I’m behind on our garden planning this year, but I did spend a few hours this week checking out some new (to me anyway) seed varieties for our 2015 gardens. I get to buy for our home gardens and for the Project Eden Gardens too, so I’m like a kid in the candy store with the seed catalogs. I haven’t narrowed down what we’re going to buy quite yet, but I thought I would share some of the varieties that have caught my eye in case they catch your fancy too.
Urban Farmer is my go-to source for seeds – they’re local, super helpful, and like-minded (they’re having free shipping this week if you’re not local). A few of their varieties that caught my eye:
- Kikuza Zucchini: Look at how pretty those are! I think they typically sell these around Halloween as more of a decoration, and I can see why. The squash bugs decimated our pumpkin patch last year, so I’m only growing these if I’m more diligent about staying on top of the squash bug situation.
- Lucky Tiger Tomatoes: The kids loooove cherry tomatoes, so I always try to get a few new varieties of those to try. Their favorites are the yellow pear drop tomatoes, and these look similar but a little funky too.
- Carolina Reaper Pepper: Grant wants these. They look so neat, but I’m nervous to get too close!
- Calypso Cucumber: Very early and high yielding? Umm, yes please. My mouth is watering just thinking about my first cuc sandwich of the season.
- Yellow Crunch Watermelon: I’ve never had much luck with melons, but I want some of these bright yellow watermelons soo badly.
- Sweet Million cherry tomatoes: the description on these says outstanding yields and high disease resistance, which I think sounds perfect for the Project Eden Gardens.
- Magic Molly potatoes: The kids think purple potatoes are so weird and cool, and a there’s something extra delicious about a big batch of purple mashed potatoes.
- Valencia Hybrid sweet pepper: This isn’t new because we grew it last year, but it did so well in our home gardens that I’m hoping to grow a whole bunch of them over at the Project Eden pepper plot.
I first heard about Terroir last year listening to a podcast, so I ordered a few seeds from them after researching more into their company. We had great success with their seeds, and I love what the owners stand for. In addition, since my original order, they send out emails throughout the year that highlight new varieties, share gardening tips, and other helpful tips. Here’s what I have my eye on from Terroir this year:
- Cucamelons: “doll-house size watermelons that taste of cucumber with a tinge of lime.” That sounds like the perfect addition to some pico de gallo if you ask me. I can’t wait to see how these do this year.
- Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce: We love new kinds of lettuces, especially with “sharp tastes,” as this one is described. Plus, it’s in danger of extinction and is listed on Slow Food USA Ark of Taste (the Ark is an international catalog of foods that are threatened by industrial standardization, the regulations of large-scale distribution and environmental damage), so I can feel double good about growing these.
- Special lettuce blends: I got a few of these last year that I grew in our pots on our front porch last spring and fall. They were so easy, delicious, and pretty too. I have my eyes on that spicy greens one this year.
- Dwarf Jewel Nasturtium Mix: these went crazy in our garden last year, and I’m planning on growing them at home and at the Project Eden Gardens this year. They deter rabbits and other critters, have all sorts of health benefits, look pretty, and taste delicious too – almost like a cross between arugula and watercress.
- Morris Heading Collard Greens: We received lots of collard greens from our CSA share last year and loved it – we loved them in place of tortilla shells for tacos or just to spread some hummus on and eat as roll-up. This slow-to-bolt version seems like a winner since it can sometimes get hot here in a hurry.
- Box Car Willie Tomato: Grant and Jasper love stuff on the tart side, so I thought these might be fun for Jazzy to grow. A lot of our cherry tomatoes cracked last year out at the Project Eden Gardens (most likely from inconsistent watering), so these might be a good choice for out there as well.
- Chile de Agua Pepper: The description of this is “like a jalapeno but with more flavor,” so you know I’ll be growing these. And they’ve been grown in Oaxaca for three centuries, which is an extra bonus because I’ve been asking Grant to go to Oaxaca for ten+ years!
- Salsify: I tried to grow these last year, but I think they were out of stock by the time I ordered so I’m hoping to try again this year.
I mostly like to support Urban Farmer Seeds since they’re local (and support Project Eden too), but here are some additional seed companies I’ve ordered from and liked in the past:
- High Mowing Organic Seeds: When I first started gardening nearly ten years ago, High Mowing was one of the few exclusively organic seed providers if I remember correctly. I had good luck with their seeds, but since they’re based in Vermont, I noticed that some of their varieties are more geared toward the New England climate (which means that they’re cold weather crops are great for Indiana too).
- Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: It’s worth ordering from Baker Creek just to get their gorgeous catalog. I love their story (that family picture on the website is so great), and, more importantly, I love their standards for the seeds they carry. They have TONS of seeds and varieties, so consider yourself forewarned if you get lost for the next hour+ looking through their offerings.
- John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds: Scheepers market themselves to cooks with many unique varieties. I always try to pick something new from them.
What are you growing this year?
We’re hoping to grow some more fruits this year, so stay tuned for the research I’ve been doing on those…