I am so excited!
Don’t you just love it when a conversation begins like that?
I swore I would be cutting back my planting this season. I don’t think it’s happening like that.
Orders are all in, except for the Dahlias. I’ll let my Muse guide me there. I might…might…let the Dahlias go this year, and devote all of the time and energy to growing vegetables. Maybe….
Do sunflowers count as vegetables? Will they make a nice Dahlia replacement? Hehehe…will they look cool, and be happy, among the Dahlias? Hmmmm! Yeah, so much for cutting back.
I mentally group seed sources into two groups…”big box” and “small box.” Park Seed and Henry Fields are reliable, wonderful commercial seed sources. Gardener’s Supply, the same. They are fantastic at what they do. They are, still, commercial, “big box” sources. Hey…we all depend on Walmart, right?
I’ve got orders in to Henry Fields Park Seed, and I’ll go bananas about those when they come in. You know I will.
Today, though, I pay homage to the “small box” seed sources, for their expertise, their dependability, their integrity. I’ll include the larger, yet still private, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and Southern Exposure Seed exchange in the “small box” group. This is the group I make sure I order from, the group that I make sure I support, even if it’s just with a small order.
I just now placed my order with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. I have “Short Stuff” dwarf sunflowers coming, and Red Brandywine tomatoes, Green Grape tomatoes (it’ll be interesting to learn how to tell if a green tomato is ripe) as well as some Sage, and more Cayenne peppers. I could not grow enough cayenne last season! They’re also going to be sending sweet Hungarian Banana peppers. Gotta have the sweets for the mild sauce, and I like the way the Hungarians grow. They have been prolific, dependable..and they look really cool in the garden.
From Johnny’s Selected Seeds…I am impressed! This is the first time I ordered from them, as I didn’t know about them until last year’s garden was established. I did all my research, went all through their web site and asked for a catalog. Yes, very impressed. Larger, but still private, Johnny’s fits into my mental “small box” group, and will stay there.
They sent me some pretty cool stuff. I ordered my Space spinach from them this year, and my Black Cherry tomatoes (OH! THOSE TOMATOES!!!!) as well as a new hot pepper called, “Hot Paper Lantern.” It is supposedly a little hotter than a Serrano, and it looks cool, like a paper lantern. I’ll let you know what my Guinea Pigs…er…friends …say about the heat and flavor of the peppers. I was impressed with the speed of shipment. Small order, but it didn’t get tossed on the pile. It got here fast.
Next up, Amish Lands. This order came in yesterday, several days before I expected it. I love Amish Land Seeds! The quality of the seeds I get from this small Pennsylvania farmer is unsurpassed. I went back this year, ordered a few favorites from last season. She sent my Little White Rabbit tomatoes. Those are the ones that never make it into the house. They ripen, I wash and eat them right off the vine while I tend the rest of the garden. Also, she sent my Schmmeig Creg tomatoes, a darling, small striped slicer with incredible flavor, and my Zapotecs, a really cool, deeply ruffled beefsteak. She also sent a freebie! I was hemming and hawing about growing yellow pears again. Decision made, she sent a free packet. Amish Land has some really weird, and some rare cultivars. Being where she is, she hets a lot of German tomatoes, a lot of Polish, and a nice variety of Russian. I love this source.
And finally (for today, at least,) I think I may have found my main hot pepper seed source in Refining Fire Chiles. I placed the order, got it like three hours later…Seriously, they shipped the same day. The shipping rate was so low I don’t think the guy covered the cost of the packaging. The order came with a detailed instruction sheet for starting and growing the hot peppers, written in plain English. “Do not use peat pots because of the high acid content.” I did not know this! He instructs on his favorite germinating medium, how long it should take the seeds to germinate, what I can do to help them along…fantastic. He sent my ultra hotties, the Red Savina Habaneros, and a new one, the Trinidad Scorpion (red). I also ordered a “somewhat hotter than a Jalapeno” novelty from them, Peter Pepper Red. I had to do it. The darn things are phalic. Inner Horny Old Broad snickered, bumped me on the shoulder and said, “Um…yeah. This, we need to see.”
Both Amish Lands and Refining Fire Chiles pack their seeds into small little envelopes that are taped or stapled closed, with little slips of paper to tell you what you’re growing. That is incredibly old-school, wonderfully home made. I trust this! This tells me, “I grew these plants in my garden, saved these seeds, and packed them at my kitchen table.”
I know, from short email conversations with Amish Lands, that this is precisely how it goes for her. Since everything important always happened at the kitchen table growing up, from family dinners to board games to auto repairs (“Get the carburetor off the table, Ed, it’s supper time.”) this is what I know and trust. This is what I reach for, and it’s never let me down.
Oooooo, I want to start planting so bad!!!!!
All of the sources I’m blabbing about today are in my links, in Gardening sources. So, what are you waiting for? Go get your seeds!!!
Stay tuned…Next up is part two in the Garlic story.