Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Quest for the Holy Seeds

I've been reading up on what types of seeds to buy for our garden since we'll be planting our August vegetables next week. Turns out you can’t actually buy seeds around here this time of year. Farmer B went to Lowe’s and Home Depot and was told at both places that they have already sent back their seeds and won’t get anymore until spring. Apparently they haven’t read our gardening book where it talks about the Fall planting season. You have to buy seeds online or choose from the world’s smallest seed packet selection at our local nursery. They have a cardboard box jammed underneath a giant cooling fan that has about 4 vegetable seed packets in it. It’s very inviting.

It turns out that the Rolls Royce of vegetable seeds are Heirloom seeds. These are considered the aristocracy of seeds and are even the focus of gardening groups and seed exchanges. I bet those are some happening get-togethers. Some Heirloom seeds are for very rare plants and vegetables, but most are just plants from good stock and old lines – most are from the 1920s or earlier. A selling point is that if you save the seeds from an Heirloom plant you can plant them again next year and get the exact same plant. Typical seeds that you buy are sterile. Who knew?

We’re going to do ½ seeds and ½ seedlings this year. I feel that we have more of a chance of something growing if we do it that way. If we plant some seedlings we're guaranteed to have at least a few days with something green growing in the garden and that will just feel good. Seeds intimidate us, but then again so do gardens and look where we are today. Farmer B and my dad spent about 3 years trying to grow grass from grass seed and never had one single blade sprout. Ever. So we crossed our fingers, took the plunge and ordered our seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. This is “the” place to buy seeds, if you’re cool hip gardener, that is. We ordered these seeds:

Cornfield pumpkin squash – The boys are adamant that we grow a pumpkin for Halloween. This one is listed as their top choice for use as both carving pumpkins and for fall decorations. It says they are perfectly shaped 12-15 pound fruits are 12-16" wide and 10-12" tall. Ha - we'll see about that.

Burpee’s Stringless Bean - This fancy bean was introduced in 1894 by W. Atlee Burpee who obtained their stock seed from N. B. Kenney. At the time it was claimed to be the only absolutely stringless green podded bean. This one looked like a bean the kids would eat, so it won the bean contest.

Giant Musselburgh Leek - It says these are enormous size, 9-15" long by 2-3" diameter. We got these because we eat leeks instead of onions and because saying you took an "enormous leek" in your garden is just plain worth it.

Scarlet Nantes Carrot - It says these are 7" long and have bright reddish-orange flesh, fine grained, nearly coreless, great flavor, and are sweet and brittle. Aidan wanted a bright purple carrot that was listed as “spicey” but we gave that a miss and this carrot was the consolation prize.

DeCicco Broccoli - This broccoli was introduced to U.S. gardeners in 1890 and since broccoli is the boys' favorite veggie to have with dinner, this one seemed to look most like typical store-bought broccoli.

The rest of our plants will be from seedlings acquired at Lowe’s...poor little homeless seedlings just sitting in pots cooking in the hot sun waiting for a family to adopt them. We do not know why we can’t plant them until August when they’re sitting there in the July sun growing in pots, but the book says we can’t, so we won’t. We’re sticklers that way.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I triple-dog-dare you to plant those puppies on the 31st.

I didn't know that about heirloom seeds, I just thought it was a brand. Yup, hair is blond.

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