Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Seed & Source Recommendations Please!!

Now that the hustle and bustle of the Holidays is over, I finally went through all of my seeds. There are a few veggies and fruits that I would greatly appreciate some variety and source recommendations on.


Artichoke, Globe, plants - to buy on-line, I have completely failed growing them from seed and I did not like the variety I purchased last year (I had Imperial Star)

Asparagus Plants - to buy on-line, I have never grown asparagus

Brussels Sprouts - (I planted Long Island) mine grew nice and big, but they did not form heads early enough...I'm still waiting for them to get bigger

Cabbage, Red - I always grow Savoy and it does well. I would like to plant a red variety though

Cauliflower  - (I planted Early Snowball) mine grew well despite the hot weather. I would like to try another variety as well

Corn, Sweet - I have never grown corn in my home garden

Corn, Popcorn - My mother used to grow a great popcorn when I was growing up. I don't know what variety it was.

Lima Bean - I'm looking for small limas, pole if there is such a variety

Pumpkin - I'm looking for a good pumpkin for pies

Raspberry, canes - I have never grown raspberries
Strawberry, plants - I will be making another bed for strawberries. I have several varieties planted in the bed I have now....but, they are all mixed up and I lost the tags!! I want to plant both Alpine and June


  1. A source I use for brasscia's like cauliflower and cabbage is "Seeds from Italy" at http://www.growitalian.com/
    Bill McKay who owns this site is very responsive. He seeds come from....Italy! They are non-GMO and I have had good luck with them. Of course, I do live in a Mediterranean climate. :-)

    I have also had good luck with his beans...especially the fava which we find delicious and they are so good for fixing nitrogen in the soil.

  2. I just finished reading what I missed - wow great food and gifts! Congrats on that plot, I'm looking forward to seeing that develop. I had terrible luck with growing my own artichokes too last year. Raspberries & Blackberries & Strawberries are super easy to grow you will do great! One tip is to not rely on the "thornless" ones to be thornless after 3 years LOL, mine are now sporting thorns but it doesn't really matter since now the dogs won't eat as much!

  3. I am partial to two Maine sources for seeds and plants, FEDCO, a seed co-op, and Johnny's Selected Seeds, an employee owned seed house. Both have been great sources for me.

    As for varieties, I too am looking for a short season Brussels sprout variety. I have grown Oliver and liked it, but it apparently is being dropped.

    Cauliflower, I liked Cassius and Early Snowball. I LOVE CHeddar, but it is extremely spendy this year. Graffiti is fun, and I really like Violet Queen, although it seems more like a purple broccoli.

    My favorite pie pumpkin is New England Pie. The pumpkins are on the small side but are not stringy and have excellent flavor, much like butternut squash but less sweet.

    My favorite eating strawberry is Sparkle, but I have never grown any.

    It is seed ordering time, I love it! I am putting my orders in now, and will post them on my blog soon. Yay!

    Good luck with your HUGE garden expansion.

  4. Johnny's has a Purple Passion aparagus that some gardeners rave about. If I remember it's an F1 and it's available in seed or crowns. I've been thinking of growing it but I have yet to create the room in my garden.

    As for red cabbage - last winter I grew Red Express - it's a compact size plant that's suppose to be early but it grew so slowly due to our warm winter weather. It would probably grow well in your climate. I think the seeds were from Johnny's but unfortuneatly I gave them away last year.

    This winter I'm growing Tete Noire (Baker Creek) it's a larger, later variety of red cabbage and it's been growing very well in warmer than usual winter temps. I have enough seeds left to share. If you want some email me (kitchengardenmaui@gmail.com) your mailing address and I'll mail some seeds to you.

    As for pumpkin - Greek Sweet Red winter squash was absolutley amazing. It grew really well in our summer heat. It has a sweet pumpkin flavor and made great pumpkin pie. The vines will grow up to 40 feet but you can turn them and snake them around other plants. They really produced and the squash are ready to use as soon as they turn tan. After trialing way too many bland winter squash/pumpkins, I can't say enough good things about this one! I have extra seeds and I could send you some of these too.

  5. First, don't plant popcorn and sweet corn within hundreds of feet of each other unless they have very different tasseling times. You might get by with a very early sweet corn and a late popcorn, but if they are both pollinating at the same time, they will cross and it will be disastrous.

    Did you see my beautiful Red Acre cabbages last year? I loved them.

