Sunday, February 6, 2011

Seed Decisions

My friend Cheryl and I usually put in an order to Fedco together, so we can meet the minimum order size for free shipping. Separately, we never have big enough orders to qualify. One of my activities for the day was to work out my final order for that seed company. Cheryl is taking a turn filling out the form, which is a little more complicated than most seed-order forms. Thank you, Cheryl!

One of my seed packets from Fedco will be filled with seeds of Jericho lettuce. I am planning to grow Jericho next to Slobolt so I can compare the two varieties. They both do well into the warmer weather of early summer, but I want to know which will be best in my yard, and for more qualities than just the slowed down development of bolting and bitterness. Growing them together in the same bed at the same time should help me figure that out.

My other seed order is to Sand Hill Preservation. One packet from that source will be filled with Tennessee Greasy pole beans. They are supposed to be good to dry for leather britches, and that is a food preservation/preparation method that I want to try on a larger scale than in the past.

I've dried other green beans from the yard in small quantities, but I haven't been impressed with the outcome. I've also dried small amounts of overly-mature white mountain half runner beans from the Plant-a-Row-for-the-Hungry garden. These were beans I've taken home because they were too far gone (turning tan, tough) to take to the food pantry. I am hoping to work with beans at a more tasty stage of development; hence the need to "grow my own."

Wanting to try this old-timey method of food preservation/preparation may seem weird, but canning, which I do a little of every year, takes some time. With all the other responsibilities in my life right now (as with so many other gardeners!), I am hoping for a few more crops that require minimal effort to keep for the winter. Right now, sweet potatoes are the champs in that regard. Although there are a lot fewer now than there were in November, the sweets that remain are keeping just fine in a basket in the kitchen.

In addition to these little goals/experiments, I will be growing a few tomato plants from seed I saved last summer, and I will be working on my melon de-hybridization project. This will be the second generation of melons, and the first crop for which "choosing wisely" becomes important.

In other news, we adopted a special needs kitty this weekend. His name is Louisiana; he has a heart problem, he sneezes, and he has no teeth. He is about eight years old, and, as cats go, he is fairly small. My youngest son volunteers at the shelter (Good Mews) that had been housing Louisiana, and he has been nervous after every "adoption day" that Louisiana might be gone the next time he went to clean the shelter and feed cats.

In the good news/bad news department, Louisiana has enough health problems that he is designated a Halo Kitty. This means that the shelter will help with his medical expenses, covering everything related to his heart problem. When his prescriptions need to be refilled, we can pick up his meds at the shelter, for free.

Here is Louisiana:

He is such a sweet little cat when it comes to humans, that his reaction to our dogs was a bit surprising. Here he is with Zack. Just looking at the picture, you can almost hear the hiss and the doggy-toenails scrabbling on the wood floor as Belle (barely visible on the right) backs away.

Even funnier, Louisiana actually stalked Moksha and scared her enough that she climbed up onto my chair and tried to worm her way around behind me.

I had been working on my little laptop (with assorted papers all around me) and had to shift everything else off the chair in a big hurry to make room for 65 pounds of quivering dog. Right now, she is tucked behind my chair on the floor.

In a week or two, the animals will all work out a truce, but until then, and for several weeks afterward (just in case . . .) Louisiana will stay in Zack's room when the humans are all out of the house.


  1. That is so great that you took in that cat. Looks like a sweetheart. I just finished my seed order and looking forward to some sowing!

  2. Sweet looking kitty! I'm sure they'll work it out LOL! That's a good idea to grow the lettuces together, I think I'll do that as well, it seems I always have too many varieties going at different times and then I can't remember which performed better!

  3. meemsnyc, the seed sowing around here will begin pretty soon, so I am glad my orders are in, too!

    Erin, I'm hoping I can keep good track of the lettuces. I'll need to start them in pots and mark the planting spaces, since direct seeding isn't always as reliable in terms of where the plants end up and how many of each actually germinate. (p.s.: I like the new look of your blog!)

  4. If you are growing more food than you need. you may want to visit - a site that helps diminish hunger by enabling gardeners to share their garden produce/herbs with neighborhood food pantries.

    The site is free both for the food pantries and the gardeners using it.

    More than 3,000 food pantries nationwide are already on it and more are signing up daily.

    It includes preferred delivery times, driving instructions to the pantry as well as (in many cases) information about store bought items also needed by the pantry (for after the growing season).

    If your community has a food pantry, make sure they register on

  5. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the reminder. I checked the closest pantries to my zip code and found that the one that we deliver our harvest to, from the Plant-A-Row-For-The-Hungry (PAR) garden, isn't on the list. I'm not sure why.

    We take our produce to the Center for Family Resources in Marietta, and one especially great thing about that pantry is that it accepts donations throughout the week. Some pantries have only a few dates each month on which they accept donations from gardens. However, at least one pantry is closer to my home and to the PAR garden than the one we deliver to. Something to think about!


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