Got a lot of blackberries? Then check out this recipe for Blackberry Mojito Fruit Leather.

I'm not a huge fan of fruit leathers, but this turned out super good! And, really, you can't go wrong with blackberries, mint and rum.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Will work for seeds

YamatoIt's that most glorious time of the year when the seed catalogs start rolling in the mail here in the dead of winter. Okay, we are only a few days into winter but, after 2 weeks of snow, all my unprepared winter crops aren't looking so good. But, I digress.

Seed catalogs. You know you love them. The excitement of planning the next year's bounty is heightened by the glossy nature of the catalog pictures and, since we are far enough away from harvest, we've forgotten all the work that went into it.

If you read some blogs, there's a lot of fear of seed shortages this year since there's been an increased demand in growing your own food. This is due to the obvious rise is food costs as well as a renewed interest of people wanting better control of where their food comes from.

I really don't think anyone will be turning tricks for seeds anytime soon but, that said, you may want to get your orders in early. Just in case. I really was joking about those Yamato extra longs.

Of course, all this assumes that you have already planned out what you are growing next year. I can't say that I'm that well prepared yet, but I have a ton of seeds already.

How about you? Do you have your list of seeds picked out already? Anything new you want to try to grow in 2009?

40 comments:

Erika said...

It sounds like I plan in the opposite way... I get my catalogs, find what I want to grow, then plan what my garden will look like (or just figure it out on the fly... which is how I learn to not plant cantaloupe near potatoes...)

I've picked up a few seeds so far (black beans), and saved several from last year. I have saved seeds for fennel (from my grandma), dry beans (I've forgotten their name... but they're cute - cream and pink!), poppies, thai chili peppers, pumpkins (sugar pie), and rainbow chard. My in-laws have true heirloom green bean seed that my DH's grandfather brought out here (Skagit County, WA) from North Carolina, which his family had been saving for who-knows-how-long. I'm not sure I'll plant the pumpkins or chard this year though, and I know I'll have to plan out when to plant the black beans, no-name-pink beans, and my in-laws' beans so my dry beans don't interfere with their beans.

I was disappointed by a certain PNW seed company's catalog this year - way too many hybrids, so I might not order from them this year, which doesn't make me happy, 'cause I like the best of both worlds - local seeds, and a colorful catalog! I definitely want to try growing banana squash though. DH and I both want to plant a lot of herbs too. I'm also considering starting tomatoes from seed... or asking my in-laws' neighbor to help me do so - he starts tons of tomatoes in his greenhouse every year.

I'm just hoping we don't repeat our spring snow from last year!

--Erika

Mariella said...

i can't say i really plan what i'm going to grow each year. I just plant whatever seeds happen to come by me at the appropriate time of year. I am growing sunflowers for the first time since Mum grew them and I helped halvest the seeds when I was li,e 9. Only 1 of the siz plants is still alive!!

badhuman said...

I should make a plan but haven't yet. I bought my seeds already, tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, and peas. I'm also going to try growing a medicinal herb garden this year so we shall see how it goes. I'll probably get those started inside in January.

BeccaH said...

Well now that's interesting. Perhaps I will get on the ball and get the garden going sooner. We want to try potatoes this year, and I'm really wanting a blueberry bush (or 2 so there is success). Cucumbers are standard. I've got an Aerogarden that is successful but I"m planning to try my own seeds - perhaps those mini bell peppers? Strawberries? I'm still drooling over the glossy pages...

Farmgirl Cyn said...

Arugula, arugula, and more arugula..for a start. Would love to try my hand at potatoes this year. I think I will not be going back to my local CSA, so I really have to expand on what I grow here at home. The farmers market is a half hour drive from us, and just too costly to go to on a weekly basis. Home grown will take on an entirely new meaning this year!

Abbie said...

I've already ordered seeds. My in-laws gave us a gift certificate to Johnny's for Christmas, so I spent it right away! Fortunately everything I wanted was still in stock.
I also went overboard last night and ordered berries: saskatoon blueberries, red raspberries, white raspberries, purple raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, huckelberries. And a Meyer lemon tree to bring in and out. I grew up with raspberries, so a little patch with a lot of variety will be really nice. But then again this morning my mom reminded me how much I hated dealing with the brambles (cutting them off and removing them each year) when I was little. But mine will be a much smaller patch.
I'm also picking out apples, as you know Crunchy. I'm going to order 6 trees soon, since I'm worried that I won't be able to find the varieties I want and then I'll have to wait a whole year to get them.
I also want to put in a perennial wildflower/bird/butterfly/bee garden in my yard, but that's lower priority so I'll wait to order seeds for that until later on in the spring.

