It took awhile for me to figure out what to plant this year. I had my usual catalogue favorites arrive in the mail: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds, Seeds of Change, and Kitazawa Seeds.
I am easily distracted by color photos and irresistible descriptions as I peruse each catalogue. And Seeds of Change has sent me a couple already making it really hard to decide what to grow.
Kitazawa saved me this year. The simple, yet informative catalogue, with a few sketches of selected veggies helped me decide what seeds I'll be starting this season. I also made a promise to myself to not grow anything that requires more than 75 days of maturity.
Of course, I made a few exceptions. Plus, promised are meant to be broken, right? I had success with Odoriko tomatoes a couple of years ago and they were so tasty that I decided to grow them again. And I bought my seed from Kitazawa then as well.
When traveling in Hong Kong in December, I came across the Giant Cape Gooseberry, or Poha Berry. These fruits are orange-yellow, the size of a large grape, and topped with a papery husk. They taste like a mixture of pineapple and strawberry. Unfortunately, they will take 75 days to mature AFTER flowering. I'm going to get a start on them the day the seed arrives! I'm always up for a challenge, so when I saw the seed I had to order them.
Another veggie I came across during my Hong Kong trip was a winged bean. We didn't know at the time what it was we were eating, but knew it was sweet like a bean yet had four sides to it. I was convinced the veggie was some sort of sweet broccoli. I made the connection when I read the description in the seed catalogue. It says it does well in humid climates, but I'm hoping for a super warm summer.
I was also suckered into a packet of beetberry seeds from Baker Creek. The pictures show vibrant red fruits nestled in between dark green leaves that would look great cascading over my rock wall. Good thing that they only take up to 60 days to mature! Zonal denial has been avoided!
This last weekend, I was at the last Flower and Garden Show at the Washington State Convention Center. I didn't have the willpower to pull myself away from Ravenna Gardens' racks filled with Renee's Garden Seeds. Though I was disciplined since I knew Kitazawa would receive most of my business this year. Only three packets were purchased: scarlet runner beans, container cucumber 'Bush Slicer', and 'Bright Lights' Swiss chard.
The other display I couldn't resist was Franchi Old World Italian Seeds since the focus of my garden is edibles. Farmer John was so friendly (he is the mayor of Half Moon Bay, CA) and was taken by me being over eight months pregnant and Eldon being a Bay Area native. He gave us a deal on our 'Fino' basil and broccoli raab seeds and threw in a packet of forget-me-knots. "That'll turn you into a real gardener!" he said, patting me heartily on the back. We promised to bring the new baby to the Pumpkin Festival in the near future.
As we walked away, I thought, "Great! I just got rid of all the forget-me-knots from the garden! I've gotta find someone to take these seeds off my hands!"