Friday, February 6, 2009

Seeds, Seeds, Seeds and Grocery Stores...

Okay, I put in my seed order at (I highly recommend them!) and here's what I am getting:
Long White Cucumbers: From the site "A rare heirloom cuke. Very large, smooth white fruit are very crisp and mild. Can grow to 6 lbs, one of the best for fresh eating, delicately flavored and unique looking."

Corn Salad - Dutch

"This old-time favorite has a mild nutty flavor. Tender leaves are excellent in salads, and also excellent as a cooked green."

Wild Rocket - Arugula
"Has a more pungent taste than regular arugula, leaves are deeply lobed. An Italian favorite."

Lau's Pointed Leaf Lettuce
"This variety was collected from Lau, a Chinese farmer in the highlands of Malaysia. It produces star shaped plants with long, thin, bright green pointed leaves. The flavor is sweet and very tasty. This variety was the fastest growing and most vigorous of the many lettuces grown by the managing editor of our magazine. Rare!"

Lollo Rossa Lettuce
"Very curled leaves are light green with stunning bright red edges. Mild and tasty. A most beautiful lettuce - it is superb for market."

Carentan Leek
"Long, thick (2" across) vigorous and fast growing, delicate, deliciously mild flavor, great fresh or cooked. The Carentan leek was mentioned by Vilmorin in 1885. An old European favorite that is becoming rare. Very adaptable and yields are good."

"(Cymbopogon citratus) The famous, tropical lemon-flavored herb of Thai cuisine. It has long, slender, pale green stems that are thick and fleshy. I just love the wonderful flavor this herb adds to soups, curries and stir-fries. We enjoy cooking with it often. This perennial must be grown in warm weather or inside to keep from freezing. We are pleased to offer this rare and much requested seed."

Golden Cal Wonder Bell Pepper
"78 days. Colorful golden bells that are very sweet and tasty. Gold peppers are superb for fresh eating, great for kitchen or market gardens."

Mini Red Bell Pepper
"60 days. Oh, so cute! Tiny, red, bell peppers are only about 1-1/2" tall and wide. They have thick, red flesh that is very sweet and great for stuffing. 2' tall plants produce loads of these little winners and early, too."

Purple Beauty Bell Pepper
"75 days. Purple peppers are always a favorite, as they are so colorful. This variety produces loads of beautiful bells on compact, bushy plants. Crisp texture and mild, sweet flavor makes this one popular with everyone. I even believe Peter Piper picked a peck of these purple peppers and I don't blame him."

Paul Robeson Tomato
"90 days. This famous tomato has almost a cult following among seed collectors and tomato connoisseurs. They simply cannot get enough of this variety’s amazing flavor that is so distinctive, sweet and smokey. 7-10 oz. fruit are a black-brick color. Named in honor of the famous opera singer star of ‘King Solomon's Mines’, 1937. Paul Robeson was also a Russian and Equal Rights Advocate for Blacks. This Russian heirloom was lovingly named in his honor. We are proud to offer such a wonderful variety."

White Tomesol Tomato

"80 days. An amazing heirloom that is bursting with fragrance and natural goodness that's hard to beat. The cream-colored fruit are beautiful, smooth and weigh about 8 oz. each. For taste, it's one of the best I have tried, being both sweet and rich. The vines set heavy yields of this rare treasure that is sure to become a favorite of gourmet growers. Popular at our 2004 "Heirloom Garden Show"."

Pink Grapefruit Tomato
"75 days. A really unique tomato of medium size. Beautiful yellow fruit are blushing pink inside (hence their name). They have sweet-tart taste that does have citrus overtones. A productive, round tomato that is a winner."

Gold Baby Watermelon
"75-80 days Sweet flesh is a beautiful creamy-lemon color. Fruit weigh around 5 lbs, and are perfect for small gardens. They have thin, green-striped rinds, vines produce well, and the fruit are quite colorful; very rare."

Orangeglo Watermelon

"85 days Beautiful, deep orange flesh; very sweet, excellent, almost tropical flavor! The best-tasting of ALL orange varieties we tried -- the favorite of many who tried it at our place. High yields. Very resistant to wilt and insects; strong healthy vines. These will sell at roadside stands & markets!"

