liar, liar pants on fire: my seed order, part 2

OOPS. (WHAT CAN I SAY BUT OOPS?) A package from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds arrived today in my Post Office box, and here’s the wrinkle: I forgot (perhaps in my self-consciousness at revealing the size of my original order?) that I had even placed it. Like I said, oops. Chalk up another $15 to Miss Margaret the Seedaholic, and 30 lashes with a bamboo stake for good measure. Here’s what else I semi-consciously purchased, mea culpa, and also a few more-serious thoughts on how I really feel about spending about $200 on seeds and seed-like tubers and roots. The latest arrivals to my growing 2010 seed order were all very much about squash and beans:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, total $15 including shipping

  • ‘Blue Lake Bush’ bean
  • ‘Blue Hubbard’ winter squash
  • ‘North Georgie Candy Roaster’ winter squash
  • ‘Jumbo Pink Banana’ winter squash
  • ‘Sweet Dumpling’ winter squash

Another confession: After I posted the previous details of the order, I suddenly felt embarrassed. And then I did the math.

As I mentioned in the earlier post’s comments, I haven’t bought any tomato sauce or canned tomatoes in years, for instance. Last time I looked, the organic ones are not cheap, and I use red sauce or something made with it once a week or more. If I credit myself $2 for each container of frozen or jarred meals I created from my 2009 garden produce–just $2, even though each contains two or more portions of organic, homegrown soups, sauces, curries, chilis and such–I am already well into the black. And I ate a lot more of the produce fresh before I put up the offseason supply.

Now I feel as if there is no better purchase.

In fact, maybe I will buy some more seeds. (KIDDING.)

  1. Amy says:

    After I placed my seed order this weekend I went food shopping. $4.13 for a butternut squash. $2.79 for a cauliflower. $6.99 for a large container of fresh spinach, etc. etc. It really put things in perspective, and now I’ll probably order more seeds myself!
    Another 6-12 inches of snow tomorrow with “near blizzard” conditions [whatever that means…..] No lashes from me. I’m just so grateful to have a place to go and read and daydream about gardening. Thank you!

  2. MichelleB says:

    Don’t feel bad, I forgot that I also ordered from Vermont Bean and Seed, where I ordered garbanzo beans for the 1st time. Has anyone grown them?
    I was very tempted by georgia candy roaster from Baker’s but went with Pennsylvania Dutch crookneck or neck pumpking because it did so well last year and beat small sugar pumpkin for flavor hands down.
    My total is about $125 and that included the grafting clips from Johnny’s. I think I need to join Seedaholics too.

    1. Margaret says:

      @MichelleB. Thanks for the comfort. I am glad you are with me at the Seedaholics meeting. :) As for garbanzos, I have never tried. I see them in Seeds of Change and Bountiful Gardens — both of which are in warm zones. I don’t even see them in my more Northern-focused basic catalogs. Both places say 100ish days to harvest, but plant when soil is warm (like 70, which here is not early in spring at all, maybe June-ish). I see so little about them online — fascinating. Where did you find yours and where will you be growing them?

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, SusanB. I do, though I had leftover seed from last year of my favorite zinnias, for instance, so I didn’t order any more, and things like poppies and nicotiana I often let self-sow (editing last year’s volunteers). Which ones are you interested in?

  3. Johanna says:

    No worries, Margaret! You’re still well ahead of the game. And you haven’t even begun to discuss the health value of your own home-grown vs. what you find in a store!

  4. SusanB says:

    Last year was my first try at seed starting under lights. I tried Zinnias, Coleus, Ipomoea quamoclit and Thunbergia alata. This year I will start more Zinnias , they took a long time to bloom but lasted until the first frost. I didn’t like the Ipomoea, and couldn’t resist purchasing a large orange Thunbergia at the supermarket. It took most of the Summer for my seedlings to catch up to it. I will start Coleus again. Last year I had a mixed pack, but will try to find more interesting cultivars this season. They were easy to grow and made a great filler, both in containers and in the garden. Along with the Poppies and Nicotiana, I rely on Nigella to seed around. I also plant Nasturtiums and a few kinds of Sunflowers directly in the garden.
    Are there others annuals I should sow?

