Seed Catalog Wishful Shopping

I love Seed Savers Exchange. I had one of their catalogs while we were in Panama. I couldn't order from it (you can't ship seeds across country boarders without special permits). But I loved looking at all their beautiful pictures. Plus they have useful planting information.

Jeff and I are both looking for jobs right now so we anticipate moving *hopefully* soon. It would be nice to have incomes, but it would be even nicer to be settled somewhere for at least a growing season so I could have a garden. I've already started picking out the seeds I will need for my hypothetical garden.

If I take the trouble to plant a garden I only want high yield vegetables. This means no bell peppers - they just don't yield enough for the effort - at least for me.

I do want lettuce, snow peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, patty pan squash, zuchini and basil. Those are my must haves. I have gone through the catalog and decided these are the top 10 things I want to order:

1. Parade Pickling Cucumber - They are nice and small (5" long by 2" diameter) and are listed as "one of our favorites at the Heritage Farm". And it says the fruit matures at relatively the same time, making them excellent for canning. I can't wait to do another round of dill pickles. This time I'll go easier on the salt.

2. Forellenschuss Lettuce - "It's hard to find an all around better lettuce." It's a really pretty lettuce and it's supposed to have a superior flavor and hold up well to summer heat. In the Midwest holding well in hot weather is a huge plus.

3. Dwarf Grey Sugar Edible Podded Pea - This one caught my attention because it is supposed to be stringless and the vines are 2-2.5 feet and don't require staking. I love edible pod peas and I rarely buy them because they are so expensive in the grocery.

4. Patty Pan - I actually couldn't find a patty pan summer squash in the catalog. I guess I'll have to look somewhere else. These delicious squash are so good grilled. They are heavy producers like zucchini but they have a denser flesh and don't get slimy like zucchini when cooked. I love them in stir fry or brushed with olive oil and grilled.

5. Mexico Midget Tomato -If I only get to pick one tomato, I am going to pick an indeterminate (produces fruit continually vs. determinate that produce in one big flush) small tomato. The small ones yield earliest. I want a super prolific tasty tomato. There are 8 pages of tomatoes to pick from! My choice is the Mexico Midget. It is billed as prolific, rich, and one of our bests. Sold!

6. Genovese Basil - I always go with Genovese. This is the classic big green leaves, super flavor, grows really big and makes great pesto and bruchetta.

7. Empress Green Beans - Seed Savers describes this one as "Incredible flavor. our very best snap bean for fresh eating, freezing or processing. A true work-horse! Heavy yields of large straight green, stringless pods." This is a bush bean so I won't have to mess with fencing or trellis.

8. Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard - I like the look of the rainbow chard, but I've never been that impressed with the taste. Fordhook is a white veined chard that produces "all season and even after the first light frost".

9. Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts - Well they've only got one variety, the Long Island Improved. It sounds pretty good yielding 50-100 sprouts per plant. I love Brussels sprouts. They are not a quick, high yield vegetable that I could can and freeze. But they are so delicious I will make an exception. Also they are one of the last things I get to harvest from the garden. Just like how I get all excited about my first crop of baby lettuce. I also get really excited about my last picking of Brussels Sprouts.

10. Waltham Butternut Winter Squash - I look for quick heavy producers in my winter squash. I often do not make it all the way to harvest with the big vining varieties. I don't think I've ever got a carving pumpkin. So I'm looking for a variety that fruits in under 90 days. I am also looking for a squash that doesn't have a lot of ribs. Ribbed squash, like acorn squash, are hard remove the skin from. After much debate I am going with the Waltham Butternut. It is listed as an "exceptional keeper..nutty flavor.. and high yielding" plus it was an AAS winter in 1970. AAS is All American Selection winner.

Excellent now I am prepared for when find some garden space.


  1. Ooooh - if you also like cukes just for eating fresh plant at least one heirloom lemon cucumber. SO GOOD. they look like little yellow footballs. Freaking delicious. i planted about 4 varieties of cukes last summer and will be sticking to the lemons from now on.

    i think i id waltham butternut when i did butternut - they were delicious an stored all through winter.

  2. I always know when winter is almost over, well sort of. I start thinking about gardening. That has happened for me also. Have you looked at http://greenroofgrowers.blogspot.com? They don't garden in the ground. A new concept for me. I have more ground than I can really take care of. But I am scoping out good projects for the kids on this blog. Maybe you could plant like them then move it if necessary.

  3. Sandhill Preservation or Heirloom Acres carry pattypans. And the Mexico Midget is PROLIFIC! Great flavor, but I get tired of picking them :)

  4. Miranda - I do love the lemon cukes! They are so cute and they do taste awesome. I love slicing them and sprinkling them with a touch of salt of a refreshing afternoon snack.

    LeAnn - I'm facinated by the idea of a green roof. I've got my fingers crossed we'll be moved by, at the very latest, May and I'll be able to plant in the ground. However, it's always good to have back up plans.

    Abby - I'll have to check out Sandhill Preservation. Do you happed to know how the Mexico Midget cans? I'm thinking they could be blanched whole and canned for future use.