Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Planting Season Begins This Week!

This Years Seeds for the Garden
All our seeds are now here, except for a couple that are on back-order. That's them, spread out on the kitchen table. Stuffed in the boxes in the back row are all the saved and leftover seeds from last year.

Think we have enough?!

I was going to list all the vegetables we want to grow this year, but that's 133 varieties not counting the asparagus which doesn't seem to be on the list for some reason (or the potatoes). Probably because I am trying to be in denial about the fact that we just spent $17 on 60 seeds. That's .28 cents per seed. Yes they are the fancy-pants Guelph Milennium. They'd better sprout, that's all. Anyhoo, I'll just mention some of the seeds I'm particularly excited about.

We've set ourselves up to do a 4 year rotational plan, with vegetables divided into Legumes, Leaves, Fruits and Roots (perennial vegetables obviously elsewhere) which all have slightly different nutrient requirements. There are 5 beds for each, and we have 3 beds of solanacea in the fruit section (chiles, tomatoes and eggplants) and 2 in the root section (potatoes) which we take care not to have overlap. It's a very easy system to remember; that's basically it although there are a couple of quirks; corn is a Leaf and not a Fruit, and garlic and shallots go into a Fruit bed late in the summer which becomes a Root bed the next spring.

So, amongst the Legumes, I have gone wild with the snow-peas this year. Four kinds, including Carouby de Maussane and Golden Sweet. We're also going to try asparagus peas, and Arikara beans. And many more...

With the Leaves, I'm most excited to try January King cabbage, Pink Plume celery, Red Bull Brussels sprouts and Tom Thumb lettuce. We've got about a gazillion lettuces, actually, not to mention a good selection of brassicas.

Fruits are where we go more than a little nuts: 27 varieties of tomatoes, including the tomatillos. Lots of old favourites, but we're trying some new ones, including Striped German*, Ildi and Principe Borghese**. But I've also succumbed to the lure of Collective Farm Woman melon, Green Nutmeg melon, and Kakai pumpkin. There will also be lots of zucchini, which is Mr. Ferdzy's favourite vegetable. Yes he's weird don't tell me I already know***.

Aaand with the roots, we've gone beety, with Chioggia, Crosby's Egyptian and Touchstone Gold. Also Goldana and Stielmus Green Top turnips, and Red Meat, Zlata and Blauer Herbst radishes. Still need to order some potatoes, although we saved some of last years harvest as seed.

Of course, most of these are not being planted yet. We're starting with the celeries, leeks and onions which can hardly be planted to early, to be followed by eggplants and chiles which are slow to get started and need a good run-up, and tomatoes will follow not too far behind. After that I think there will be a bit of a gap before the next round of things get planted. I need hardly say this is all in cell-packs under the lights in the library. Not outdoors; no.

*Actually, I grew it once before, in a pot where it could not produce much but what tomatoes it had I recall as being fah-bu-lous, darlings. And they looked perfectly respectable, too, unlike that ratty specimen. Where the heck did they find that?

** I've grown these before too. They are kind of nasty fresh, but the perfect tomato for drying, because they are so lacking in sweetness so that once they are dry they taste like tomatoes and not like tomato-flavoured raisins.

***About 20 of those tomatoes are his idea. He doesn't even like tomatoes. (Okay, cooked; but then why grow 20 kinds? Not, you'll notice, that I've stopped him.)


Marnie said...

Holy cow!

Ferdzy said...

Marnie, I know. We're nuts.

crafty_canuck said...

I am a first time seed started this year. I have ordered some lettuce, beans, peas, cucumbers, etc. All to be planted in containers as I can't commit to a garden site yet. Can you give me an idea of when I should start these seeds, recognizing when I will be able to bring them outside. I don't want to start to early and risk losing them. I am just looking for some help in regards to timing.

Ferdzy said...

Crafty, it will depend a great deal where you are, which I don't know. However, in general, lettuce and peas can be planted when the forsythia are in bloom and beans and cucumbers when the lilacs bloom. Tomatoes too, I would think. In most places this will be getting close to the end of May.

Check your seed packets. They should have more specific information, and will refer to the "last frost date" most likely. This is something you should find out for your area - googling should give you a reasonable idea.

Good luck and have fun with your seeds. They are mostly pretty tough little critters and if you give them sufficient water and light they should do their thing for you just fine.