Attack of the Seeds!
All of my seeds arrived yesterday! Except for the 25 pounds of seed potatoes, this is the supply for the year. I spent a lot of time going through my (brief) garden notes and my spread sheets, trying to get this year’s order pared down to the best varieties or the minimum number of seeds. I still ended up with the same dollar amount as last year though, likely because I can never JUST order the stuff that does the best (cough…melons). I don’t actually need to start anything until the mid/end of next month, but I like to look at the seed packets and arrange them in piles. It is amazing that this little pile will hypothetically provide enough vegetables for two people for a year. I’m still skeptical.
I have dreams of endless supplies of roasted red peppers but peppers rarely do well here. The best crop of peppers I ever got was the year I put them on the south side of our garage at the old house. I decided to do a pepper trial this year with three varieties of red sweet peppers to see what does the best, and I’ll grow them in the hoop house to get them warm enough.
I decided to grow fewer types of beans this year in the hopes of getting more usable yields from each type. I briefly regretted this choice over the weekend when I made my first pot of Good Mother Stallard beans (amazing), but I used the entire 1 cup of dried beans in one go (that variety just did poorly overall). This year, I’m trying to grow beans in each of the “basic” bean categories: fresh green (Maxibel french fillet); white (Hutterite Soup); pinto (Painted Pony); black (Midnight Black Turtle); cranberry (Tongue of Fire, not pictured). Pole beans did terribly, so I’m not growing any this year. I’m also trying the french fillet bean instead of normal green beans, because I’ve never once gotten a good yield of normal green beans.
As anyone who knows me can attest, my favorite fruit (or vegetable) is the tomato. Try as I might, I couldn’t limit myself this year. So what if we have 75 feet of tomatoes? I love them and we spend tons of money on them in the summer if I don’t grow enough. I figure it is worth it to buy the seeds if I’m going to grow 2 or more of the variety since a packet of seeds is cheaper than a single plant. As usual, I’m growing “Amish Paste” as our primary variety for preserving. I’m also growing “Gold Rush” and “Sweet Pea” current tomatoes, which I’ve had good yields from in the past. I couldn’t resist “Dr. Wychee’s Yellow” or “Paul Robeson” because Seed Savers Exchange hired Don Draper to write their descriptions. I’m trying out “Moskvich” as an early season tomato; at 60 days till harvest, we might actually get some home-grown tomatoes before the end of August. Seed Savers added the pack of “Cream Sausage” to my order, which makes me feel like a big spender at a casino or something. I haven’t decided if I want to grow it though since it never sounded particularly appealing. Mr. B thinks this is the greatest name for a tomato ever.
Finally, I am trying out yet another method for starting seeds. The soil blocks were an abject failure last year. I’m tired of using the flimsy 4-cell seed trays that you have to carefully arrange into a flat and are difficult to fill. These feel incredibly sturdy and look like they will be easy to fill with potting mix. Johnny’s sells them 5 for $15 (one has 72 cells and the other has 128), which makes them affordable and space savers. I plan to use the big ones to start tomatoes, peppers, and maybe cucumbers and melons. The small ones are designed for cabbage family, alliums, and herbs. Fingers crossed for better seed starting success this year.
I can’t resist ending this post with something my mother-in-law sent me. I thought of it again this morning when I was reading the backs of the seed packets aloud and Mr. B was ignoring me.