It’s true, we’ve become a bit crazy about seeds — saving them and buying them.
When the seed cataloged started arriving in January and we started dreaming about the summer, we swore that we wouldn’t go too bonkers with buying new seeds. After all, we had saved up quite a lot of seeds over the past couple years. But what is that they say about good intentions? Well, that all goes does the drain once you start looking at the incredible varieties of vegetables that could be. But while we did end up purchasing what looks like a lot of seeds, we mostly just expanded the variety for several different crops, especially beans since they did so well last year. What we didn’t buy a ton of were tomatoes, because we certainly don’t need more than what we have, especially knowing that who-knows-what could pop up unexpectedly this year! So here’s a quick rundown of some of the new things were trying in the garden this year.
While we’ve had lots of luck with growing loose leaf lettuces, head lettuces, like Iceberg, remain elusive. We’re more than likely just not cultivating them properly, but we’re not ready to completely give up on trying. So this year, we’re going to try growing Romaine lettuce. Okay, so Romaine lives somewhere between loose leaf and head lettuce, so we’re cheating, a little. But based on the success we’ve had with large-leaf spinach, were hoping that Romaine follows suit.
Last year we had a really great Spring crop of radishes — Saxa II, the traditional kind with red exteriors and white interiors — and they were really delicious. This year we picked up a few different varieties of purple, white, and black radishes. They all remain in the globe-shaped family, as we have had terrible luck with long root vegetables taking in our soil, so we’re hoping for some nice results.
Adding to our pepper stash this year will hopefully be these interesting sweet peppers. According to Jung Seeds, this Planet Hybrid variety is parthenocarpic, which is a fancy way of saying the plants don’t need pollination to produce fruit. So the peppers that grow are seedless! We have in mind to try these indoors and outdoors to see which produces better. Though, as you can see with the seed count on the packet, this is a risky investment. Still, we just have to give it a try!
Last year our squash plants took surprising well to the yard, and we ended up with more zucchini than we could ever need, plus some butternut and acorn squash. It’s with those latter varieties in mind that we decided to get a couple more kinds of squash. More importantly, smaller kinds, since we found that we really don’t have the space for giant plants and giant squash. These little pattypan squash are sure to be cute…if they grow. Hopefully. 🙂
Okay, so we don’t know the first thing about growing berries, really. Especially berries from seed. We tried growing strawberries from seed last year, but they didn’t take. (And our strawberry plant was a plant when we bought it.) But the prospect of growing huckleberries seemed like another intriguing challenge. Frankly, we’ll be happy if we can get the seeds to take at all, regardless of if we get any berries. (Of course, if we do, we have to keep in mind that only the ripe, black, soft berries are edible. Anything before that is poisonous! Hmmm…wonder if the birds and squirrels know that…)
Like okra last year, brussel sprouts are this year’s “let’s see what happens” veggie. Ideally a cool-weather item, the package promises that we can start these in the spring as with greens, tomatoes, etc. So it would seem that we should be able to harvest them in the late summer or early fall. Either way, just trying is exciting enough for us. Can you imagine fresh, roasted brussel sprouts? Yum!
As this coming weekend is our seed-starting weekend, we’ll be back next week with an update on that process. So stay tuned!