Seeds, Seeds, Seeds

Seed Catalogues

Well I’m finally getting around to it. I’ve had some seed catalogues for awhile now and I’ve been procrastinating about ordering seeds from them, but I think it’s time I get to work and do it. I’ve decided to mostly try to go for heirlooms this year since I had such good luck with some last time around so I’m focusing mostly on one catalogue – the Seed Savers Exchange.

The Seed Saver’s Exchange is a unique and remarkable entity. They encourage the saving of open pollinated heirloom seeds from all over the world in an effort to maintain the genetic diversity of our plant life. You may know this but if you don’t you should. Our genetic pool is dwindling precariously as more scientists plan more genetically modified and patented seeds. Now a farmer often can’t save their own seeds and has to buy new ones every year from the seed supplier because of patents and protections. It’s a dumb thing to do. And terrible for 3rd World farmers who should be saving their seed for money’s sake but instead are forced to buy from their suppliers. It’s a scam of monstrous proportions.

We only have a few varieties of many of the major plants we rely on for food. One is corn. We generally use only a couple of varieties of corn for all those thousands of acres of it plants all over the country. It would be a calamity if some scourge attacked the crops and we had nothing to fall back on. That’s where Seed Savers comes in. They have genetic stock of all sorts of old style varieties that still bear really well and are open pollinated and non patented so you can grow your food and save your own seeds, thus making the plants stronger and more adapted to your climate every year.

I haven’t gotten into that much yet tho I’ve been saving some seed for years. But mostly flowers. Now I’m going to try saving my veggie seed as well. I’ve been going thru the Seed Savers catalogue and have found a plethora of wonderful plants that sound just so yummy to eat that I’m barely into the booklet and already I have more than I’ll probably plant. But I want to try some things in the greenhouse again this yer so I have to order some things soon so I have a chance for growing them before I get to the real work of the outer garden.

I want to plant some old fashion zinnias this year. They were my grandmothers favorites and I try to grow them every year but haven’t for a year or two. So this year I’m getting some special red ones that have been around since the 1800’s sometime. They’ll make a great border for the fr0nt of the yard where the street is. I have Oregon grape and nandina as a back drop next to the Thuja pyrimidalis  and it will look so pretty with the red zinnias all across it.

I’ve found several other flowers that I want to plant too. But mostly now I’m focusing on veggies. I’ve got an Early Bird Turnip Beet that grows a huge red beet that will have lovely greens to munch on in the interim while I wait for the beets to grow. They talk in the catalogue about baking beets and carrots for the best flavors. I haven’t tried this yet but I intend to. I do it with yams all the time and they turn out so well. I’m sure the beets will do just as well.

I’ve also picked out a couple of varieties of carrots – a Nantes variety for keeping since they do it so well and an Oxheart for the same but I also picked out one called Dragon for it’s red skin that just looks so delicious I had to try it. I love root crops tho they aren’t always easy to grow for me. I’m still somewhat of a novice to veggie gardens as I haven’t had a place for it for too long but I do remember some things. And carrots do well for us so it makes sense to want a lot of them. They keep well.

As far as keeping goes, the best plants for us have been our yellow onions we buy from a local nursery in bags ready to plant. We’ve grown them for 3 years running now and the bulbs stay firm and lush all thru the winter and into spring. We have a whole bx of them in the garage just waiting for us to come to pick them to eat. They’re quite yummy and have a sharp flavor that goes well with strir frys and Mexican dishes. I love onions. They say they increase your sex drive but I dunno if that’s really true. Sounds good tho eh? 😉

I love eggplant and have had good luck with the Japanese variety in the greenhouse a year ago so I’m going to try some again. It’s a different variety and has a longer fruit so I hope they make it in time. I figure I’ll start the seeds of them now since they’ll always be in a sheltered place and that way I can increase the growing season. I’ve done tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse the last two years and had mixed results. The first year I got a tomato specifically for greenhouses and they did quite well.

The peppers did wonderfully. I plan to grow more of them this year but haven’t decided on which varieties I should try yet. I ate the ones I liked and didn’t save seeds, darn it, so will have to start new, but there are so many types to try. I’ll do OK I’m sure. I love the possibilities with all the peppers. And of course I like the hot ones the best. Ah well.

I couldn’t get by without greens and I intend to grow my usual Bok Choy, using one of the Seed Saver special varieties. I also want to try some Tatsoi which is an Asian green that looks to be quite tasty and has a rosette of rounded leaves and will form a nice head. I tend to just pick the bok choy as I need it and let the plants keep on growing rather than try for heads like the markets do. Maybe I’ll see if I can get some to head up this year, just for a change.

