Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Planning the Garden & Ordering Seeds

Is it a sign that I'm getting old and dull when I look forward to this time of year more for placing my seed order than I do for getting gifts?

I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to seed shopping. For the past few years, I have bought almost exclusively from Victory Seed Company. They have a really nice selection of heirloom, open-pollinated seeds - all of my old standbys and an ever-growing assortment of rare and unusual seeds as well. And, being that we intend to plant a garden roughly four times the size of the one at our last house (with plans to expand it further still in the years to come), well, I may have gone off the deep and a little with my seed purchase. But everything looked so good!

Here's what I've ordered (so far) - P.S. - Don't tell Bill about the "so far" part. ;)

Corn, Yukon Chief
Radish, French Breakfast
Pole Bean, Kentucky Wonder
Beet, Cylindra*
Carrot, Atomic Red
Carrot, Solar Yellow
Carrot, Little Fingers*
Cucumber, Homemade Pickles*
Kale, Russian Red
Lettuce, Merveille de Quatre Saisons*
Lettuce, Little Gem (Butterhead)
Lettuce, Cimmaron
Pea, Lincoln*
Pea, Mammoth Melting
Pumpkin, Cinderella*
Pumpkin, Small Sugar
Squash, Cocozelle*
Squash, Early Prolific
Squash, Burgess Buttercup*
Sunflower, Giant Greystripe
Mammoth Dill*
Daisy, Gloriosa*
Bachelor Buttons
Sunflower, Autumn Beauty*
Thickspike Gayfeather
Job's Tears
*Have grown or at least tried to grow in the past.

Notably absent are the more tender herbs (basil, etc.) and tomatoes which I have tried to start from seed over and over again, only to fail miserably. I will buy them as starts in April or May from my more capable gardening friends at the Farmer's Market. I also have not yet figured out how many and what kind of potato we'll try this year, though the girls are lobbying hard for the blue variety. ;) I've altogether given up on trying to grow my own peppers from seeds or starts, as their growing season is just way too long for Western Washington's unpredictable spring & summer weather.

With this extra large garden space available to us, we've come up with some extra-large goals for our garden. In addition to growing enough food to feed our family, I'm hoping to have enough extra to not only share with friends, family and food bank, but to possibly sell on a small scale at a roadside farm stand, along with our eggs if our hens should ever decide to commence laying them again. We're also hoping to grow a substantial portion of our critters' food, that being the corn and sunflowers, as well as the odd vegetable. Bill also believes that we can get a cutting of hay from the bog and back pasture when it is dry in the summer. I don't know the first thing about growing or cutting hay, but it sure would be nice to not be so dependent on the feed store for it. Especially since the quality of the hay seems to vary so widely from batch to batch.

I'm also excited about growing a small "cutting garden" of ornamental flowers. I have yet to learn what sorts of flowers presently grow in my new yard, but I'm going to supplement them with the likes of bachelor's buttons, dahlias and daisies. I've also chosen a slightly unusual plant called Job's Tears which is an ornamental grass that grows lovely hollow seeds which are used as beads. Cool, huh? :)

And so, the plotting goes on. What other fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers do you grow and recommend? What varieties of fruit and vegetables would you like to see offered for sale at your neighborhood farmer's market or farm stand?


  1. Excellent choices! I want to grow that green pointy cauliflower, oh man whats it called?? I can't remember but its awesome looking! I grew my tomatoes from seed last year, started them inside in a mini green house & they did pretty good. Despite my lousy gardening skills LOL!! I like to see different, unique things that I don't have growing in my own garden at farmers markets. and i agree with the girls go for the blue potatoes, they're so good!!

  2. I know the cauliflower that you;re talking about - Roman cauliflower or something?

    I haven't tried broccoli or cauliflower, or any of the cabbage-y type veggies, besides brussel sprouts, because in our region we have serious issues with ginormus slugs and cabbage moths that eat your veggies down to a nub.

    Yes, the girls are nuts for the blue spuds. When you boil and mash them, they turn a pale lavender. :)

    And you are not a lousy gardener! Your garden looked fantastic this year! :)