Christmas Gardening

Garlic Seeds

Garlic Seeds

Garlic in the Spy Garden Winter Basement Garden of Dormancy

Garlic in the Spy Garden Winter Basement Garden of Dormancy

Purple Garlic Seeds

Purple Garlic Seeds

The skins of each clove of this variety of garlic are purple as well. All of this garlic was started with a small handful of seeds given to us by some friends 5+ years ago. Garlic grown from seed takes three years to make a full head of garlic; if dug up in the first or second year of growing it is still edible; the heads will just only have 5-7 cloves on them. If garlic is grown from an individual clove you can plant it now (winter time) and harvest full heads of garlic by late spring/early summer.

Haven't watered these since they came indoors (back in October!)

Haven’t watered these since they came indoors (back in October!)

From one pineapple stem; two pineapple plants! Click on the How To tab to find the instructions on how to grow them!

From one pineapple stem; two pineapple plants! Click on the How To tab to find the instructions on how to grow them!

White twinkling lights on juniper bushes with snow

White twinkling lights on juniper bushes with snow

Taken in Spy Garden looking up toward the house.

Taken in Spy Garden looking up toward the house.

Salt Lamp

Salt Lamp

I spy!

I spy!

It has a dimmer switch. Best $10 lamp (from Walgreens) ever!

It has a dimmer switch. Best $10 lamp (from Walgreens) ever!

Old Barn near Spy Garden

Old Barn near Spy Garden

Making Christmas cards

Making Christmas cards

Christmasy

Christmasy

At church practicing bells for Christmas Eve service.

At church practicing bells for Christmas Eve service.

Ringing bells

Ringing bells

Good job!

Good job!

Christmas Plaid

Christmas Plaid

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

HAHhaha

HAHhaha

Woooo! Christmas is in seven days!!

Woooo! Christmas is in seven days!!

Christmas came early for the garden (“the garden” here as anthropomorphic figure as it is a force larger than myself HAHahhaah)…

The new 2015 seeds have been shipped and delivered! (Though let’s face it, these aren’t the only seeds/plants I’ll procure for the 2015 growing season). Sunflowers…herbs…giant pumpkins…plant cuttings from friends/neighbors/etc. aren’t included on this list below. The list below are the varieties I ordered from http://www.rareseeds.com which is the website for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds located in Missouri. They have a location in historic Wethersfield, CT and a seed bank in Petaluma, CA.

Rare you say? Then I better order them quick; before they're all gone!

Rare you say? Then I better order them quick; before they’re all gone!

Along with the name of each type I’ve added a note about why I chose that particular variety…

Mammoth Red Mangel Beet: A white fleshed beet with blushes of red. We have hard clay soil and growing large root vegetables really improves the dirt. Plus who doesn’t want a giant beet?

McGregor’s Favorite Beet: Because I used to live off of McGregor Boulevard. hHahaha

Giant Red Re-Selection Celery: Ooooo red celery?

(Kulli) Black Incan Corn: Onyx-black shiny kernels. Perfect for Halloween décor! And my parents recently took a trip to Peru. And we love alpacas and llamas and they’re from Peru.

Dragon Tongue Bush Bean: These were a 2013 favorite of the kids; tasty eaten raw right in the garden or with dips. Pretty purple stripes down flat pale yellow pods; pretty and tasty!

Dragon’s Egg Cucumber: Because of Game of Thrones; isn’t it coming back in 2015?! Winter is here! Spring is coming and there shall be the eggs of dragons in Spy Garden.

Sikkim Cucumber: Also looks like a dragon’s egg.

