grow your own: it starts with a (small) seed order
NOTHING LIKE ORGANIZING LEFTOVER SEED PACKETS to set a girl straight on what she may, and may not, order this year. I have enough beans and winter squash (like ‘Pink Banana’ and ‘Triamble,’ above) and a number of other things thanks to the last two years’ seed orders, to meet my 2011 needs and then some. But I’m not well-stocked in everything, thank heaven, so I do get to shop…a little.
My inventory revealed I am also good on carrots, beets, Asian greens of various kinds, salad things (from mesclun mixes to lettuce, arugula and mustards), and all the herbs I like to grow. I’ve ordered tomato seedlings from a grower at my local farmers’ market; with my new book coming, I’m simplifying my seed-starting this year.
HERE’S WHAT I AM allowing myself:
SPINACH, including ‘Tyee’ for good bolt-resistance among the Savoy types as the weather warms, ‘Corvair’ (a recent smooth-leaf type, 40 days), ‘Regiment’ (new, 37 days, large leaves) and maybe ‘Giant Winter’ (for the other end of the growing season).
KALE (‘Lacinato’ or ‘Dino,’ and ‘Red Russian’—I don’t like the frilly ‘Vates’ kinds as much).
PARSNIP, and also TURNIP (‘Joan’).
POTATOES (“seed potatoes,” not actual seed). This year I’m going to try some assortments from Fedco: “Classic Keepers” and “Specialty Organics.” After reading all the descriptions, I just couldn’t decide; bring on the assortment.
ONIONS: ‘Copra’ is a great keeper, and I love the ample size of ‘Ailsa Craig,’ but not to store.
Don’t forget to order:
- Inoculant for legumes (beans, peas)
- Seed-starting mix (no, not regular potting soil; it’s too coarse)
- Labels if none available for recycling
That’s it. I can hardly believe it myself. Good thing I read my seed catalog shopping rules before I went wild.
Well, maybe I will indulge and buy a packet of ‘Root Grex’ beets, “an interbreeding mix of three heirlooms,” says Fedco’s catalog, that yields colors like pinkish-red, iridescent orange, and vivid gold in gradually tapered roots that can reach 3½ by 8 inches. OK with you?
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