And of course I have some Red Russian Kale which looks to be beautiful and will last thru the winter and only get sweeter as it tends to do when it chills. Kale is so full of good stuff and it lasts so well in the garden it’s always nice to have fresh greens in the depths of winter and we enjoy it immensely. This variety it so lovely with its red veins and light green leaves, so different from regular kale with its darkness and full bodied leaves. These look like they’d be delicious.

I have so much more work to do still. I have to finish going thru the catalogue and finding out everything I’d Like to grow and then I have to get real and narrow it down to what’s likely for me to be Able to grow and come to a happy compromise. I’ll stil buy too many seeds I’m sure. I always do but then they do last for some time usually and I do keep them. In fact I still have some good seeds left but I may just do the heirlooms this year and see how they do.

It’s exciting to feel yourself a part of a movement to reclaim our horticultural heritage. I’m a member of the Seed Savers Exchange and get a discount on my purchases but if not I’d buy from them without the discount. I think they do such good work. Such essential work. I hope some of you decide to try to find them. You can Google them I suspect but I’ll give an address just in case. They’re at: Seed Saver’s Exchange, 3094 N. Winn Road, Decorah, IA, 52101. Look them up and check them out. You may find a whole new world of seeds to try!

Happy seed shopping,

Steve

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15 responses to this post.

  1. Don’t forget few red flowers. And I’m going to buy one (indoor) fern. Love ferns ! Hugs.

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    • Is your flower a zinnia? It looks like it could be. It’s lovely. I plan to plant a lot of red ones this year. It’ll be striking I think. Thanks for you comment dear. Enjoy your ferns.
      Hugs to you too,
      Steve

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  2. This is a wonderful post, Steve- I had been wondering where you were and now I know- you had your head buried in seed catalogs! I think using and keeping heirloom seeds is more important than ever; we need more varieties “out there” if we want to have any hope of surviving the changing climate and a possible catastrophic disease taking out the limited and narrow range of the hybrid giants- corn, soybeans, wheat, etc…along with the parts of the “scam” you related, there is also the fact that as much as they can, Big Ag makes their plants unable to reproduce themselves- so that you can’t save their seeds year after year, or rather, you can but they won’t grow. It took my husband and I awhile to figure this out, and now we try to use (and save) heirloom seeds as much as we can. We have gotten most of ours from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (www.rareseeds.com)

    Maybe we can arrange a seed swap?
    Thanks for once again writing and sharing,
    Mari

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    • Thank you for your kind words about my post, Mari. I’m so pleased to learn that you’re saving your seeds and have been growing heirlooms for some time now. I’m still somewhat new to it but I find it so wonderful to do. I’m really worried about the world seed situation and think that places like your heirloom seed company and Seed Savers are essential resources for us in the coming times. It could get scary out there if some crop failure came along and wiped us all out. It could happen and I’m really not a conspiracy theorist. But I still have concerns. That thing where they make the seeds so they won’t reproduce is evil in my mind. It’s cruel to take away a farmers livelihood and a gardener’s choices.

      I’m not sure if I have anything worth sharing but I’ll take an inventory and let you know what I have in excess that I’ve gown and saved. It’ll probably be flowers of various sorts. I’ll check. Thanks for the idea. It’d be a nice thing to do. Thanks again for writing me and staying in touch. Sorry it’s taken me awhile to write but I just have been busy and involved in life and some difficulties. But life goes on and seeds can’t wait… 😉 All the best to you.
      Steve

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  3. My favorite time of the Winter!

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    • Oh I so agree. I love browsing thru the catalogues and seeing what they have to offer each year. It always overwhelms me and I buy too much but that’s part of the fun, eh? Good luck in your gardening this year! All the best,
      Steve

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  4. I just ordered my seeds from Baker Creek Heirlooms and received them this past week. I can hardly wait to start planting outside!

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    • That’s great you’re planting heirlooms. Can you plant outdoors where you are already? Seems kinda early but if you can good luck. I hope your garden does great this year! All the best,
      Steve

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  5. I have never tried seeds. I don’t grow vegetables as there are too many varmits around here that would devour them-bunnies and moles galore. I tried planning last year Asiatic Oriental Lilies by bulb, as that is what I’m use to. That darn mole got every bulb even w/all the traps I put it and I tried old fashioned remedies I was told to try-putting grape bubble gum in his tunnels so he’d choke on it, to mole traps and even mothballs I was told to scatter around the bulbs. I was frustrated. This year I’d love to try Lilies again and need to find a mole proof way to plant them. Any suggestions?
    Also I bought at Meijer’s a Rosemary plant. I re-potted it a couple of months ago in that Miracle Grow potting soil that’s suppose to have nutrients added to it. I cannot get the darn thing to grow beyond the 1 stalk it had when I bought it, in Feb, and I love to use fresh Rosemary. I wanted to keep it as an indoor container plant to keep it safe from the outside varmits and from our dogs when they go out. OH, we also get a ton of deer too that a couple of years ago they stripped the bark off one of our tree’s. Grr. I love my flower garden but I’ve stuck mostly to non-bulb plants. I’d love to add more color with Perennials. But, any suggestions on the Rosemary potted plant. It’s got a lot of room to grow as I put it in a large terracotta pot.

