Welcome to part 2 of my explanation of what seeds I ordered for the garden this year and why I ordered them. If you haven’t already, please take a look at part 1 of the series. While I hope that this helps the readers with their seed selection, I write this sort of post more to help me keep track of what I am planting. It also helps with planning the garden and guides me in my path to preserving the harvest. This entire order was from my main seed source, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.
Winter squash – I’m going to grow several of these. We are fairly new to growing winter squash. Neither my wife nor I grew up eating winter squash, but I would like to change this. I like the idea of being able to eat some of our harvest in the winter but without having to preserve it. Winter squash tends to stay good for a long time after harvest.
For those that aren’t overly familiar with squash, there are 4 different species of squash, C. pepo, C. maxima, C moschata and C. mixta (this is sometimes called C. argyrosperma). Planting 2 varieties of any of these species will allow cross-pollination. This does not affect the current year’s fruit, but will affect the seeds to produce next year’s crop. To avoid this, I am only growing 1 variety of each species. I will put the species in parenthesis after the squash name to help with identification.
Tahitian Melon squash – (C. moschata) I’ve read that this makes a very good pumpkin pie and great soup. Since this is similar to butternut squash, any recipe that uses butternut squash can use this squash instead. It also has a very long shelf life.
Rouge Vif D'Étampes (Cinderella) pumpkin
Rouge Vif D’Étampes (Cinderella) pumpkin - (C. maxima) This one is also supposed to make a great pie. But I really like the looks of this pumpkin and I think that my wife will set these around as Fall decoration.
Green-Striped Cushaw (Striped Crookneck) squash – (C. mixta) I had heard of cushaw squash and wanted to try growing these. From what I’ve read, they make a good pie and are really good baked with brown sugar or a stuffing mix. But what really drew me to this is the resistance to Squash Vine Borers.
Winter Luxury Pie pumpkin – (C. Pepo) This is mainly a pie pumpkin. I have plenty of squash that can be used for pies, but the kids like to grow pumpkins that look like pumpkins. So they will be able to grow these small pumpkins. This is the same species as the zucchini listed below. If I decide that I want to save seeds from this, I will need to hand pollinate the flowers.
Dark Green Zucchini squash – (C. pepo) I’m not a big Summer squash fan, but my wife loves it and my kids like it. So to help keep them happy, I grow zucchini. I do grate and freeze zucchini to make zucchini bread. This is very susceptible to squash vine borers, so I will have to plant this in succession to get a harvest the entire Summer. As with the Winter luxury pumpkin, if I decide to save seeds, this will require hand pollination.
Keystone Resistant Giant bell pepper – These are a bell pepper that gets fairly large. Southern Exposure lists this as being very well adapted to the Mid-Atlantic region. Since I have trouble growing peppers from seed, I want the cards stacked in my favor.
Calabrese (Italian Green Sprouting) Broccoli – I grew this variety several years in a row. It does not produce a big head, but instead produces a lot of small shoots at each leaf junction. This makes it produce longer than broccoli that only produces a big head.
Poinsett 76 cucumber – This is a slicing cucumber that produces fruit up to 8″ long and 2.5″ across. But what drew me to this variety is that the multiple disease resistances. It is an open pollinated variety.
Edisto 47 muskmelon – Most of the cantaloupe that is sold in stores is really muskmelons. My daughter loves cantaloupe, so I am growing these for her. This variety is very disease resistant, supposedly more so than hybrid varieties. I have never grown muskmelons before, so this will be an experience.
Crimson Sweet, Virginia Select watermelon – This variety is well adapted to the Mid-Atlantic. I didn’t have much luck with watermelon last year, but I’m going to keep trying until I get it right.
Amish Paste tomato – I ordered these mainly because they produce large paste tomatoes. Another thing that attracted me is that they are an indeterminate variety. Most paste tomatoes are determinate and mainly produce a single large harvest of tomatoes. These should produce the entire Summer. As long as I can get them to get beyond the seedling stage.
Green Arrow pea – We grew several varieties last year, and we really liked this variety. They are tasty peas that freeze well. I also like that the plants only get about waist-high and produce the most peas on the tops of the vines, so they are easy to harvest.
Tennessee Red Cob dent corn – The other day, I read the home ground flour post on Fast Grow The Weeds. They made some excellent points about growing corn for meal. I have grown sweet corn before, but this year I’m trying to grind my own corn meal.
Spring Mesclun Mix - This is my favorite salad mix. It contains several varieties of lettuce, spinach and mustard greens. The salads that come from this mix are very attractive with the mixture of green and red leaves. I last purchased this 3 years ago and it still produced wonderfully. Eventually I will probably start buying the individual seed packets, but for now I’m happy to receive the mix.
That’s it for my bulk order of seeds. I will likely have another post about some additional seeds. Those will come from local stores, or I could stumble upon some variety that looks interesting. If that happens, expect to see part 3.