It’s here. Finally, here. Christmas came late. Or should I say early? There’s snow on the ground, like a whole, whole bunch of it, so does that make Christmas on time? I don’t know. I don’t have time to process it. Y’know why?? Because my Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds are here.
I’ve mentioned them a time, maybe two. Just here or there…
Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve accidentally, intentionally, subliminally brought them up in every single seed video, but do you know why that is? Baker Creek is an exemplary company, rooted by great knowledge and passion for gardening and preservation, incredibly adept to the seed market and constantly expanding and offering more rare and unique varieties to their fanbase- yes, fans, not customers, fans– so much so, that they simply cannot keep up with the demand.
To put it shortly, they have above and beyond earned their rightful adoration and deserve to be the standard to which all others are held to; the holy grail of seeds.
I’ve looked forward to these seeds for weeks, and every grudgingly, bitter cold step that I took through 9 inches of snow in order to make this week’s Mailbox Monday post possible was worth getting these seeds for. They’re all incredibly unique varieties and I simply couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. Trust me, you’re going to want to see these, and you’re going to want some for your own.
Please, don’t just take my word for it. Visit www.rareseeds.com and take a look at all the amazing and unique varieties they have to offer. If you’re not ready to make the jump on ordering any seeds just yet, request a catalog! I have gained so much knowledge just by reading their catalog, and even if your seeds don’t come from this company, the catalog is such a great jumping off point to learn more about the specific variety, growing instructions, and helpful tips that Baker Creek often includes for free!
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 Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds:
Chinese Python Snake Bean
A rather terrifying plant at first glance, so I bet you can guess how it got its name. Must be grown on sturdy trellis, these “beans” grow up to 60 inches long and 1.5 inches thick, and can be trained to climb. Although named a bean, this plant is more reminiscent of a gourd, only more tender and sweet bearing an almost nutty flavor. When harvested around 20” they hold maximum flavor and can be used like a bean or summer squash. This snake bean has very little market presence in the United States, while it is used in many different ways across the globe: Pastes, stir frys, a way to scare off those with ophidiophobia…
Habanada Sweet Pepper
Did you know you can have the best of both worlds? All the sweet and floral tang of the Habanero pepper without any of the heat is exactly what you’ll find in the Habanada. With thin and crisp skin, these sweet peppers are excellent for eating fresh, especially because even the seeds are sweet. Although a little slow to bloom like most sweet peppers, the perfect harvesting time is right in between the green and orange stage of maturity for optimal flavor. Requires about 70 days until maturity.
If pain is beauty then this plant is gorgeous. This garden fruit is quite lovely to look at, but you wouldn’t know it for all the treacherous thorns that cover the bright red fruits. With rather thick gloves, of course, the produce can be harvested and used in place of cherries or ground cherries. A unique flavor, like the cross of a cherry with a sweet tomato, and only grows sweeter the warmer the climate is. These plants, which are, also, covered in thorns, can grow rather large and take up ample space. The litchi tomato, which originates from South America, is actually an antiquity, and has been mentioned in seed catalogs as far back as 1896. Grow these the same way you would tomatoes, if only tomatoes were armed with hundreds of tiny knives.
Atomic Red Carrots
This intriguing carrot can vastly range in color- from pink to a deeper red once more mature. The roots can be incredibly crisp, but their taste and consistency both improve once cooked. Some even recommend peeling the initial skin off these carrots to unveil an even more sweet yet almost spicy flavor. Ideal for planting in a raised garden bed, as carrots need plenty of room and loose, fine soil to grow long and straight. Needs 75 days until maturity.
Zucchino Rampicante Squash
This curvaceous rarity goes by many aliases, understandably so since classification of this Italian heirloom seems a bit foggy. Although similar, it isn’t a trombone zucchini and it isn’t a crookneck squash, although it borrows characteristics from both. The perfect summer squash to add to your arsenal for a number of reasons. Their versatility is hard to match. So perfectly tender and packed with flavor, you can use it for cooking, soup, stir-frys, pastas, baking and pies. But let’s not forget to mention the unique beauty this variety adds to your garden. Sprawling vines, lovely blooms, rampant production; there’s few qualities to dislike about the plant, besides it’s tendency to over-grow it’s welcome. But I believe too much of a good thing is a good thing.
Dwarf Lemon Cilantro
A new introduction to Baker Creek, as well as the American market, this ancient herb is strongly fragrant and a mellow citrus flavor sets it apart from the numerous other cilantro varieties out there. An excellent attractant of pollinators and can even self sow again in the same year. The leaves can be used to flavor many exquisite dishes, or added to heighten mixtures such as salsa. Or let it turn to seed to produce coriander for an even better seasoning perfect to use on fish or chicken.
Autumn Beauty Sunflower
These simple beauties can grow extraordinarily tall. 7 feet or better! The 6” blooms can be an assortment of colors, ranging from golden yellow to a rustic red, and often are prolific producers as well as easy to grow. Excellent pollinators to attract bees. These tall, dark and handsome sunflowers are sure to be a head turner!
Mongolian Giant Sunflower
There’s no other way to describe these sunflowers but EPIC. The tremendous stalks, growing 10 feet or more, can only be overshadowed by the colossal heads that grow an average of 16”-18” wide! Prolific producers of sunflower seeds, typically an inch big, and certain to make the birds and snackers alike mighty happy. Given their giant size, they do need ample spacing and are much happier when the soil is well fertilized.
I wanted to include 2 of my absolute favorite varieties from Baker Creek. I did not receive them in this order, but rather a previous order from BC. They also were not included in this week’s video, yet still I wanted to show them off to you because they are simply that awesome! Both are unique, versatile, and highly recommended. Enjoy!
When harvested early, the small and tender 3”-6” fruits are actually a delicious vegetable that can be used as a replacement for cucumbers or prepared similarly to okra. But give them about 90 days or so and these plants can grow 2 feet or longer given full sun. At this point of maturity, the gourd’s flesh becomes fibrous, developing into the perfect dishcloth or skin exfoliator. These ornamental leaves grow lovely large yellow blooms, and make a nice multi-functional addition to the garden.
Dragon Tongue Beans
You’d be hard pressed to find a better dual-purpose bean that is this tender and with as much flavor as this French Heirloom favorite. This bush bean only takes about 60 days until maturity. Easy to start, early to produce, with wonderful high yields. This horticultural bean, which simply means a shell bean that is characterized by it’s color, which is typically buff colored and splashed by red, or vice versa. In the dragon tongue’s case, its beans are yellow to green in color and splashed by reddish purple streaks. These pods grow to about 7 inches long, making them great snap beans or delicious shelled beans, as well.
Check back every Monday for new garden related posts!
And if you enjoyed this video, be sure to take a peek at last week’s post here. It involved some incredibly rare varieties that I am rather proud of, and you can see what a difference a week and 2 snow storms can make!