What Is In Your Seed Order?

Buying seeds here is not a quick process. First there's the perusal of all the seed catalogs, the dreaming and fantasizing with my garden porn. Then there's the marking of all the things I'd like to try this year, which would get me a seed order about 4 times bigger than I could possibly plant, even on my farm. Then there is the actual ordering, and the occasional banging against reality, like the fact that I waited too long to get that variety or this one. I'm winding up the process now, and starting to get to open the boxes of seeds.

For those of you who have ordered or at least planned, what's new on your list this year? What varieties or new crops have caught your eye?

I'm growing out bedding plants for the farmer's market, and one of the places I'm specializing in is container plants so I'm going to be planting a wide variety of small tomatoes, eggplants and peppers for market. I've also been mixing flowers and edibles in containers for years, and I'm planning on selling some containers that do the same - so I'm expanding my orders for things like dwarf sunflowers and trailing nasturtiums, along with the usual container mixtures suspects - flossflower, sweet alyssum, mini marigolds, etc...

Then there are the kids' gardens. Asher wants an all-pink garden, which is stretching my limits a bit - we'll be adding a pink cherry tomato from seed savers exchange, a pink flowered strawberry from Johnny's and of course, a buttload of pink flowers. Asher, who doesn't just like pink, but informs me he *is* pink, is very excited about this. Meanwhile, Simon and Isaiah are doing an old favorite - they are putting their two garden beds together to make another alphabet garden, with plants for every letter. I probably wouldn't have gone out of my way to buy Xeranthemum or false Queen Anne's Lace, but you got to fill in those Qs and Xs. I'm also psyched about a new kale - Pentland Brig that I bought last year but somehow forgot to plant. But a friend of mine had great results wtih it.

So what's new in your seed order?


More like this

Red Okra

eightball eggplant

squash, courgettes, tomatoes, beans, peas, mexican sweet and walking onions etc.

and then you have the experiments to keep things interesting....

Japanese red bunching onion

Lucky dance cucumber

maybe some hidabeni turnips

I am waiting impatiently for my Kitazawa catalog.


By Prometheus (not verified) on 27 Jan 2010 #permalink

Lots of beets -red, yellow, pink and striped. Orange Honeydew -the absolute best melon I've ever ripened in Zone 4 (although the seed does come from China.) A beautiful Verbascum that is related to Great Mullein - can't wait to see that one. And, just because the picture in the Seed Savers catalog was so incredible, Himalayan Blue Poppy (Meconopsis betonicifolia).

Also just received my order of The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman. Looking forward to really extending my gardening season.

A number of Missouri natives I haven't grown from seed before including a sedge, a rush, and flowers that do well in rain gardens. The Zen center I belong to has dug one to remedy a drainage problem from the next-door parking lots, and I have a small one to accept overflow from my rain barrels. Also more echinaceas, the taprooted ones which are medicinal but for that purpose I'll use the fibrous-rooted one. The taprooted ones are more delicate and more beautiful to my eyes, and they bloom earlier.

In herbs, Czech lavender and Thai basil (from Horizon Herbs) St. Johnswort, and elecampane.

I'm going to attempt to grow tea (Camilla sinensis, the plant green, black, white, oolong, and I don't know what else teas come from) and dwarf palmetto from seeds this year. These will be experiments in zone pushing. I'll probably need to grow them in pots and overwinter them indoors for a few years, then plant them out and protect them over winter. I'll plant them in the most sheltered and warm microclimate I have. I'm at the Zone 6/7 border.

In vegetables, I'm trying Egyptian spinach greens (a different plant from what we call spinach, supposedly makes greens during hot weather), Chinese sword lettuce (a different species than regular lettuce, supposed to be similar in shape to romaine), and some new varieties of tomatoes, peppers, melons, edamame, cucumbers, peas, lettuce, and Asian greens. With the lettuces I'm trying to extend the season a little farther into the summer. With the tomatoes I am trying a drying and a paste variety, and a purple heirloom. With the peppers I want to trial different bell and pimento varieties to see if they are more productive than the ones I grow now. I have had poor luck with melons so I am hoping to find at least one variety that can produce anything, now that I seem to have learned how to keep the squash bug population down (plant them late, like end of June ... still enough time to mature here).

