2021 Seed Purchases

Starting sprouting peas, grown for their leaves

I’ve placed my first set of plant orders: from Fedco and Prairie Moon. I got these orders in earlier than usual because of the the dramatically-increased demand in 2020. I put more emphasis this year on getting non-hybridized seeds, because we’re still a little nervous about the supply chain holding up. We did more seed-saving in 2020 than I’ve done before: lots of cucurbits, and some lettuces which probably cross-bred. (But hey, we’ll still get lettuce from them!)

Allium seeds (like chives, onions, garlic) don’t last as long as other seeds, so my Prairie Moon order included two native perennial Alliums: nodding onions, and wild garlic. I already have chives and a row of Egyptian onions, which are both perennials and produce a lot of seeds (or top-bulbs, in the case of the Egyptian onions). Many other Allium species are biennials, so it’s rare that I get seeds from those.

There were some seeds I wanted that Fedco just didn’t have, or I knew I could get cheaper locally. I’ll be checking the hardware stores and WalMart for some cheap zucchini seeds, pie pumpkin, Brussels sprouts, and rosemary seeds, plus some more tomato seeds (Roma and Fourth of July). I’ll be buying an orange pepper at the grocery store for its seeds because the small variety I kind of wanted from Fedco was really expensive, and a hybrid, so I couldn’t even justify it to myself by saying I could save the seeds.

If I can’t find what I want at those cheaper stores, we are lucky enough to have a great source for less-common seeds right near us: Gardeners Supply Company. I expect to be getting at least the Malabar Spinach and some edamame seeds from there. Fedco sells edamame normally, but didn’t have any available when I placed my order. Those are delicious when steamed and salted.

FEDCO order:
295A — Blue Coco Organic Pole Bean, 1/2oz — 1 × $2.50 = $2.50
818A — Oregon Giant Snow Pea, 2oz — 1 × $2.50 = $2.50
826B — Oregon Sugar Pod II Snow Pea, 8oz — 1 × $6.00 = $6.00
1226A — National Pickling Cucumber, 1g — 1 × $1.75 = $1.75
1392A — Telegraph Improved European Long-Fruited Cucumber, 1g — 1 × $3.00 = $3.00
1504A — Saffron Yellow Summer Squash, 1/8oz — 1 × $2.00 = $2.00
2558A — Winter Bloomsdale Organic Spinach, 1/4oz — 1 × $2.75 = $2.75
2592A — New Zealand Spinach Specialty Green, 1/4oz — 1 × $2.25 = $2.25
2712A — Black Seeded Simpson Organic Looseleaf Lettuce, 1g — 1 × $2.25 = $2.25
3022A — Arugula, 1/16oz — 1 × $1.75 = $1.75
3159A — Gigante d’Italia Organic Parsley, 1/16oz — 1 × $2.50 = $2.50
3203A — Garland Serrated Chrysanthemum Asian Green, 1/16oz — 1 × $2.25 = $2.25
3335A — Speedia Brussels Sprouts, 0.25g — 1 × $4.50 = $4.50
3443A — Champion Collard, 2g — 1 × $2.00 = $2.00
3465A — Dazzling Blue Organic Dinosaur Kale, 2g — 1 × $3.00 = $3.00
3688A — Rosita Organic Bell-shaped Eggplant, 0.2g — 1 × $3.00 = $3.00
4140A — Amish Paste Organic Paste Tomato, 0.2g — 1 × $2.75 = $2.75
4250A — Sun Gold Small-Fruited Tomato, 20 seeds — 1 × $3.00 = $3.00
4471A — Flowering Thai Basil Organic, 0.5g — 1 × $2.50 = $2.50
4536A — Fernleaf Dill, 0.5g — 1 × $2.50 = $2.50
4592A — Lovage Herb, 0.5g — 1 × $2.25 = $2.25
Total: $57

I REALLY like Oregon Sugar Pod II, and don’t care about growing any other peas (other than “sprouting peas” grown for their leaves, because they do great in a windowbox in the greenhouse really early in the year–see the picture above this post) but I wanted to try the Oregon Giant to see whether it’s as sweet and tender.

Prairie Moon order:
Allium cernuum – Nodding Onion
Allium canadense – Wild Garlic
Asarum canadense – Wild Ginger
Cimicifuga racemosa – Black Cohosh
Total: $12 ($3.oo each)

All of the Prairie Moon seeds I ordered are documented as native to my area: either our home county specifically, or just a county or two away from our farm. They should all do well in shade, too.

Garden put to bed, but still some plants to harvest

Hon Tsai Tai, a mild brassica

So…it’s mid-December. We’ve had hard frosts and snow, and melt and more snow several times, killing off MOST of the garden, but not all. The kale and the Egyptian onions are still thriving and plentiful. There’s still a nice little patch of parsley, and some cilantro that needs to be picked because I doubt it will revive whenever the next warm spell comes. There’s some spinach and chickweed under a “solar plant cone,” which is a season-extender I first read about in the Solar Gardening book by the Poissons.

Parsley, mid-December
Parsley, mid-December

We also still have a small patch of radishes and Hon Tsai Tai under a larger plastic dome. Hon Tsai Tai is like a purple-stemmed, Asian version of Broccoli Rabe, but mild. I picked a sprig of it today, and it’s almost sweet. The frost has removed all of the sharp brassica taste.

Other than those cold-tolerant plants, mulch covers the garden. Under one section of mulch, next to the row of Egyptian onions) there’s a small bed of mâche (Valerianella locusta, a.k.a. corn salad, nut lettuce, field salad, and so on) that I planted at the beginning of this month, hoping for a nice little crop in early spring, when there’s not much else poking out of the ground except dandelion leaves.

Egyptian onions, mid-December
Egyptian onions, mid-December

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