Month: January 2013

Cool climate gardening

Todays Harvest Basket Sept 18, 2012

Tomatoes and peppers are easiest and most popular home grown vegetables.

When my favorite Canadian cousin asked for advice and gardening suggestions, I thought about NicholsGarden Nusery. I’ve been ordering from Nichols for 20 years.

Cousin Sheila wanted to know what seeds would be good for her friend, a new gardener in Alaska.

They raise cabbage in Alaska that make my Missouri crop look like Brussels Sprouts. The first people I would turn to if I wanted to know about gardening in Canada are her parents, my Uncle and Aunt.

Nobody knows Alaska gardening better than Jeff Lowenfels. His column in the Anchorage Daily News is helpful for all gardeners, especially Alaskans.

I was going to suggest some of the best catalogs for colder climates, but Jeff’s suggestions are exactly what I was going to suggest. Seed Catalogs for Alaska gardeners.

If your friend wants to follow a great Gardening Blog, Kathy Purdy’s
Cold Climate Gardening is one of the best.

Rose Marie Nichols McGee introduced me to Indigo Rose. “It’s the worlds first high anthocyanin tomato,” she said.  “Oh, really,” I said. (Note to self, What the heck is anthocyanin? Find out.)

Rose Marie sent seed, and I grew little blue tomatoes last summer. So, I grew beautiful little saladette Indigo Rose tomatoes.

Indigo Rose ripe

When exposed to full sun, these Indigo Rose tomatoes turn blue. Photo Patsy Bell Hobson

If I was a new gardener, I’d buy a couple of  tomato plants and a pepper plant. Then, I would grow leafy greens from seed. Lettuces to start, then chard, kale, and/or spinach.

Or, if I am planting a first garden in Alaska, I might grow these vegetables from Nichols. Rose Marie Nichols McGee has a great blog on the Nichols site, The Gardener’s Pantry Blog.

Garden 1. Salad, tomato, squash. cucumber

Start with salad greens, radish and spinach

lettuce and spinach will be suceeded by pepper plants

lettuce and spinach will be suceeded by tomato and pepper plants. Photo PBH

  • Mesclun – (mixed lettuces) Nichols Organic Mesclun “The Eclectic Eleven”

Why? Because you get a lot of different salad greens, all in one packet.

  • Radish – Easter Egg Radish

Why? Because there a several colors and all taste the same (not hot).

  • Spinach – Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach and/or chard or kale

Why? – Fresh spinach salad with hot bacon dressing

Sungold tomato. photo: PBH

Sungold tomato. photo: PBH

  • Tomato: Sun Gold – The sweetest cherry tomato ever.
  • Tomato: Glacier – Very early medium sized tomato
  • Tomato: Oregon Spring – Large early fruits from compact plants.
  • Squash: Jackpot Zucchini – early, non stop production.
  • Cucumber: National Pickling – compact, small for pickling and fresh.

 

Garden 2. Tomatoes, squash and green beans

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Stupice heirloom, early producer. Photo: Renee’s Garden

Another choice for a first garden: Tomatoes, squash and green beans are a good starter garden. I’ve gown these plants in my garden, and they will do well in Alaska too. These seeds are from Renee’s Garden.

  • Tomato: Stupice – Early bearing, cold tolerant, with richly flavored fruits on short vines. Heirloom.
  • Tomato: Italian Pompeii – loads up early with heavy harvests of meaty plum tomatoes.
  • Tomato: Little Red Pear – vigorous vines load up with clusters of petite pear-shaped ruby-red fruits. Heirloom.
  • Green Beans: Rolande – French “haricot verts”, long skinny, tender full flavor green beans.
  • Green Beans: Provider – Great tasting, highly productive and reliable variety. Heirloom.
  • Squash: Tricolor Mix – three beautiful zucchini summer squash in one packet.

Join Renee’s Comunity Garden.  Find fellow gardeners and get your garden questions answered here. I’ll see you at Renee’s Community Garden.

More Help:

Top Tomato Tips: How to Plant Tomatoes

Decoding Tomato Plants Tags

What is a F-1 tomato?

Help bring back the luscious little melon

Ananas D’Amerique A Chair Verte Melon

Bring back the luscious little melon.

Bring back the luscious little melon.

This historic heirloom was grown by Thomas Jefferson in 1794. It was offered commercially in the USA in 1824, and it was illustrated in color in France in 1854 in the Vilmorin Igot.

 

melon pkt

A melon wouldn’t last this long unless it was pretty good. I like the idea of growing the same thing that Thomas Jefferson grew.

I’m not a fan of  grocery store cantalope. Don’t judge melons by the melons in grocery stores.  It may be why folks think of this as a blah fruit.

 

From the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog

 

 

 

 

 

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