Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ordering Seeds!

It’s bitter cold and windy. My arugula finally gave up, and Wegman’s tomatoes are starting to look attractive (but not enough so to actually buy). It must be time to order seeds!
If you know my garden then you know how particular I have to be. I have no space for roaming squashes or rows of bush beans, so I make a list and prune it twice. The problem is, I can’t get away with ordering from just one catalog. Or even two. My list of favorites just won't mesh with the offerings of my favorite suppliers, High Mowing Seeds and Territorial. And a couple of “must haves” are not in either catalog! Sorry Jodi and Josh. So much for brand loyalty …

For example:
‘Beedy’s Camden Kale’ is the tastiest tenderest kale that I’ve tried. There may be a better one out there, but I’m not a gambler when it comes to kale. Only Fedco carries it. Fortunately, Fedco has other merits: free shipping for orders over $30, lots of heirloom flower seeds, and good prices. I'll get my order to $30 ... somehow.

Verde da Taglio green chard, from Seeds from Italy, is in my opinion the only chard worth eating. The reds and yellows look great in the garden, no doubt about it, but for taste ... I say go for the green. This is the only thing in this catalog I'm driven to order (although they do have a kale they claim is the tastiest ... tempting, but no) so I'll probably gamble on another highly-rated chard from another seed seller. If anyone reading this orders green chard from Seeds from Italy, I'll trade you some Beedys ...

'Loma' lettuce from Territorial, a Batavia, has been an absolute favorite for several years. It's crisp, long lasting, and a good seed producer. In fact I don't even need to buy seed because I always let a plant or two go to seed every year. But I do plan on trying a new lettuce, 'Two Star', also in Territorial's catalog. They have a chard, 'Perpetual', that looks promising, and I will certainly order my preferred Genovese-type basil, 'Aroma 1', which doesn't flower as readily as others, and 'Fortex' pole bean, really tender and a champion producer. Also, crimson clover, my favorite little nitrogen-fixer, and 'Mr. Majestic' marigold. So Territorial comes through!

Burpee is by far the most expensive seed catalog, but unfortunately it's the only one to offer 'Fireworks' gomphrena, which I must have. And as long as I'm ordering from Burpee, the Pot Luck dahlias are tempting. They also have 'Northern Lights' pentas, which I highly recommend, but only if you have access to a greenhouse.

I will not order tomato seeds, as I only have space for about three plants. I plan to buy starts from Eagle Point or Meadow View farm, because I know they raise them from seed. Last summer a southern mega-producer managed to inoculate the entire northeast with Late Blight by shipping infected seedlings to big-box stores. So live and learn, and buy your seedlings only from a trusted source!
As for tomato varieties, my sources tell me that 'Plum Regal' and 'Mountain Magic' are extremely blight resistant. Unfortunately I don't see them on the market. I will try to find 'Husky Cherry', the best container tomato I know, and 'Ramapo', a productive and very tasty mid-sized tomato.

It can make sense for gardeners to order seeds cooperatively, in larger quantities, and share.
So, what are you ordering?


  1. Hey Pam! Nothing to be sorry about for ordering elsewhere-if anything, you have given me some good choices to include in this year's trials :) Hope that all is well and that you have a wonderful, happy New Year. Josh @ Territorial
    p.s. we have a new container cherry tomato this year that is called Bitonto. It's super productive, compact, and has a very nice flavor.

  2. Good to hear from you Josh. You'll see my order soon!