Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Baker Creek Seeds

I received the Baker Creek catalogue last week. This is my favorite seed company, and their catalogue is beautiful! All the seeds from Baker Creek are open pollinated - heirloom seeds that you can save after you grow your own vegetables. One of the reasons why I like this company, is that they grown all the seeds they sell themselves. They aren't just a middleman, passing on seeds produced by large seed companies. Since they are located in Missouri, they have some of the same growing conditions we have in the summer, hot and humid. They are aware of the challenges of growing vegetables in the South.

Here is the list of seeds I ordered. It took me only 10 minutes to place this order, because I had the codes:

AB101 $2.50 1 - Red Rice Bean (asian dry bean)
AML110 $3.00 1 - Ananas D' Amerique A Chair Verte (melon - grown by Thomas Jefferson!)
BN101 $2.00 1 - Royalty Purple Pod (bean)
BN108 $2.00 1 - McCaslan 42 Pole (bean)
CU147 $3.00 1 - Dragon's Egg (cucumber)
EG131 $6.50 1 - Brazilian Oval Orange - 1/ 4 oz (eggplant) I know... expensive, but these look like wonderful ornamentals. I'm planting them as edible landscaping. :)
LG101 $2.25 1 - Red-Seeded Asparagus Bean (Asian long bean)
LT116 $2.25 1 - Little Gem (lettuce)
ML102 $2.75 1 - Prescott Fond Blanc (melon)
OK102 $2.00 1 - Burgandy (okra)


TK123 $3.00 1 - Millionaire
TM122 $2.00 1 - Principe Borghese
TN112 $2.50 1 - Red Round
TP103 $2.00 1 - Black from Tula
TP114 $3.00 1 - True Black Brandywine

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eggplant & Broccoli

5 lb. of eggplant harvested yesterday. I used to think eggplant only liked hot wether, but I've been getting a bumper crop with lows in the 40s last week.
This is the rest of yesterday's harvest. The broccoli was fabulous last night for dinner. I am starting more seeds today! I never knew how much better broccoli is fresh off the plant.

2009 Seeds

All my 2009 seeds are here. I will begin sprouting seeds for our Spring garden on the first week of January. I still have seeds saved from previous years which I'm not listing, so this is just a partial list of what we'll be planting, and I will be listing my flower seeds in a different post. I have been saving Calabaza squash seeds for a couple of years, and I bought new Calabaza seeds to help diversify our genepool. Most of the seeds I bought for 2009 will be new to us. The ones returning are: Cherokee Purple and Amish Paste tomatoes, Jericho lettuce, China Choi Chinese cabbage, French Charentais - failed once before, aji dulce and alma peppers, and Black Beauty zucchini. I've grown watercress from cuttings before, and I would prefer that if I had a source.

Renee’s Garden
Alpine Strawberries – Mignonette

Summer Lettuce Bouquet, European Reds and Greens
Merveille de Quatre Saisons (H)
Baby Mesclum, Paris Market Mix

Leeks French Baby Leeks, Primor
Watercress, English

Pumpkin, Cinderella’s Carriage (H)

Rosemary, French
Thyme, French

Melons, Three Flavors –Galia, Earlidew & Solid Gold

Sweet Peas, Color Palette Cupid

Seeds of Change

True Gold – sweet

Chinese cabbage, China choi

Paprika Alma

Prize of the Trials, Cherry

Mideast prolific

Green Deer Tongue
Red Riddinghood, head

Sweet Dumpling, winter

Broccoli, De Cicco

Cherokee Purple (H)
Black Prince (H)

Komatsuna Summerfest, Asian hybrid greens
Turnip, Hakurei, hybrid
Pumpkin, Rouge Vif D’etamptes
Melon, French Charentais, hybrid

Garden of Eden, pole
Tongue of Fire, American & Italian Shell

Tomato Growers
Sprite, grape, 60 days
Gregori’s Altai, pink beefsteak, 67 days
San Marzano, paste, 80 days
Amish Paste, 85 days
Stupice, cold tolerant, 52 days
Glacier, cold tolerant, 58 days
Amana Orange, orange beefsteak, 90 days

Aji Dulce #2, 85-90 days
Jalapeno M, 75 days
Carmen Hybrid, Italian bullhorn, 75

Rosa Bianca, Italian heirloom, 75 (H)
Florida High Bush, 85

Zucchini, Black Beauty, 52 days

Four Seasons

Armenian Yard Long, 70 days
Fancy Pickling, (H), “Homemade Pickles”,

Rouge Vif D’etampes


Brussel Sprouts, Bubbles, hybrid
Strawberry, Everbearing
Watermelon, Dragon Skin
Kale, Siberian
Melon, Amish Muskmelon
Okra, Little Lucy

Calabaza (H)

Amish purple popcorn
Gourmet popcorn,


Purple Passion Flower
Nasturtium, Jewels of Africa

Red Clover
Luffa Gourd
Parlor Palm, Neantha bella

H= heirloom seeds

Growing a garden from seeds is exciting! :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just Planted

Brussel Sprouts - Bubbles
French Baby Leeks
English Watercress
French Thyme

The December Garden

The eggplant in the hydroponic stackers is ready to pick. The plants are bowed from the weight of their fruit. They have done well with the lower temperatures we've had this Fall, better than the one in the bucket. I think that the styrofoam stackers protect the roots from the weather, plus the plants are closer together which may also help.
Our greens bed: bok choi, spinach, and kale at the end. We're planning to make these beds into raised beds come Spring.
Our first strawberries of the season, perhaps ready for a Christmas treat?
My very first success with broccoli. In the past, I've grown giant leafy broccoli plants with just a tiny little sprout of a head that bolted as soon as it emerged. What changed? The soil and planting time. The broccoli is now growing in our first raised bed.
This was our harvest on Saturday: romaine lettuce, tomato, radish, and thinned carrots - yummmm!
My cucumber experiment continues. At this point, I have this one lonely cuke growing. The plants themselves are smallish but healthy. I will harvest this one today, maybe they will grow another one if this one isn't there sapping the little bit of energy they have. I think the cold snaps and fewer hours of sunlight have stunted them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Brave Chickadees

The kids are doing a science experiment, observing what kind of seed the birds prefer. Michael made these inexpensive bird feeders recycling old juice bottles. It looks like the winner is plain, black sunflower seeds. Cocoa (the cat) has shown great interest in this experiment. Sadly for her, she just can't reach those brave chickadees.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Every morning, I walk over to the garden either to turn on the irrigation, let loose chickens, spray neem or foliar fertilizer, and more. Today, I noticed the dew on these fig leaves glittering in the sun. Lucy met me on the path, patiently waiting for her morning petting.
Above me were these autumn leaves, and Bonaparte gave me his usual stare. He is our least friendly chook, the kids stear clear of his evil bantam ways; but the hens seem to feel safe with him around, even though he is half their size.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mountain Aires Christmas

I received the Mountain Aires Christmas CD in the mail last Friday. I've been listening to it over and over. It's good for the soul!
George Grant has a description of it in his blog.
To order a copy, go to the Mountain Aires website.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

From the Garden to our Table

Part of our dinner tonight came from the garden. I harvested tomatoes, eggplant, romaine lettuce, and aurugula. We have another cold front moving in tonight. They are predicting a low of 40 in Tampa, which usually means in the mid 30s for us.
Also some kale just harvested a few minutes earlier
curry eggplant in the making...
and fresh eggs from our chickens...
kale mushroom omelett coming up...
plus salad = dinner!
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