Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The dangerous seed catalogue

Some may say their eyes are bigger than their stomachs. Well, my eyes are bigger than my garden.

I just discovered Adaptive Seeds through another fantastic blog Greensparrow Gardens. Joseph mentioned this seed company as a "crazy source for crazy cool veggies." That's a description that's right up my alley.

Although I've been partial to Fedco Seeds for several years now, I'm leaning towards Adaptive Seeds for a majority of what I would like to try this year. First, they are practically next door in Sweet Home, OR compared to Waterville, ME. Don't get me wrong. I have liked Fedco since they are in Maine which has a similar growing season as we do. And I have enjoyed their range of cultivars that I haven't seen anywhere else. But, it's time to branch out and give someone else a try.

Reviewing my initial wish list, I think I may have to make some major edits. I've decided this year I'm going to try growing my own lettuce. While I love supporting Let Us Farm at the Columbia City Farmers' Market, I'd like to harvest my own straight from the garden, minutes before I'm ready to assemble a summertime salad. Adaptive Seeds have so many to choose from and are organized by romaine, leaf, and head. I want to try at least one of each.

There's a romaine type called 'Red Flamingo' which I will try this season for several reasons. First, I love any purple-tinged edible for my garden. Second, my son loves flamingos--his favorite animal at the zoo. He even has a small flamingo stuffed animal that goes everywhere with him. My third reason also involves my son who dislikes eating anything green He's willing to eat purple lettuce so I'm hoping this will do the trick of getting him to eat more vegetables.

Of the leaf selections, I chose 'White Seeded Samara' purely on its looks. It looks like a butterhead with a lovely-shaped rosette, bright green with hints of pink. It's described to stand up in cold, wet weather and probably originated in Samara along the Volga River in Russia.

I was wooed by the butterhead 'Rolando' for it's bright green leaves to contrast the other two lettuces, and because all my edibles can't be purple. It's recommended for early spring harvest and seems like I won't need to put out row covers. I'm just too lazy for such a task.

The other lettuce I would like to try, but fear my eyes are getting bigger than my garden at this point is another green romaine called 'Winter Density'. It's described as a serious lettuce classic and a cross between a romaine and a butterhead. Who can pass up that description? Adaptive seeds says they don't carry common varieties, but when they do it's because they really love it. It's also cold and heat tolerant. It may be a good idea just to have some seed on hand in case one of the others I try fail. Another good reason is it came from Abundant Life Seed Company in Port Townsend, WA who's offices and seed collection were destroyed in a fire back in 2003.

Whew! I think I've narrowed down the lettuces. Next group to tackle: tomatoes!

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