Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Time to Order Gardening Seeds!

This time of year I am overwhelmed with gardening catalogs. I get catalogs from the companies I normally order from and I like to look at those. However, I also get catalogs from companies I have never heard of! 

While I don't like all the junk mail, I usually do look through all the gardening catalogs.  It is addictive! I just love looking at all the vegetables and herbs and thinking about what I will grow this spring and summer. While I do save a lot of my own seeds, I always manage to find something to purchase!  This is what I decided to purchase for this year.
  • Popcorn. If you read my post on the goals I set for this year, you know that I want to grow my own popcorn. I selected the variety Chocolate Cherry. This variety grows two ears per stalk and is resistant to drought and earworms. When I went to order it, it wasn't available! The seed failed the germination trials! So instead, I ordered some very old heirloom seeds (pre-1885) called Pennsylvania Butter Flavored. I got these from the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. I like to order from this company because I know they grow everything in their catalog in the same hot, humid conditions I have at my house. Good service, reliable company. At this point, I haven't decided whether to look for Chocolate Cherry from another supplier or just stick with Pennsylvania Butter Flavored. I don't have room for both. If I plant them together, I won't be able to save the seed because they will intermingle. If I can find the Chocolate Cherry seed, I may plant them together anyway. I just won't be able to save the seed.
  • Green beans. I didn't save any seeds from my green beans last year. I did hit my goal of canning 51 quart jars of green beans, but didn't have enough left over to save any seeds! Not a problem, I bought more this year. I purchased two different kinds. I also purchased enough so I don't have to save seeds this season either. Again, with two different heirloom varieties, they need to be separated to gather true seeds and I don't have room for that. The first packet of seeds are called Bountiful from Territorial Seed Company. I really like this company. I have purchased seeds from them for many years. Good, fast service. These green beans are stringless. The second packet I bought are called Royal Burgundy Bush Beans from the Victory Seed Company. These are also stringless. (This is important at my house or no one will eat them!) I have also purchased from the Victory Seed Company for many years. Good, reliable company as well.
  • Tomatoes. I always save tomato seeds from Roma tomatoes. Roma are the most reliable tomatoes to grow in the south. Most tomatoes stop producing when it gets too hot. Not Romas! These things grow and produce at temperatures of 100+ degrees in my yard. Still, I am always looking for new varieties to try. This year I am trying a hybrid Roma type. It is a determinate. That means the plant stops growing when it matures and all the fruit ripen at the about same time. All of my heirloom Roma tomato seeds are indeterminate type. They keep growing and growing all summer long. The only thing that stops them from growing and producing is frost. I normally have indeterminate Roma tomato plants over seven feet tall at the end of September! I want to see if the determinate plants give me more tomatoes at one time for canning. If they do, I will switch to an heirloom determinate type for the future. I grow so many tomatoes, I may not notice the difference between the determinate and indeterminate plants. That is why I love testing new stuff! I got the tomato seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
  • Grains. I really haven't decided if I am going to try to grow grains this year.  (I haven't purchased the seeds yet.) I am thinking about trying my hand at Amaranth. If I do, I will buy it at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. If they can get it to grow, so can I!
Some of the new seeds have arrived at my house and some are on their way.  I hope they get here soon! I am ready to start my seeds. The new seeds will join the ones I saved from last summer: squash, tobacco, tomatoes, peanuts, peas, lots of different herbs, and onion sets. Mid-February is the magic date to start seeds where I live. I am not sure I can wait that long!

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