|Part of Tom's 2011 Vegetable Garden|
New seed catalogs are arriving each day. Tom and I longingly look at each one, dreaming of what new vegetables we want to try this year. But one of the catalogs stopped us in our tracks as we fanned the pages. Oh glory be! The photography alone was worth more than a quick glance. The full page photos of vegetables are worthy of framing because of the artistry. I turned to the cover: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds ( http://rareseeds.com/ ).
The huge variety of each type of vegetable is impressive: 84 different types of squash and pumpkins; 28 varieties of summer squash; 34 varieties of sweet peppers and 33 of hot peppers; 20 varieties of oriental greens; orange tomatoes, pink tomatoes, purple tomatoes, red tomatoes, striped tomatoes, white tomatoes, yellow tomatoes; 73 varieties of herbs, and so much more! The gorgeous photographs of so many vegetables entice us to try more than we could possibly fit into our existing garden space. Whittling down the list will be an exercise in "waste not, want not".
I am fortunate that Tom (aka "my garden servant") is a soil scientist who loves gardening and willingly plants whatever I ask of him. He even starts most of his plants from seed in a greenhouse, then lovingly nurtures them to planting time, then tends the garden with persistence and tenacity all season. He has also started saving his own seed during the past several years, thus reducing the number of seeds we need to buy. (Our bedroom has become the repository for the stored seeds. Hmmmm....the fertility in that room has changed through the years.)
Why are heirloom seeds so prized? According to Tom (my primary source of all things gardening), heirloom seeds have superior quality, taste and even nutritional content. Many modern agricultural practices place mechanical harvesting, uniformity, and rough handling and shipping needs above taste and nutrition when breeding vegetable crops.
(See my previous post about tomatoes. http://pureedpzazz.blogspot.com/2011/09/tomatoland-by-barry-estabrook.html )
So, by taking care to choose varieties of heirloom seeds that have performed well in our region of gardening, it is more likely that the plants will be very vigorous and productive in our garden.
Other seed catalogs that we have ordered from in the past and liked include:
Pinetree Garden Seeds http://www.superseeds.com/
Territorial Seed Company http://www.territorialseed.com/
R.H. Shumway's http://www.rhshumway.com/
Horizon Herbs http://www.horizonherbs.com/
Sweet and savory garden dreams to all of you!