What a winter! Historic snow amounts and low temperatures. We have had 7 feet of snow in about three weeks (a foot of that this weekend) and are expecting another 1.5 feet Tuesday. Tonight it is supposed to be –6 °F (-21 °C) with high winds and –30 °F (-34 °C) wind chill factor. Brrr.
All of the seed orders are in and mostly delivered and safe inside. For those of you unfamiliar with suburban snow storms, mailboxes on the street are subject to being blown up by the town plows going by at high speed, throwing a plume of heavy snow that rips mailboxes off their supports and deposits them who knows where. The mere fact that my seeds have been safely retrieved and secured inside is a major accomplishment. The hell with the bills, my seeds are safe.
I am now working on the seed starting schedule, which is keeping me positive with all the nasty weather. Meanwhile, here is the planting list for Spring 2015, whenever (if ever ) it arrives. Seed vendor legend: BC=Baker Creek, DF=Dixondale Farms, F=Fedco, HM=High Mowing Seeds, J=Johnny’s, PT=Pinetree, R=Renee’s, SESE=Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, T=Territorial
Nothing new is planned, except I have given up on fava beans. Not enough production for the space and hassle. I will be planting the same varieties as last year, but I will likely reduce the amount of space devoted to bush beans since the pole beans are so productive in less space.
- Bean Bush Provider (PT)
- Bean Bush Jade (PT)
- Bean Pole Trionfo Violetto (PT)
- Bean Pole Romano Musica (T)
- Bean Pole Romano Gold Marie (BC)
- Bean Pole Fortex (PT)
Hope I can keep the rabbit or chipmunk that ate my beets last year away from them. Watch your fingers, there will be mouse traps in the beet patch this year.
- Beet Boldor (J)
- Beet Boro (HM)
- Beet Shiraz (HM)
I have never had Michelle’s problem of too much broccoli, while my wife believes any amount of broccoli is too much. I like the stuff and hope these varieties will be a bit more productive.
- Broccoli Arcadia (PT)
- Broccoli Fiesta (F)
- Broccoli Raab Sorrento (T)
I lack the space to grow traditional cabbages, so I limit my efforts to Napa and Choi. These varieties have done well for me and will be planted again.
- Cabbage Napa Soloist (PT)
- Cabbage Pac Choi Joi Choi
I guess I‘m insane because I keep trying to grow carrots, expecting the results to be different. Someday I may even get a few to germinate. This year’s attempt includes a new variety from Territorial, Eskimo. It is supposed to be good for overwintering. I guess I had delusions of pulling a few from a cold frame over the winter, but with 7 feet of snow cover, that will not work.
- Carrot Mokum (F)
- Carrot Caracas (J)
- Carrot Yaya (F)
- Carrot Eskimo (T)
- Carrot Nelson (F)
I am trying some new varieties this year. I love Summer Dance when it decides to have a good year, but the last two years it has been disappointing. So this year I will try Tasty Jade in its place. I also looked for a new pickler and bought both Monika and Homemade Pickles. Monika is a Polish variety that looks interesting. I am also going to be using Surround to coat the leaves to ward off the cucumber beetles. We love cucumbers so I hope we have a good year again.
- Cucumber Tasty Jade (J)
- Cucumber Monika (BC)
- Cucumber Homemade Pickles (T)
- Cucumber Richmond Green Apple (F)
- Cucumber Poona Kheera (SESE)
- Cucumber Crystal Apple (PT)
I have had so much trouble growing eggplant. Between intense flea beetle attacks and the weather, eggplant has not done well. I will still plant the Ping Tung variety, which seems to be a bit more tolerant and resistant to the flea beetles.
- Eggplant Ping Tung (PT)
The garlic was planted last October and is now under a 6-7 foot covering of snow. Hope it survives this kind of weather. The snow makes a good insulator, which is good given the low temperatures. I just worry about rot. I am happy I switched to seed shallots because fall-planted bulbs would surely rot. Garlic varieties, all hardneck, include German Extra Hardy, German Red, Chesnok Red, Duganski, and Spanish Roja.
Beedy’s Camden is my standard variety and is virtually indestructible. It shrugs off weather and pests and produces every year. This year I will also be trying Portuguese kale, Tronchuda Beira, as a substitute for collards. It is all the rage now, so I am going to jump on the bandwagon and try it.
