I can’t stop staring at my calendar. I have a lot of calendars for that matter, so I guess I should say I can’t stop staring at my calendars. I have one that hangs above my desk, one inside the kitchen cabinet that tells me what to cook each night, an actual planner, and the calendar on my phone. Any one else love calendars, planners, stationary, and labels because it gives you that (for me, false) sense of having your life together? Just me?
Anywho, on each one of these calendars, the glorious date of February 27th has been circled because that is the day that according to my USDA zone I can begin a few seed varieties indoors! (Visit https://www.almanac.com/content/plant-hardiness-zones# to find out your zone.) With that date quickly approaching, I’m a bit antsy to get my hands in some dirt. We still haven’t been able to build our greenhouse due to extenuating circumstances (looking at you, Mother Nature)
We’ve had a rough go of the weather, and I believe it’s partially my fault. See, I ordered 50 baby chicks on the good faith that we would have a mild February, a false spring if you will. It’s happened before (ahem, Facebook memories reminded me that 3 years ago we were walking the woods in light jackets) and so I thought for sure it could happen this year. So come early January, I ordered 50 baby chicks, bought a greenhouse, and thought both would be set and ready to thrive by February.
I was wrong. So wrong.
Today it is a blustery 5 degrees out, while the real feel is -6, and that’s basically the forecast for at least the next week, plus more snow. At this point it feels like I’m never going to have the greenhouse up and seeds started, but a girl can dream, can’t I? All I have to do is stand under the heat lamp with my snugly little baby chicks, think of the pine shavings like sand and pretend I’m somewhere on a beach…
If your neck of the woods is mighty chilly, too, come dream with me as I open this week’s seed order from Seed Savers Exchange.
Seed Savers Exchange is an excellent non-profit organization whose mission is to steward America’s culturally diverse and endangered garden and food crop legacy for present and future generations. You can become a member of this seed-saving movement, as well as reap many membership benefits such as seed exchanges, access to participating horticultural events and rare and exclusive seeds.
I hope these seeds inspire you to find your own happiness. There’s so many varieties and choices, so many neat selections yet to try. Here are mine from Seed Savers Exchange:
Tommy Toe Tomato
The “cherry” tomato that can get rather plump. Can also be known as the “steakhouse”. A rather fun play on words, but this variety means business with very productive yields and loads of “old-fashion” flavor. Ideal to start indoors, this indeterminate needs 70 days to mature, and can be trained to climb up stakes or a trellis. Excellent choice to withstand high heat and humidity.
Amish Paste Tomato
These deliciously meaty tomatoes can range in shape and size, from heart-shaped to strawberry and have an average size of 12 ounces. Always packed with flavor, this indeterminate is the dream variety to make sauces and pastes with. Originally commercialized in the 1990’s by seeds brought from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, these delicious and juicy bright red tomatoes are likely the kind you find in canned goods and sauces in the grocery store. But now with these seeds you have the chance to bring the grocery right to your garden. Excellent high yields, and only 85 days after transplant until maturity.
The sweetest of all beets! Pure white roots boast incredible flavor, and the green tops are deliciously nutritious. To keep the white roots from turning slightly green at the top, it’s best to pack dirt high around each plant creating a mound. Quite the opposite from the usually earth-tasting beets you’re used to, and only 50 short days until maturity stand between you and this candy-like treat. The roots can even be used to make sugar!
North Carolina Heirloom Cucumber
This cucumber variety is incredibly prolific and extremely rare! Much shorter and stockier than their long, slender and green ancestors, these yellow cucumbers have a slightly sweet flavor. Perfect for making dill pickles, as most only grow up to about 2 inches. This hard-to-find gem can be traced back to one family from the North Carolina mountains that has grown and preserved this seed for over a century! Although it does boast a pretty big amount of seeds, the flavor and multi-purpose of this variety makes up for it. Juicy, crunchy, and about 60-70 days until maturity.
A beautiful Romaine Lettuce variety that is largely green in color and splashed with eye-pleasing maroon speckles. Each rather large head boasts nice crisp leaves that hold well in high heat. Buttery crisp flavor, excellent high yields, and pretty easy to grow as it does prefer drier soil than most romaines. Plus it only needs about 55 days until maturity. Perfect to toss with spinach, kale, and other greens to make a colorful salad.
Walla Walla Onion
A long day variety, meaning it requires 14-16 hours of sunlight a day and is best grown in the Northern states. To reach maturity it takes about 90 days from transplant. This mild and sweet onion is a perfect rival for the southern climate’s ever-popular vidalia type onions. Named the official vegetable mascot of Washington state, it is perfect to eat raw and crunchy, although you can cook with them just as well. These globe shaped, solid bulbs can grow up to 2 pounds a piece, and can be stored up to 3 months!
Grandma Hadley’s Lettuce
Did you know that lettuce is actually a part of the daisy family, Asteraceae. This beautiful butterhead lettuce, predominantly green in color but purple tinged on leaf edges. Grown for generations, this butterhead is perfect for salads, making wilted lettuce, or used for soups or wraps. The downside to this large and leafy beauty is that it is easily broken or bruised, meaning large production and transporting can be difficult. Only a short 40-50 days until maturity.
This fragrant and flavorful herb is great for a multitude of things, from cooking, to tea, to mental stimulation. A mediteranian native, this plant grow annually in most regions, but can grow perennially in climates closer to its native habitat. Excellent to add when cooking meats, and to season vegetables. Happily grows in a container, actually prefers sandy or somewhat poor soil, extremely tolerant of drought and low water, and can grow upwards of 5 feet tall!
Lina Sisco’s Bird Egg Bean
This horticultural type bean, which is just a category of certain beans the same way snap bean or soybean describes a type of beans, simply means a shell bean with plump pods that are beautiful marbled in color, most often with red and white. This bush bean is known to have a mild nutty flavor, and pretty primarily used as a dry bean. Once mature, after about 85 days, and shelled, these beans are a tan color splashed by red markings.