Ahhh… The days are getting longer, the air is getting warmer, and many of us are starting to think about sowing seeds for spring.
After our non-winter this winter (we had only two days of rain and cold before the weather jumped back up to a summery 80°F this week), I’m eager to leave behind my non-winter garden and start anew.
Over the holidays, I visited the Petaluma Seed Bank in the charming Sonoma County town of Petaluma, California. Since 2009, the Seed Bank has occupied the former Sonoma County Bank building in the town’s historic city center. As the west coast operation of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, the Seed Bank offers over 1,400 varieties of non-GMO heirloom seeds from all over the world.
(Image above: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.)
Walking into the store felt like I had just walked right onto the pages of their catalog, which I simply adore. Garden Betty let loose after hours in the Seed Bank? Dangerous!
Many of the seeds I chose for spring are completely new varieties for me. This season, I’ll try growing corn for the first time — I picked up Country Gentleman sweet corn and Golden Bantam 12-Row corn, but need to decide on only one to sow, as different types of corn will cross-pollinate.
My favorite warm-weather crop is the tomato, so I picked up a few new varieties — Pineapple, Pink Accordion, Duggin White, Tsar’s Royal Gift, Paul Robeson, Black Elephant, Sungold Select (a limited variety available only in the store), and since my Red Zebra was such an overachiever last year, I’m trying the Green Zebra this year.
I also love a fresh, crisp cucumber and discovered the Dragon’s Egg variety, which yields heavy vines of egg-shaped, cream-colored fruit. Knowing my penchant for pickling, Paul at the Seed Bank recommended the Mexican Sour Gherkin — a palm-sized cucumber that looks just like a baby watermelon and is perfect for putting by. He also introduced me to the Metki Dark Green Serpent, an Armenian heirloom melon that is actually used like a cucumber.
Some other seeds that I’m especially excited to start are Molten Fire amaranth, Taiwan Black Seeded long bean, Ronde de Nice squash, Black Futsu squash, Brazilian Oval Orange eggplant, Quadrato d’Asti Giallo pepper, Shishito pepper, Fish pepper, Charentais melon, Hopi Yellow watermelon, Vietnamese mint (to replace the one that died last year), and Yellow Wonder wild strawberry (a creamy yellow variety that’s said to be more flavorful than the common red strawberry).
For the chickens’ forage “pasture” (really just a raised bed for their exclusive grazing), I picked up a few packets of Dwarf Essex rape, Austrian Winter pea, and buckwheat. And for the bees, Lemon Queen sunflowers!
Who else has gone seed shopping already? What are you psyched to be sowing for spring?
Disclosure: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds kindly provided the seeds mentioned in this post. All opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.