I think that popcorn is the only new veggie we're trying here, although we're trying many new varieties as I have found a local seed company that refuses to deal with companies that produce GMOs. Hurray! Although I love Fedco, Irish Eyes Seeds is getting my business this year. They're just a few thousand miles closer to home.

Just the new stuff? Okay, that I have time to list:

Garlic Chives
Sun Gold cherry tomato (Yeah, I know. It's a hybrid; sue me.)
Lady Godiva oilseed pumpkin
Golden Detroit beet
Luffa gourd
Ostrich fern
two hazelberts
Bee's friend (nectary flower-cover crop)
St. Valery carrot
couple of new-to-me pole beans
couple of new-to-me lettuces
Yarrow, valerian, lemongrass, spearmint
three fig trees
Meyer lemon tree

It's gonna get busy here real soon...

Where are you getting seeds for tea?!?

As for newbies in my garden; trying different types of squash, melon, and cucumber, but I've grown them before, just need to find a good variety; two new-to-me varieties of tomatoes, as many herbs as I "am allowed" (I have a limited area I'm transforming to an herbish garden - thus allowed by space...), celeriac, rutabagas, a new-to-me corn, and hoping to find an old dill variety that my grandma used to plant.... haven't seen it anywhere, so I may have to go get seed from her garden this summer for next year. I'm sure there are more, but I just can't remember 'em all right now... Like Kate said, it's gonna get busy here really soon!


I did not enjoy the garden as much as I had hoped, mostly because I did not have as much time as I really needed. So I'm thinking of converting one bed permanently to strawberries, and in the other trying dry beans (cranberry and cow peas are singing songs to me), onions, garlic, and celariac root.

Two summers ago I grew scarlett runner beans in front of the deck, so they had a good 10' to go up. They did very well. I was going to try again last year, but they did not being in a container. I lost all those seeds that I saved! I see though that some of the dry beans are on a bush, so those will be part of the new items to try this year.

Although I've spent the last several years testing various veggies and varieties to see what works best in my climate, I can't resist the garden porn either.

I keep trying to grow spinach but I've never had the slightest luck with actually getting any before it bolts. Luckily, I discovered Swiss chard last year, and we LOVE the taste so I'm not feeling the least deprived!

The new veggies this year are Moon and Stars watermelon at DH's request; some zucchetta varieties of squash as the squash bug battles are a war I'm losing and I hear that these are much more resistant; kohlrabi on my friend's recommendation; spring cabbage; and sweet potatoes. I actually tried sweet potatoes last year, but I didn't get a very good harvest mainly because I planted them too late in the year.

I love this time of year! The possibilities are always endless!

I've decided to discontinue almost all OP heirlooms (with the single exception of old reliable Lutz Winter Keeper beet), and go with the most disease resistant varieties I can find. I know this is heresy, but since I have such limited garden space, I really do need to get good yields and can't chance losing a lot of my production to disease (as I did with my tomatoes last year). I really don't think that the seed companies are going to go out of business for a while yet, and even if they do, I just don't have the space to get into the seed saving thing.

Some varieties I'm especially looking forward to trying:

Cabbage: Multikeeper (Stokes)
Cucumber: Fanfare (Stokes)
Pea: Bolero (Stokes)
Spinach: Melody (Park)
Tomato: Keepsake, Sweet Chelsea, Big Beef, Jet Setter, and LaRoma (Tomato Growers Supply)
Winter Squash: Metro PMR & Tiptop PMR (Johnny's)
Zuchini: Payroll (Stokes)

There's more, but I'm at work and don't have my garden plans with me.

By WNC Observer (not verified) on 27 Jan 2010 #permalink

I planted Jerusalem artichokes several years ago - and they keep coming back! Similar to potatoes...