Tarwi Q’ollo Lupine: The description is very interesting:

(Lupinus mutabilis) The Tarwi Lupine is another one of the “lost”foods of the Incas. Originally cultivated only in the high andes, Tarwi is a plant supremely adapted to the stress of high altitudes-it can take drought, cold and wind and still be very productive. Nowadays agronomists and gardeners are taking a look at Tarwi for growing in other places other than the high mountains. In Denmark and Northern Europe it is being trialed as a new pulse crop. The beautiful white seeds are choc full of fats and proteins. Tarwi has been cultivated/domesticated for probably close to 2000 years. The seeds themselves cannot just be eaten without a little simple preparation. The seeds contain alkaloids that are bitter, fortunately they are quite easy to remove just by soaking and rinsing them over a few days period. In the past this noble crop of the Andes was known only by the poor indigenous peoples, today thanks to modern systems for rinsing large quantities of seeds it is now a “chic” food of the Urban wealthy. Our own friend john Glavis is raising Tarwi with great success on the California coast north of San Francisco. The seeds offered here are from select Peruvian strains tracked down by Joe. They need a long growing season but really like cool weather too, so the Pacific Northwest coast is a great place to try them, everyone else could just give them a shot and save any seeds produced to select them to adapt to new climates. (source)

Mitoyo: A nearly black eggplant; the description said it was one of the most delicious eggplants and can even be eaten raw.

Thai White Ribbed Eggplant: grew this one before from a free seed packet from Baker Creek and the variety did really well. Eggplants always seem to take FOREVER to mature in Spy Garden; so I’m going to start them indoors early this year.

Strawberry Spinach: I’ve tried growing this one before without success. Little red berries (that in the picture look like raspberries) and flat broad leaves that can be eaten like regular spinach.

Dwarf Banana Collection (PRE-ORDER): Mmmmm!

Hardy Kiwi Collection (PRE-ORDER): MMMmmm!

Rare Fig Assortment (PRE-ORDER): MMmmm!

Dishcloth or Luffa Gourd: A gourd you can wash dishes with? Had to see it in person! I’ve had my eye on this variety for years and finally gave in to my curiosity.

Quinoa, Shelly 25 Black: Because our good friend is named Shelly. And she’s a vegetarian and quinoa is an excellent source of protein!

Black Seeded Sesame: Mmmmm!

Flax: Flax fibers for making our own rope?! And seeds for eating! And pretty blue flowers!

Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherry: We have grown giant cape gooseberries for the past two years and they took a long time to mature and didn’t produce too many berries. So trying a more classic variety of ground cherries.

Early White Vienna Kohlrabi: Baby picked this one. Kind of looks like a space-ship! We’ve grown the purple ones before. Tastes like cabbage.

Charentais Melon: French varieties always seem to do well in Spy Garden and we’ve grown Delice de la Table the past two years so wanted to try a new melon (like cantaloupe) this season.

Orangeglo Watermelon: Mmmmm! We grew this variety in 2013.

Royal Golden Watermelon: The rind turns a bright yellow/orange when ripe! Have tried unsuccessfully to grow this variety in the past.

Noordhollandse Bloedrode Onion: Like the looooong name haha; and the color is a striking, deep purple. Baby picked these.

Black Hungarian Pepper: We’ve grown these once before. Perfect amount of heat in a smooth, small black pepper. The plants themselves are also deep shades of green/purple and the blooms are purple.

Yellow Monster Pepper: In the pictures these were HUGE yellow peppers with green striations.

Paradicsom Alaku Sarga Szentes Pepper: Love the looooong name of this variety. Hahaha! These were one of Baby’s favorites for eating straight off the plants in the garden. Sweet and crunchy; these peppers turn yellow but we ate them before they ever got to that stage!

Thai Red Roselle: Very pretty plant we grew in 2013. Roselle is the tangy ingredient in the “zinger” varieties of tea.

Monstrueux De Viroflay Spinach: I always buy this variety. Good, tasty spinach!

Red Malabar Spinach: We had a small plant of this type in Squirrely Garden (the garden at Baby’s preschool) and I was intrigued. It looks like a succulent but you can eat the fleshy leaves.

Beleah Rose Lettuce: Baby picked this lettuce. Looks like a tutu!