    1. Margaret says:

      @Boodely: Very funny. “Liar, liar, *plants* on fire it is.” :)

      @SusanB: Good for you w/the Coleus and such. Many of my favorite flashy Coleus varieties have to be grown vegetatively (from cuttings) to insure that they stay true. That’s why you see mostly mixes as seed, although there are some seed strains of single colors now. FYI, the Coleus Society blog (not sure if it’s still actively publishing…) explains this in its “Common Coleus Questions” page.

  5. Amy says:

    Margaret, I was looking over your list from last year and wondered how the Moskvich tomato turned out. Given that 2009 was a horrible year for tomatoes, do you think it is worth trying again?

  6. MichelleB says:

    I ordered the garbanzo’s from Vermont Bean and Seed. I have read very conflicting reports on their culture-from grow like beans to plant when you plant peas. A report from U. of Colorado said a soil temp of 42-45 was ideal. I think I’ll try both and see what happens. They are a long season crop if you want to dry them but I’ve also read that folks cook them like edamane(edible soybeans) when they fill out their pods and are still green but I’ve never grown them either-maybe next year. Anyone out there have any experience? I’m in the Blueridge mts in the tip of Virginia zone 6 or 5b depending on the map. Today it’s snowing and 13 with 25-50 mph winds. Hurry spring!

  7. Kristina says:

    This is how I justify my seed/plant purchases that add up to more than what I expected: I don’t drink (much), I don’t smoke, I don’t gamble. If I want to spend money on something that will be lovely, tastes yummy, and is good for me, then it’s ok!

  8. Ellen says:

    When the sewer backed up in our basement a few years ago, the first thing I rescued was my box of seeds! This time of year, when it’s so gray and cold, I love to sit and read the packages and dream.

  9. Karen says:

    Oh Margaret, don’t ever apologize! I’m so jealous, as I sit in my city apartment drooling over the seed catalogues I torture myself with every year (there’s only so much room on my fire escape). And I’m thrilled to see everything you’ll be doing with Loomis Creek Nursery this spring…I missed going to Plant-O-Rama this year so will definitely need to make a trip north for one of your lectures!

  10. Bev Carney says:

    I always seem to spend more than $200 each year. We grow most of our own food but the major seed cost isn’t for vegetables, but for flowers. And I also spend another $100 or so on full-grown annuals and some perennials.

    Gardening is my passion, I enjoy it – cheap at any price!

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Bev, a gardener after my own mind. Exactly! I will never confess what I spend on non-edibles, oh no. :) See you soon again I hope. Just about to eat a bowl of soup made from my 2009 garden…

  11. SusanB says:

    That was an Aha! moment. I should have figured that one out, Coleus seed vs. cuttings. I sure have snitched my share of Coleus cuttings…. never while on a garden tour, of course. Actually, most gardeners are happy to share cuttings from a plant that is such a vigorous grower.

  12. Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm says:

    I trade for most of my seed and always have way too much! I have a lot left over from year to year that I keep and it just builds up. I think this year I might plant all my extra seed in our “Big Field”. Nothing else is growing there now but grass and weeds. I could just scatter the seed all over and let it grow where it will. I might end up with a field of peony poppies!

  13. Skye says:

    I saved seed from my heirloom tomatoes last year, stopped by seed displays in stores and picked up a few packages, here and there, and yesterday I put in my 3rd seed order (and I have declared my final one). Each order was from a different source and I am gong to be curious to see if they germinate equally well. I am NOT going to add up my total cost, but spreading out my purchases delude me into thinking I’ve not spent too much or over purchased. I love trying new varieties each year so it is always exciting anticipating each new year’s gardening venture.

  14. Re: 13 in Virginia. I live in the nation’s icebox, Minnesota. It’s been 80-plus all week here. We pretty much didn’t have winter. No rain or snow. Have raked off all winter mulch, tulips are up. Discovered lots of dead (heaved up? died of thirst?) heucheras under the mulch. We are two months early. Margaret, are you tracking weather weirdness elsewhere? I’m getting pretty freaked out.

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