Yesterday, I went to Roher’s Seeds in Lancaster and vowed never to order seeds online again. I went a little overboard looking at the beautiful Rare Seeds catalog and probably bought more than I should. Roher’s seeds has a great selection from Baker Creek, Renee’s, and other seed companies, as well as their own (usually cheaper, too!). They had a huge selection of flowers, herbs, and vegetables, and all the accessories real gardeners would need. I must admit, I did buy a few more seed packets, but now I swear I’m done!
First to sow, this week hopefully, will be eggplant, artichoke, onion, rhubarb, and leeks. Here’s the full list (‘trial’ indicates free seed pack sent by seed company and not something I ordered). As you can see, it’s a pretty big mix of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. I hope it’s a success!
Asparagus - Millenium
Baby’s Breath- Covent Garden
Basil - Emily
Basil - Thai Holy Kaprao
Brussels Sprouts - Long Island Improved
Carrot - Parisienne (trial)
Carrot- Kuroda Long 8
Chamomile - German
China Rose, Angel Wings.
Collard Greens - Morris Heading
Columbine - McKana’s Giant Mixed Colors
Corn, Sweet Stowell’s evergreen (trial)
Cucumber - National Pickling
Cucumber- Barse (trial)
Dock/ Bloody, Sorrel
Eggplant- Fengyuan Purple
Leek - Giant Musselburgh
Melon - Charentais
Mustard Greens -Japanese Giant Red
Mustard Greens, Black
Nasturtium - Alaska Mix
Nasturtium- Amazon Jewel
Nasturtium- Rainbow Whirlybird
Onion- He Shi Ko Bunching
Oregano, Wild Zaatar
Pepper - Tabasco
Pepper - Thai Hot
Pepper- Early Jalapeno
Radish - Easter Egg II blend
Radish- Japanese Minowase Daikon
Rhubarb- Glaskins Perpetual
Shiso (Perilla Purple Zi Su)
Snow Pea- Carouby De Maussane
Sorrel, Green De Belleville
Squash - Sweet Dumpling
Squash, Black Futsu
Sunflower - Evening Sun Mixed Colors
Sweet Peas - perfume delight
Swiss Chard, Bright Lights
Tomato - Old Fashioned Goliath Hyb
Tomato- Jersey Devil
Tomato, Amish Gold Slicer
Tomato, Artisan Mix
Tomato, Bush Beefsteak
The danger of buying seeds online is that you don’t quite realize how much you’ve ordered until it’s in your hands…
I may have gone a little overboard this year. My plan was to focus on perennial herbs and vegetables, followed by self-seeding herbs and beneficial flowers, and finally to throw in a few just-for-fun vegetables that would be impossible to buy anywhere in stores. Then I would see how much energy I have for vegetable gardening (as opposed to the shrubs and perennial flowers that I focused on last year) and if I decided it wasn’t for me, I’d at least have some self-sufficient perennials and self-seeders established, and maybe a couple interesting veggies too. Well, I did stick to that plan, but I may have bought about 50% more than I really need. I’m not sure that I can actually plant all this seed this year, but it will be an adventure to see if I can!
This is my “wet guild”. It’s herbs and vegetables that need a lot of water and a lot of sun, and/or will work well together. I’ll be putting this right next to our back patio, where the hose is. I’ll need to double-dig an entirely new garden bed for this!
On the left is the ‘moderate water’ and on the right is the ‘tolerates dry’. These will be on the South side of the house, where I planted some lavender last year. This area is partially dug and mulched, but I will need to extend the bed further.
This area will be to the left of my current herb bed, next to the forsythia hedge. My plan is to deep mulch the grass with layers of mushroom compost, newspaper and cardboard, and straw, and then either dig small holes and fill with compost for individual plants, or just grow from soil bags on top of the mulch. Then next year when the grass is dead, I’ll dig it all in.
And finally, I’m considering getting some chickens this year! I’m picky about where I get them from (I do not want to give money to a commerical/ factory hatchery where the chickens aren’t treated well, are crammed in too tightly, and all the males are killed). I’ll need to find someone with a flock that is too large that they want to divide, or maybe someone who tried chickens last year and decided they weren’t for them. I may not find anyone selling young chickens this year, but if the opportunity arises, I’ll jump on it. “Chicken Land” would be back underneath the pine trees, and out into the lawn a little, for sunshine. There’s a very large area back there that they can free roam as they like (I would probably divide it into paddocks, it’s so large) and then I’d let the chickens totally free range in the garden with supervision. I’m excited at the possibility of more funny pets, fresh eggs, bug control, compost assistance, and lovely mulch.
This is what the garden looks like in January and February. The snow is actually mostly melted at the moment, but we’re due to get more soon. Needless to say, I am still snuggled up inside with my seed catalogs, trying to plan.
I just put in a big seed order and am now trying to figure out how to plant them all! I want to plant a polyculture garden, with herbs, vegetables, and flowers all together. Many plants do better when they have a variety of other ones around them. It decreases pests and improves the soil. However, it gets really complicated! Here are all the things to consider:
- Height of plant
- Sun requirements
- Water requirements
- Soil requirements
- How deep the roots are (you don’t want to put a lot of deep-rooted plants close together)
- Nitrogen fixing (some plants are good for this, so you want to sprinkle them around evenly)
- How many days until harvest (for the annuals)
- Which plants are beneficial to each other (like basil deterring aphids on tomatoes)
- Which plants are bad for each other (like dill and fennel which will cross-pollinate in a bad way)
I’m going to put together what are called “guilds” of plants that will do well together. Then I’m going to order these guilds according to water and sunlight needs, putting the plants that need the most water closest to my garden hose, and the ones that need the most sun on the Southern-most end of the garden. For now, I’m writing a spreadsheet with all the info I’ve collected, and when I get my seed order in I’ll take the info from the seed packets and add to that. I’ll report back when I have my guilds figured out!