- Kale Beedy’s Camden (F)
- Kale Nero Di Toscana (F)
- Kale Tronchuda Beira (as a collards substitute) (PT)
The Azur Star variety of purple kohlrabi is available from High Mowing Seeds this year. It is popular in Europe and I was blown away by the huge size and quality of the bulbs at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens a few years ago. I could not find a seed source then so am happy to see HM offering it. Of course, my skill at growing kohlrabi is matched only by my luck at growing carrots, so I may not actually get to eat one.
- Kohlrabi Azur Star (HM)
- Kohlrabi Winner (F)
I will be growing lettuce again in the self-watering planter on my deck. This worked very well last year and it was so convenient not to have to drive to the garden to get lettuce for a salad.. I probably have too many varieties, so will have to select from these.
- Lettuce Green Ice (PT)
- Lettuce Red Sails (F)
- Lettuce Buttercrunch (PT)
- Lettuce Marshall (PT)
- Lettuce Merlot (BC)
- Lettuce Little Gem (T)
- Lettuce Winter Density (PT)
- Lettuce Midnight Ruffles (PT)
This year I am purchasing onion plants from Dixondale Farms rather than starting my own from seed. The one exception is shallots. I planned to grow the Saffron variety again but Johnny’s was out of stock and I couldn’t find an alternative source. It appears Saffron is being retired, which is a real shame because it is a superior shallot. So I chose Conservor as its replacement and ordered it from HM because they offer free shipping. Those seeds are the one packet not safely stored in the house.
- Onion Copra plants (DF)
- Onion Red Zeppelin plants (DF)
- Onion Red Long of Tropea plants (DF)
- Onion Candy/Red Candy plants (DF)
- Onion Super Star plants (DF)
- Onion Shallots Conservor (HM)
This year I am going to abandon my method of growing short varieties in blocks. They always grow taller than the description and flop over into a mess that makes picking slow and difficult. I am going to grow them on a trellis, so I now want tall varieties. For snap peas, I’m going with the original, Sugar Snap. I wanted to try Green Blizzard snow pea but Fedco sold out early. So it is going to be Golden Sweet, an Indian heirloom yellow snow pea.
- Pea Snap Sugar Snap (SESE)
- Pea Snow Golden Sweet (BC)
I am growing many of the peppers I grew/tried to grow last year. New additions are Lemon Drop, Arroz con Pollo, and Hungarian Paprika.
- Pepper Padron (R)
- Pepper Ancho Poblano (purchased plant)
- Pepper Carmen (purchased plant)
- Pepper Revolution (purchased plant)
- Pepper Jimmy Nardello (BC)
- Pepper Yummy Belles (R)
- Pepper Stocky Red Roaster (HM)
- Pepper Jalapeno (purchased plant)
- Pepper Aji Dulce (SESE)
- Pepper Trinidad (SESE)
- Pepper Arroz con Pollo (BC)
- Pepper Lemon Drop (BC)
- Pepper Hungarian Paprika (SESE)
Territorial seems to have a lot of attractive radish varieties. The Bora King purple radish grew very well for me last year and will repeat in the garden. Starburst is a watermelon type and hopefully does better than the vanilla Watermelon. Dragon is a Chinese type with long red-skinned roots. Zlata, a Polish variety, did very well last year and will repeat.
- Radish Starburst (T)
- Radish Dragon (T)
- Radish Bora King (T)
- Radish Zlata (F)
Finally bought some Costata Romanesco seed from Renee’s, which is supposed to be an F1 hybrid that is far more productive than the OP variety. We shall see if it does as well for me in the NE as it does for Michelle in SoCal.
- Squash Zucchini Dunja (HM)
- Squash Zucchini Costata Romanesco (R)
- Squash Pattypan Sunburst (PT)
- Swiss Chard Orange Fantasia
- Swiss Chard Magenta Sunset (J)
- Swiss Chard Pink Passion (HM)
New this year will be Sweet Treats, a large pink cherry which Fedco is now carrying. I saw it at Tower Hill two years ago and it was a knockout. Hope it does as well for me.
- Tomato, yellow Sunkist (HM)
- Tomato, yellow cherry Esterina (HM)
- Tomato, plum Blue Beech (purchased plants)
- Tomato, Juliet (purchased plants)
- Tomato, pink cherry Sweet Treats (F)
- Tomato, Chocolate Pear (BC)
- Tomato, Jaune Flamme (HM)
- Tomato, Roma type (seeds from McKinley)
Added Royal Crown, a purple top, to my standards.
- Turnip White Hakurei (J)
- Turnip Yellow Jaune Boule d’Or (BC)
- Turnip Royal Crown (PT)