I love this time of year. Or should I say, since I discovered the Petaluma Seed Bank, I love, LOVE this time of year!!!
Situated in an old corner building, one I can only assume use to actually be *a bank* (duh), is an absolute treasure trove of heirloom seeds from around the world.
Around. The. World!
I’ve seen seeds there from Afghanistan, Northern Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia.
Every year, when the Seed Bank's over-sized, glossy catalog leaps out of my mailbox, and into my little wheelbarrow, my neighbor's words ring in my ear – “That book is like porn for gardeners."
And the store is even better, because unlike the catalog, where there is not room for every plant description to be accompanied by a color photograph, in the store, that’s just not an issue.
Here is what I picked up yesterday when I was in Petaluma:
More beets! I grew all of these last spring with great ease and success. We devoured every last one of them in the form of juice and salad and I can't wait to do it all again!
I wanted to try this Banana Melon SO bad last year that I planted every seed, got all starts going, and then killed them once they were transplanted outside. I have to get some of this exotic looking fruit in my garden this year.
We had surprisingly good luck with watermelon last year even though we had a mild summer. Our garden faces south and no longer has to compete with any shade during the day since we lost all our 150-year-old Oaks last year. (Mixed emotion facial expression goes here.) It's a recipe for success. However, I only planted exotic varieties of watermelon last year - albino and orangelo - you know, just to be different. Neither had very good flavor until late in the season (October), so this year I decided to go with a sweeter, more tried and true variety - red.
OK - I'm SO excited about this package of 25 Tomato Reisetomate seeds! I have seen this variety in the catalog for two years now but it's always been sold out. I just think it's terribly cool looking. They had it in stock yesterday at the store and so I grabbed one. The man at the store told me they don't taste very good (after all, they are mostly skin) but that they make good decorative pieces (ta-da!!).
And last, but not least, I spotted these great veggie markers. I've tried several different kinds of metal markers in the garden but they always fade, and never hold up. I love how these are just so simple, and a compostable product at the end of their life too. I started to grab a bunch but they didn't have all that I required, and they added up quickly. When I realized they were just simple cuts of wood with names stenciled on in ballpoint pen(!), I vowed to make my own this year.
I should have lots of extra tomato and melon starts this year. So if you are nearby us, and something looks interesting, let me know. I'd be happy to give you some!