87. The “To Grow” List Begins

The cold weather has finally stunted the Violet de Provence artichokes.

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It is not guaranteed that these plants will survive winter. They are French artichokes, so I think they tolerate cold better than the Italian varieties.

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They did survive last winter so we shall see.

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The foliage is such a wintery color.

So that is pretty much the only exciting thing going on in the garden now.

It's cold!

It’s cold!

Brrr! The rainbow swiss chard planted here has also succombed to the cold.

Brrr! The rainbow swiss chard planted here has also succumbed to the cold.

I have officially started reading The Whole Seed Catalog and compiling my “to grow” list for 2014. First, I make a list that is WAY too long, then I edit it.

Here are a few varieties that have piqued my interest so far. (Images and text from http://www.rareseeds.com):

Early Splendor Amaranth

Early Splendor Amaranth

New! Incandescent crimson foliage, angular and recurved, eventually morphing to a rich cocoa-brown. Compact at only about 20-30 inches tall. Fine for bedding or in the border.

Cantare Beans

Cantare Beans

Bush, 50-55 days. Superior producer of nice straight darkgreen pods for snaps. The slim 4-5-inch pods are stringless and the flavor is every bit as outstanding as the yield! This French variety makes a fine crop for market growers or home gardeners. Excellent tolerance to bean mosaic virus.

I’m drawn toward the French varieties Baker Creek offers because they always seem to do well in our garden. Otherwise, the Cantare beans are an uncharacteristically boring choice for me. Normally I prioritize weirdness or a unique history over practicality.

I would buy seeds for this type of plant if I could. (Venus Killer Trap Plant, by the Spy)

I would buy seeds for this type of plant if I could. (Venus Killer Trap Plant, by the Spy)

My husband has requested “normal vegetables” and “flowers” for the garden next year. And I’m up for trying a new approach. Especially because a lot of times when I try the weird varieties we don’t actually do much with them. The Serpente di Silia squash took over the whole teepee area and really the only thing we used them for is decoration. The quinoa, amaranth and sorghum took up a lot of space in other parts of the garden and we didn’t harvest any of it. They were ornamental, but I suppose actual flowers will be more so. And so long as they are edible flowers (a variety of sunflowers, nasturtiums, colorful amaranth, etc.) I’m on board. But I can’t resist a few weird things added to the mix…

Crapaudine Beet

Crapaudine Beet

In 1885, the French book, The Vegetable Garden stated this is one of the oldest varieties. Today some experts feel this may be the oldest beet still in existence, possibly dating back 1000 years. This unique variety is one of the most flavorful, with carrot-shaped roots that have rough, dark colored skin which looks like tree bark. Inside, the roots are very dark, with almost black flesh that is of superior quality and sought after by chefs who want real flavor. We are proud to offer this rare old selection.

Possibly dating back 1000 years? Sign me up!

Dexie Marie looking at the garden 11.25.13.

Dexie Marie looking at the garden 11.25.13.

7 thoughts on “87. The “To Grow” List Begins

  1. narf77

    You have to love anything named “Crapaudine”. I don’t think I want that to be translated thank YOU! Love your adventurous spirit and wish that we could get seeds like that here :(. Tassie is like fort Knox when it comes to getting seed in. We haven’t got that honey plague problem and apparently EVERYTHING could be harbouring it so we have to go through strict quarantine controls to get sweat pants in (they might be hiding in the folds!)… I am SO envious of you guys for your choice…

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Yes we are fortunate to have a lot of options to chose from. I wish I could sneakily mail some to you! Though I would hate to accidentally plague an entire continent. ;)

  2. Eliza Waters

    Oh, my, I can’t believe you are already looking at catalogs! You have wonderful enthusiasm; sadly, mine has waned. I am thoroughly into the dormancy thing – rest and hibernation. No weeds to pull, woo-hoo! Instead, I’ve been inspired by your crochet blogs to pull out my knitting needles after years of neglect and just completed a new scarf. Great pic of Dexie, she’s looks very sophisticated with her growing maturity!

    1. Spy Garden Post author

      hahah thanks. For the record, she is the polar opposite of sophisticated. Haha and also for the record: in the garden: I am all thoughts and talk and no actual action. I still haven’t even finished the fall garden clean-up! ;)

      1. Eliza Waters

        Honesty is an admirable attribute! Yeah, I figured D. can put on a good pose, but she is still in the goofy, psycho-puppy phase (probably for the next 3 yrs. given her breed!) Goldens are extremely lovable, however. ;-)

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