This is only my second year after a 12-year hiatus, so I'm still into basic stuff. But in addition to the peas, lettuce, Swiss chard, peppers, carrots, dill, and basil I grew last year, I'm planning to add sweet corn, beets, winter squash (probably Delicata), heirloom tomatoes (my son wants a purple one), and beans. For flowers and herbs, I hope to add more basil varieties, cilantro, oregano, zinnias, borage, and nasturtiums. I already have calendula and chamomile.

For new items:

Amaranth and Quinoa - its about time I get serious in regards to adding vegetable protein into my own garden!

Chioggi/a beets - always admired them, and finally going to give them a whirl. Anyone know anything about their sugar content and extraction?

Considering a few dwarf fruit trees in containers. Just considering... Any feedback?

Considering a few dwarf fruit trees in containers.

Dwarf Cherry, tasty pie cherries or right off the branch. Only hitch is flathead wood borer and you've got that licked if they are in containers. Pick up some rubber snakes to thwart the blue jays and they will 1/4 bear the first year

By Prometheus (not verified) on 27 Jan 2010 #permalink

Thanks Prometheus!!! Cherry was one of the items I was considering (well, that and every other tasty thing I saw in this years crop of seed-pron!)

As an aside Sharon, I would like to get in touch with you directly. Can you see my email from the admin screen and drop me a line with some likely times to hold a 5 minute chat? I know you are super busy, so would be happy to work around your schedule. Topic would be a speaking engagement.

I'm in the UK and have just joined the Heritage Seed library. My membership fee includes six varieties of heritage seeds to try. (such as Victorian Purple Podded Beans, and Red Flowering Broad Beans) The allotment has mice (v.big.sigh) so all the peas and broad beans have to be started at home. I've also been drooling over 'The Real Seed Catalogue' -- another good UK source of veges not available anywhere else. I did decide against the exploding cucumbers they sell though-- thought they might be too hazardous with small children about the place. No really. New to me this year are Cape Gooseberries. A fruit that's an annual. -- should be good eating if summer's not too much of a washout...

We're in our very first season of starting up a small permaculture garden, right in the heart of Brussels, Belgium. My husband and I are looking for mostly local and old perennials, such as:
eeuwig moes (should be thousandhead kale)
brave Hendrik (should be Good King Henry - haha, and I thought the Dutch name was funny; it means Henry do-good)
'eternal leeks', perennial herbs and so on.

For the stranger things: last year I grew stevia and epazote on my balcony, both were quite succesful. Also I tried edamame (the green soybeans you find at sushishops, delicious!). This year we'll add Jerusalem artichokes and Chinese artichokes, which are delicious and very hardy.

To complete the list (it's a bit difficult to translate all these veggie-names into English...)
tomatoes (siberian, Amish gold, orange king, roma)
aubergines (little fingers)
peas, sugar snaps
lots of lettuce
parisian carrots and a bunch of different coloured carrots
swiss chard
field mustard/mizuna, you know: the greens for cutting
some cresses
serrano and poblano chilies
red beets
black salsify
runner and other beans
and of course the obligatory herbs like basil, chives, thyme, oregano, borage, savory, lovage, parsley, aragula, dill, rosemary and what have you.

The first carrots are out already. Can hardly wait!

Not too many new things. With me planning to be out of country during the gardening season leaving just one person to do most of the gardening, we're looking at alternatives instead of additions.

Lipstick pepper
Derby Day cabbage
Franklin brussels sprouts
Red Iceberg lettuce
Romano Purpiat bean
Bountiful bush bean
Provider bush bean
Romanesco broccoli
Amish Paste tomato
Bloomsdale spinach

A word about beans. So far, I've had poor luck with any type of beans. Cow peas never sprouted, Northeaster pole beans same deal, Tongue of Fire came up but I only got a handful of beans before the season ended, Ireland Creek Annie came up but languished and I got a few immature pods. The only bean that grew well was Scarlet Runner and it grew luxuriously - but I got three immature pods off about ten plants for all that it bloomed its brains out. I am not giving up; I'm going to find a bean that will survive in Anchorage, AK even if it takes YEARS. Heck, if I can get corn to grow (Painted Mountain, two years in a row but started in the house), I should be able to find a bean that will. A girl can dream...