Iran Squash: I bought this one because it reminded me of the show Homeland. I consider myself a master of diplomacy; having a symposium of seeds from many nations represented and all getting along famously right in my own front/side yard. Hahhaha

Triamble or Shamrock Squash: I have tried unsuccessfully to grow this variety of squash 2009-2013 and am still determined to grow it. It is a blue winter squash that has three lobes (like a shamrock). Maybe 2015 will be its year!

Victor or Red Warty Thing Squash: I don’t know if I’ll try to grow this or not; it was sort of an impulse buy. I want to get some pumpkin seeds from some 700+lb Atlantic Giants (from specialty pumpkin growers like this one) and try for some giant pumpkins. So may not have room for these bumpy round red fruits. I also had great success with Rouge de Vif d’Etampes pumpkins so am tempted to grow those again.

Delicious Tomato: We’ve grown these before. And yes, they’re delicious.

Wagner Blue Green Tomato: Because it looked very colorful in the picture.

Copia (Tigercopia) Tomato: A pretty yellow/red striped tomato.

Hyssop, Blue: I’ve grown this before. Lovely deep royal blue/purple blooms that grow on stalks (similar to lavender). It is supposed to be a natural cough suppressant.

Lion’s Tail or Wild Dagga: I’ve grown this one before. It is a perfect Halloween plant; orange and fuzzy flowers peek out through sharp and spiny seed pods. The time we grew this it was 10+ feet tall.

Dwarf Coral Garden Mix – Cockscomb: Perfect for the “coral reef” (an area of the garden which has ever-bearing strawberries).

Celosia, Pampas Plume Mix: So colorful! Very similar to the magenta amaranth we grow (Hartman’s Giant)  but shorter (about 4 feet tall).

Alaska Red Shades Nasturtium: A deep red nasturtium; seemed unique to the usual bright, tropical shades of nasturtiums we normally grow.

Yellow Canary Creeper Nasturtium: A very weird looking flower (on the seed packet drawing); I’ve tried growing this twice before but it never made it. I’ve since found that nasturtiums do best with a fair amount of shade.

Yeti – Nasturtium: Because it’s Christmas! And don’t Yeti’s live near the North Pole?!

Seeds, seeds, glorious seeds!

Seeds, seeds, glorious seeds! (Photos from http://www.rareseeds.com) these are pictures of most of the varieties listed.

6 thoughts on “Christmas Gardening

  1. narf77

    You choose your beets the same way I choose entries in The Melbourne Cup. Hopefully you get better results than I get with my bet ;). Red celery?! Black corn? Is it edible? Dragon tongue beans…are they tepary beans? I don’t think so (very quick and almost completely devoid of information search later…) but I have tepary beans to plant this year :). Looks like “Tarwi Q’ollo Lupine” might be the new quinoa? Lets just hope that the “middle men” don’t get wind of it or the price will increase off the Richter scale! ;). You must buy a lot of seed if they send you freebies ;). Strawberry spinach?! Are the hardy kiwi’s what we call “Kiwiberries?” if so they are very easy to grow :)

    I wonder if I could grow from my black sesame cooking stash? Might be time to find out! I know lots of gardening friends who have successfully grown plants from shelled almonds, raw peanuts etc. Might be time for an experiment…

    It doesn’t get that cold here so our cape gooseberries (your ground cherries) just keep growing like topsy and we are probably never going to be without at least one shrub as the chooks steal them with impunity (and will jump most comically to get as many as they can reach) and “deposit” their payload all over the garden. You can tell where the chooks were hanging out last year by the prolific crop of cape gooseberries that the area produces this year ;).

    I am growing roselles this year. I am going to preserve them like the “Hibiscus” that you pay a fortune for that are preserved in syrup for drinky poos…not THIS little black duck. I shall have my roselles in syrup for free thank you VERY much! ;)

    I love the little montage of all of your glorious futures. That corn looks amazing! Lots of glorious possibilities there Ms Spy and that should keep you going over the long snowy winter months, plotting and planning where your garden is going to be directed. You are the conductor to your gardens symphony orchestra ;)

    Reply

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