Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Catalog Time!

I can't believe it's been since October that I last posted something. Yikes! Where did the time go?

It's that time of year where my mailbox (and I'm sure yours) is filled with catalogs. I look forward to perusing what's being offered every year at this time and yet I'm overwhelmed.

It's possible to have too many choices. How did I narrow it down? I started with the smallest catalog which is also the most specific: Kitazawa Seed Company. Their emphasis is Asian vegetable seeds. Since I live where the growing season is short, this is a great source for tomatoes and eggplant geared for our climate. I've also had great success with their seeds in the past. I plan on ordering the Odoriko pink tomato, which matures in 75 days. It's easy and tasty as are Sungolds. With eggplant I plan on growing Money Maker #2 (which I find the name hilarious). It sets fruit early, maturing in 60 days. Kitazawa is a big hit in my book for carrying specialty veggies like gailaan (Chinese broccoli), cutting celery and shishito peppers. If my husband had his way, our entire garden would be solely shishitos. They are easy to grow and a fantastic summertime snack flash fried in olive oil and kosher salt.

I'm also partial to Fedco. Who could pass up a catalog cover featuring a comic strip with a sunflower spitting seeds into the ground?! Even though they're in Maine, they understand a short growing season. Their seed prices are super reasonable and promise no GMO material. They also are the only ones who carry Rainbow kale. I grew this a few years ago and feel like it's time to grow it again. Rainbow kale is a cross between Lacinato and Red Bor. It is gorgeous as it is yummy. I'm going to also try carrots again this year as they are bringing back the Tonda di Parigi which grow well in heavy soil. My other favorite I grew last year are the Masai haricots verts bush beans; the perfect type for lazy pickers like me. I had pods in mid-October that were still good.

I'm going to order a few items from Territorial. I was wooed by their Royal Burgundy bush bean which has a lovely purple color. And they are the only ones carrying seeds for the Indigo tomato series. I had these for the first time a couple of years ago from Let Us Farm (they specialize in lettuce...get it?) and are super delicious. They have a purple black skin and are deep red inside. I may go with a variety closer to the 75 day maturity versus 80 to ensure I get enough ripening time. Possibly Indigo Kumquat since they are a grape type which would be a great pair with Sungold.

I'm tempted to try something new this year. Maybe a few new flowers like Territorial's Babino marigold which has golden flowers brushed with orange streaks on a compact plant, or a new compact sweet pea like Cupid Black. I've never grown zucchini before. Lock your car doors and guard your porches friends!  

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