Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The A List

Here's what we're ordering this year, where we're getting it from, and why we like it. Feel free to post your own favorites in the comments. We're always looking for new ideas.

Seed Savers Exchange

Baker Creek

  • Amarillo Carrot- Lemon yellow and very sweet and juicy.
  • Muscade Carrot- We're planting this one because it's unusual and intriguing, from North Africa.
  • Bouquet Dill- Tiny umbelliferous flower heads are ideal at attracting & sheltering parasitic wasps and nematodes (say what?)
  • Di Firenze Fennel- Small, sweet bulbs. Can't wait to roast these for a veggie pot pie.
  • Siamese Dragon Asian Greens- A unique mix of greens for stir-frying.
  • Bleu Of Solaise Leek- Hopefully this cold-hardy leek will get bigger than the American Flags did last year. Also it's French, so Kate couldn't resist.
  • Val D'Orges Lettuce- French butterhead. 'Nuff said.
  • King Of The North Pepper- Red bell pepper for short-seasoners like us.
  • Chinese Red Meat Radish- Look like adorable mini watermelons.
  • Bee Balm- Good herb for tea, but we're using mostly for bees.
  • Borage- Attracts beneficial bugs, also good for salads.
  • Chives- We're putting little patches of chives all over the yard. You can never have to many of these. They're also perennial.


  • Garden Of Eden Pole Bean- Tender, broad green beans we'll be training over a trellis spanning the walkways between our raised beds.
  • Blue Wind Broccoli- Even after last year's broccoli disaster, we are not deterred! This is an early version, a full 26-50 days earlier than last year's Romanesco. We also have some tricks up our collective sleeve for defeating cutworms: tuna cans.
  • Walla Walla Onion- Even though we feel like it's a copout to grow these from seedlings instead of seeds, these sweet onions are so worth it (we couldn't find the seeds for sale).
  • Evergreen Hardy White Scallion- Lots of these, since we use scallions almost every day in one form or another.
  • Ambition Shallot- A successful crop of these would be a huge victory, since shallots are expensive and sometimes the pickings are slim.
  • Calendula- Pink, orange, and yellow blooms to bring color and bees to the yard.
  • Nasturtium- The petals on these red flowers add spicy zest to salads.
  • Zinnia- A Persian carpet of flowers in autumn tones.


  • Genovese Basil- A must-have, the best variety for pesto and summer dishes.
  • Vietnamese Coriander (Rau Ram)- A spicy substitute for cilantro. Heat resistant and also makes a good houseplant.
  • Tansy- Great indigenous perennial and beneficial insect attractant. Leaves can be used for tea.
  • Rosemary- Well known culinary herb of much esteem. We'd like to find a hardy version that can overwinter here if possible.
  • Yarrow- Small, low-growing flower. Member of the aster family (asteraceae).
  • Angelica- Perrenial flowering herb that can reach 6 ft in height. Tolerates some shade, which we have plenty of.
  • Lovage- A tall, leafy green plant that can be used as a celery substitute.
  • Lavender- Fragrant, flowering evergreen. Zone 6-hardy perennials exist.
  • Oregano- No description needed here.
  • Thyme- Staggeringly diverse family of perennials with tiny, delicate flowers. Perfect dual-purpose, ground-covering herb.


Matt said...

Here is what I ordered:
(sorry for the hyperlink formatting)

Miller Nurseries

1 Adams Elderberries http://www.millernurseries.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=329

1 Family Berry Patch http://www.millernurseries.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=33

3 Prince Consort Black Currant http://www.millernurseries.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=300

1/2 lb. Shallots http://www.millernurseries.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=934

2 bunches Copra Onions http://www.millernurseries.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=916

2 bunches Mars Onions http://www.millernurseries.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=915

Johnny Seeds

Garden of Eden Pole Beans http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2376&item=2376&category=1&subcategory=350

Oliver brussels sprouts http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=155&item=155&category=1&subcategory=12

Diablo brussels sprouts http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2421&item=2421&category=1&subcategory=12

Marvel of Venice Pole Beans http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2377&item=2377&category=1&subcategory=350

Blue Wind Broccoli http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2812&item=2812&category=1&subcategory=356

Gypsy Broccoli http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2413&item=2413&category=1&subcategory=356

Storage No. 4 Cabbage http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=167&item=167&category=1&subcategory=720

Super Red 80 Cabbage http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=168&item=168&category=1&subcategory=361

Carrots http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=216&item=216&category=1&subcategory=368

Corn http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2266&item=2266&category=1&subcategory=380

Cucumbers http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2431&item=2431&category=1&subcategory=392

Arugula http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2891&item=2891&category=1&subcategory=399

Collards http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2116&item=2116&category=1&subcategory=411

Tadorna Leeks http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2092&item=2092&category=1&subcategory=32