Abbie said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that I had a coupon so I saved $50 on the berries. I think that's what pushed me over the edge to order them!

Green Bean said...

I've been going through my seed catalogs this weekend. I hate to say it but I really prefer the catalogs with the color photos. I like Seed Exchange and Baker Seeds - the catalog for the latter is GORGEOUS! They are all open pollinated and mostly heirloom.

I have to remind myself that the beans weren't worth planting last year but there are so many interesting varieties. Potatoes did well for me, sunflowers, pumpkins and such. No luck growing lettuce from seed or, sigh, I'm embarassed to admit, radishes.

mnultraguy said...

We are researching our seeds/catalogs now. We are finding it an issue, as this year we are joining the ranks of Monsanto boycotters and most of what we used last year were supplied by a supplier that is owned by them. We are looking at Fedco and Seed savers this year.

Rosa said...

This year, I am cutting back on the actual garden and focusing on infrastructure - self-watering containers, water barrels (toddler-proof ones), and conquering the giant weedy perennial bed that gets all the sun in my yard.

So my seed order was really, really small - just tomatos, tomatillos, dianthus for my front flower bed, and some other flower seeds to start for May Day gifts. Oh, and a Seed Savers Exchange calendar ;) Other than that, I'm using up bits of old seed this year.

Di Hickman said...

Well I have seeds left from this years forray into veggie gardening, but I have seed catalogues and will probably buy some fruit canes, and veg seeds.


Green Bean - obviously I have your radish luck because if I grow ONE thing very well in my garden it's radish!

Rjs said...

We just got our first catalogs in the mail this week. I'm trying to put together my realistic list, as I tend to want to go overboard.

Thankfully my husband is willing to put in a garden this year!

Liz said...

I saved seeds for the first time this year and I got next year's seeds in the mail a few weeks ago. I'm going to try a couple of types of lettuce this year...although Green Bean's got me a little worried now. And I give up on peppers.

Peak Oil Hausfrau said...

I have seeds left from previous years - a whole crisper drawer's worth by now - but also am ordering Malaber Spinach, Butternut Squash, and Royalty Purple Pod beans. Maybe also some poppies. All from Territorial or Baker Creek seeds.

Like you said - I've forgotten all the work (and weeds and bugs and the mistakes!) and I'm just picturing the lovely bounty to come.

TheNormalMiddle said...

Could someone tell me the best seed catalogs to get? As of now I only get one, The cooks garden, which I LOVE. But I would like a few more resources to pull from.

Crunchy Domestic Goddess said...

I usually just buy my seeds at the nursery in the spring, but perhaps ordering them is a better way to go? Any thoughts on that?

I don't get any seed catalogs yet, and am wondering if I can see them (and order) online rather than having them mailed to me. I'd also like to know, like TheNormalMiddle asked, which catalogs are the best to get.

Thanks!

Greenpa said...

And NOW you're pushing PORNOGRAPHY, too!

Ah, the lush, ripe curves; the hard, firm...

Ha. You stand revealed, Frisky.

This year, Spice has agreed to NO MORE solitary indulgences in seed catalogs. The results are disastrous. She's only allowed to look if I'm looking too... as a mutual exercise, there are some possible benefits; but the dangers of addiction are still lurking.

Laurie in Mpls. said...

Living up here in frosty Minnesota, where the local garden centers advised last year to just not bother putting tomatoes in before June 1, I am at a bit of a loss as to which seed catalogs might be the best to order/use. Suggestions are not only welcome, but solicited! I am very interested in heirloom varieties, of course, and have a plan as to which tomatoes I might be putting in this year, but would like to explore other veggies in my (very small!) urban garden this year.

To date: The bell and red peppers have made a very poor showing the last two years, ditto the actual peas I put in last year (probably my fault with planting too late). The eggplant seemed to do OK, but I wasn't sure when to harvest since I couldn't actually tell when they were ripe! The bees adored them, though. Summer squash and zucchini were happy until the squash vine borers got to them, and we sort of had carrots coming out of our ears. :) Other cold season crops need to go in sooner, I'm afraid, since to date pretty much everything that likes it cool has bolted. The herbs were not particularly happy last year either -- I'm blaming it on lack of an actual *summer* -- and are mostly languishing inside the house now, waiting for it to be spring so they can go outside again.

