February 22, 2014

Seed Starting

It seems to early in the year to be thinking of starting seeds, and the winter is still raging outside with snow banks taller than I am and no sign of stopping just yet. I can barely see the garden gate (it is buried that deep in snow) let alone the garden, but it is the very beginning of seed starting time up here in my Zone 5 garden.

This is the weekend when we start the earliest seeds, to give them enough time to germinate and grow strong enough to go outside at the last frost date. Mostly, this is the weekend to start onions. I also usually start Parsley at the same time as well.

Unfortunately my onion seeds haven't arrived yet, but will be here shortly, so I am preparing to plant them as soon as they get here. You have to grow "new" onion seeds every year because, unlike some other vegetables, onion seeds don't last very long. You can either grow  from the ones you collected the year before or you can buy new every year. I haven't had the patience yet to let some onions stay in the garden a second year until they go to seed, therefore I buy new seeds each year. This year I ordered "Ailsa Craig" from Heritage Harvest Seed and "Australian Brown" from Baker Creek Seeds. "Ailsa Craig" is supposed to be quite large and mild, a yellow skinned Spanish type onion, better suited to eating fresh rather than storing. "Australian Brown", on the other hand, is a great storage onion with a stronger flavour and gets good reviews for consistent performance in heavy clay soil. I'm excited about both!

I have also narrowed down my list and planned the vegetable garden. I'll be trying corn for the first time, which is exciting. I hope the racoons don't discover it!

Parsley "Giant of Italy"
Cilantro "Slo Bolt"
Basil "Corsican"
Dill "Dukat"
Summer Savory
Mint: Orange Mint, Spearmint, Apple Mint,  Chocolate Mint
Lemon Thyme
Celery "Tendercrisp"
Summer Squash "Ronde de Nice"
Summer Squash "Costata Romanesco"
Winter Squash "Boston Marrow"
Cabbage "Red Express"
Cabbage "Early Jersey Wakefield"
Cucumber "Japanese Long"
Carrot "Amarillo"
Carrot "Nantes Coreless"
Onion "Australian Brown"
Onion "Ailsa Craig"
Bean (bush) "Piros Feher" (shelly)
Bean (bush) "Ireland Creek Annie" (dry)
Bean (pole) "Amish Gnuttle" (dry)
Bean (pole) "Good Mother Stallard" (dry)
Corn (sweet) "Simonet"
Pepper (chili) "Alma"
Pepper (chili) "Black Hungarian"
Pepper (chili) "Pasilla Bajio"
Pepper (sweet) "Marconi red"
Pepper (sweet) "Jimmy Nardello"
Pepper (sweet) "Sweet Chocolate Bell"

Tomatoes - this year's colours of choice, to narrow down options, are white and black:
Amazon Chocolate
Black Ethiopian
Black Krim
Black from Tula
Paul Robeson
Brad's Black Heart
Noire de Cosseboef
Japanese Black Trifele
Sara Black
White Wonder
White Queen
Great White
(also one of White Beauty, Snowball, or Cherokee Chocolate)
and the paste variety Cuore di Bue

So, the onion seeds will get planted when they arrive and next up will be the Peppers (both Sweet and Chili) somewhere around the second week of March. Hopefully it will look and feel more like Spring then!

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