The snow’s been falling here today, and to me that means it’s time for garden seed catalogs again. I don’t want most of the catalogs we get in the mail, but the yearly garden seed catalogs are different. I love looking through them; and spend hours studying and plotting next years perfect garden (well, it is in my imagination).
Unfortunately, many companies are choosing to put their catalogs on the Internet instead of making print catalogs. I understand that it costs less and is greener; but I still like having a catalog in my hand for studying the different varieties, descriptions, and pictures. The Internet just doesn’t offer the same experience.
Continue reading Free Garden Seed Catalogs
I can remember when you went to your local feed & seed supply store to buy garden seeds; and your choices were limited to a few – how things have changed! Today there are numerous seed catalogs available with hundreds of offerings, and you can also order from thousands of varieties online – but the choices can be confusing. What’s the difference between GE, GMO, OP, Heirloom, Hybrid, Organic, Pelleted, and Treated seed? Here’s the explanation:
OP (Open Pollinated) – open pollinated seeds are those that are produced by pollination from wind, insects, or self-pollination. You can save seed from open-pollinated varieties and [...]
Continue reading Garden Seeds – GMO, GE, OP, Heirloom, Hybrid – What’s It All Mean?
Previously, watermelon has not done particularly well in our garden – generally the growing season’s over before the watermelon are ripe. However, this year I used the old heirloom variety called Crimson Sweet, and we’ve been happily eating watermelon for several weeks.
Crimson Sweet is described as an AAS winner (1964) that’s crisp and sweet; has medium-red flesh and mild flavor; and is a very popular, old heirloom. The packet says the variety takes 85 days to mature. I started the seeds indoors; hardened the transplants off, and then planted them in the garden after all chance of frost was over.
They vines [...]
Continue reading Watermelon Success
This year I planned to grow only heirloom tomatoes (Brandywine, Green Zebra, and Eggyolk), but in a crazed moment (what if the heirlooms don’t produce this year?) I picked up some Early Girl transplants at the garden center. So, I have two orange tomatoes ripening in the garden right now, Brandywine and Early Girl.
The Early Girl tomatoes (picture on the right) look beautiful – deep orange, blemish-free, uniformly round, and you expect they’ll be delicious. The Brandywine tomatoes are not so pretty (the picture on the left). They’re deeply ribbed, often cracked, and randomly shaped. Folks that haven’t experienced heirloom tomatoes go straight for the Early Girls.
But beauty doesn’t create a great [...]
Continue reading A Tale of Two Tomatoes
Wrinkled Egg – IB Symptom
Back when I wrote about introducing new chickens into a flock (see Introducing New Chickens), I missed one important step, and we’re learning a painful lesson as a result. It wasn’t enough to ask if the new chickens were vaccinated, we should have kept them separate from our flock for 30 days to make sure they couldn’t introduce disease.
Infectious Bronchitis (IB)
As it turns out, Bab and Will brought Infectious Bronchitis into our flock, and it’s destroyed the Golden Buffs ability to produce eggs (it does not affect humans). Infectious bronchitis is a virus, it’s the [...]
Continue reading Infectious Bronchitis in Chickens
This is my yearly list of vegetable seeds for planting, and almost all of them are tasty heirlooms. Just reading the descriptions makes my mouth water. At the bottom of the list, I totaled my cost to buy vegetable seed this year ($20.75), the cost if I didn’t save seeds ($73.50), and the cost of hybrid varieties ($122.70).
You can see from the hybrid vs. heirloom difference ($122.70 – $73.50 = $49.20) that hybrids are more expensive (I used typical hybrid prices from a large seed supplier who’s located in Pennsylvania and starts with a B). I wanted to check my claim [...]
Continue reading Vegetable Seeds for the 2010 Garden
These days, we’re all trying to cut costs without sacrificing quality, and growing heirloom vegetables is a smart strategy for doing just that. Heirloom vegetables are the old fashioned, open-pollinated varieties; meaning that they breed true from year-to-year. This leads to some definite benefits for the backyard gardener:
Heirloom Seeds Cost Less
There are two ways that heirloom seeds save money; they cost less than their hybrid counterparts, and you can save the seeds from year-to-year, thereby cutting seed costs. Hybrid seeds are the result of deliberately crossing different varieties (think labor intensive), so they’re typically more expensive [...]
Continue reading Heirloom Vegetables – Better for the Backyard Garden