Good seeds

22 May

The past week or so it has felt as if summer was at our doorstep.  We had several clear skies in a row (which is almost unheard of in Oregon until June rolls around).  However, the skies are grey again and the rain has returned.

I took some photos last week when the sun was out but am just now getting around to constructing a post.  It’s really hard to blog about gardening this time of year because the plants are growing so quickly.  If I don’t post photos the same day they’re taken, they’re out of date!

Until I get the chance to snap some new pictures, I thought I would post about some of the things I am most excited about growing this year.  We’re growing a mix of old standbys and new favorites.

Six seed packets

From left to right: Tom Thumb butterhead lettuce, Baby Blue hubbard winter squash, Chocolate Cherry cherry tomato, Little Prince container eggplant, Green Zebra tomato, Dragon carrot.

Tom Thumb butterhead lettuce – this has been a favorite lettuce of ours for about three years now.  The heads are small, compact, and super cute.  The leaves are delicious and the small size makes it great for edible landscaping or gardening in containers.  We’ve always purchased our Tom Thumb seeds from Botanical Interests but so far this year we’ve had a low germination rate.  We’ll be planting more as the season progresses and hoping for better luck!

Baby Blue hubbard winter squash – we had one regular hubbard squash plant last year.  The plant didn’t produce very much (in large part due to some user error on our part) but the squash was delicious!  We added it to soups and stews and I made a hubbard squash pie.  This year, we’re trying out this variety that grows “mini” hubbard squash, which should weigh in at 7-10 lbs.  Hubbard squash are supposed to store really well so I’m hoping we can use it throughout the winter months.

Chocolate Cherry cherry tomato – this is my first time trying to grow this variety of tomato from seed.  Last year, I picked up a Chocolate Cherry plant from my friendly neighborhood BiMart on a whim.  It turned out to be my favorite variety out of the 10 or so we grew last year.  This year, it’s replacing Sungold as our cherry tomato of choice due to its sweet but complex flavor.

Little Prince eggplant – these mini eggplants are an oldy-but-goody around here.  The bushy plants are great for containers, close quarters, or for adding a little interest to a landscaped area.  The plants produce beautiful purple flowers followed by small fruit, about the size of a fist.  We love to grill these and make them into homemade baba ghanouj.

Green Zebra tomato – last year, I acquired one of these tomato plants through a trade with our friend, the master urban farmer Emily.  This year, the variety was Nate’s number request for the garden.  They taste great and look pretty cool, too.

Dragon carrot – I’ve grown carrots several times before, but with mixed success due to our muddy, clay-heavy soil.  That said, when I saw these purple and orange carrots at the gardening shop, I couldn’t say no!  How fun are these?  I think these Dragon carrots would be the perfect way to get a kiddo to eat more veg.  I know at my house growing up, any food with a bad ass name was consumed straight away.

These aren’t the only plants we’re growing this year, but they are definitely the ones that I’m most excited about.  While I think there’s no shame in buying veggie starts from the store, there’s something really special about planting tiny brown seeds and watching them turn into big green plants.

There are a few plants that I’m excited about that I didn’t actually plant myself.  We do some DIY composting and last autumn all of our leftover tomatillo plant matter went into the bins.  As you might imagine, this spring we now have tons of little volunteer tomatillo plants popping up everywhere.  I’m not one to look a gift horse (or seed) in the mouth so I’ve been replanting these little volunteers and I’m hoping that they grow big and strong, and produce some good eats.

Now I want to know:

  • How are things looking in your garden?
  • Are there any plants or varieties that you’re especially excited about this year?
  • What are the super awesome plants that I should absolutely not miss out on?

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. 2012 tomato round-up, part 1 | Cast Iron Maiden - September 2, 2012

    […] are my favorite! We planted one of these guys last year and I loved them so much they were on the top of my list of “must plant food of 2012.”  We have six or seven plants this year, so let me know if you’d like to try some.  They […]

  2. Meggie loves veggies | Cast Iron Maiden - August 3, 2012

    […] just about to the end of our lettuce season.  In the foreground is the Tom Thumb butterhead lettuce I said I was excited about growing.  There’s a head each of Freckle romaine, red and oak leaf lettuce in the […]

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