Well, I went ahead and placed a seed order, so I guess I’m really committed to the whole garden thing now. I spent a little more money than I had intended – the total order was $45.70, but $6.50 of that is shipping, and $13.50 of that is rye, barley, and oat seed to plant kitty grass for Ellie (because they were sold as cover crops, the smallest amount of each I could get was 1 1/2 pounds).
I ordered from Pinetree, which has been my favorite seed source since back before Y2K. I like Pinetree because they’re a small, US company based out of Maine (so if plants grow there, they should grow fine here in Ohio). They operate organically, and have a no-GMO policy, which I really appreciate. They offer a lot of strange varieties of their seeds, including heirloom varieties. Finally, they have a sensible amount of seeds per packet, which means their price per packet of seeds is very reasonable.
Here’s what I ordered:
Vegetables and Herbs:
- Boothby’s Blonde Cucumber. This is a cool heirloom variety of cucumber that I’ve planted before. Cukes are delicious. They’re small, yellow, and tasty.
- Early White Vienna Kohlrabi. I’m sure I’ve probably planted this before, too. I love kohlrabi, but it’s always really expensive at the Farmer’s Market (and prohibitively expensive at the grocery store). I’d like to do succession plantings with this so I have a small, constant supply of kohlrabi during the summer.
- Pinetree Radish Mix. Again, I’ve planted this before, and it’s a lot of fun. Why get one variety of radish when you can get a bunch all in one packet! I’d like to do small succession plantings of radishes as well.
- Goldbar Summer Squash. This is one of only a few things I bought that is a hybrid. I’m normally anti-hybrid, because I like the idea of saving seeds, even though I don’t. However, all of the yellow summer squash that Pinetree sells are hybrids, and Travis doesn’t like zucchini, so I just sucked it up on this one. Anyway, the description for this sounds pretty good – 80 squashes per hill, 53 day maturing time, fruits carried high on the plant so they won’t get dirty or rot. Obviously, I just need to plant one hill of these.
- Red Marble Cippolini Onions. These are a small, red, flat Italian onion. They mature in 80 days and are supposed to be a good keeper. I’ll probably harvest some of these to use as scallions, too.
- Beer Friend Soybean. I tried to keep my order limited to things that I knew Travis and I would eat, but I couldn’t resist with this one. It’s a new variety of edamame from Japan. Apparently they’re used as a snack when drinking cold beer. You’re supposed to be able to shuck the beans and eat them fresh off the vine. I’m not sure about that, but I’m thinking about pan-frying them in some olive oil with a bit of kosher salt and cayenne pepper sprinkled on top.
- Cilantro Large Leaf. I love cilantro. It’s my favorite herb, but when we’ve grown it before, it always bolts. This year, we’re moving the garden so it gets morning sun but afternoon shade, so that should slow the bolting a little bit. I want to try to succession plant this as well.
- Pinetree Basil Mix. I almost didn’t order this, but I’m pretty sure Travis and I have a strawberry pot somewhere that we can maybe use to plant our different basils in. If not, I’ll maybe make a windowbox or something.
- Pinetree’s Kitchen Sink Mix. This is a container greens blend that “includes many greens, lettuces, chards, onions, and herbs.” You can start harvesting everything when it’s quite young, after 3 sets of leaves have formed. This seemed like a good idea to me, since I like having salads, and Travis takes some to work with him, but we normally wind up buying salad-in-a-bag, which frankly, tastes like cold, crispy styrofoam. I have tried planting loose-leaf lettuces in the ground, but unfortunately, it’s really hard for me to discern what is lettuce and what is weed, so I get scared and don’t eat any of it. Container greens seemed like the perfect solution. I’ll hopefully succession plant these, too.
- Softneck Garlic. We’ve planted garlic before and loved it, both softneck and then some fancier fall-planted hardneck garlic. I decided too late to get the hardneck for this year, but we thought we’d try giving the spring-planted softneck garlic a go. If this goes well, maybe we’ll order some hardneck for planting in the fall.
Flowers and Tall Things:
- Bellezza D’Autuno Sunflower. 6 foot tall stalks with many different colored blooms, from cream to mahogany.
- Earthwalker Sunflower. I think we’ve grown this before. 5-6′ foot tall stalks with earthy colored blooms.
- Kong F1 Hybrid Sunflower. I really, really want to have at least one freakishly tall sunflower. The open pollinated variety I’ve gotten before, some sort of Russian sunflower, never grew for me, so I’m giving the hybrid variety a go this year. They’re supposed to get 14 feet tall and also branches out.
- Black Russian Sunflower. I don’t think this was the type I tried growing before, but if so, oh well. The packets of seeds are only 95 cents. Allegedly gets 12 to 15 feet tall. I’ll believe it when I see it.
- Tithonia Torch. I love Tithonia! They’re one of the happiest flowers, and hummingbirds love them, too. They get big and branchy, reaching 4 foot tall with a ton of 4″ to 5″ blooms. Tithonia are awesome. If you’ve got the space and haven’t tried growing these, I would really recommend them.
- Podcorn. Along with the Beer Friend soybeans, this is my other weirdo variety I’m getting this year. I just couldn’t resist, though. According to the catalog, “Podcorn may be the most primitive type of corn still available. It will produce very variable ears ranging in length from 5 to 12 inches in about 110 days. A unique ornamental feature is that there is a tiny bit of husk surrounding each kernel in the ear. The color range is also interesting going from a very dark grey through various buff shades and on to a light white.” How could I not get this?
- Broom Corn – Mixed. I’m a sucker for Pinetree’s variety mixes,but more than that, I absolutely love growing sorghum. I think it’s one of the coolest looking plants around. There are supposed to be over 20 varieties in this mixtures. Sorghum is one of the few plants I’ve actually saved seed from, so I really hope these grow well.
So, besides the kitty grass stuff, that’s my order. The plan is to have a small garden area on the east side of our house for stuff like kohlrabi, cilantro, radishes, etc. Then we’re going to designate part of the ruins of our previous garden as the Tall Thing area, where we’ll grow the sunflowers, Tithonia, and broom corns. I’ll probably plant the summer squash right in front of that as well. The cucumbers will be planted where one of Travis’ hop plants never made it, so it will have a nice support to climb up if it wants. I’m not sure where the soybeans and onions will wind up going, but we’ll get it all figured out.