BTW: anyone know what the little white bugs on my basil (inside) might possibly be? They FLY when I try to squish them. I'm considering that I need to give the poor thing an actual shower to wash them all off/away. And some of my rosemary has fuzz on some of the leaves. :(

Any help is appreciated -- I'm still very new at the whole gardening thing.... (But if I'm very lucky, the pumpkin seeds that hit the compost heap might actually sprout. I love volunteers!)

Sharlene said...

I ma going to have to plant things that grow in containers. Stupid concrete backyard. I am a country girl trapped in the city for now.

Latigo Liz said...

I was in McLendon’s the other day and they are setting out 2009’s seed displays already! Time to get out the seed starting tray and gro-lights I guess!

Robj98168 said...

I am going to grow fennel- and dammit as god is my witness- Broccoli (I have had no luck with broccoli). I also already have several varietis of tomato- need to get may ass in gear and make earthtainer planters. I already have most of my seeds. And i plan on making a potato condo this year as well.

Betsy said...

I second TheNormalMiddle's question. I've never purchased seeds before - where should I start?

I'm also curious for this community's thoughts: I'm in the middle of Barbara Kinsolver's _Animal Vegetable Miracle_, and she talks about 6 companies controlling almost all the US's (or the world's??) seed supply. Does anyone worry about this? Source your seeds from somewhere else? Use a seed bank? (sorta like a sperm bank, if we're sticking with the porno theme... :)

Maya said...

I can't wait to try out my "new" greenhouse, which I got freecycling (read: on the side of the road on bulk pick-up trash day). It is 6' x 6' x 1.5' and it means I can start my seeds earlier than usual and hopefully have better success than usual, too. Seeds and I just don't get along very well, unless I plant them outside, but every year I try, just the same! I have some fun seeds saved up from last year -- nasturtiums, yellow watermelon, edamame (soy), squashes galore...I don't get any seed catlogs other than Park seeds, but I love Seeds for Change, which is online, for heirloom seeds. I'd love to hear about more companies for organic or heirloom seeds. For flowers and landscaping I have had great success with live dormant plants and bulbs from directgardening.com. Anything that doesn't survive they replace, no questions asked. Their roses grow like crazy on my property, even though its all partial shade.

maya said...

oops, sorry, its Seeds OF Change (seedsofchange.com) not FOR

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Shannon

Alison said...

I love Territorial for my seeds. I've received a lot of catalogs over the years, but I find many of them to be rather confusing and just too glitzy. Territorial have both hybrid and open pollinated choices and some organic. They sell seeds in several sizes of packets and their sampler size is usually enough for me for 2-3 years. The catalog has good information on how to grow everything and they have plants, which you can order at the same time and they'll ship when the time is right.

As to what I'm planting, so far lettuce and radish thrive with me - with just a small patch I always have to give away to friends and neighbors. Onions and garlic also do fine. Beans, peas, peppers and tomatoes I've not mastered, but I'm willing to try again. I want to plant some fruit this spring, including rhubarb and possibly blackcurrants. Plants are more costly than seeds, but I'm venturing into permaculture so I will pick something out to try. I do have one grape vine, which grew so quickly that it killed the tree I intended it to use for support. Unfortunately the squirrels ate all of the massive number of grape bunches I was blessed with :-<

Gardening - planning is my favorite part, which is why I blogged about gardening three times this week!!!

Latigo Liz said...

Alison, I totally agree. Just got my Territorial catalog recently and have drooled all over the pages already.

Rosa said...

Laurie, I'm in Minneapolis too, and I have always put tomato plants out around May Day, give or take a week for weather. This is my 9th year gardening here and I've only lost seedlings to frost one time. Your gardening center must use a chart from like 1983.

I love the Seed Savers Exchange catalog, and they're a great organization. The local coops all sell Seeds of Change seeds, too.

And check out the month-by-month gardening book from the Minnesota Master Gardeners, it's really helpful - though again a little conservative about frost dates, since it considers the whole state and historical data.

Crunchy Chicken said...

As others have mentioned, I like Territorial Seed and Seeds of Change, both of which I can buy locally or online.

My favorite online nursery for fruit and nut trees is Raintree.

Kristijoy said...

