And now we move on to the solanums, which include peppers, potatoes and, of course, tomatoes. I'm actually surprised I don't have more varieties here, as this is generally the one group that inspires even the most restrained gardener to plant more than they have room for!
I'm planning on one whole bed of potatoes this year: the small trial planting did really well last year, and so this year, I'll increase the amount planted. I don't have the varieties listed here, as I'll buy the seed potatoes in bulk from one of the local feed stores. That tends to be the most economical way to buy, as they sell them by the pound. Buying through mail order means buying a larger amount of each variety, plus paying for shipping. And potatoes are heavy! Of course, buying locally means the available varieties are limited, but I'm willing to accept that trade-off.
For tomatoes, I try to plant three different types: a plum tomato for canning (whole and sauce, plus salsa and chili sauce), a "beefstake" type for fresh eating (and the excess also gets canned, of course), and a cherry tomato, since there is no better reward for gardening than walking outside and popping a perfectly ripe, sun-warmed cherry tomato into your mouth.
I've been planting different varieties each year, and I've yet to find a "perfect" variety. Like other crops, I still have some two-year old seed, but I also splurged on new varieties this year, like Stupice for an early producer, and Jaune Coure de Pigeon, a yellow cherry. So, 11 varieties in all, but the 3 old ones may not make the cut, depending on how much space I want to allocate. As tomatoes tend to be gold in terms of neighbourhood currency*, there is no such thing as too many plants ;)
I still have some of my original sweet pepper seed as well, and added two new varieties this year: King of the North (a green to red bell) and Marconi Sweet Red, a red shepherd-type, for a total of five varieties.
Hot peppers, for some reason, is where I go insane. I want to plant each and every variety I find, which, considering I don't eat a lot of them, boggles the mind! Jalapeno (for salsa) and cayenne (for drying) are mainstays, and I added four other varieties this year. A couple are traditional pickling varieties, and I'm also planting some Ancho peppers, just to see if I can smoke them, dry them and grind them up as chili powder. So, six varieties in total.
Not counting the potatoes, 22 varieties.
I am insane. I really am.
*No, really. I share every year with family, of course, as well as the neighbours on both sides, but I've heard a rumor of someone living down the street who is willing to trade composted horse manure for tomatoes. Sweet!