Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Stroll through the seed catalogues/February 22

To see who else is strolling this Sunday, please visit The Quiet Country House.

There's just nothing that will brighten up an end-of-February day (on which a foot of snow is predicted!) more than ordering the plants and seeds for next summer's garden. I stayed in New England again, as I did last year.

We were so very happy with our shallots that we got the same ones again this year from John Scheeper's Kitchen Garden Seeds in Connecticut.

Spring-Shipped French Red Shallots A good variety for novice shallot-growers, our French Red Shallots are amazingly productive; are easy to peel and dice and have an intense, spicy flavor. In the summer, when the top greens start to die back, they will yield shallots the size of chestnuts with coppery russet skins and purple pink flesh. Plus, they store very well, in fact, they can last up to a year when stored properly in a cool, dry spot (between 50 to 60 F). One pound of sets shipped to you in the early spring!

I only recently finished up last year's crop. I used them instead of onions in many recipes after my onions were all gone. Between scallions, onions, and shallots, I didn't have to buy anything from the allium family for many months.

Because we had such success with the leek and onion plants, I am getting them again from Johnny's in Maine.

King Richard Plants (Allium porrum) Remarkable earliness and length. Beautiful full-sized leeks. In favorable soil and culture, the white stems are over a foot long to the first leaf. Upright, medium green leaves. While not hardy enough for overwintering, it will withstand medium-heavy frost (32° to 20°F/0° to -7°C) without losing its healthy appearance. Popular since first introduced in 1978. We lost this great variety when our supplier dropped it. Now we have seeds from our own production. Avg. 50 plants/bunch.

Super Star Plants (F1) (Allium cepa) Big, mild white onions - 2001 All-America Selections winner! Widely adapted, day-neutral variety, Super Star matures well anywhere in North America from spring sowing. Suitable for fall planting where short-day onions are normally grown. Produces uniform, large, white-skinned onions with mild flavor and thick rings. Great for salads, slices, onion rings and frying. Not for long storage. Pink root tolerant. (Unit) 60-75 plants per bunch.

It would be cheaper to just start seeds under our lights, but because we grow so many plants, that would take up a lot of room. Instead, we'll be using that space for starting Peacevine tomatoes, lettuce, lavatera, sweet peas, basil, parsley, and zucchini.

From High Mowing Seeds in Vermont, I ordered: Peacevine tomatoes, Bloomsdale Longstanding spinach, Green Arrow peas, Genovese basil, and Old Spice sweet peas.

From Johnny's, along with the onion and leek plants, I ordered Music garlic, which we plant in the fall and have had great success with for a few years now. I ask myself why we didn't begin growing garlic a long time ago.

Music (OG) (Allium sativum) New last year! Rich, sweet, pungent flavor. Hardy and vigorous. Bulbs have tight, white wrappers with some pink shading. 6-8 cloves per bulb. A consistent producer year after year. Stores well after harvest. Organically grown.

I got a packet of one of Johnny's specials, Zephyr zucchini seeds, my favorite and the most successful of all we've grown over the years.

And from John Scheeper's Seeds: Sweet Slice cucumber, Ruby Regis lavatera, sweet peas, and cosmos, along with the shallot sets.

I happen to have a lot of leftover seeds from last year, so I didn't need to buy corn, yellow beans, parsley, sweet peppers, or lettuce.

June 29, 2008 - so green!!


  1. Nan, The descriptions all sound wonderful. I have to contemplate my seed purchased soon, so you've given me some things to think about.

    I really enjoyed this post, but most of all the photo. Oh doesn't that veggie garden look fresh, and summery, and beautiful?

  2. Nan, you just brought back a million memories for me! When we lived in northwestern NJ I couldn't wait for the seed and plant catalogues to come. Our winters were early and long when we had our farm. I would sketch gardens, plots and veggie gardens and dream about all the lovely plants I would have when the snow melted and the earth was warm enough to plant! Thanks my friend!

  3. Nan,

    You're not the only one to be doing the "Seed Catalog Stroll" as we eagerly await spring! My daughter, over at Farmer's Daughter, is also doing the same! I'll have to direct her over to your site!

    I just left her this message and thought you might enjoy it, too:

    Just read this poem, “Winter Delusion” in the Green Mountain Trading Post that makes me think of you and this post!

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “Been sitting by the fire tossing in some logs,
    just looking through some new seed catalogs.
    I made out an order every year
    and kid myself spring soon will be here.”

    “I send in my money and away it goes,
    thinking its arrival will melt all the snow.
    Every year I do the same old thing
    think ordering seeds will bring about spring.”

    Thanks for sharing your expertise on seeds and planting--and most of all--for sharing that lovely GREEN photo from your garden last year!

    Happy planting, almost!


  4. I'll be waiting to see what you order, Aisling. If I could suggest one thing, it would be the garlic. Oh, how I love having my own, plus those cool garlic scapes in the summer.

    Sherri, do you not have a garden down there? We used to make plans on paper too, but not anymore. I mostly go out and plant until I'm out of room. :<) This year, we are going to try some raised beds at the suggestion of Carol, at May Dreams Gardens.