By Kerri in AK (not verified) on 27 Jan 2010 #permalink

Kerri -- the problem with your Scarlet Runners will have been bees, or more precisely a lack of. They absolutely must have bees to pollinate them. No bees = no beans. In my experience beans that don't sprout have been eaten by mice. It's worth digging around where you planted them and you may find that they've all either vanished or have nibbles out of them. My answer to this is to start them all in pots in our garden which has no mice (large local cat population) and plant them out when the original seed been has all shrivelled up into a new plant.

New to me this year, right? I decided to cut way back - keep it basic.

Hidcote lavender
White Russian kale
Pycnanthemum - 3 species
Provider Bush Green Bean
Blue Coco Pole Bean
Windsor Fava Bean
Hutterite Bean
Red Kidney Bean
Oka Muskmelon
White Satin Carrot
Over the Rainbow Carrot Mix
Olga Lettuce
Argentata Chard
Rainbow Lacinato Kale
Ventura Celery
Czech Black Hot Pepper
Early Jalapeño Hot Pepper
Chilipeño Hot Pepper
Canary Creeper

And, to be ordered any moment
Litchi Tomato
New variety of turnip - haven`t decided which one

Do the bush cherries, sand cherry and lingonberries count?

I was in the feed store today, and overheard a women comment "I'm getting these now, because last year they ran out!"

eep! So I grabbed a packet of Straight Eight cucumber seeds. We're growing them for a friend whose garden was destroyed in a flooded basement repair disaster.

I think we have pretty much everything else we need except non-GMO corn and potatoes.

By curiousalexa (not verified) on 27 Jan 2010 #permalink

Erika--Horizon Herbs offers tea in seed as well as seedling form. I've also seen plants at One Green World. I have two tea seedlings I'm trying to nurture along to bearing age; they'll be one year old in April, but they're not doing terribly well. The soil isn't really acidic enough, and it's not very well-drained.

well, I am a terrible gardener, so I tend to stick with the tried and true (starts - I KNOW). However, I always plant greens mix, radishes, beets, and carrots from seed. Last year I had good luck with potatoes, so I'm doing more this year. I love the Yukon Golds and the Red Bliss varieties. Also, this year we are expanding the orchard so I am planting six heirloom variety apples, a greengage plum, and another Lapin cherry.

We are in temperate Southern Australia and just coming into busy harvest time of our summer veg and fruit. Waiting on Quiona and Chia to set seed (have been eating leaves as greens). I am loving eating my Purple Orach, Amaranth and Golden Purslane all self sown from last season. Have also grown Mangel Wurzel, Yacon, Sorrel, Scorzonera, Shungiku and Burdock this year.
I sell veg/herb/fruit seedlings/plants at markets so am always trying new species and varieties. Gojiberry plants, Asparagus seedlings and Globe Artichoke are my best sellers so far.

I've already received my seed order from Baker Creek Heirloom, and planted two kinds of kale, mizuna greens, komatsuma tendergreen, red malabar spinach, mignonette bronze lettuce, and five color silver beet. For containers, I'll start two varieties of Italian peppers, three hot pepper varieties, and fish pepper. I got Chinese green noodle bean, poona kheera cucumber, applegreen eggplant, and Louisiana long green eggplant for later in the year, as well as chives, dill, and three basil varieties. Also bought a small indoor growing system for garden cress, pepper cress, and three lettuce varieties.

Almost everything has to be grown in raised beds or containers here, because there is little soil on top of the limestone. Too hot to grow most greens outdoors, for much of the year, though the malabar spinach and one of the kale types should be fairly heat tolerant.

yellow zucchini
green zucchini
crookneck squash
green beans
purple green beans

skipping tomatos and potatos this year since all my plants had lateblight last year. I'll buy those from the farmers market in town. It was just too heart breaking to lose 30# green toms to rot before they could be harvested....taters were small and mushy in ground....

