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Gardening Seed Order to Baker Heirloom

Here's our order to our favorite seed store (Baker Heirloom: http://www.rareseeds.com/):

Summer Squash:
Many of these are also used for winter too! The species is C. pepo.. 20 seeds + per packet. Summer Squash are grown for immature fruits which can be harvested all summer long. Very heavy feeders, they need soil heavily amended with manure, compost, or other source of lots of nutrients. Sow in place in full sun after last frost; or start a couple weeks earlier indoors, but never let squash transplants become rootbound, and do not disturb the roots in transplanting. Seed are sown up to one inch deep. With the exception of Zucchino Rampicante, summer squash are bush-type (non-running) plants that may be grown 4-5 feet apart.

Crookneck - Early Golden Summer 50 days. An old favorite heirloom, this is one of the oldest types of squash dating back to pre-Columbus times and has been popular ever since. Easy to grow and good tasting. NOTE: We grew straightneck in 2008 but Hubby wants crookneck this year. $1.50/pack.

Striata d'Italia 50 days. Medium-long zucchini fruit, somewhat thicker at the blossom end, light ribbing, 8-9" long. The skin is striped in light & dark green. Superb flavor and texture, this variety is popular in Italy for its flavor & early yield. NOTE: We grew these in 2008 and didn't plant nearly enough seeds (only 2). We want at least 10 in 2009! $2.00

Winter Squash and Pumpkins:
20-35 seeds per packet. Grow winter squash in very rich soil, amended with manure, compost, or other rich source of plant nutrients. Plant in rows, 5-8 feet in both directions, sowing one seed every 6-12 inches. Or plant in hills, 5 seeds per hill, with the hills 6-8 feet apart, thinning to best three plants. Full sun, ample moisture and insect control as necessary should allow good production from the vigorous plants. Harvest in autumn when skins are too tough to be easily punctured with a thumbnail.

Butternut - Waltham 100 days. (C. moschata) An old favorite, good yields with excellent tasting, rich orange colored flesh. Great baked! NOTE: We grew these in 2008 but started them too late so only 2 squash got big and hard enough to store. These taste a lot like sweet potatoes, especially when backed into a pie. $2.00/pack.

Connecticut Field 100 days. (C. pepo) The heirloom pumpkin of the New England settlers and Indians, several hundred years old, golden fruit weigh about 20 lbs each. This is a truly old variety, can be used for pies, the traditional American pumpkin. NOTE: This is the pumpkin that we usually see for sale in groceries, etc. around Thanksgiving. Good for roasting seeds and pumpkin flesh for eating/pies. $2.00/pack

We planted way too many squashes in 2008 and they ended up cross-pollinating. So, although we'd like to plant Mexican Xtop again, or Table Bush Queen , or Vegetable Spaghetti , we'll have to wait and see.

Greens:
An Old World crop that requires cooler temperatures to grow really well. In hot climates, sow spring and fall crops. In cooler climates lettuce may be grown straight through the summer, as well as spring and fall. Rich, moist soil is necessary. Plants may benefit from a few hours of afternoon shade in hottest summer weather, full sun at other times. Succession plant from earliest spring until very late summer. Leaf and heading types all need the same conditions, but leaf lettuce is easiest to grow, as are Romaine and Butterhead types. Sow seed on soil surface and rake in lightly or otherwise barely cover, but not too deeply. Do not allow seedbed to get really dry. Thin gradually, enjoying the thinnings in an early salad or two. 700 seeds per pack.

Henderson's Black-Seeded Simpson 60 days. Introduced in the 1870's by Peter Henderson & Co. Sweet and tender leaves, light yellow-green, very popular. NOTE: We grew this last year, and it gave and gave and gave. Wonderful delicious leaves. $1.75/pack.

May Queen 60 days. Early maturing butterhead lettuce for the earliest spring plantings. Pale green heads are tinged with red, and the sweet, pale yellow hearts have a pink blush to them. A wonderful 19th century heirloom. $2.00/pack.

Tomatoes:
Tomatoes can be grown simply enough by the backyard grower. Start from seed indoors 4-8 weeks prior to the last frost of spring. Seeds are surface-sown or covered only slightly to allow light which sometimes assists germination. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Containers are held in warm conditions until sprouts appear, which may take anywhere from 3-10 days, depending on temperature, moisture, etc. Move sprouting plantings immediately to bright light conditions, such as a south-facing window or under a grow-light setup. Inadequate light is a frequent cause of failure of young seedlings. At about the time of last frost, set out seedlings into rich, moist soil, well amended with compost, manure, or other good organic soil amendment. Set the plants more deeply than they grew in their pots, removing any leaves that would then be below soil level. Most indoor seedlings are too leggy despite best efforts, and the extra stem becomes an active part of the root system. Mulch to keep water from splashing from the soil onto the leaves, which is thought to spread blight. Most heirloom tomato plants get pretty large under good conditions, and should be staked to avoid sprawling over the mulch. Fruit laying on the surface is apt to rot, even on a well-draining mulch like coarse straw. Mulch also keeps soil temperature and moisture conditions more constant. Judging ripeness is largely a matter of watching for a color change, or a softening of the fruit. A few heirloom varieties don't get quite so large. Called "determinate" varieties, these get to a certain size and then set all their fruit more or less at once. Determinates may be a better choice where tomatoes are grown in a very small garden, or in containers, or where a large crop is desired all at once, like for canning. Tomato seed may be easily saved and grown another year. Most tomatoes (so-called "regular leaf" types) are self pollinating, and it is very difficult for the flower to be pollinated by any other flower. These types need only be separated by 10-15 feet to breed true in most conditions. The major exception is the "potato leaf" varieties such as the Brandywines. Due to differences in flower structure, these are more prone to crossing by insects; isolation of 50 to 500 feet is recommended.

