Garden Daybook 12/27/12

To anticipate is to expect; feel beforehand; look forward to. Around two o’clock every afternoon, starting in late November I am that definition. You will find me hovering in front of our living room window, watching the road for our mail lady’s red car. Waiting. Waiting. Ahhh! Sweet anticipation. This year November 20 was the magic date. The first catalog to show up was Pinetree Garden Seeds. It’s delivery kick started my 2013 kitchen garden. Other catalogs soon followed, first One Green World, then Seeds of Change, and the last one to show up before Christmas was Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. I expect many more catalogs, but this short list gets my creative juices working. That is, if I can make the time to give over to their tempting potential.

ordering seeds

The hardest part of watching the seed catalogs pile up is that holiday busyness gives me little time to sit and peruse them. This year however, on December 18, I managed to find time to organize and phone in three orders. I always spread out all my stored seeds and read through notes I made while I gardened last summer. I make my “fantasy” lists first and then whittle things down to “reality” meaning what we can actually afford. I think about what I have, what I want, and what I need. My order from Seeds of Change arrived in our mailbox in three days, December 21! Wow! My order from Pinetree came the following day, December 22. Southern Exposure seeds were delivered on Christmas Eve.

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I always match the company’s list of what they say they sent to what is actually in the order I received. I trust the seed companies but every once in a while something is not quite right – maybe something just is not there or the wrong variety has been sent. One year I received two packets of a few things when I had ordered only one. In all my years of gardening I have had only had one bad experience with a seed company. When I checked what was sent in my order, one of the flower varieties was wrong. I called the company and they could not give me a satisfactory option. They finally agreed to send me a similar seed but when it arrived it was still not what they told me it would be. Wish I could remember the name of that company but I seem to have blotted it from my mind.

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My orders always include favorite varieties that have proven themselves successful in my garden. What follows is a partial list of my dependable choices:

Copra Onion – This, for me, is the best storage onion I have ever grown. Once cured it keeps all winter in a cold spot in our basement.
Redwing Onion – The best red storage onion I have ever grown. I have had Redwings store well into May of the following year.
French Breakfast Radish – Easy, dependable, and tasty. Not too hot. This radish has red tops and white bottoms – very French.
Bright Lights Swiss Chard – Gorgeous in the garden and yummy in the kitchen. Kitchen gardens should be beautiful and Bright Lights is art in the garden.
San Marzano Tomato – One of my favorite sauce tomatoes. Bears heavily.
Principe Borghese Tomato – Another favorite tomato for sauces. These are small, meaty tomatoes and when they begin to bear I cannot pick them fast enough. These are my favorite for dehydrating.
Table Queen Winter Squash – This is an acorn squash and my families favorite winter squash. This stores well over the winter.
Tango Celery – This is the first celery that has grown successfully in my garden. The plants grow to 3 feet, are tender and sweet. Beautiful in the garden.

I also like to try a few new things in my garden every summer. Below is my list, so far, for 2013:

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Goldgelber Purslane – Purslane is a new green for me. I know I can forage on our property for local, wild purslane but I wanted to try a named variety.
Alpine Strawberry – White Soul – I already have red and yellow alpine strawberries in my garden and I am so glad to have found a white variety. I hope it is as sweet as the red and yellow ones.
Golden Beet – I love beets and love the idea of a plate of mixed color beets.
Windsor Fava Bean – I have never grown fava beans but love them in salads. The seed packet says they have an “interesting” flavor. We shall see!
Tejas F¹ Sweet Pepper – This is a sweet, “flavorful” red pepper. I love sweet peppers. I eat them right in the garden like apples, so when I saw the picure of this beautiful pepper I could not resist.
Veronica F¹ Cauliflower – I keep seeing pictures of this Italian Cauliflower in garden books and cookbooks and I could not resist trying it. It is a gorgeous chartreuse color and looks sort of like a loose cauliflower.

I hope my lists encourage you to get your 2013 garden started, at least on paper. I hope you try some of my favorite varieties and that you add a few new things to your seed orders. It’s a new year (almost!) and the days are already getting longer. Starting your garden plans early will allow you time to have fun with the planning stage. Start with fantasy ideas and work your way to reality gardening. It’s all fun!

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin

 

 

 

 

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