By ctdaffodil (not verified) on 27 Jan 2010 #permalink

I have commandeered the dining room table for the Organizing Of The Seeds tonight. I cannot say enough nice things about Sand Hill Preservation and JL Hudson--their seeds are honest-to-FSM >90% viability, every single time. They are old-fashioned and require dead tree orders, but it is worth the hassle.

I have a new set of lettuces to mix: Mascara, Forellenschuss, Susan's Red Bibb, Crisp Mint.

Blauschokker peas are new for me. I never seem to do enough peas. Also got new onion mixes from Dixondale, which a friend who gardens in Maine assures me will do fine in New England.

Triamble squash, my fave Blue Ballet is not available this year, so we'll give it a try for a two-serving mini-Hubbard type.

The wheat I trialed last year is also no longer available, so I have to try different kinds from a new source--since I plant based on performance of smallish trial plots, it really frosts my tomatoes when suppliers stop carrying particular ones, especially stuff like wheat that I freakin' NEED. This year I'm trying out emmer wheat and, seriously, einkorn. Supposedly it's good in crummy marginal clay/rock mixes, such as New England is famous for, minimal fertilizer requirement. Also, it can be had from the USDA in event of emergency.

One of the popcorns I wanted was unavailable, so I'm trying a longer-season one. Don't have high hopes for anything that takes 120 days, but I generally trust the plant breeder who sent it to me on his recommendations, so will give it a go.

Big additions this year: mushrooms (oyster, lion's mane, shiitake, chanterelles) in the shady bits of the garden, hazelnuts as a hedge instead of fugly wire fencing.

Other than that, the usual, just a little light on the tomatoes and peppers this year due to last year's blight--they're going into containers to give the soil a break.

I'm trying Good King Henry (Els, I'm not sure how practical or possible it is to get seeds to Belgium from the US, since customs sometimes frowns on such things--if it's possible, I'll share). That's my big experiment, but my list is huge, too long to reproduce here. Asian and European greens, tomatoes, beans, roots--all the usual suspects.

And just when I thought I'd gone crazy enough, I got the seed savers' exchange catalog and found Brockton Horticultural Beans, a drying variety developed about 20 miles from home. Must. Order. Those.

Lora, are you getting the einkorn from the USDA directly or from a seed catalog.

Re:hybrids and heirlooms. I use some hybrids as well - when I've grown sweet corn (I mostly grow dry and pop), a few peppers and an early broccoli, along with the ubiquitous sungolds.


The University of Mass Organic Research Farm was working on which einkorn varieties were most amenable to New England Soil.

It has been a year or two but I think they were handing out free seed in exchange for reporting in different areas.

I will look for the phone number.

The mennonitish great grandmother always had a stand of black altenburger einkorn to bulgar and use in thuringer sausages.

I have no idea where she got it. She probably just invoked a Saxon god or something and it appeared. Those old Uradel women are spooky.

By Prometheus (not verified) on 28 Jan 2010 #permalink

Buttercup winter squash. I've always grown Waltham's Butternut and Acorn, but Buttercup gets rave reviews for flavor, so I thought we'd give it a try.

Also I'm going to try mangels (Colossal Long Red) for the goats and chickens, as well as both field corn (Trucker's Favorite) and popcorn (Japanese white hull-less) in addition to sweet corn. All of these will be new for us.

Only problem with the mangels here (intermediate yellow) was that we liked them as much as the goats, and so got some of their share ;-).


I'm late getting our seed order in (my mom started seeds nearly 3 WEEKS ago!), but the beets and kale I direct-sowed are sprouting. :)

New to us:
gourdseed corn
hulless oats
carrots (purple!)
a couple varieties of peppers

Besides Horizon Herbs, another source of tea seeds is www.seedman.com. I got a packet from both companies. You can also buy tea plants from Camellia Forest Nursery. This link will take you right to their tea page: www.camforest.com/Camellia_sinensis_s/34.htm
If I can't get the seeds to germinate, I'll try buying a plant. Heck, I may buy a plant or two anyway! The way I drink tea, I don't know that I can grow enough of it, but might as well try it and see.

