The seeds I am excited to plant in 2016

I am a nurturer by nature, so any tiny thing I can carefully tend until it grows big and strong is a wonderful gift for me. I think this is the reason why I enjoy starting seeds so much. I get all that nurturing reward, without the hassle of finding homes for 10 wiggling puppies. (I’ve noticed that extra tomato plants are much easier to find homes for than puppies.) These are the varieties I’m especially excited to start this year:
Glass Gem Corn from Baker Creek Seeds. This corn is so beautiful it looks photo-shopped. The kernels are a variety of colours like gems nestled tightly together. I have not grown corn before, because I haven’t had the space, but I am excited to try it in my new permaculture front yard. I plan to start some indoors and direct seed others after the risk of frost is over, and see which batch does better. I plan to plant the corn in a block for proper pollination, and use nitrogen fixing ground covers around it, because corn is a high nitrogen crop.

Heirloom corn

Glass Gem Corn

Pink Berkley Tie Dye Tomato from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. First off: the name makes me laugh. Each year I get my two daughter to pick out the tomatoes and carrots we should grow, and this year, my youngest chose this tomato because she wanted a “zebra striped” tomato. Pink Berkley is a cocktail sized tomato, and Johhny’s seeds describes the taste as “outstanding-sweet and complex like the finest heirlooms.” Although this is an indeterminate tomato, it is pretty compact, so that’s a nice thing in my overcrowded wicking bed. (Indeterminate means the tomato plant has no fixed height, and continues to grow and fruit as long as it is alive).
Boldor Beets from Johnny’s Selected seeds: I normally grow red beets, but it annoys me when I roast them with other veggies and everything ends up pink, so I thought I’d try a yellow beet this year. It is supposed to keep its colour well, and taste sweet. Beets are one of the earliest crops to direct seed outdoors. The seeds can be sown as soon as the ground can be worked, even if more cold or snow is expected.
Wa Wa Sai Cabbage from West Coast seeds: I recently discovered I can make a pretty delicious kimchi, so of course I thought of growing my own Sui Choi cabbage. This variety has a very short sixty days from planting until maturity, and can be planted in spring or late summer. As long as I can keep the cabbage moths away, I expect I’ll get enough heads to feed my newfound love of kimchi.
Kolibri Kohlrabi from West Coast Seeds: Many people haven’t discovered the amazing kohlrabi. It looks like it came from outer space, but tastes like the sweetest, crunchiest broccoli you’ve ever had. This variety is purple, and doesn’t grow all that large, and the flavour is outstanding. I grew it in a raised bed last year, and the bulbs were large enough for harvest in July, but still sweet and crisp in October. I tried to put it in a stir-fry, but my kids always ate it raw before I could get it in the pan. It’s much easier to grow than broccoli, and didn’t seems to attract the cabbage butterflies like it’s other relatives do.

Kohlrabi sticks with a yogurt dip

Kohlrabi sticks with a yogurt dip

Scarlett Kale/Celebration Chard: These veggies have much in common. They are very good for you, are easy to grow, and last well into the fall. I chose them both for my front yard permaculture garden for another reason-they are so pretty! Scarlett Kale is as attractive as any ornamental cabbage with it’s big plum curly leaves. Celebration Swiss Chard has glossy upright dark leaves, and stems in a riot of bright yellows, oranges, and reds, as well as white for contrast. These are great beginner plants.
Romanesco Zucchini from West Coast Seeds: This is a really tasty and unique zucchini. It is a lighter green than most, with pale green ribs along it’s length, meaning when you slice it, the slices are more star shaped than round. It is an heirloom, which means you can save seeds, and it also seems quite resistant to powdery mildew.

A raised bed filled with vegetables including zucchini

A raised bed filled with vegetables including zucchini

San Marzano tomato from West Coast Seeds: It’s nice to have some paste/Roma tomatoes in case you want to make a marinara sauce or do some canning. I decided to give this variety a try. It is an heirloom, and according to West Coast seeds, it “has incredible flavour.” The plants are described as “vigorous and indeterminate”, so I will be putting them in a spot where they will have lots of room to grow, and lots of heat to ripen. I may try allowing them to tumble over the natural stone wall I put in my permaculture front yard. Stone is a good heat sink, meaning that it traps solar energy during the day and releases it at night. If there is one thing all tomato plants love; it is heat.
Bee Blend from West Coast Seeds: Last year, my order from West Coast Seeds included a free package of their “Bee Blend.”  I was so delighted with the results that I decided to order a package. The blend included a variety of quick growing annuals that the bees really swarmed to. I started them in “no-hole trays” and they grew into a mat of green before I transplanted them into my rock garden. They grew and flowered all summer long, and the purple annual larkspur was gorgeous with my perennial alpine delphinums.

Pretty annual flowers that attract bees

Pretty annual flowers that attract bees

Triangle Flashback Calendula from Johnny’s seeds: I’ve always had a soft spot for calendula because my mom grew it, and I remember “planting” the seeds for her as they ripened throughout the summer. I’m not a huge fan of yellow or orange in my garden, so this mix is a nice compromise, with it’s softer peachy shades. Calendula is a great medicinal plant too, and it’s easy to make an herbal salve for your poor gardener’s hands.
What are you thinking of trying to grow from seed this year? If you’d like to order seeds from any of these companies, they are found on-line and you can order a free catalogue too.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds  Baker Creek Heirloom seeds
Johnny’s Selected Seeds Johnny’s Selected Seeds
West Coast Seeds West Coast Seeds

One comment so far

  1. I’m looking forward to growing ANYTHING… Spring cannot come soon enough! I cannot wait for my crimson clover to take over my garden and poppies to take over my bee yard!

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