Monday, February 11, 2008

Ordering Seeds: An Act of Hope in a Cold, Cold February

I was reminded by my friend Mary that there is hope for spring, though it seems a distant possibility while contending with things like windchill factors of 35-50 below zero, as we experienced Saturday night. So, as an act of faith, I have just placed a seed order with Renee's Garden Seeds. Renee Shepherd was the founder of Shepherd's Garden Seeds, and her new venture brings the same lovely illustrations by Mimi Osborne that I remember from the Shepherd's catalog and seed packets.

I haven't pored over seed catalogs this winter, mainly because I've only received one or two -- a side effect of the fact that I've moved twice in the past two years. And I don't know about you, but I don't get quite the same pleasure from poring over pages of a website. So I just flung myself into the process, ordered a bunch of things that sounded good, and called it enough.

Here's what called to me:

Two seed collections:
The Container Vegetable Collection: "Five of the best tasting, compact varieties especially bred for growing in containers. Enjoy fresh homegrown flavors picked right from your own small space garden." Includes: Super Bush Tomato; Garden Babies Lettuce; Pot of Gold Chard; Bush Slicer Cucumber; Pizza My Heart Pepper. (My home garden is a set of large containers on a southwest-facing patio. That's where I'll grow these babies. I've had terrible luck with peppers, but we'll see what happens.)

Children's Garden Collection: "Five easy to grow, colorful, big-seeded flower and vegetable varieties that kids can plant, harvest and enjoy on their very own." Includes: Easter Egg Radishes; Cinderella's Carriage Pumpkins; Sunzilla Sunflowers; Tricolor Pole Beans; Raggedy Anne Zinnias. (I have an 8-year-old son at home, and I'm hoping I can get him interested in having his own garden. Though it will have to be at my second garden, at his other house -- more on that below. If he's not into it, I'll grow some of these myself and enjoy them thoroughly.)

I also ordered two varieties of basil -- the herb without which no summer is complete: Mrs. Burns Lemon ("sweetest lemony flavor bouquet") and Italian Cameo ("From our best Italian breeder. Easy growing and deliciously fragrant, Cameo has closely packed, luscious big leaves and a compact 6- 8 inch habit. Perfect for containers, window boxes or edging garden beds.")

For what I hope will be my second garden this summer -- unused garden space at the house now mostly occupied by my ex-husband and one of my daughters -- I ordered:
  • Garden Oasis cucumbers: "Extra-sweet, burpless, uniquely smooth-skinned Beit alpha cucumber renowned for quality throughout the Mediterranean basin. High yields of glossy fruits with refreshing juicy-sweet flesh."
  • Big Beef beefsteak tomatoes: "These scrumptious giant slicers are our hands-down favorite, combining delicious full flavor, heavy yields, wide adaptability and superior disease resistance."
  • Garden Candy mix of orange, yellow and red cherry tomato varieties.
  • A Farmers Market blend of lettuces : "This mix of tender, sweet red and green lettuces draws raves at local farmers markets. A blend of delicious varieties for a balanced palette of colors, shapes and textures."
I'll want some bunching onions as well, but I didn't find them today. And oh my, I seem to have no squash at all. That will never do. I'll have to go and peruse another website another day soon. Johnny, you'll be hearing from me.


Mary Schier said...

Sounds like a great list! I'll be especially interested to see how the Sunzillas turn out. I tried one of those monster sunflowers a few years ago in an attempt to create a living arbor between our backyard and the walking path. I think the soil was not fertile enough in my wildflower area because nothing grew. Either that or the gophers ate the seed.

Anonymous said...

I planted some basil a few years back and noticed that the basil plants nearest the outdoor vent for our clothes dryer were twice as large and had many more leaves. I've been planting basil there ever since. They seem to like the warm, moist air.

Rob in Philadelphia

Penelope said...

Now that's a tip I haven't heard before!