Got my einkorn from Bountiful Gardens, but the USDA Germplasm system (GRIN) also has some in event of emergency, that I could try to cross with whatever is available to improve performance in my crummy clay soil.

Prometheus, Eli Rogosa's group also has various landrace grains available. That's actually who I'd go to before the USDA, but not everyone wants their grain selected for New England. Since I am only doing trial plots this year, I don't need a big quantity, the few packet-size batches I have from Bountiful will be sufficient. That project you speak of, they finished the wheat trials in 2009 and are now looking at getting local bakeries to use some of the varieties. Heritage Grain Conservancy says there will be seeds for most of the varieties tested available to the general public later this year or early next year--looking forward to trying out Red Lammas, although it seems that here it is notoriously sensitive to ergot infection...

In my previous post, I forgot to mention that I'm thinking of growing grapes again. I have some seedless table grape varieties in mind, but I can't help but think about some of the newer wine grape varieties. In the future we all face, cheap wine from California isn't going to be readily available in the East and Midwest, and if our water sanitation system breaks down, we may need something safe and potable to drink. John Michael Greer has talked about brewing as a needed skill for the future; I would add viticulture and winemaking as well. In addition to its vaule for drinking, wine has antiseptic properties (not all related to the alcohol content). I've grown wine grapes and made wine before. Some of it wasn't too bad (though some of it wasn't too good).

We're expanding in several directions this year. First, trying more mushrooms (summer fruiting oysters to go with our fall-fruiting variety, wine caps, and morels.) Then delving into some unusual woodies that we're starting from seed to go in the forest garden (honey locust, osage orange, and Korean stone pine.) Finally, branching out beyond the usual fruits and veggies to alpine strawberries, hulless oats, soybeans (labeled as edamame for fresh eating), garbanzo and urd beans (the latter for sprouting), Afghan sesame, Hungarian breadseed poppy, manna de montana amaranth, and temuco quinoa. It'll be an exciting year!

I'm very excited: I just got the members' seeds from the RHS for the first time (you choose 20 varieties and a reserve set off a huge list of seed saved from the RHS gardens, and they send you the packets once they're harvested and sorted) - mine are all ornamental, including some things you don't often see from seed (I'm terrified at the instructions for raising lilies from seed for instance).

For edibles, I'm trying to have a more balanced range of crops, so I've got several roots to try (I've had good luck with carrots and radishes in the past, but never really tried much else), and winter crops (mostly brassicas, but leeks and parsnips too) to try to keep the ground in use year-round. I fell off the legume wagon, though, with some climbing, golden-podded mangetout, and I swapped for some new drying bean cultivars (a white-seeded runner "Czar", and a small white-seeded French bean).

By stripey_cat (not verified) on 29 Jan 2010 #permalink

Your Asher stories crack me up. Have you considered growing some miniature pink popcorn for him? It's very pink!
I want to grow mangel wurzels, just so I can walk around saying mangel wurzel to people.

I just received an order from SSE (Seed Saver's Exchange) yesterday. My first from them! It was fun to read how to save the seed of the herbs and veggies I ordered. I have some tomato seed saved from 2 varieties a neighbor gave me last year. It will be good to see how well those grow, as well as expand the varieties of seeds I will now try to save.

Quinoa and Flax and an acre of various grains hopefully. Want to grow the flax and harvest the fiber for linen - get a feel for the process.

I'm horrible with the food porn - i can't resist trying new things each year, so the garden is quite varied.

Mushrooms - there's got to be something positive to come out of the logging that the landlord just finished on this mountain. all that fallen wood is just begging to be carved or to be plugged with spores.

even though we rent, i'd love to put in a couple fruit and nut trees too.

See? uncontrollable lust.

Most of the people really like gardening.I am sure they will really like this post because they will learn a lot by reading this article.