Oakleaf Lettuce http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=426&item=426&category=1&subcategory=421

Caselode Peas http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2955&item=2955&category=1&subcategory=448

King Arthur Peppers http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2038&item=2038&category=1&subcategory=604

Serrano Peppers http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2894&item=2894&category=1&subcategory=687

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=Hungarian%2bHot%2bWax&item=585&category=1&subcategory=458

Carmen Sweet Peppers http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2993&item=2993&category=1&subcategory=459

Early Jalapeno Peppers http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=586G&item=586G&category=1&subcategory=456

Adirondack Blue Potatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2715&item=2715&category=1&subcategory=40

French Fingerling Potatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=French%2bFingerling&item=2608&category=1&subcategory=40

Kennebec Potatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=Kennebec&item=539&category=1&subcategory=40

Yukon Gold Potatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=Yukon%2bGold&item=532&category=1&subcategory=40

Charisma Pumpkins http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2262&item=2262&category=1&subcategory=466

Beauregard Sweet Potatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2469&item=2469&category=1&subcategory=656

Red Ace Beats http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=125&item=125&category=1&subcategory=354

Moskvich Heirloom Tomatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=756&item=756&category=1&subcategory=498

Green Zebra Heirloom Tomatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2276&item=2276&category=1&subcategory=498

Brandywine Heirloom Tomatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2845&item=2845&category=1&subcategory=498

Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=753&item=753&category=1&subcategory=498

Red Grape Tomatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2418&item=2418&category=1&subcategory=503

Celebrity Tomatoes http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=733&item=733&category=1&subcategory=495

Basil http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=911&item=911&category=205&subcategory=525

Purple basil http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=902&item=902&category=205&subcategory=526

Conquistador Celery http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2607P&item=2607P&category=18&subcategory=219

Celeriac http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=245&item=245&category=18&subcategory=374

Cilantro http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=919&item=919&category=205&subcategory=225

Cumin http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2931&item=2931&category=205&subcategory=229

Dill http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=920&item=920g&category=205&subcategory=231

Oregano http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=930&item=930&category=205&subcategory=263

Parsley http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2355&item=2355&category=205&subcategory=265

Ginkgo http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=777&item=777&category=205&subcategory=240

Sunflowers http://www.johnnyseeds.com/catalog/product.aspx?scommand=search&search=2688&item=2688&category=289&subcategory=290

Kate said...

Thanks for sharing, Matt. What zone are you in? That's quite a list you've got there! Alas, we don't have anywhere near enough space to grow such a variety. Do you grow for your own consumption, or do you sell at a farmers market?

It's great you're ordering all that fruit. We've just got strawberries and black raspberries right now, but we'd like to do more when we move to our next house. I've got visions of fig trees dancing in my head...

Matt K. said...

Hi Kate,
We are Zone 5 here in Ithaca, but I use cold frames and make-shift indoor green greenhouses to jump start the season.

I am just growing for my wife and me at this point on our little two acre yard. Maybe someday we will expand the operation, but for now it keeps me busy enough. My big foray this spring is into laying chickens.

I really like to grow my own fruits, but success has been limited so far to strawberries, gooseberries and black raspberries. I hope currants (native to this area) will take over.

If you have any lawn left, tear that up and plant your garden there. :)

Mark said...

Hi Matt, we've probably got a similar growing climate here in northern NJ, we're just a little closer to the coast. Do you have any luck with row covers? I'm still learning how to use them properly but we got some favorable results last year for some crops. I'm really impressed at the scope of your gardening, and your lawn aversion. We're tearing up some more of that this year, our best sun is wasted on grass. Kate and I would love to have some chickens, please let us know how that works out for you. Thanks for the comments, don't be a stranger!

Matt said...

Hi Mark,
I have six raised beds (12' X 4') that I plan to build knee-high hoop houses over this spring. I think I can pull it off with just some flexible plastic pipe and some clear plastic?
What kind of covers do you use?

I built a couple of cold frames out of used windows that I bought at a refurbishing store in town. The cabbages loved them, but so did the slugs.

Mark said...

We also have raised beds, seven 8'X4' and six 4'X4' planters. I used the lightweight row covers called Agribon AG-15 last year. I went with the next heavier grade this time because the AG-15 tore easily. I made half-moon shaped supports with coiled wire and put 3 per 8' bed; two at each end and one in the middle. They worked pretty well although I like the idea of building a larger mini-hoop house. I may jack the covers up this year by 12" or so. I found that the covers bunched up a lot in the corners and really inhibited the plants there. Also, some of the bigger plants like broccoli outgrew the covers I made quickly, they needed much more height than I had accounted for.

egp said...

Agribon row covers can be used

Mark said...

I'm a big fan of row covers, they have so many benefits. This year I'm doing 3' wide rows with AG-19 covers directly in the ground, no raised beds.