Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seed Order

We've been pondering seeds this week. Perhaps the warmer weather has me itching for spring and the return of gardening season.

Each year we try to refine the kinds of crops we grow to be the most efficient for the space we have. I have been trying to concentrate on those crops that will produce the best yield and nutrition. I would like a good balance between crops that can just go into cold storage as opposed to crops that need to be processed. I also try to balance crops that we can eat through out the growing season and crops we can can put up. Each year I also like to try something new. This year there are a couple of new crops we plan to grow and a couple of new methods for growing some.

This year I am not growing sweet corn. We eat a fair amount of it during the summer and I also like to put up a bit in the freezer. Growing this much sweet corn would take up a lot of space and compost. I can find some really nice organic sweet corn at the Farmer's market. So I am going to take 20.00 this summer and buy all the corn I need for our freezer. I do plan to grow some dry field corn this year. Fedco seed company has a nice , very pretty, variety called Painted mountain. I think for the the energy put into the growing of the corn this might give us the best yield. I tried growing corn with the three sisters last year and found that small critters ate our winter squash that has growing under the corn. This year I am going to grown dry beans,black coco, under our corn. The beans will still work as a nitrogen fixer to the soil. The amount of work that goes into processing the dry beans and the corn can wait until I have time to work on it, once they are dry. The great thing about both these crops is that the seed is easily saved for next year.

Winter squash is a winter staple for us. It can be stuffed, put into breads, muffins and soups. It is easy to store and if any should get spots it can be processed later in the winter when there is more time. I saw an absolutely beautiful squash last fall at a friends house. It was called a Marina di Chiogga. It is like a pumpkin. It is green when it is mature. It has warty bumps all over it. It stores extremely well and turns orange the following spring. The taste is supposedly wonderful.

There are a few more herbs I am adding to the herb garden this year: arnica, astragalus, stinging nettle and motherwort. These are all perennials. I start these herbs from seed. It is very affordable this way and I also get to share extras with friends (doing my bit for the informal economy). Tomorrow I will explain why I chose these herbs for our garden.

While we wait to get into the garden we are starting seeds however. I have started brilliant celeric , celery root.I have also started leeks and bunching onions. These all need a little longer to get started and can be put out before the last frost.

What are you planning to grow this year?

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