    Ruth, I love this poem! Isn't it just perfect. Thank you so, so much for sharing it with me. I'm gonna save it. :<) I have no 'expertise' by the way. I just muddle along year after year, and sometimes learn something along the way!

    I sure needed to see some green, and I'm glad others enjoyed it too.

  5. Nan, Loved the garden seed review. I suspect I'm the lazy gardener. I wait for seeds and sets to show up at my favorite nursery and buy then. I used to catalog shop, but I don't garden like I did in my heyday. I too was encouraged to see your garden picture. Makes me want to go out and gather a salad.

  6. I'm longing to feel my fingers digging in the warm soil....
    Yesterday, I stopped at the library and came away with Tasha Tudor's Garden. Oh what an inspiration, I have been sketching and planning, and dreaming.
    Bought my first two seed packets of the sesaon Morning Glories, to plant across my new pickett garden fence.

  7. I am officially looking forward to the bounty of your garden!

  8. I loved this post Nan! To dream about gardening and fresh wonderful! I love to look at seed catalogs. We planted our very first garden last year and I'm really excited about doing it again!! Can't wait!

  9. Cloudhands, I go through the catalogues and mark what I want and then go online to order. You aren't lazy at all! If you can find what you want to plant locally then why not?!

    A Brit in Tennessee, oh morning glories! I've never been able to grow them, but have loved pictures of them. And how nice they will be on the fence.

    Tara, I'm psyched too!

    Staci, thanks - have you gotten your seeds yet?

  10. When I first started gardening, I got seeds from Johny's, but now I just get them locally. I don't start my own tomatoes or peppers these days, but I've been thinking about starting some flowers inside.

    I love your June garden pic. I don't have enough self control to pick just one to post. I have to do a series. LOL

  11. Green with envy, as now I've moved house I no longer have a vegetable patch and haven't yet decided where to put one. My plan is to see what comes up this year and concentrate on pots and baskets, to give me something to fiddle with. Happy dreams of harvest time to you!

  12. Looking forward to seeing how those seeds grow!

  13. Sue, we began with Johnny's all those years ago, and are still with them. :<) We've grown peppers only a few times, without much success, but the gardener is always hopeful so we'll see. The ones I have are supposed to be good for my locale.

    Call me madam, I'm so glad you wrote. I am SO sorry you shut down your blog. Please continue to stop by - tell me about your container adventures, and also what you are reading! Maybe you could start a brand new blog on say blogspot, for example? (she asks hopefullly)

    Doctor Mom, thank you! In my mind, everything is lush and productive. There are no weeds, no bugs, the weather is perfect. :<)

  14. Nan, I haven't shut down my blog! Though I haven't been posting much because of all the building work here. I don't know why you haven't been able to access it. A few posts have been locked to friends, but not all. Try this:
    Any luck?

  15. You're going to be a very busy lady! Promises to be a productive and again, a beautiful garden.

    Hard to imagine, with so much snow on the ground now...but planting time will come!

  16. Nan, we do have flower gardens here in Charlotte but no veggies. Our property is only 1/4 of an acre here and mostly the house is on it! I am going to put some tomatoes in patio containers this year. I'm also thinking of putting some cukes in containers too. I really miss homegrown veggies! I do however, go to the Farmer's Market every week and buy fresh veggies and they are wonderful!

  17. The image of the garden is wonderful. My country cottage is taking shape and if I could find a place for a small garden all would be perfect. Will see what happens.

  18. What a lovely way to spend the day. I'm so glad you grow sweet peas, they are among my favourite flowers, I hope we get some photographs of them in the summer.
    Another wonderful header photograph. What a brave dog, he should have a keg of brandy round his neck, or her neck!

  19. I love those catalogs also. Just placed the order and I have quite a few left also. Love the wading dog.

  20. Call me madam - I left a message on your blog about it. I don't know what's up! Thank you.

    Thanks, Margaret! But not ever could I be as busy as you!! :<)

    Sherri, I'll be so interested in your container plants. I have had terrible luck with them and I really don't know why.

    Ernestine, I bet you will find a place. You are a wonder!

    Carole, sweet peas are my favorite but I have spotty luck with them. Some years they are fine but most years they are terrible. But I'm always trying, each and every year to grow an abundance of that wonderful aroma. I love what you wrote about my Ben. He was just happy, happy lying in the snow.

    Layanee, that was a great adjective 'wading.' I loved it. He was enjoying the snow.

  21. I saw in the news tonight that New England got snow ~~ lots of it!
    I thought of your headliner and you didn't let me down! WOW!


  22. Bonnie, I just couldn't resist. I looked out this afternoon and there was Ben just lying there. :<) Thanks so much for writing.

  23. Nan, I used to try and grow sweet peas from seed but always bought a few plants as well. Much to my chagrin, the bought plants usually did much better. Nothing like a daily gathering of sweet peas to scent the house, so pretty too.

  24. Carole, I'm going to try starting some under the lights, and planting some others right into the garden. It is just the best smell!


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