The Roster

I ordered a few more seed packets online today, thinking that we didn’t have an eclectic enough mix of things to eat and look at.  Now that there are so many plants in the mix, I think it’s a good idea to catalog them, while noting some tips on spacing and size.  This will help us make sure that when we plant our baby plants outside in the next week or two, that we put them all in a place that makes sense and where they will fit as they continue to grow.  For example, I hadn’t quite appreciated that the tall telephone garden peas can grow up to 6 feet tall!  Clearly they are going to need something to climb (I haven’t yet decided if I want to use a pole or some kind of netting) and should probably be separated from the tomatoes, which are also going to be imposing.

Corn Salad / Mache-verte D’Etampes – (So excited about this one!)  Will yield rosettes of 4-8″ in diameter, and should be planted in rows about 10″ apart.  How close the plants are kept to each other will, to some extent, determine the size of the rosette.

Garden Pea (Tall Telephone) – Can grow up to about 6′ tall (though I read some reviews on the site I purchase seeds from, and people reported their vines growing even taller) – will require a structure for them to climb.

Spinach Monstrueux de Viroflay – space 6- 12″ apart, in rows 18 – 24″ apart.  These leaves can grow up to 10″ – but if snipped with scissors, so as not to disturb the heart of the plant, they should produce for a while.  Spinach loves nitrogen and will require a rich fertilizer.

Oriental Greens Ching Chang Bok Choy –  This is a baby bok choy, so it will only grow about 5″ tall.  Space 6-12″ apart, in rows 18- 24″ apart.  Harvest at 5″ tall.  And they produce early, so be prepared.

French Breakfast Radish – Thin to 2″ apart once the seedlings are established, and they prefer cool weather (so sow the seeds as soon as the ground is workable).  The other interesting thing I learned is that they shouldn’t be planted where lettuce/cabbage was planted the prior year, or they will be more susceptible to root-eating, nasty insects.

Onion, Noordhollandse Bloedrode – These survived the winter, so we don’t have to re-sow.  I did, however, just learn that they are ready to harvest when the plant is about the thickness of a pencil and falls over at soil level.

Summer Squash (Greyzini Zucchini) – Sow seeds about 36″ apart.  Our one viable seedling was accidentally squished, so we are going to put some of the remaining seeds right into the ground this weekend and hope they take.  These grow quite large, and what I’m reading recommends planting them about 24″+ apart.  That seems like a lot of space for squash… so we might have to move these to outside of the raised beds.

Basil – 6- 12″ apart, and thin the plants when they are about 2″ tall.  Basil doesn’t love the cold and won’t come back next year.  But the most important thing to note is that once a stem flowers, it will stop producing leaves.  So flowering stems should be pinched off to encourage more leaf growth.

Cilantro – These were started in a window box, and though they recommend that they stay about 6″ apart, I planted them slightly closer (probably about 4″ apart), with a row of Chamomile running parallel.  We’ll see how it goes. In cooler climates the cilantro will be productive only for about 6 weeks, and should be sown every 2-3 weeks to increase the length of the crop time.  The taller the plants get, the fewer usable leaves they produce.  It actually sounds like cilantro can be a tricky one to cultivate, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we are successful because I LOVE cilantro.  (I just read on another blog that cilantro seeds are used to “flavor European pastries and breads, liqueurs, gin, and middle-eastern coffee” – so we will definitely have to try this re: liqueurs/gin, coffee, and bread (now that we make our own bread… sometimes).)

Chamomile – Full disclosure: I bought chamomile because it’s pretty, I have no idea what we are going to do with it.  The plants prefer the sun, don’t require a lot of fertilizer, and would do well with a 12″ pot all to themselves (so I’ve definitely squished them in too closely in the window box I started them in; but it’s not a big deal and I’ve noticed them sprouting today, so I’ll just plan on transplanting them.)

Thyme – 5 seeds every 10″ and thin them when they become about 1″ tall.  The thinning isn’t really an issue for us, since we started them indoors and have already selected the heartier ones and transplanted them to larger containers.  Full sun/minimal fertilizer, and plan to harvest this herb around mid-summer.

Reisentraube Tomato –  These will grow to about 4-6′ tall.  (And it’s name means “Giant bunch of Grapes”!) If planted in a pot, include only one plant per container.  We were planning on putting them in one of the raised beds, so we’ll probably select the heartiest plant and do it that way.

Black Krim Tomato – These should be ready to harvest early summer, and will require 3-5′ of space.  I also just read that they have a naturally salty taste and so do not require salting when eating – hmmmmm.

Brandywine Tomato – Same shizz as with other tomatoes.  Tomatoes, in general, shouldn’t be the first plants to transplant outside (if started indoors) – they are on the delicate end of the plant spectrum.  The Brandywines, it seems, can grow anywhere from 3 to NINE feet tall.

Hot Pepper – These are warm weather plants and should be planted about 12-18″ inches apart.  I don’t like spicy food much, so I’m kinda secretly hoping these pepper seedlings we have wind up kicking the bucket.  They’ll be pretty, but I don’t want them popping up in my tomato sauce.

AND, as of today, the following seeds are on their way (from Baker Creek Heirloom seeds, cuz they rule):

Blue Curled Scotch Kale (this is supposed to be one of the smaller kales, so I’m hoping we can squeeze it in one of the raised beds – if not, I’m envisioning some larger pots with a few kinds of veggies inside, which will be pretty and very hodge-podge in the style of British gardens.)

Southern Giant Curled Mustard Greens (Ken is gonna kill me, as these grow to be like 2′ tall – but this variety won some kind of farmer’s award once and will undoubtedly be lush and delicious.)

Yellow Wonder & Red Wonder Wild Strawberry (These are going directly into window boxes that we are going to hang on the bars across our back window.  They’ll be tasty and pretty and won’t mess with the valuable and sparse real estate left in our raised beds.)

Bleu de Solaise Leeks (I actually got these not to plant now, but to fill space in the beds later in the season because they’re really hearty and can be harvested almost into winter.)

Wrinkled Crinkled Cress (Despite the nursery rhyme name, I think cress is great and we will be glad we have it. It’s a spicier-flavored green.  And I am planning on putting this one in a pot all its own.)

Giant Cape Gooseberry (This is actually going to be an experiment.  I’m toying with the idea of moving one of our rose bushes (one of the smaller ones) to a large pot by our front door (could work?!) and growing a gooseberry bush in its place.  I don’t know a lot about them.  They sound neat and I’m a sucker for things that remind me of and/or are directly named after animals.  If it works, they are tangy and taste vaguely of pineapple – and that would be rad.)

Ali Baba Watermelon (We, in fact, have nowhere to put this guy, but I couldn’t help myself.  Plus, in trying to learn more about it, it came up on a list of “Three Great Watermelon Varieties To Plant Before You Die“… come ONnnnnnn, I couldn’t say no to that.)

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