Start indoors, germinate in 7-14 days.
Roma Tomato– Very heavy set of mild 2-3 ounce fruits perfectly suited for making sauce, salsa, and paste. Tends to fall off the vine when fully ripe. Determinate, but requires trellis, 75 days from transplant. Sow seeds indoors ¼” deep. Tomatoes are sensitive to freezing temperatures, so wait to transplant outdoors until the soil is warm. Plant in full sun.
Detroit Dark Red Beet– Great for canning and fresh eating, this variety is a good keeper, producing round, blood-red, 3″-diameter roots. 60-65 days. Sow seeds outdoors as soon as soil can be worked in spring. Seeds will germinate in 5-10 days. Plant at two-week intervals for a steady harvest. All parts of the beet plant are edible.
Clemson Spineless Okra– Vigorous plants grow 3-5′ tall. Exceptionally uniform, deep green ribbed and spineless pods are best harvested when 3″ long. Excellent quality. 50-64 days. Sow seeds outdoors when the soil has warmed. Tolerant of heat and drought, but not of cold. Keep well picked for higher yields.
Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard– Plants grow 28″ high with 2½” wide stalks and produce abundant crops all season. 50-60 days. Sow seeds outdoors in early spring when soil temperature is at least 50°F. Can also be started indoors 5-6 weeks before transplanting out. Grows best in full sun but tolerates partial shade. Swiss chard withstands light frost.
Stone Mountain Watermelon– Round dark green fruits with sweet pink flesh average 30 pounds. Thick rind resists splitting, good choice for shipping or storage. Rind is also excellent for pickling. 80-95 days. Sow seeds outdoors in 12″ diameter hills after danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Space hills 8′ apart in all directions. Seeds will germinate in 4-10 days. Can also be started indoors 4 weeks before transplanting out. Watermelons love heat and prefer sandy or light-textured soils.
Early Fortune Cucumber– Fruits measure 8″ long. 55-60 days. Alternatively, make 12″ hills at least 6′ apart. Plant 6-8 cucumber seeds per hill 1″ deep. After germination, thin to 3-4 plants per hill. Can also be started indoors 2-4 weeks before last frost. Cucumbers benefit from steady moisture.
Fish Pepper– The 3″-long, colorful, striped peppers of this variety are borne on 2′-tall plants with beautiful variegated foliage. Sow seeds indoors ¼” deep. Peppers germinate best in warm soil, so gentle bottom heat may be helpful until seedlings emerge. Wait to transplant outdoors until soil is warm. Germinate after 2 weeks.
Zinnia- Its fully double blossoms measure 4-5″ across and come in a wide array of colors. The long stems of this annual make it ideal for use in arrangements and bouquets. Annual, 3-4′ tall. Sow seeds outdoors after last frost. Zinnias prefer well-drained average soil. Water regularly, keeping leaves dry. Remove spent blossoms frequently to prolong blooming. There may be a coating on this seed which is made entirely of food grade components, used for the purpose of visibility during the sowing process.
Calendula- Beautiful orange flowers have quill-like edible petals. Blooms from early summer until frost. Well-suited for pots. Self-seeding, hardy annual, 18-24″ tall. Sow seeds indoors 1/4″ deep. Transplant outdoors after last frost. Can also be directly sown outdoors after the last frost. Prefers light well-drained soil and will tolerate dry conditions. Good cut flower. Calendula petals are edible and have a tangy slightly sweet flavor.