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by Mary Perlmutter
Seed catalogues are beginning to arrive in the mail. Once you order seeds from a seed house, you will be on their catalogue list forever. Some good ones are:
William Dam Seeds, Box 8400, Dundas, Ont. L9H 6M1.
Thompson & Morgan Inc., Box 1308, Jackson, N.J., USA 08527.
Richters, Goodwood, Ont. LOC 1A0 is a must for organic growers.
I find myself ordering the same varieties that have satisfied all at the table over the years.
BROCCOLI: Green Goliath, a non-hybrid which is a cut and come again branching type, is still producing enough side shoots for a meal twice a week as I write now in November.
BEANS: We like Aramis, a French filet bean, for fresh eating in summer.
Royal Burgundys purple pod is great for freezing because it turns green as soon as it is blanched. I dont watch the clock - I watch the pot!
Beurre de Rocquencourt, a black-seeded yellow bean, is very tasty and matures in about 45 days.
I have not had success growing Lima beans in the Kawarthas so I have substituted the cool-loving Windsor broad bean. It survives frost and matures in time for sun drying.
Scarlet Runner Beans are planted on a fence or trellis. They provide masses of color and great fresh as well as dried beans.
BEETS: Cylindra develops a wonderful long root which is great for slicing and storing. A few are still in the garden, insulated with plastic bags filled with dry leaves. For that delightful experience of the first beets in late spring, I plant Early Wonder around the first week in April.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS are great at this time of the year. I keep a stalk between the storm and the inside door at the side of the house and cut off just enough for a meal as needed. Catskill is started at the beginning of March in the house. These seedlings are planted in my garden in early May.
CABBAGE: I use four varieties with staggered plantings. Express and Langedijker Early are planted out at the end of April for late spring and summer use. Langedijker Winter Keeper and Red Drumhead are transplanted in July for winter storing.
CHINESE CABBAGE: Michili sown in early July provides many tasty fall and early winter salads.
KOHLRABI: Purple Vienna is a great vegetable to cut into sticks for the lunch bag and provides a low-calorie midmorning pick-up for the homemaker.
CARROTS: Nantes Forto, planted in a 60 cm square between the tomato plants, keep us eating well all winter! Royal Chantenay is another carrot variety that is planted very early - the last week in April. Germination time is shorter at that time of year.
CAULIFLOWER: Here is where a hybrid is almost necessary to produce a good, firm white head. Snow Crown F-1 Hybrid is my preference for both early spring and midsummer planting. We were still harvesting great heads in mid-November.
CELTUCE is also planted early in the garden and in February in the unheated greenhouse for early salads.
CORN: Peaches and Cream is nearly everyones favorite cultivar. However, I also plant the old-fashioned Golden Bantam because it reminds me of the taste of corn we used to buy at a beach kiosk in my childhood. Sunnyvee Hybrid is flavorful, growing in 80 days. Raccoons also love it! I did not sustain as heavy a loss this last year because I had the barber save all the hair he swept up, and I spread it all around the patch and in the rows.
CUCUMBERS: I save the seed from the ones that turn yellow before they get harvested. Telegraph Improved grow along the pea fence. I hand-pollinate two flowers and bag them until the fruits have started to develop. The original seed for my pickle cukes was Pioneer Hybrid.
LEEKS AND ONIONS: Winter Giant Alaska Leek and Southport Globe Red Onion are planted in June and protected with bags of dry leaves over the winter to produce beautifully the next year.
PEAS: Our favorites are Sugar Snaps along a permanent cucumber and pea fence. Lincoln and Green Arrow are also grown along a fence for summer eating and winter freezing.
PEPPERS: I usually save seeds from tasty peppers I have purchased during the winter. Early Jalapeño is grown and dried each year to use as an insecticide.
RADISH: Easter Egg Mixed radish perks up many spring and summer salads. Narmia, the long, white Daikon winter radish, lasts in the fridge for over a week. They are marked in the garden by a broom handle, protected with bags of dry leaves and harvested as needed.
SQUASH: Burpees Butternut and Table Queen Acorn are the two types that I grow. I also save seed by bagging a couple of fertilized flowers and later tying a ribbon or piece of wool around the squash for seed. Cross-pollination can create some interesting surprises if this is not done.
TOMATOES: Long Keeper, Delicious (from Rodale Press), Star Fire and Sweet Chelsea F1 Hybrid are always grown along with seed passed over the fence from my Yugoslav neighbor. A long sweet slicer grew last year from that source.
WITLOOF CHICORY is planted outdoors in early April. The heads that are not eaten in salad are brought into the basement in pails of soil and covered with a dark plastic bag to develop the white chicons for late January, February and March salads.
ZUCCHINI: Only three seeds of Black Jack Dark Green Zucchini are planted in a hill of nearly finished compost.
Copyright © 1993.Mary Perlmutter
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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