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Plantidote of the Day 2013-02-08

twig's picture

seed catalogs

Time for garden planning

Things are looking grim, time-wise, this year. And the raised beds I was dreaming of are still just dreams. So I'm focusing on planting only two kinds of things: herbs and salad stuff -- different kinds of greens, tomatoes, and onions.

What about everyone else? What are you planting and why?


Readers, please send twig ( images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chantrelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.

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insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

Every year I plant the 3 sisters all in groups together. Climbing beans grow up poles and corn grows in groups of 6 and winter squash grows between all the corn and beans. 3 sisters. Each crop provides something for the others.Beans add nitrogen for the corn. Corn provides something to climb and the squash provides ground cover to shade the soils. The beans and squash store for months and we eat all winter.

Add to that a couple dozen heirloom tomatoes and plenty of sweet and hot peppers.
I have already started the seeds for the tomatoes and peppers in my hot house.
I'll add in some carrots and beets in my raised beds cause the soil is so soft and rock free. Of course, I'll grow a couple different kinds of basil cause I love pesto.
I have been pouring over the seed catalogs for a month. I keep ordering more seed.
Seeds are amazing.
My favorite seed catalogs are Baker Creek Seed, Totally Tomatoes; Johnney's Seed, Botanical Interests, Renee's Seed, Thompson & Morgan and Territorial Seed Co.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

Wow, you're so ambitious! And I'm so jealous ;-)!!

Basil -- makes me swoon, isn't it awesome? I'll be planting that, too. Also, oregano, rosemary, and chives. Nothing very exotic -- maybe I should track down something more interesting. In spite of being very fond of cilantro, it's a tangly mess to grow, so I think I'll skip it.

In the salad department, I'm experimenting with dandelion and mustard greens, maybe arugula or some other unusual salad green. I planted mustard greens a few years ago and it was so tasty (if you like mustard) and easy to grow. Tomatoes, of course, the more, the merrier. The past few summers have been too cool and the tomatoes didn't ripen until Sept or maybe Oct. But our weather is so unpredictable, who knows?

Submitted by jawbone on

resistance, flavor, difficulty or ease of growing, time to maturity, etc. And flavor.

My brother grew some and wasn't all that impressed. Anyone else?

I'm also looking for seeds for the Ugly tomato, which I had some years ago from a home grower in WI. He'd tried the seeds, loved the product: Huge tomatoes with irregular shoulders, and meaty all the way through. Even tho' they were so big, you could use half and the rest would stay good for a few days! Wonderful, intense tomato flavor.

I hunted for them last year and then on the web last month --nary a seed to be had. It seems some larger seed company bought the rights to the Ugly to keep it off the market. But that was only in a comment.

Anyone know about this situation?

insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

Hybrid tomatoes came about because wild ( heirloom) tomatoes are suseptable to many many diseases like Verticillian wilt, Fusarian, different bacterial blights and nematodes. So when you buy Better Boy and the label has the letters VFN... those are the problems I noted above and the hybrids are bred to be resistant to those problems.

So, that said, I grow about 25-30 different heirloom tomatoes. I happen to live in the garden of Eden. ( N California with rich volcanic soils, 10 hours of full sun everyday. NO rain in summer and I have a mean compost that I make from yardwaste and chicken poop.)
IDEAL situation for heirlooms.
I use a dry farming method where I enrich a huge root hole and plant deep. I water abundantly at first to grow an enormous root system then taper off water until I quit watering about the time the first tomatoes are forming. Then little to NO water for rest of season.
The rich soil, abundant sun, mild temps and dry farming prevent most of the diseases and I get loads of meaty tomatoes full of flavor. We waste none. I can and cook and eat fresh. The odd one that hits the ground the chickens eat.
I rotate my crops so I never plant tomatoes in same spot . ( I have a ginormous garden).
If you have less than excellent conditions, a short season,or lots of summer rain then stick to the hybrids.

Submitted by jawbone on

I have limited space and usually plant in large containers. With my maple tree gone, i was thinking of growing tomatoes in the front yard...but the roots are not deteriorating as fast as I thought they would.

And there was gound cover around the base of the maple, as there was so little sumlight it did well there.

Anyway, thanks much.

I believe the Ugly tomatoes are a hybrid, but am not certain. They grew so well for guy in Wisconsin, but he had inimpeded sunshine for his vegetable gardens.

Submitted by lambert on

1. I didn't grow mine from seed, I got flats at the Farmer's Market. They turned out great, large and flavorsome, but they are indeed wicked ugly

2. On the sun, I recommend a strategy of "bold, persistent experimentation." I don't have full fun for my tomato patch -- there are about three hours in the middle of the day when a roof gets in the way. But tomatoes are vines.... Very successful. Just because full sun is best doesn't mean there won't be a variety that can get by on less....

insanelysane's picture
Submitted by insanelysane on

The beautiful header on Correntewire's is a Ginko biloba.
It is a trained espalier and tres manifique !

A conifer that lived with the dinosaurs and the sago palms.

Submitted by lambert on

938 x 160 and JPG (PNG is too slow).

I prefer the location to be given because everything is rooted in a place.

But be sure to leave space for Corrente at top left with a dark enough background for the white lettering not to look funny.

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