    Thank you so much and happy gardening to you.
    Sending prayers and wishes for a pain free beautiful day.
    Julie

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    • Hi Julie,

      I seem to be lucky with seeds. I have tons of tomatoes and peppers and greens growing in my greenhouse right now. I love to see them grow…. As for your moles and bulbs…I’ve heard that people often put bulbs in “cages” of chicken wire to protect them from moles but I haven’t tried it myself. Worth a check into it tho. As for your rosemary, give it some time. It’s still very new and not up to growing much yet. Relax, it’ll grow well for you in that pot I suspect, tho sometimes it’s possible to put things in pots that are too big and they do better in littler ones till they grow some. Just a thought…. They’re beautiful plants and are also deer resistant as I recall. I hope you have good luck with it. Sounds like you enjoy gardening but have a difficult time of it. I wish you better luck in the future. There are books you can get that will help you with the deer problem, and there’s always Cougar urine if you get desperate. You spread it around and it scares off the deer they say. It’s available at some supply stores if you Google it to find out where. It might help you out some. Gardening is very good for your soul and I hope you’re able to take advantage of the solace it brings to pain sufferers like us.

      All the best gardening to you, and good wishes for a pain free day for you too,
      Steve

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      • That’s a great idea-chicken wire! I think that’s pretty cheap and wouldn’t need much. I can send my husband on a hardware trip, LOL. He’s usually going once a week anyway. I should probably go too come to think of it. I need some of those solar lights for my front sidewalk and I want to pick those out on my own. I want to add more plants to surround my Little Princess Spirea I planted last year. I did a memorial garden in 1 section in honor of my parents. Their ashes are buried in the very southern tip of Missouri and up here in Michigan it’s a long drive to visit a gravesite. So I did my little garden. My mom loved pink and my dad red. So I’m sticking to that theme for the most part but I’ve added purple and blue on the other side. Preen has become my best friend and I love watching the hummingbirds come there as I put out a couple of feeders and they love my ole honeysuckle plant. I thought I lost it last year but it’s showing new growth. I’d say about 80% of what I planted last year came back. I LOVE perennials.
        I might get another Rosemary plant and put it in the same pot. Maybe it’s lonely 🙂
        I agree-gardening is very therapeutic. I’d make time every morning to go out there and water my new plants, feed them and take care of the older plants. I had to water a lot last year due to the later season drought. I am inspired now. I’m going online to do some plant shopping and get ready to do more planting after Mothers Day.
        Thank you so much for the hints. Wonderful.

        Best of gardening to you and lots of pain free days
        Julie
        🙂

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        • I love your idea of a Memorial Garden to your parents. I have a special rose for my mom and a tree for my brother. I need something for my dad too but he was a hard one so I haven’t done it yet. Yours sounds great.

          I hope the chicken wire works and that your rosemary does well. It sounds like you’re really into the spirit of gardening right now and I applaud your efforts. Keep it up and it’ll help you feel better I’m sure, as long as you take enough breaks so you don’t get a headache. I have to be careful myself in what I do or I’ll hurt too much. There’s plenty of time to do it all if you relax into it.

          Wishing you well,
          Steve

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          • Thank you Steve. I was going to add a Red Poppy in the garden but can’t quite figure out where to place it. That was my dads favorite flower. He had one growing at the ole house for a few years until it died and he couldn’t revive it. But he loved that flower.

            For your dad maybe start with something that has his favorite color?

            Thank you again and sending you Blessings.
            Julie

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            • Choosing favorite plants is a good way to do a Memorial Garden, or any garden for that matter. It’s the first thing I ask a client when I help them figure out a landscape. I have some ideas for my dad. I’ll get something good going soon. Thanks for your support and suggestions.
              Best to you,
              Steve

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            • Steve, you’ve become a great online friend. I enjoy your posts and the interaction. Please let me know what you decide for your dad and I will let you know if I figure out where to put that Poppy Plant in honor of my dad.

              Blessings to you.
              Julie

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