February in the Trial Garden
by Lindsay Del Carlo, Trial Garden Manager
It has been an unusually warm winter in our Northern California trial garden, allowing for an earlier than expected harvest of cold tolerant vegetables we planted last fall. We have been interested in adding Brussels
sprouts to the Renee’s Garden seed line so we are trialing a few different varieties. One stands out for garden performance with sprouts that are large, heavy for their size and abundant on the stalks. Home grown Brussels sprouts are especially delicious because their flavor is so fresh and sweet and they cook quickly. We
will be roasting and sautéing lots of sprouts this week to decide which variety is the best tasting.
We are ready to begin harvesting our large trial of “Kuroda” carrots, which are popular in Asian markets. They are very large, deep orange to red color roots with a thick tapered shape. They are recommended for fresh eating and especially for juicing. We have about 5 varieties of kurodas from different seed producers in
our trial and are looking forward to comparing them all side by side and evaluating their flavors in the kitchen.
Renee has been meeting directly with many of the fine seed producers that we buy seed from and hearing the latest about what they have available to discover new varieties. We will soon be receiving many seed samples for our trials list for this season including dwarf cosmos, new bicolor zinnias, striped morning glories,
unusual species of sweet peas, ornamental flowering carrots, mini winter squashes, different colors of beets, baby kales, heirloom tomatoes from Germany and Italy, snacking peppers from Japan and the Czech Republic and an assortment of different herbs from a small Italian company.