Canton Bok Choy
"The typical Nai-Pe-Tsai type pak choy. Semi-upright plant produces thick white stems and deep green leaves. Good for warm areas as it is heat-tolerant."

Giant Noble Spinach
"This is the giant of the spinach clan, plants spread to 25"! Tender leaves are great for canning, steaming or salads, for those who want quantity and quality, introduced in 1926."

Now, I plan on other things in my garden, but I will be buying the seeds or plants locally.
My potato sets are almost ready to plant. I got them at....THE GROCERY STORE!
Yes, right there in the produce department, no problem at all!
I could have ordered potato sets online and had the hassle of paying shipping and handling, be worried about them drying out before they got here, etc. But I long ago figured out the easiest way to get *almost free* potato sets.

We have all had potatoes sprout, no matter whether they were in a cabinet, pantry, under the sink, where-ever.So you know they will sprout and grow under the right conditions.
This happens less frequently if you buy potatoes at some place like Wal-Mart (may that place burn )because the potatoes there are sprayed with a type of *sprout retardant* chemical, so they will last longer on the shelf and in the dark environs of the average consumers cabinets. (Please, people, if you get potatoes from a major grocer, wash them to within an inch of their potato-y little lives before you consume them. You cannot sprout them, but PLEASE wash them or peel them before cooking!)

I buy my potatoes at two stores. One is a local Hispanic/Mexican grocer and the other is a "Whole Foods" type organic grocer. We don't have a "Whole Foods" market here, but if you have one near you, get your potatoes there!

At the organic grocer, I was able to find my blue potatoes, my red-all-the-way-through potatoes, my fingerling potatoes. I got my *regular taters* at the Hispanic grocers.
I purposely picked potatoes that had good *eyes*. In fact, at the organic grocer, I asked if they had any sprouted potatoes in the back that they were discarding. They did and they GAVE them to me! (I was also able to score some sprouted Spanish Red onions! YAY!)I had already bought some regular taters at my Hispanic grocers, so I just picked out a couple of likely looking *sprouter* candidates and helped Nature take her course.

Here's how you nudge Nature along...
First and foremost, DO NOT WASH your sprouting potatoes.
Pick out 2 to 5 potatoes with plenty of eyes or tiny sprouts already on them.
Place them in a dark plastic bag (thank you Hefty trash bags!), tie up bag and put in warmish corner of your pantry or in a cabinet that gets a little warmer than the others.
Wait one week and untie the bag. Should be some sprouting going on!
Hopefully, your sprouts will be an inch long or longer. They are READY!
Cut potato in four quarters with a good sprout on each quarter.
I generally plant at least 3 chunks o' sprouting potato in each one of my Potato Towers.

Onions and garlic can be handled much the same way.
Happy Planting!
(Will let y'all know when my seeds get here and I HOPE to be able to borrow a camera to take some pics of my garden-in-waiting to post)


  1. Thank you thank you!! Sprouting potatoes - I had to search the internet like a ninny to figure out ho0w to do this! Your tip on the black plastic bag was awesome!!

  2. I LOVE potatoes. I miss PEI potatoes terribly, what we have out here is not as good, so I've been thinking about asking my relatives to mail me a sprouty spud:D

  3. erniesjourney, the black plastic bag retains the moisture. You can also try scattering a bit of water in the bag with the potatoes, but try to NOT get the water ON the potatoes, they may mold and do that slimy rot thing.
    Nicole, have them pack a *sprouty spud* in a tin like you would chocolates. Tell them to wrap it in newspaper.If it gets to you within 1 and 1/2 to 2 weeks, it should be fine! :)

  4. oh, i'm so jealous. i want a garden so bad! i grow a couple of things every year but i'm pretty much limited to container gardening because my yard is quite small. when the caterpillars destroyed my poblano pepper crop last year i swore i'd never plant again!...but that was last year.

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  6. I just have to say that your blog is amazing. The information you provide does a service to anyone that reads it. Prepare Now. Prepare Always.


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