New Seeds for 2011

Leek Seedling

I order my seeds a month ago, but I'm running a bit late this year and only just planted them last week. This evening I checked the soil in the garden and, even after a snow on Monday, the temperature registered nearly 60F. So it would appear that spring is nearly upon us, hinting at the harvest to come.

This evening was actually my first harvest of the year, though I must admit I cheated. I pulled this cup or so of lettuce from the cold frame:

Winter lettuce

Yes, the lettuce survived throughout the entire winter in the cold frame. Through the snow and ice and 0F temperatures. Some minor burning from the frost (and heat, as the temperature has warmed), but the cold frame continues to be one of the best investments we've made into this garden.

Speaking of investment, I bought quite a lot of seeds this year, due in part to all the expired seed packets in my stash. I was unable to keep to my $50 minimum, but I didn't go too far over.

Here's this year's haul:

From Pinetree Garden Seeds

Arugula (Roquette)
Beet, "Detroit Red"
Cauliflower, "Amazing"
Cucumber, "Miniature White"
Melon, "True Charenais"
Parsley, "Prezzmelo Gigante d'Italia"
Pumpkin, "Musquee de Provence"
Rutabaga, "Wilhelmsburger"
Spinach, "Bloomsdale Long Standing"
Summer Squash, "Striata d'Italia"
Sweet Pepper, "California Wonder"
Swiss Chard, "Fordhook"

From Seed Savers Exchange
Foxglove, "Giant Spotted"
Leek, "Giant Musselburgh"
Hot Pepper, "Fish"

From Territorial Seed Company
Basil, "Aroma"
Broccoli, "Purple Peacock" (actually a sprouting broccoli/kale cross)
Hot Pepper, "Mulato Isleno"
Lettuce, "Jericho"
Shell Peas, "Canoe"

As usual, I stuck with my favorite mail order seed companies, Territorial and Pinetree. A couple of years ago, I tried some seeds from John Scheeper's, which are beautifully packaged and of good quality, but much like Burpee their prices tend to run a bit high for my taste. I looked into a few other companies and finally decided to try some seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, who do much to support plant diversity, a cause that interests me a great deal. Not only that, they're currently selling the "Fish" variety of hot pepper I've been itching to get my hands on for a few years now.

I believe the "Aroma" basil is an F1 hybrid, but otherwise I stuck with open-pollinated varieties, from which I can collect seed and grow more plants that will remain true to type.

The melons and pumpkins are not something I'll be able to grow in my boxes, but I believe they'll work out nicely in the border among the flowers and herbs. Another of my goals this year was to try interesting/exotic varieties I've not yet tried, along with certain plants that I've yet to grow, such as leeks and rutabaga. Additionally, I looked for multi-purpose plants (like the rutabaga or the "Purple Peacock" sprouting broccoli) and plants with long production seasons (such as the heat-tolerant "Jericho" lettuce or Swiss chard).

The soil outside appears to be warm enough that I can start the peas this weekend. With the right planning, I should be able to harvest from my vegetable garden in another month or so. Without the cold frame, of course.

What will you be growing this year?