Amish Paste 80 days. RED. Many seeds savers believe this is the ultimate paste tomato. Giant, blocky Roma-type tomatoes have delicious red flesh that is perfect for paste and canning. World class flavor and comes from an Amish community in Wisconsin. NOTE: Although some people say this doesn't have much of a flavor, it doesn't matter to us. We'll use this one to can for spaghetti/pizza sauce and ketchup. We will sow probably 15 of these because we use a lot of these sauces during the year. $2.00/pack.

Moneymaker 75-80 days. RED. An old English heirloom; greenhouse variety; produces 4-6 oz globes that are intensely red, smooth and of very high quality. This variety grows well in hot humid climates and greenhouses, sets in most any weather. Flavorful and becoming rare. NOTE: We love slicer tomatoes, and eating a BLT on homemade bread with homegrown lettuce and tomato is beyond heaven. $1.50/pack.

Yellow Pear 78 days. YELLOW. Very sweet, 1 1/2" yellow, pear-shaped fruit have a mild flavor, and are great for fresh eating or for making tomato preserves. Very productive plants are easy to grow. NOTE: Hubby LOVES these. $2.00/pack.

Orange Banana 80-85 days. ORANGE. Unique, orange, banana-shaped paste tomatoes. These tomatoes are bursting with fruity sweetness. Perfect for drying, canning and paste. Also delicious fresh and great for specialty markets. NOTE: These are firm paste tomatoes with a sweeter taste than romas. Makes for an odd but beautiful spaghetti sauce! $2.00/pack.

Big Rainbow 80-102 days. ORANGE/STRIPED. Huge fruit up to 2 lbs.; delicious and sweet tasting. These tomatoes are very striking sliced, as the yellow fruit have neon red streaking though the flesh. An heirloom preserved by members of Seed Savers Exchange. NOTE: We grew this in 2008 and it was the most delicious sweet orange slicer tomato we had ever tasted. Hubby and I split each one equally because we loved these so much. $2.25/pack.

Carrots:
800 seeds per packet. Most of our varieties mature around 65-70 days from sowing. Early sowings can be made 2-3 weeks before spring’s last frost date. The tiny seeds should be surface-sown and not covered, or covered only minimally, and kept uniformly moist until seedlings are strong. May be sown throughout spring and summer at 2-3 week intervals, until about a month before first frost in autumn. Deep, mellow, well-worked soil suits long types; half-longs and round types are better bets in heavier soils. // We love growing carrots - indoor and out, and do just fine in containers. 2008, our first year of gardening, we only grew about 100 carrots (testing, I guess). No where near enough. The atomic red and cosmic purple were odd and delicious. VHTS loved the red carrots and could never get enough. This year we're trying the yellow and this version of white as well as the little orange ones. We'll have a rainbow!

Amarillo 75 days. Lovely, lemon-yellow roots have sweet, bright yellow flesh. Good for a summer to fall crop, large 8" roots and strong tops. $3.00/pack

Atomic Red 75 days. Brilliant red carrots are so healthful and unique-looking, sure to add color to your garden. The 8" roots are high in lycopene, which has been shown in studies to help prevent several types of cancer. Crisp roots are at their best when cooked, and this helps to make the lycopene more usable. Very flavorful. $3.00/pack

Cosmic Purple This one is causing excitement at farmers' markets. Carrots have bright purple skin and flesh that comes in shades of yellow and orange. Spicy and sweet-tasting roots are great for marketing. $3.00/pack

Little Finger A superb baby-type carrot with deep orange color; developed in France for canning and pickling. Sweet 3" carrots are great for snacks. $1.50/pack

Lunar White 75 days. Here is a vigorous producer that has creamy white roots that are very mild, delicious, and have a fine flavor; very small core. White carrots were grown in the Middle Ages, but now they have become very rare. $3.00/pack


It took less than one week to get our order in the mail. And they changed the way they packaged the seeds. Still could use improvement, but much better.

Very helpful people, there. But we're not done ordering. We still have to discuss radishes, cucumbers, herbs, etc. Gotta watch the money, though!

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