Gardening in Georgia

Climbing zucchini

Red Aztec Spinach and cabbage

The climbing zucchini vine

            I am by no means an expert gardener. My soil isn�t that great, trees shade one of the gardens and I have to have two gardens because there just isn�t space enough for a big garden. I just do the best I can with what I have. Each year my garden gets a little better and I learn a bit more about what will grow here in the growing conditions I have.

            I started very enthused and tried all sorts of unusual vegetables. For the last three years I have tried things like burdock, dock, white eggplant, arugula, rattail radish, cardoon, plus all sorts of heirloom tomatoes (see my article in Countryside) most of which just didn�t grow well here. However there were some exceptions, which I will share with you.

            Last year I grew Zucchetta Rampiante-Tromboncino. This zucchini goes by different names in different catalogs but you can usually tell from the picture that it is the same zucchini. This is a climbing zucchini. I had mine climb across bailing ropes to the grape arbor and over it. Don�t believe the catalog when it says the vines are 5 ft long. Most of my vines were at least 10 ft. long and maybe even longer. This plant makes really large zucchini. It has a long neck with a bulb on the end where the seeds are. If left on the vine they can get up to 3 ft. long and 6 inches around.  The one problem that I had with this zucchini is that if it rained the zucchini�s that were just starting would rot off the vines but if the zucchini was a bit bigger it would do fine. They also would rot if they touched the ground. This zucchini has a very nice light taste, more like yellow or white scallop squash but firmer. I ended up with enough zucchini to last all winter and I didn�t even bother to grow it this year because I have so much left in the freezer. I got these seeds through a trade but Pinetree Garden Seeds ( sells them.

            I also grew Peruvian Purple Peppers. These are very pretty plants with purple stems, flowers, leaves and peppers. They have one inch upright fruit which is mildly hot and will turn red when mature. I bought my seeds from Seeds of Change ( These grew really well for me and produced quite a few peppers, which I have strung together and dried in my kitchen for later use.

            Besides Arugula, which grew quiet well and we liked a great deal, I also grew a green called Hoazontle or Red Aztec Spinach. The leaves on these resemble lambs quarter and can be eaten raw in salads when young. Mine grew quite tall, at least 2 ft. but it does not turn red until mature. I found only the leaves should be eaten as the stems can be quite woody, however the leaves have a nice mild taste and I would recommend this plant for people with small spaces as you can get a lot of greens from just a small row. These seeds I also got from Seeds of Change.

            However for the most part I have found that those normal seeds you can buy in the store everywhere seem to do the best in my garden. Things like yellow crookneck squash, spinach/mustard tendergreens, seven tops turnip greens, spinach- bloomsdale, peas- little marvel and dwarf white sugar, lettuce- buttercrunch, onions- evergreen bunching, tomato-celebrity, peppers-keystone. Most of which you can buy in those cheap ten cents packages and they grow just as well as the expensive seeds.


                                                                          Rebecca Whitford