There is also Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds( http://rareseeds.com/). I use them and Territorial.

Also check locally for seed/seedling exchange. people with trade with you!

curiousalexa said...

My problem is, I'm still in the learning how to cook from scratch (rather than from can) stage. fresh vegetables did not exist in my formative years! If it doesn't come with directions and a nutrition label, I'm mostly lost.

So I have no clue what to grow, and what to do with it.

Last year I got several eggplants (which no one else in my family will eat), some bell peppers that never turned red (and I dislike green ones), and the broccoli made very pretty tiny yellow flowers! I was going to try saving the seed, but never did. There are probably still some carrots in the frozen ground, but the bunnies ate most of the lettuce.

I'm feeling overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge. Hopefully Sharon's spring classes will change that! I'm too much of a perfectionist, in that if I can't do it perfectly, I don't want to try. I need to learn how to make mistakes so I can learn from them, and then actually *learn* from them! [g]

Crunchy, thank you for the boot of motivation. If I start thinking about this now, maybe I'll have a clue by the time spring rolls around!

Alana said...

My seed catalog came the day after our beans froze (and we were still harvesting). This was our first try & was a huge success. I'm sure I over-ordered, but there's so many tempting varieties! We got peas, beans, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, zuchinnins, other squashes and garlic. Also I got hubby fruit trees for Christmas (to be picked up in the spring).

Nature Deva said...

I've been looking over some catalogs already for our newly expanded garden space and new greenhouse we built with all reclaimed materials. We had a pretty good winter garden in a hoop house this winter and were planning on harvesting the majority of it 2 weeks ago on the weekend and then we got the arctic cold front early that week and woke up to it being minus 15 outside and our garden being frozen. Bad timing for us and the greenhouse was not planted yet. I've got sprouts going inside and am starting seedlings for the greenhouse now, too.

Our goal is to get the seeds ordered this month of January but I did save quite a bit of heirloom seeds from last summer so I don't think I have to order that much.

We also had a huge flower garden in the front of our house last year and now want to add some more medicinal herbs out front but I live on a busy street and someone actually picked something out of my flower bed last summer so I'm leery on actually planting tempting food crops for the passersby. I think I have to keep that in the backyard!

De in D.C. said...

I over-ordered seeds last year, so I'm hoping that most of those stored well. If so, expect chard, tomatillas, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts (which I never got to planting this year), carrots, potatoes and tomatoes (Mr. Stripey, Southern Nighst, and Sprite).

Oldnovice said...

I don't get the catalogs. I send (to) and receive (from) seeds internet acquaintances that I've met through the years talking about gardening. Also save seeds from year to year AND take advantage of the sales that Walgreens has every year (several times) for seed packets for $.10 each.

Started an indoor windowsill garden Dec 21 with spinach, lettuce, Italian parsley and cilantro seeds. Have sweet-potatoes growing in the bathroom and kitchen windows (getting leaves and roots to set outside after the coldest weather leaves), russet potatoes trying to grow in a plastic garbage can outside. Weather's not a problem for the potatoes, but I tend to forget to water them.

Stone Fence Farm said...

I mailed my order on New Year's Eve.

I'm going to take a shot at potatoes again(I have a vole problem) and also grow cabbage(for the nutrition punch)for the first time. I have hopes to get very serious about preserving the harvest this year.

Amy

jennconspiracy said...

I have so many seeds from last year - tomatoes and peppers and other stuff I didn't get around to planting.

It's January! I'll probably start my tomato seedlings indoors in about 2-3 weeks. I started way too late last year.

Molly said...

just wanted to make sure you know about valueseeds.com. It's a "factory outlet" for Thompson and Morgan. Mostly flower seeds, but lots of salad green mixes, squash, cukes, and suchlike, all for 99 cents or less.

Jenn said...

My garden plans are completely distracting me from starting my thesis! I have plans for an Asparagus bed, a melon bed (watermelon, pumpkin, winter squash, cantaloupe, honeydew), plus garlic, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peppers, carrots, potatoes and I;m sure I've left of a few!

kromeheart said...

Just a quick linky-link for those of you interested in Organically grown endangered heirloom seeds: http://www.twowingsfarm.com/. If you are at all interested in protecting the worlds food supply and preventing the extinction of endangered plant species then buying a growing heirloom seeds and then saving the seeds yourself for next year is the way to go. This company is base out of Metchosin, British Columbia.

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