“If it had been left up to me, we would have grown one of everything from the catalogs that year. In the winter squash section alone, I underlined twelve intriguing varieties, including Candy Roaster, Turk’s Turban, Pink Banana, and something called Galeux d’Eysines, which the text told me meant “embroidered with pebbles.” The herb sections made me completely nuts. How could you not order one packet each of saltwort, sneezewort, motherwort, and Saint-John’s-wort, plus a sample of mad-dog skullcap, which the text said was once a folk remedy for rabies? At a buck a pop, how could you go wrong? The whole trick of seed catalogs is that they come into the house in the winter, when everything still seems possible and the work of growing things is too far in front of you to be seen clearly.”
(from: The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love. Kristin Kimball. 2010.)
A number of years ago Fedco, a favorite seed source, entitled their catalog Spring Fiction. Seed ordering time is California dreaming. There’s a lot of hope, wonder, excitement, joy, anticipation, and optimism (amongst other things) involved in planning for the season ahead. When I read any seed descriptions I often find myself wondering, “how could I not want that?” Below are just a few of my favorites. Enjoy!
Rosita Eggplant OG (84 days) Open-pollinated. A truly sublime eggplant, Rosita is early, productive and tasty without a hint of bitterness. These pear-shaped pink-lavender fruits with white shoulders are 6–8″ long and 4–6″ wide and will stand up in any Solanum beauty contest. Heirloom Rosita, brought to the States from Puerto Rico in 1979, has gained a steady following. Enjoy its sweet delicious tender white flesh. QCS-certified.
Juliet Tomato (60 days) Ind. There will be no lack of Romeos who want to nibble on these and no lack of the delectable little plum-shaped fruits for them to adore. They come in clusters everywhere, each truss bearing 6–8 of the 1–2 oz grapes for an astonishing total of 50–80 glossy red fruits per plant. With an engaging sweetness, they make good stewing tomatoes, excellent salad tomatoes, and, despite their juiciness, a tangy sauce with a diverse complex richness and full sweet tomato flavor. Lynn Sagalyn of Philadelphia reports that “Juliet is my favorite tomato for drying. Cut them in half, flip out the seeds and dehydrate…They are like tomato ‘raisins’—chewy and sweet to just eat, put on pizza, or add some red to a winter stir-fry.” This 1999 AAS winner is firm enough to hold on the vines for up to two weeks, crack resistant, tolerant to EB and LB, and fairly invulnerable to insect or slug damage.
Poona Kheera Slicing Cucumber OG (60 days) Open-pollinated. Bored with American cucumbers and ready for something different? This emigré from India undergoes quite a metamorphosis, 4–5″ fruits turning from cream color to golden yellow to russet brown as they mature. At each stage they remain extremely crisp, sweet, juicy, refreshing and bitter-free. Used in stir-fries, long-marinating dishes, pickles and chutneys. They keep their crisp texture and absorb sauce flavors in Thai and Indian food. Vines vigorous, disease resistant and heavy yielding. Short crop; order early. OT-certified.
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