Tuesday, January 13, 2015


If you’re not a gardening fan, you may wish to skip this post! 

But if you are a northern gardener dreaming of warmer days to come, you might appreciate the mental pictures that come up reading through our list of seeds already ordered for spring.  Ready?  First off was the order from Veseys Seeds.

Red Zeppelin Onions
Kaleidoscope Swiss Chard
Minuteman Cauliflower
Mesclun Salad Mix
Bon Appetit Corn
Beer Friend Soybeans
Burgess Buttercup Winter Squash (with corn and beans as a 3 Sisters Planting)
Arcadia Broccoli
Jacob’s Cattle Beans
Napoli, Neptune and Bolero Carrots
Alexandra Peas (Shellable)
Sugar Lace Peas (Edible Pods)
Rumba Nasturium (Gorgeous color variation)
Golden Delight & Cocozelle Summer Squash
Tango Celery
Merlin Red Beets
Monte Gusto Yellow Beans
Blue Lake Stringless Beans
Painted Lady Beans (Supposed be a gorgeous blossoming vine)
Calypso Cucumbers
Early Jalapeno Peppers
Roma Tomatoes
Brandywine Tomatos
Cherry Tomato Mix
4 Gooseberry plants
Jersey Giant Asparagus
Purple Asparagus

Bird & Butterfly Wildflower Mix (for otherwise unproductive borders)
Solar Power Sunflowers (for Decoration and the birds)
Cheyenne Spirit Echinacea (Fabulous colors, and also medicinal!)
Happy Hour Portulaca Mix (For my hottest, driest spots)
Frizzle Sizzle Pansy Mix (For Kia’s balcony pots)
Zahara Raspberry Lemonade Zinnas (For our patio pots)

Then my old friend Richters Herbs sent me a catalogue.  So I perused and dreamed and picked out the best contenders, and sent off another seed order.

Edibles & Medicinals:
Gold Leaf Balm (lemon scented, for tea)
Dolly Basil
Purple Sacred Basil (for tea)
Siam Queen Thai Basil (spicy, anise flavored)
Bergamot (mixture of scarlet, pink, salmon and crimson flowers)
Borage (bee plant, also edible)
Calypso Calendula (one of the most potent, medicinally)
Faassens Catnip (the kind that doesn’t attract cats!)
German Chamomile (tea, of course)
Nelly Chives (both pretty and edible)
Common Comfrey (so pretty, and makes great compost tea)
Santo Cilantro
Mammoth Dill
White Pompon Feverfew (said to reduce headaches, and impart a sense of wellbeing)
European Goldenrod (for the bees, also used for urinary or respiratory infections)
Good King Henry (wild, perennial spinach)
Joe-Pye Weed (vanilla scented leaves, used for kidney problems)
Munstead Lavender (hardier and earlier than most)
Lovage (for soup stock)
Maralroot (metabolic and tonic effects)
Mountain Mint
Wega Parsley
Sweet Pink (edible flowers)
Prairie Clover (Navajo tummy remedy)
Styrian Pumpkin (super nutritious, oil useful like evening primrose)
Sweet Rocket (evening perfume, salad greens)
Roseroot (an adaptogenic, supposed to be hardy even in the Arctic!)
Garden Sage
Purple Volcano Sage
Seabuckthorn (hardy and nutritious berry shrubs)
Sunflower Seeds (these are the kind we will eat)
Wheatgrass (for sprouting indoors)
Shanghai Gojiberry (Chinese culinary and medicinal berries and leaves)

Golden Detroit Beets
Oriental Cucumber
Wasabi Aragula
Amish Paste Tomato
Black Krim Tomato

And I’ve saved the most exciting for last!  600 Shiitake mushroom plugs to grow our own mushrooms in the shade!  We’ll see how that little urban homesteading experiment goes. 
It sounds like a lot, but oh – the things I DIDN’T get!  My criteria for most was that the plant has to be an edible or easily used medicinal and/or a beautiful perennial in our gardening zone.  Then there was the whole concept of having to draw the line somewhere!  What was tempting but I left behind for others?

New England Asters
*Lime Balm
Bay Laurel (would have to be an indoors plant, only hardy to Zone 8)
Rose Scented Bergamot
*Lemon Catnip
Sweet Cicely
*Bob Gordon Elderberries (shipping for potted plants was too expensive!)
Wild Ginger
Violet-Blue Heliotrope
Horseradish (because it grows in the wild in our river valley)
Phenomenal Lavender (only came as a plant)
*Moroccan Mint
*Orange Mint
*Wintergreen Mint
*Bristol Cross Oregano (You should see the flowers! But only came as a plant.)
Rugosa Roses (because I already have a full rose garden)
*Rex Rosemary
Sheep Sorrel (because I’m unsure if it tastes like the sorrel we had as juice in Dominica)
Stevia (not a perennial in our zone)
*Orange Spice Thyme
*Wintergreen Shrub
Monkeyface Peppers (seeds were too expensive)
Opopeo and Emerald Tassels Amaranth (Where would I put it?)
Gac Melon (too tricky to pollinate)
Cossack Pineapple Tomatillo (have never tried it yet)

The herbs above that I’ve marked with an asterisk, I will buy locally if I get a chance.  I’ll be shopping for hardy kiwi and more hardy grapes as well, so will likely be checking out Apache Seeds in the west end come spring. 

I’m anxious to get started with planting some little seedlings.  The other day I sat in my big chair by the fire and made myself a sortable Excel spreadsheet of when to start seeds, planting instructions, and lots of space for notes for how things turn out. 

Then I found a link to Master Gardener classes at the Devonian Gardens starting next fall and I had trouble falling asleep that night.  My justification was that I would be a better food producer in our own garden and could volunteer to help with Regional Building landscaping projects when needed.  By morning, reality had descended once again and being honest about my priorities means that it would probably just be a big old distraction. 

So I’ll just keep reading permaculture books and pick peoples’ brains and do my best in our little plot of land.  With an occasional fantasy about taking a part time spring job in a local greenhouse!