Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Seed Stash

Admit it. I know you have one. Those seed packets you've saved over the years thinking that you'll plant them next year. Maybe you have a small paper bag in the basement or refrigerator.

I just found a packet of forget-me-nots in my sock drawer. How did that get there?

Seed packets accumulate just like any other clutter around the house. Somehow, I feel less guilty about not cleaning out my seed stash. I could grow something from these seeds. You can grow anything from dust and paper clutter except maybe more dust.

But, being the responsible gardener that I am--or at least try to be--I am going through my seed stash right now. With you!

Packet #1 Haricot verts (green beans in French) collected in fall 2006 from a friend who collected them off a few vines I gave him that summer. We concluded these may actually be Bush Beans. I have a planter box that is mounted to the fence that these can go in. Definitely worth a shot.

Packet #2 Cucumbers from 2005. No idea where I got these. They still look good. Worth a try? Sure!

Packet #3 San Marzano tomatoes. These I grew in the summer of 2005 and 2006. I bought the seed in Venice, Italy from a florist. There aren't any nurseries in Venice like we have here. Instead, you find racks of seed packets outside flower shops. I've been rationing out the seed. They get bottom brown rot if they're not watered enough during the season. But it's worth the extra effort since they make such a great sauce.

Packet #4 Poppy. These are a black, double flowering form that is quite striking. Poppies are easy to just scatter the seed and watch them come up so I'll hold onto these, too.

Packet #5 Beets 'Winter Keeper' from Ed Hume. These I acquired in the "free to a good home" seed pile when I worked at the Center for Urban Horticulture. I'm such a sucker. That was 2004 and I still haven't planted these. I had planned on sowing them late summer, for the last 4 years. But I've either forgetten, or I've run out of room. I promise I'll sow them this year! Promise!

Packet #6 Corn Salad from Ed Hume acquired with the packet of beet seeds. Hmmm...Its germination rate tends to be low according to the directions on the packet. Anything remotely salad-like will get slugs. This one is going in the garbage.

I was given several packets of seeds by way of a friend's mom from Heirloom Seeds in W Elizabeth, PA. They're from 2006.

I meant to plant them out last year, but once again I ran out of time and room. There were 20 packets. I narrowed it down to:

Walla Walla Onion--these take 100-125 days, but I can sow them directly in spring.

Mini Red and Mini Yellow Bell Peppers--I can grow these in containers.

Sweet Banana Pepper--I don’t have high hopes for these, but since I'm growing the minis, I'll give these a try, too

Certified Organic Utah Celery--the cutting celery was a success and these germinate in 21 days; hard to pass up.

'Cherokee Purple' Tomato--these are one of Eldon's favorites. Plus, it's less work than adding another apple tree to the yard.

I need to find my shoehorn before spring arrives. Otherwise, I'm going to have a hard time finding space for all these crops!

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