Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Backyard Farmer: Topic 1 of 4 - Seeds

There is nothing that says "fresh start" to me than buying seeds.  So I thought today, New Years Eve, would be an appropriate day for this post.

I am an absolute sucker for seed catalogs....they rope you in with great photography (to photograph for a seed catalog is on my bucket list), and the names of different vegetables just seal the deal...example: "Pink Summercicle" Radish, "Collective Farm Woman" Melon, "Red Candy Apple" Onion, "Fairy Tale" Eggplant, and "Butta" Squash...I mean come on....who doesn't love "butta" so a squash called "Butta" must be grand, right?
Where to Buy: 
I am a huge fan of Johnny's Seeds and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  I order a lot of seeds from both of these companies.  Johnny's has a great variety of both organic and non organic as well as unique items and "bread and butter" items.  Baker Creek just has some darn right cool stuff that you can't find other places.

Some other companies that I use are:
High Mowing Seeds (only organic)
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (only organic)
Harris Seeds

Some other ones we use deal in selling seeds in larger quantities for commercial use like Stokes, Seedway, and Seedway Organic.

For Tomatoes my favorite source is Tomato Fest.  Some other ones we use are Totally Tomato and Tomato Growers.

Lima Bean Seeds
Seed Selection:
So when you are choosing seeds there are a few things to consider:

1. Organic or non-organic
2. Hybrid or non-hybrid
3. Resistance to disease

1. Organic or non-organic is a hot button issue for a lot of people so this it totally based on personal preference.  Most of the above mentioned catalogs offer organic seed.

2. When specific parent plants are crossed you get a "hybrid" plant.  If you save the seeds from a hybrid tomato plant for example, you will not get that same tomato next year.  A non-hybrid (heirloom) plant that you save seeds from will give you the same plant year after year.

3. Resistance to disease can save you a lot of headache.  In the catalog when you look at a variety of lets say, cucumber it will  have initials somewhere in the description that let you know what those plants are resistant to...for example in the Johnny's Seed Catalog, "Diva" Cucumbers are resistant to (CVYV, DM, PM, S) which means: Cumber Vein Yellowing Virus, Downy Mildew (this is a big one!), Powdery Mildew (another big one!), and Scab.  No fear...in each catalog there is a table that lists the initials of diseases and what they stand for.

Only plant things that you are excited about and can't wait to eat.  Some items are quite a bit easier to grow than others but you are always welcome to ask questions.

In the spring I will be selling 6 packs of started vegetables and herbs so even if you don't choose the "from seed" route you can still fill your garden with lots of goodness!

Up Next: 2 of 4 post will be about Tomatoes!

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