Sunday, January 16, 2011

Don't Call It a Comeback

We've been here for years, digging with our peers and puttin' weeds in fear...

Um, sorry about that. ANYWAY, technically this is only our second year at the farmstead, but we've been at this for a good five years now. I'll even venture to say that we're hitting our stride, but I doubt I could get Mark to admit to any such nonsense.

A new year, a new leaf. Lots of ‘em, hopefully. Mark's resolution for this year is to post less more often. A lot of his posts have been somewhat dense in the past; this is supposed to be a garden blog, not Ulysses. That being said, we're going to immediately break that resolution. It’s time for SEED LIST 2011!!!

We usually drop about $100 on seeds every year but we managed to cut it down to around $75 this time. This is because we saved a decent amount of (hopefully viable) seed from last year. And now (drum roll, please), we present the list!
  • Basil, Genovese - One word: PESTO!
  • Beans, Masai (Bush, String) - Long-producing delicate haricot verts. Yum.
  • Beans, Tiger's Eye (Bush, Shell) - We’re eating our first harvest right now, and it’s amazing. And the plants don’t need support--score!
  • Beets, 3 Root Grex - Comes in three exciting colors!
  • Broccoli, Fedco Mix - A mystery bag of brassification. Designed to mature at different times.
  • Calendula, Resina - A big producer of odoriferous resin. Sounds gross, but not if you’re a bee.
  • Carrots, Scarlet Nantes - We skipped carrots last year so we’re sticking with a powerhouse.
  • Chives - One can never have too many.
  • Cilantro, Carib - Promises not to immediately bolt upon seeing sunlight. We’re skeptical.
  • Corn, Luscious - The name says it all.
  • Cumin - Trying this as a pot herb.
  • Fenugreek - See Cumin.
  • Greens, Siamese Dragon - Adorable baby Asian greens. Been meaning to grow these for years.
  • Lavender, French - Probably won’t be frost-hardy, but we are going to try anyway.
  • Leek, Bleu de Solaise - Big success last year. A few poor souls may successfully overwinter.
  • Leek, Lincoln - Earlier harvest, longer shaft (heh heh, you said “shaft”).
  • Lemongrass - Pot herb 3.0.
  • Lemon Balm - Crown jewel of the much-anticipated herb spiral (more to come about that).
  • Lettuce, Cimarron - Red loose leaf for the “connoisseur” (scare quotes by Kate) who disdains the buttery head.
  • Lettuce, Tom Thumb (Butterhead) - Kate is always stalking the elusive butterhead.
  • Marigold, Harlequinn - Now performing in full sun for the first time ever!
  • Melon, Cream Of Saskatchewan - After being disappointed that last year’s melons weren’t that sweet, here we attempt to rectify.
  • Melon, Sakata's Sweet - Some of us like our melons Asian.
  • Nasturtium, Empress Of India - Chasing the flavor of that first big, spicy nasturtium Kate tasted as a child.
  • Okra, Burmese - Another sun-loving failure from our shadier past.
  • Onion, Stuttgarter - Long-day storage heirloom. So great we can’t remember why we ordered it.
  • Onion, Walla Walla - Scallions on steroids: a sweet bulbing allium that won’t keep. (We may have jumped the gun on the harvest with these last year).
  • Oregano - Needs no introduction.
  • Oregano, Zaatar - Just because this reminds us of the spice blend we love so much.
  • Parsley, Giant Of Italy - A necessity. Also a big hit with marauding wildlife.
  • Rosemary - Nothing quippy here; we just keep killing them every year.
  • Scallion, Evergreen - Can’t get enough of ‘em. We were harvesting these babies well into fall.
  • Shallot, Prisma - Feeling a little un-Ambitious this year (boooooo...)
  • Spinach, Bordeaux - Going for a bit of French terroir in Morris County.
  • Sunflower, Mammoth Grey Stripe - We’re finally able to grow these ten-foot beauties, which supposedly offer tasty seeds as well.
  • Thyme, German - Always seem to be running out of it.
  • Tomato, Green Grape - Although the Isis Candy variety has served us well for year, the spicy description of this cherry tomato was too enticing to pass up.
  • Tomato, Rose de Berne - Sweet, pink, round...wait, we’re talking tomatoes here, right?
  • Winter squash, Uncle Dave's Dakota Dessert - Even sweeter than Buttercup; need I say more?
  • Basil, Thai Queenette - Super fragrant and productive last year, originally from Johnny’s.
  • Borage - The bees went bonkers for the bombastically beautiful blue borage bouqet.
  • Dill - Grown for the flowers, since we’re not big fans of the flavor (except pickles, natch).
  • Ground cherry, Aunt Molly's - Last year’s surprise hit. Impressed everybody that tried them. Except the liars.
  • Holy basil - We usually grow this tropical herb in a pot, but the one we grew in the garden last year thrived. This year we’ll dispense with the pots altogether.
  • Pepper, Golden Treasure - Sweet, big, and thin walled. And slugs love ‘em!
  • Pepper, Hot Lemon - Obligatory and unique.
  • Pepper, Aji Dulce - Kate’s favorite pepper in the world. The sweet, buttery flavor of a habanero without the heat.
  • Pepper, Thai Bird - Managed to save a few seeds from the fruits of a 2 year old potted plant.
  • Pepper, Thai Burapa - The seed from these scorchers originated from peppers.
  • Peas, Green Arrow (shelling) - Can’t wait to see how these do with actual trellising.
  • Peas, Sugar Snap - We got a great harvest even though we neglected these poor springtime all-stars (thanks a lot, stupid baby)
  • Tomato, San Marzano - Perfect for canning and don’t spoil nearly as quickly as some other tomatoes we won’t mention...
  • Tomato, Gold Medal - New favorite, edging out dear old Nyagous. The fruit flies agree!
  • Zinnia, Persian Carpet - Nico’s big contribution last year, these were beautiful bursts of color popular with both humans and their apian buddies.
If you have experience with any of these varieties, please share. We’re also looking for folks interested in local seed swapping. Anyone know of organized groups in north Jersey? Anyone interested in starting one?

Stay tuned for potatoes and asparagus. Bet you can’t wait!