    We buy Sugar Dot sweet corn at our local farm stand each year. It never fails to please.

    I agree with Ali on the New England Pie pumpkin. Some of mine grew to around 14 pounds, so they aren't all small. I got my seeds from Daphne, but I think that's what the variety was. I have its name as Small Sugar Pie

    I was very happy with my day neutral Tristar strawberries the first year, but the runners are so prolific I couldn't keep up with them, and the second year's crowded bed provided few good berries. They do bear small crops continually, from spring 'til winter's hard frost.

    I'm growing Canby raspberries, but they are a one-crop summer variety. I would suggest Heritage, which I grew and loved in the past. They will fruit in spring and fall, but can be grown as a single cropper for larger berries. There are some good websites to teach you how to prune them, just Google "pruning raspberries".

  6. I forgot to mention a place it is easy to lose a few hours in, the Cornell Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners website, where you can read reviews from people who grew various varieties of plants. It is fascinating! http://vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu/

    I am looking over bush beans for dilly beans tonight.

  7. And PS to Granny, New England Pie and Small Sugar Pie are supposedly the same variety... although I've never grown on as large as 14 lbs.!

  8. I bought my strawberry plants from Gurney's. I bought the everbearing variety and they grew really great despite the hot summer we had!
    The other strawberries, the sequoia, we bought from Home Depot. None grew fruit this year since it was the first year in the garden. I'm looking forward to some fruit this spring!

  9. I can't help you with this one. I usually buy my seeds in garden centers. However, I did purchase a few seeds on ebay. They were all very good quality.

  10. I am going to recommend Johnnys Seeds as well... Last year I ordered everything from Seed Savers Exchange, and only about 30% of my seeds actually germinated. Johnnys is a new brand for me this year, but I have read some really great things about them! In their catalog, they have seeds AND plants available, so the choices are pretty endless. Good luck!

  11. Patricia, Thanks for the site. I briefly looked at it and will spend some more time looking through his seeds. I better not let "The Italian" look or he will want me to buy everything!!

    Erin, welcome home!! I think I'm going to take Granny's recommendation on the Heritage raspberries.

    Ali, Thanks for all of your recommendations. I am going to spend some time on the Cornell site.

    Jane, Thanks so much. I will send you an e-mail.

    Granny, I'm just going to plant the popcorn. I think "My Little Garden Helper" will be fascinated growing popcorn. I know I was when my mother grew it. I was so spoiled most of my life growing up in a family of farmers that I want to go and pick the sweet corn...like I always did. I'll take your recommendations on the raspberries and everything else!!

    Mimi, MojVrt & TG.....Thanks for your recommendations. I think I have a lot of research left to do!

  12. Robin, to add to what the others have mentioned, Heritage and Caroline raspberries work here for us. We mow them down in spring and let them bear one crop in fall.

    Jewel strawberry is a great tasting and prolific June-bearing strawberry.

    I've been growing the Jersey hybrid asparagus varieties for years. Jersey Giant is my favorite.

    I usually get my plants from Starks Bros, Indiana Berry, and Edible Landscaping.

  13. For a small size lima bean, I would recommend Henderson Baby Limas (butter beans). I believe Wetzel is the supplier for garden centers and nurseries. I have grown butter beans for several years. They are a bush bean. I prefer a pole bean for ease of harvesting, so I'll try something new next year.

    I also use Johnny's Selected Seeds. Have been for about three years now, and my Mom has been using them for two years. They are very reliable!

  14. It's great, isn't it, doing the seed shop for the coming year! Good luck with it.

  15. I have tried numerous brussels sprouts, none have really produced well. Jade Cross Hybrid was the best of the worst. Not sure what I am doing wrong with them...

    Strawberry popcorn is a good one to try. I remember growing it when I was a child.

  16. I second the suggestion of Seeds From Italy, especially for the artichokes! The hardest part will be narrowing down the selection. Pinetree Garden Seeds is a good one for affordability.

  17. HI Robin! You've probably ordered your seeds, but on my blog I just posted and bookmarked on the sidebar a list of seed companies that I like. Good luck!!

  18. Try Nourse Farm for raspberries. They have an excellent selection of fruit!

  19. Hi Robin, Red Acres cabbage produced beautifully for us last year and I'll do that one again. As for corn, we gave up on it after the first year... raccoons helped us make that decision.

    It is going to be a great year!


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