Tag Archives: Nichols

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


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?

Indigo Rose, a purple tomato


Saladette tomatoes, the smaller tomatoes, but bigger than cherries.

Saladette tomatoes, the smaller tomatoes, but bigger than cherries.

Linnaeus Day
Garden writer and photographer Christopher Tidrick, who lives and gardens in Champaign IL USA, has started a cool new blog, From The Soil.

Chris has started a Linnaeus Day series, where he and his blogging friends write about the history of a plant growing in our own garden. It’s on the 23rd of every month.

The series will honor Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, the father of modern botanical taxonomy. Born May 23, 1707. This is some of his work:  the photo is from Wikipedia 


This plant doesn’t have much of a history because it is a new tomato.

Grow your own superfood in the back yard. Indigo Rose Tomato is the first high anthocyanin tomato.

saladette tomato

Anthocyanin rich, organic tomato is now available to home gardeners. Photo: Helen Hilman

Jim Myers, dept of horticulture at Oregon State University has been working on this classically one for ten years. He’s still working on Indigo Rose, and you can expect some more traits.

Indigo Rose Tomato

  • 75 days from transplant to harvest.
  • 2 ounces each
  • indeterminate
  • organic

What are Anthocyanins?

Anthocyanin pigments are responsible for the red, purple, and blue colors of many fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins offer protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and age-related degenerative diseases. There is evidence that anthocyanins also have anti-inflammatory activity, promote visual acuity and hinder obesity and diabetes. Food scientists and horticulturists are interested in these compounds because of their importance to the color quality of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables.

The purple coloring occurs on the portion of the fruit that is exposed to light, while the shaded portion start out green and turn deep red when mature. Inside, the flesh reveals the same red tone.

In business for more than 60 years, Nichols Garden Nursery has seed for the New Indigo Rose Organic Tomato. Nichols is an original signer of the Safe Seed Pledge, and offers no GMO/Genetically engineered seeds or plants. All their seed are untreated.

I’ve been buying herb plants and vegetable seeds from Nichols for more than 20 years. I call Rose Marie Nichols McGee when I have herb questions. One of my favorite food garden blogs is her Garden Pantry.

Buy seed here:

Nichols Garden Nursery is an independent family business serving home gardeners for more than 60 years. Phone – 800-422-3985.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information, and service. Phone – 877-Johnnys (877-564-6697).

Territorial Seed Company wants customers to be 100% satisfied with both the seed and supplies that you buy from them. Phone Orders: 800-626-0866.

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