Monday, January 11, 2010

2010 garden season

It happened, again. I guess I should be used to it. But somehow, the exhaustion and pain of last year's growing efforts has faded, and I am excited again about spring. Before you say, "but it is just now winter!" you should know that it is time to get excited. We start seeds in February, which means we have to make our orders now. So we did. It is a lot of fun in light of our recent turn of events. I have draw pictures of the garden plan. It is still just an idea, with plenty of holes, but it was enough to make a seed order.

Our garden is to feed us. We do not market garden, since we still have yet to grow 100% of our own food. Over the last 4 years we have honed what we grow a little, always branching out at the same time, trying new things. There is a diminishing return on novelty in the garden. It might be pretty, it might be easy to grow, it may even be delicious. But unless we will actually consume it (whether as food or medicine), it serves little purpose. It has to prove its worth. An example is edamame, which we grew for two years, but found that as scrumptious as it is (and truly a snap to grow), we will not eat tons of it in the winter. We froze many pounds but it was not a treat at that point. Tomatoes, on the other hand, cannot be too many. We will eat them, reliably. Another example of novelty is sunflowers. We have very humid summers and drying heads is difficult. Even if we did, we don't like sunflower seeds. Sunflowers aren't a food crop for us, but we still grow them. They are wonderful at attracting birds, bees and other beneficials, which is good for the garden. Good for the garden is good enough, if we have room.

With Kassiopeia growing her own flower garden, we encourage her to grow useful flowers and plants. It is not a requirement or anything- plenty of petunias here. She also seems to love it when a beautiful flower is food or medicine.

All this to say, we ordered our seeds for 2010! We grow mostly heirlooms and have some saved seed, but we wanted some new varieties.  And, we are using a few hybrids this year in the hope that taking a year off some of our more troubled heirlooms will help them next time. We order from Baker Creek, Johnny's & Brown's of Omaha (onions). And here is what we are growing this year:

From Baker Creek (all heirloom, op= open pollinated)

Tomatillo Verde
Vietnamese Multicolor Hot Pepper: fun colors for pico de gallo!
Long Thin Cayenne: for drying
Italian Pepperoncini: grew these with huge success last year, pickled them all!
Leutschauer Paprika: for drying
Pasilla Bajio: this is the classic 'mole' pepper
Jersey Giant Tomato: Tristan's choice for a new canning variety.

Also from Baker Creek we have some new flower seeds: Mother of Pearl Poppies, Historic Florist Pansies, and Scarlet Flax.

From Johnny's Selected Seeds (f1 denotes hybrid)

Hercules Carrot f1: we have yet to overwinter carrots to save seed, so OP is not a priority.
Fortex Pole Beans: these are OP, just trying something new.
Imperial Star Artichoke: yes! an annual artichoke! just for fun.
Merlin Beets f1: cercospora resistance!
storage no 4 cabbage f1: fall cabbages for kraut
Tasty Jade Cucumber f1: a lot like our beloved Japanese Long heirloom, but since we have had serious bacterial wilt issues, trying a hybrid this year.
Toscano Kale: a very favorite here
Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkins: I grow these every year. Baker Creek dropped them so I had to buy from Johnny's.
Flying Saucer Patty Pan Squash f1: we loved our patty pans last year.
Waltham Butternut Squash: I grow these every year with incredible success. I just don't always experience success  hand pollinating for clean seed.
San Marzano Tomato f1: There are OP san marzanos, but I am trying this one first.
Italian Large Leaf Basil: we grow a lot of basil.
Calypso cilantro: and a lot of this too.
Scarlet Queen Red Stems Turnip f1: These will be fall turnips.
Bouquet dill: we love dill.
Wildfire and Spicy Mesclun lettuce mixes...

and for Kassi, f1 hybrid starfish wave petunias! I was surprised by how expensive the seeds are for these.

From Brown's of Omaha we are ordering 10 or 15 bunches of their Candy Red Apple onion plants.

Other things we grow but have seed for are arugula, red chard, sweet potatoes (We grow slips from last year's) and potatoes (We grow storebought). Then, of course, there are the tomatoes we grow from our own seed: German Stripes and Cherokee Purples are our main slicer crops this year, with the aforementioned Jersey Giant and San Marzanos being canning types.

Wow! Sigh. Lots to grow! And so soon, seed starting. I should start my Sweet Potato slips today.
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