Seed Order

February 21, 2010


a collection of maize seedsToday we ordered some seeds.  I continued to be disappointed with Gardening for Dummies during the process because it had information that was in direct contradiction to information in the seed catalogs.  I can now add “has wrong information” to my list of why I don’t like the book, a list that currently includes “too long” and “poorly organized.” Organic Gardening for Dummies, Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Farming, The Guide to Virginia Vegetable Gardening, and All-New Square Foot Gardening have been helpful in garden planning.  We attempted order as many seeds as possible from Seed Savers Exchange, including [format is “plant – variety (catalog number)”]

  • Sweet Corn – Golden Bantam (367) [reportedly has a nice, strong corn flavor]
  • Lettuce –Seed Savers Lettuce Mixture (1027)
  • Muskmelon – Amish (40) [I’d give a “shout out” to the Amish here…but they wouldn’t see it]
  • Peas – Dwarf Gray Sugar (229), Asparagus or Winged Pea (940) [edible pods]
  • Peppers – Bull Nose Large Bell (1466) [reportedly grown by Thomas Jefferson at near-by Monticello], Orange Bell (1044) [sweet], Santa Fe Grande (408) [hot]
  • Pumpkins – Cheyenne Bush Pumpkin (1048) [good for baking and carving]
  • Spinach – Bloomsdale (656)
  • Summer Squash – Black Beauty Zucchini (1303)
  • Tomatoes – Martino’s Roma (259) [late-maturing, good for sauce], Mexico Midget (109) [mid-maturing]
  • Watermelon – Picnic (1242)

We like doing business with Seed Savers because it’s not “big business;” the seed comes from open pollinated plants, so we can save the seed if we want; and my cousin, Sonya Luse, works there.  It’s nice to have a friend there because she’s checking on the seeds we’d have to back order if we ordered from Seed Savers:

  • Green Beans – Provider (1505), Kentucky Wonder Bush (205)
  • Carrots – Danvers (357)
  • Lettuce – Merveille Des Quatre Saisons (220)
  • Winter Squash – Waltham Butternut (245).

Apparently the seeds for the above are in short supply due to a poor crop last year.  Welcome to farming.  We plan on getting other seeds locally and getting some of that hybrid vigor:

  • Kidney Beans [not available from Seed Savers]
  • Pinto Beans [not available from Seed Savers]
  • Carrots (not Danvers)
  • Sweet Corn – Illini Xtra Sweet [Supersweet corn was developed at Illinois Foundation Seeds, Inc., the place I worked my first real job pollinating corn.  I feel ambivalent about supersweet corn.  Supersweet corn is delicious, and I have nostalgic feelings about it; however, supersweet corn has also played a role in further separating people from food production.]
  • Cucumbers [Carolyn Vale planted some here last year that produced well; we’ll have to find out where she got them]
  • Onions [My grandma and grandpa, Irma Jean and Virgil Sancken, are planning on visiting Texas soon and will try to send us plants from a farm they like there.  They will potentially send us 120 (two bunches) storing onion plants and 60 (one bunch) sweet onion plants.  Very thoughtful, those Sancken elders.]
  • Peanuts [not available from Seed Savers, and, by the way, hard to get information about]
  • Potatoes – Kennebec [expensive to ship]
  • Shallots [not available from Seed Savers]
  • Soybeans [not available from Seed Savers.  We’ll be growing this for Edamame, and it will make us feel like professional farmers to plant corn and soybeans.]
  • Summer Squash [Ma and Pa Sancken grow a  crookneck yellow squash that is quite tasty.  I’ll need to check what variety they plant when I’m checking up on how my Dad’s doing post-surgery.]
  • Sweet Potatoes – Centennial [not available from Seed Savers]
  • Tomatoes [We need to get an early-maturing variety.  I’d like to get a variety that’s disease resistant variety such as Jetsetter or Quickpick.]
  • Herbs & Spices [We plan on planting a variety of herbs and spices for cooking and for tea (The latter being Kristin’s project.), but it seems as if it’s better to get most herbs and spices from the nursery.]

It feels good to make it to the seed ordering milestone.  I’m eager to prepare our garden, plant, tend the plants, and, of course, harvest!

P.S. We did plant broccoli yesterday, but I fear that we planted them a little too deep.  We’ll have to wait to find out.  Again, welcome to farming.


another good book for organic gardening reference is The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible. Also, if’ you’re having trouble finding info on growing peanuts, try looking up ground nuts

clare — February 23, 2010

In my opinion, broccoli can never be planted too deep. If you plant it too shallow, it may actually grow and you’ll have to eat it.

Christopher Finke — February 23, 2010

Peanuts! You’re planting peanuts!! I hope they rot in the ground. (I’m kind of kidding here since I wish you farming successes, but much of me would not be sad if peanuts disappeared from the earth…)

Joni — February 23, 2010

Hi Caleb (et all)!

You can get edamame from SSE. (so hah!) I’m only kidding. The reason that a lot of things of ours are back ordered is that we have seeds sent out every 9 months for germination testing to make sure everything is sent out at 90% germination rate. So that’s part of it. Another reason that we have back ordered items is that though we grow A LOT of of the seeds here on the 800 acres of Heritage Farm somethings are high in labor, or grow better in other locations so we have farmers all over (literally – from Chili to Holland to Illinois too) that grow for us. We’re in a pretty fortunate situation that we do grow a lot of our seeds, and we’re not being hit very much by the ‘seed shortage’ of this year.

Happy Days to you all!

Sonya — February 24, 2010

Sonya’s right (as if there would be any doubt). Seed Savers does indeed sell soybeans. Apparently their printed catalog contains only a portion of the seeds you can get. We also found pinto beans in the online catalog. We were happy to find out that the seeds we had to back order will only be delayed on the order of weeks, which is very good news.

Caleb — February 26, 2010

Thanks for the info., Clare.

Caleb — February 26, 2010

Christopher, you will be happy to hear that the broccoli we planted indoors has sprouted. 🙂

Caleb — February 26, 2010

Joni, if you’re able to visit sometime, we’ll keep all peanuts locked away. That’s right…locked…in case you can’t control yourself.

Caleb — February 26, 2010