Thursday, March 13, 2008

I ordered heritage seeds this week - vegetables and flowers. I had loads of fun pouring over the catalogues and reading the history and specifics of all the plants.

From The Cottage Gardener I ordered these:

French Breakfast Radish (Certified Organic)- 1879 (20 – 30 days) An oblong radish, about 2” long, red with white tip.

Five-Colour Silverbeet Swiss Chard ( Certified Organic)- (55 – 60 days).1850’s. A very old variety, nearly lost, that I grow for ornament as much as for flavour. The stalks come in a rainbow of colours – red, yellow, orange, pink and cream – and are beautiful in the garden.

Tennis Ball Lettuce (Endangered; Certified Organic; Butterhead) - (50 days) Introduced in the 1850's (although the name makes it seem modern!), and offered in Canada since at least 1878, this tiny, perfect lettuce produces loose heads measuring only 7" in diameter. Perfect for pots and balconies.

Little Finger Carrot (Certified Organic) - 55-60 days) Did you know that the “baby carrots” that you buy at the grocery store are actually just regular-sized carrots that have been pared down? So deceitful! If you want true baby carrots, Little Finger is the one to grow. Developed in France, this carrot grows to just 3” long and ½” wide with roots that are very tender and sweet. It grows well in heavy soils; is perfect for container gardening; can be used fresh, cooked, pickled or canned and is a good carrot for market growers.

Wildflower Mix (Flowers for Butterflies, Hummingbirds and Songbird) - This high-quality mixture includes a variety of North-American wildflowers that attract and help sustain these beautiful winged visitors to our gardens. Each packet sows approximately 100 sq ft. Contains seeds of: Amaranthus caudatus, Asclepias curassavica, Aster bigelovii, Clarkia amoena, Coreopsis tinctoria, Cosmos bipannatus, Echinacea purpurea, Gaillardia pulchella, Lupinus perennis, Malope trifica,Monarda citriodora, Ratibida columnifera, Rudbeckia hirta,Salvia coccinea, Saponaria vaccaria, Zinnia elegans.

Helianthus - Italian White Sunflower -This beauty, diminutive for a sunflower, is perfect for city lots. Growing just to 5’, it has multi-branching stems that are festooned with pale yellow to creamy white flowers. This makes it also a wonderful cut flower. It is thought that this heirloom was brought to the U.S. by European immigrants.

Digitalis grandiflora -Large Yellow Foxglove - A true perennial Foxglove, originally a native of Greece, and grown in Britain since the 16th C. The “large” in the name refers to the flowers - pale yellow with maroon-netted throats- rather than the height (2 - 3’). Very hardy. Z 3 - 8. (100 seeds

Digitalis Purpurea - Common Foxglove - 15th C. This is the original English wildflower species from which many of today's hybrids were developed. Spotted, bell-shaped flowers in purple, pink or white droop from 2-3' stems in early summer. Attracts bees and hummingbirds.

From Heritage Harvest Seed I ordered these:

Farthest North - Tomato - Introduced by the North Dakota State University in 1934. A very early and prolific cherry tomato that sets fruit in cool temperatures. Good for containers and northern areas. Determinate, regular-leaf foliage. (50 days from transplant) EXTREMELY RARE.

Hahms Gelbe - Tomato - A wonderful little cherry tomato from Germany with delicious yellow fruit. The small plants grow to about 6” high, about the same size as Andrina, which is a red cherry. The two make an excellent combination in containers and you can then enjoy red and yellow cherries all summer long. Determinate. (60-65 days from transplant)

Nasturtium - Empress of India (pre-1884) (Tropaeolum majus) - (aka Indian Cress) This old heirloom variety has bluish green leaves with crimson flowers. The plants are dwarf and bushy. Nasturtiums are not only ornamental but also high in Vitamin C. The leaves and flowers add a spicy flavor to sandwiches and the seeds have a peppery taste. The seeds can be pickled and used as a caper substitute. Annual. Sun-part shade. Ht: 12-14” (25 seeds/pkt

Night Scented Tobacco (1850) (Nicotiana sylvestris) - (a.k.a. Woodland Tobacco) Introduced from Brazil to the United States in the mid 1800’s, Night Scented Tobacco soon became popular for its wonderful fragrance. The tall plants reach 5’ tall with huge light green leaves and the white slender tubular flowers remain open all day. A favorite of hummingbirds and moths. The fragrance is captivating on a warm humid evening. A very stately plant that is beautiful planted towards the back of a large flower bed. Can tolerate quite a bit of frost in the autumn. One of my favorites. Ht: 4-5’ tall. Annual. Sun-part shade. (50 seeds/pkt)

Forget-Me-Not (Cynoglossum amabile) - (a.k.a. Firmament, Chinese Forget Me Not or Hound’s Tongue) These wonderful old fashioned flowers are literally covered with clear blue blossoms all summer long. A very carefree annual that self seeds prolifically. Ht: 14-16” tall. Annual. Sun-part shade. (50 seeds/pkt)


the Bag Lady said...

You must be getting so excited about putting in a garden! Love your seed choices - I have grown French Breakfast Radishes and love them.
Make sure you let some of these things go to seed in the fall so you can collect them!
I did that one year and have enough radish, rutabaga, and dill seeds to last the rest of my life! I also had radishes and rutabagas that self-seeded, and the radishes, especially, were much better that way.

Carpe Diem said...

I plan on collecting the seeds for next year. I have never done this before in the past, so if I have questions I will know who to turn to ;)

I figure to that I only want a small garden this year, as I will have many other landscaping tasks this year. These plants will give me a good start.

the Bag Lady said...

I am sure you will be very busy with landscaping! If you are interested in seeds, I have lots that I have collected and am willing to share!! Giant Delphiniums (which really attract hummingbirds), several varieties of poppies... email me at the address on my blog and I'll gladly send you some!