Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Visit to the Seed House

A couple of days ago I did a post on how I was starting some fall crops.  Well, since then I ran out of liquid fertilizer.  Then I realized that I would be needing more netting as I am planning on having brassicas in 3 beds this fall.  The white cabbage butterfly, or more specifically its offspring, wreaks havoc on most members of the cabbage family in my garden unless I keep them covered.

In a prior post earlier this month, I talked about how tulle can be a more affordable option when covering beds with netting.  Unfortunately, in my area, I was surprised to find that the cost per linear foot works out to be the same and the insect netting is wider – it’s 7’ width is just wide enough to cover a 4’ wide hooped bed.  And since I seem to be needing a lot of netting, I needed to get it from a seed house as they are the only ones that sell netting in large packages.  I can purchase a 100’ length instead of just 25’, which brings the cost per bed down a bit ($0.79 vs. $1.00 per foot).

So I needed fertilizer and netting.  My go to source for gardening supplies is William Dam Seeds.  It is a bit of a trek, but I usually find myself there at least 2 or 3 times each year.

Since I was going to William Dam ANYWAY, I figured I would also pick up a couple of extra packets of seeds as I thought it would be nice to try a hardy winter kale (to see if it would winter over) and I wasn’t sure if I had enough pea seeds for my 2nd planting.  So I browsed their online catalogue, decided on the varieties I wanted and added these two packets of seeds to my list.

And this is what I came home with:

My List Had Two - Came Home with Eleven
I just can’t help myself.  Really.  This seed house has 3 long aisles of seeds and I am a consummate browser.  At a regular store I have no problem controlling myself.  At a seed house – completely different story.

So this is the What & Why on the seeds I purchased:

Kale - “Red Russian” – I had wanted to try a kale that was supposed to be winter hardy so that I could perhaps get some early pickings in the spring, but they were sold out of Winterbor.  Red Russian is also supposed to be winter hardy (although not as much as Winterbor).

Garden Peas - “Aladdin PVP” – Since I was growing snap peas now, I thought that I would give shelling peas a try in the fall.  I had purchased “Sabre” (shelling pea)  in the spring with this in mind, but when I planted the spring peas I realized that not that many peas come in a packet, especially when the seeds are spaced so closely together.  So I decided to get another packet of shelling peas & thought I would give Aladdin a try – it is a semi-leafless variety which sounds good for my plan of growing them in a block.  Fewer leaves means better visibility of pods that are deeper inside the block planting.  Aladdin is 67 days to maturity and Sabre is 61 days.

Broccoli – I had already picked up a packet of broccoli (“Munchkin” - 62 days) at the hardware store, but since this is my first time growing it, I thought I would add another quick growing variety that I keep hearing about to the mix – “Packman Hybrid” (57 days).  Then I saw “Calabrese” which I hear is great for side shoots.  Even though I can’t start it now for fall (it’s 70-80 days to maturity), I popped it into my basket for next year.

Pak Choy – “Mei Qing Choi Hybrid” – This one just looked like such a lovely choi.  And at only 45 days to maturity, into the basket it goes.

Spinach – This has been my first year growing spinach and the results have been ok but nothing spectacular.    I decided to try “Tyee Hybrid” as it’s supposed to resist bolting in the heat, although I think I am a little late on this one (52 days).  I also saw a spinach that is good for overwintering “Giant Winter-Viroflex”.  This one will go in the fall garden to, hopefully, produce some early spinach in the spring.

Radishes – My luck with radishes has been so-so.  The Cherry Belle did very well this year, but the white icicles were a flop.  Not giving up, though.  I purchased “French Breakfast” (I couldn’t get the beautiful photo that Daphne posted this spring out of my mind) and “Easter Egg Hybrid Mix”, which a lot of people seem to love.

Carrots – Two years ago when I had a successful spring planting of carrots, the later planting for fall harvest did not mature in time.  So I thought I would give it another go & purchased two varieties of quick maturing carrots “Amsterdam Maxi” (45-55 days) and “Sprint” (42 days).
 
So that was it for my purchases at William Dam.  Now off to start my seeds…

Till next time...

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

8 comments:

  1. That seed house sounds great. Seeds are a sort of cheap extravagence--I always end up with way more than I need, but for a couple of bucks, who cares! I think everyone has their "button" --and let's face it , gardening is full of them---tools, seeds, neat stuff to "decorate" the beds with. Best darn hobby on EARTH!
    :D

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    1. You got that right! Gardening is one of the few hobbies where you can "indulge" no matter what size wallet you have. And the great thing about seeds is that they really are the gift (to yourself) that keeps on giving.

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  2. In very warm winters Red Russian kale will overwinter here. In normal winters we get to about -20C (-5F) in the winter and it won't live. I've found the curly kales more hardy. The dwarf curly kales being the best, though Winterbor isn't bad. But Red Russian is a wonderful kale even if it doesn't overwinter. And I've yet to find a spinach that won't over winter here. There is always a bit of winter kill, but mostly they survive.

    What is your lowest low in the winter?

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    1. Well, our typical winters can go down to -30C (-22F) for a couple of days - this past winter was very severe though as it went down to -40C (-40F!) for two days where they even closed the schools because it was so cold. From what you say, I don't think I will have much luck with the Red Russian on that front. But I did get a dwarf curly kale as part of my hardware store purchase, so that one may do better. That's so interesting about the spinach - maybe I will try sowing two kinds in the fall instead of just the overwintering variety.

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  3. Nice selection of goodies. Going to a seed house is like being a kid in a candy store. :) No way could I leave with just 2 packets of seeds.

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    1. I should have known that it was wishful thinking!

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  4. I have grown Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch kale, and that had done well for me. I'll grow it again this fall, but I am also going to try another reportedly winter hardy kale this year, Nero Di Toscana. I've purchased this variety from the grocery store and didn't think it tasted quite as good as the curly kale though, so I'll see how it tastes coming from the garden after a frost. I'd love to try a red kale too, but I already have so many seeds...

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    1. From what you and Daphne are saying, it seems that dwarf curly kales do well in the garden over winter. I purchased "Dwarf Green Curled" & wasn't planning on letting it overwinter, but now I definitely will. I'll be interested to hear what you think of the Nero Di Toscana this fall. And I here you about the number of seeds - my dilemma is always too many seeds, not enough space.

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