Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Up to no good, as usual

I've just received packages from two seed companies: Johnny's, and Gourmet Seed International. I guess that explains why I've been standing out in a steady rain with a trowel in my hand. I'm late planting some of my fall seeds. Again.

From Johnny's:

Oliver F1 hybrid brussels sprouts - This is what I was standing outside planting. I knew I was way, way late in getting them, so I purchased a super-early hybrid in hopes of ekeing out Christmas veggies. It won't work, of course--the cold will slow them down too fast and too early--but I think a few of them will stagger to maturity in the early spring, which is what happened this year.

Edonis F1 hybrid Charentais melon - For next spring. Supposed to be resistant to some of the various wilts and blights we get, which will make them an improvement over the plain Charentais melons we grew this year. I am trying Charentais again because, even though they performed poorly this year (due to several factors ranging from drought to poor placement), they were one of the few cucurbits that the squash bugs didn't care about. That in itself makes them SOLID GOLD, baby.

Tiptop F1 hybrid green acorn squash - Bought because I read somewhere that acorn squashes were remarkably tough in the face of squash bug attacks. Will find out if this is apocryphal next spring.

Stinging nettle - My importation of this annoying plant is final, resounding proof that watching the River Cottage shows over and over has warped my brain. I picture myself making nettle gnocchi just like Hugh. To doubters, I point to the fact that my Greek cookbook has several recipes that actually call for nettles.

Baby Pam pumpkin - Supposed to be the ultimate pie pumpkin. Say no more, eh? Also small and early, which may help me to harvest some before they all die from squash bugs and vine borers.

Estiva F1 hybrid tomato and Valley Girl F1 hybrid tomato - Both chosen for their potential as early-spring hoophouse tomatoes. Did I mention that we're going to try to start selling at the farmer's market? Oh, I didn't? Well, we are.

Tauro F1 hybrid radicchio - Absolutely have to attempt this gorgeous pastel-colored radicchio. Johnny's sent an entire page of literature on how to grow it. The text suggested starting them indoors and then transplanting them, so there are two little six-packs germinating in the kitchen as we speak. The late planting should be no problem because radicchio matures quickly and is not at all bothered by frost.

From Gourmet Seed:

Mr. Fothergill's Easy Grow Bean Collection - Four kinds of beans (one wax bush, one green bush, one green climbing, one purple climbing) for one low price. Couldn't resist. Like the tomatoes, some of these will be planted super-early in the hoophouse.

Parmex carrots - Our standard. Mustn't ever run out of these seeds.

Meraviglia delle 4 Stagioni lettuce - AKA Merveille des Quatre Saisons, but these are Bavicchi seeds, so it's all in Italian. I love Bavicchi seeds above all others, mostly (I admit) for the spectacularly pretty packets, but also for the broad selection of seeds that usually aren't available in the States. Some of the breeds don't do well here, but I get a lot of joy from trying them all. Some end up working beautifully. So anyway, I bought a packet of this gorgeous red-painted lettuce because it's just about time to plant lettuce here. Finally.