Come spring, I can imagine a world in which I'm buoyed up by the hopefulness of a new season stretching out in front of me. Intoxicated by the endless possibilities and with winter having dulled my memory of things like the ten plagues and cucumber beetles, and monsoons and aphids, and zucchini that can't get it on without my help, I can imagine myself planting again this seasons biggest losers.
So to keep the scent of incredibly putrid cucumber beetle-eradicating measures fresh in my mind, to remember just what a pain in the ass it is to wash every single effing leaf (front AND back!) by hand with soapy water, and lest I forget that I didn't really enjoy acting as a zucchini sex aide, here's a rundown of the seasons winners and losers:
Winners. AKA "I'd like to thank the academy..."
- Peppers. Fun to grow, disease-free, and produce plenty of fruit to make it all worthwhile. I recommend Carmens (horn-shaped sweet reds) and golden bells.
- Tomatoes. See above--fun and disease-free. Lots of fruit. Also, a perk for us urban gardeners, lots of foliage to provide a green screen from neighborhood eyes. Try the Mortgage Lifter and the Black Krim.
- Green beans. Try the Bush Bean Contender. Quick to harvest, lots of beans. Easy to care for. Disease-free.
- Herbs! Rosemary, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme, and basil. Nary a problem and very productive. Highly recommend. Next year I want to also try dill and chives. My gardening guru, Aunt Joan at Primex, tells me my herbs are perennials (they'll come back next spring if I let them die/rest over the winter). She also said I can transplant them inside for continual harvesting. I'm opting for the latter - who doesn't want fresh herbs all winter?!
Losers. AKA "I blame my agent, the director, the screenwriter, the makeup artist and that homeless guy on the corner..."
- Cucumbers. Disease- and pest-magnets. If there is an aphid, cucumber beetle, predatory bug, a bug that nobody's ever heard of, or even a hint of powdery mildew within a 200-mile radius, it will find your cucs. Unless you enjoy the smell of rancid farts (in the form of organic pesticides) or have absolutely nothing better to do than wash each leaf front and back with soapy water (to treat aphids), SKIP. Soooooo much work and not one single cuc. SKIP. SKIP. SKIP.
- Zucchni. Same as above. You might as well put out a welcome mat and advertise in neighboring counties. Aphids, cucumber beetles, and powdery mildew will make a beeline to these plants. Too much time spent spraying those buggers with organic pesticides and soapy water. Also too much time spent compulsively showering after treating them in a desperate and futile attempt to remove the scent of rancid fart and millions of dead aphid carcasses off me. All that and only one zuc?! BIG FAT NEVER AGAIN.
- Basil. Basil's going on both lists because the first crop mysteriously died and had to be replaced--picky little bastards. If you can get it to grow, big winner. Fresh pesto is fabulous. If you get a picky little bastard batch, try again. If the second kicks the bucket too, then you know it's a sign.