Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ordering Seeds

Yes! Yes, indeed, we will have spring. It is remarkably hard to imagine these days, when we haven't even begun February. "Snow showers this morning" was still the prediction at 10:00 AM! I shoveled an amazing amount of snow this morning -- repeatedly.
What better activity when one burrows inside (following the admirable example of those happily-forgotten woodchucks) than planning one's seed orders? I have spent quite a bit of time already and will do some more. This is my biggest gardening expense of the year, but it's worth it. The catalogs are well worth browsing too.

Fedco keeps expenses to a minimum on most items, but does not have telephone order nor any color in its catalog. Nor does any company have all the items I want, so I place several orders every year, although Fedco gets my bulk.
Only Burpee's has "Two Season Hybrid Chinese Cabbage," which survives
all winter in my Johnny Seeds cold frame. Thus I paniced when it wasn't in the 2011 catalog so much that I went on their website. There it is! It is 65953A, one packet for $2.25. There may be competitors, but I'm afraid to try because so much is at stake and this is so good. This morning I'm feeling glad that I picked tonight's dinner yesterday afternoon!

I will forward cold frame photos after this for those of you who receive attachments, but the cold frame is not in Johnny Seeds' catalog, and someone else will have to be motivated enough to go onto that website. Burpee's offers two that are much cheaper, but they advertise only "for early spring harvests," so I don't know whether they would collapse under our post-Christmas snow. Jose offers to construct custom-built cold frames in Montclair.

Only Johnny Seeds offers Nufar OG basil, which withstands the wilt and has huge leaves by basil standards. I will raise lots more this year than last year because the plants I bought locally last year had tiny leaves by comparison on the plants that survived. Johnny Seeds is also the only provider of hakurei turnips, which are wonderful to eat raw, and far better than radishes in my opinion, although I used to raise radishes.

Burpee's is also the only provider I know of green goliath broccoli, which yields from June to Christmas if woodchucks don't destroy it. This year I'm going to try bonanza hybrid also, which sounds even better. And this year I will stoop to putting human hair around my broccoli, which I have missed enormously in the past two years! The hair looks ugly, but I can keep broccoli in less obvious parts of the garden.

My large tomato has been in recent years Burpee's Supersteak Hybrid, but it too isn't in the catalog. I will try ordering last year's number, but if it isn't available, there are some plausible alternatives, and it doesn't seem as special as a veggie that grows all winter in my cold frame. I raise Sweet 100 (red) and Sun gold (yellow) small tomatoes for eating. The former are still ripening, although no longer quickly and well. Maybe I should give up and binge out on carrots! These are abundant under the bags of leaves, but this is the first year I've had trouble locating the bags. They don't bulge under the driven snow.
Only Park's Seeds provides Malabar spinach, which climbs beautifully and abundantly in late summer where I harvested peas earlier, but, poor Park's, I use my own saved seeds. I do hope they keep them in the catalog, so please do consider ordering them, oh Others!

I find winterbor kale the best type of kale, but this year the bugs made lace of my kale and collards. I may have to take steps against them. Any suggestions as to what steps? I like Roma bush beans. Sugar snap peas taste far better than snappy, I think. Sugar Anns are the best of the low early types of snap peas. I don't know why anyone would go to all the trouble of shelling peas in these days of snap peas! Lettuce mixes are far more satisfactory than individual types. I raise only leaf lettuce, so it will be fresh when I eat it. Gigante parsley and tango celery seem to work well in my garden. I like Spineless Beauty zucchini because I don't like being pricked by prickers. Fedco's catalog comments, "With so many spineless politicians, why do we like spineless zucchini?"
I just answered that question!

Happy indoor planning!


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