Monthly Archives: March 2011

Picking my Seeds

Chadwick Cherry Tomato   Oak Leaf Lettuce   Wild Rocket Arugula    Parisian Pickling Cucumber   Danvers Carrots  Detroit Dark Red Beet

Picking my Seeds, a set on Flickr.

I purchased most of my seeds a few weeks ago from a company called Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, which I read about last summer in The New York Times. Founder Jere Gettle is  a bit of a rare seed wunderkind who started his first mail-order seed business at the age of 17. Today, his catalog includes over 1,400 different varieties of flowers, vegetables and herbs.

I’ll admit I really don’t know too much about heirloom seeds. While I’ve heard that genetically modified foods come with certain risks, my foray into heritage planting was inspired more by aesthetics than by health. I was wooed by the idea of eating the same fruits and veggies that were grown in this country generations ago.

As I learned recently, “heirloom” is a bit of an ambiguous term – kind of like “sustainable” or “organic.” It doesn’t always mean better, and these seeds often make for plants that are more difficult to cultivate and protect against disease. So, like last year, I plan to supplement my heirloom varieties with some standard Burpee stock. Either way, if I pull it out of the ground myself, I’m likely a step ahead of most store-bought foods when it comes to freshness and taste.

So without further ado, here is my seed list. This includes most of what I plan to grow from now through early June. ( I know there are a few late summer/early fall crops – like pumpkins – that I will have to order later.)

American Melon Emerald Gem
Garden Pea – Lincoln    Update 4/05/2011: Canceled due to lack of space. 
Spinach Merlo Nero
Bean Contender
Beet – Detroit Dark Red
Pepper Italian Pepperoncini
Carrot Cosmic Purple
Carrot Danvers 126 Half Long
Cucumber – Parisian Pickling
Wild Rocket Arugula
Oak Leaf Lettuce
Lettuce de Morges Braun
Traditional Cayenne Pepper
Chadwick Cherry Tomato
Tomato Ananas Noir
Pantano Romanesco Tomato
Black Elephant Purple Tomato
Italian Black Kale
Burpee Cabbage
Burpee Radish
Burpee Watermelon (Sugar Baby)

Top: Cecily Parsley’s Nursery Rhymes by Beatrix Potter
Bottom: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Welcome to my Garden Blog

Ridgewood, Queens   Ridgewood Row house    Last Year's Garden    Last Year's Garden    Peppers and Swiss Chard   Bell Peppers
Wild Purslane    Sad Pumpkins   Ridgewood, Queens   Ridgewood, Queens   Ridgewood, Queens  Ridgewood, Queens

Garden 2010, a set on Flickr.

Hello! I live in Ridgewood, Queens with my boyfriend and two affenpinschers. We moved into a 1908 brick row house down the street from the Linden Hill cemetery a little over a year ago. I started my first garden last summer, and this year I thought I would document Garden 2.0 with a blog – from start to finish, sow to harvest.

The thumbnails link to my garden from last year, which my boyfriend described as “Swiss Family Robinson.” Admittedly, I was kind of miserly when it came to investing in materials and supplies. I opted for unraised garden beds and created borders out of twine and sticks that I found in the yard. Then I threw some seeds around Johnny Appleseed-style and hoped for the best.

Things turned out pretty decent: We had lots of peppers, radishes, arugula and Swiss chard. The kale, carrots and beets did ok, but my zucchinis were decimated by ants. The parsnips never sprouted (maybe it was too hot?) and the pumpkins were a bust (I started them way too late).  My tomatoes were the surprise hit of the summer. When I thought I had lost them to blight, I cut the plants down to a few inches high, and they sprouted right back up and rallied from September to late October.

I’m the type of person who likes to dive right into things without planning, but if I learned anything from last summer it was that a little planing goes a long way when it comes to planting a garden. So this year I am taking it slow and steady, doing my best to follow tips and advice I find online and in books, and mapping things out well in advance. I look forward to sharing the results!