Homer City Community Garden Plant Directory
TOMATO, CLASSIC BEEFSTEAK
The iconic Beefsteak tomato, once a staple of our grandparents' gardens, is making a comeback. Maturing in 85 days, it produces gigantic, meaty fruit weighing 1-2 lbs, distinguished by its deep red flesh and classic tomato flavor. Ideal for sandwiches or served with just a pinch of salt, these tomatoes are particularly prolific in the Northeast, but are well-adapted nationwide. Interestingly, the Beefsteak's size is attributed to a fortunate mutation, discovered by scientists. Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez brought samples of a larger, flattened tomato from the New World to Europe, becoming the progenitor of numerous larger tomato variants we know today. As with other Solanum lycopersicum species, it thrives under full sun and temperatures between 75-95°F. Seeds should be sown at a depth of 1/8 inch and spaced 24 inches apart, ideally started indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost. Despite lacking frost hardiness, a heat mat can aid soil warming and speed up germination.
TOMATO, BERKELEY TIE-DYE GREEN
The Berkeley Tie-Dye Green tomato stands out with its vibrant exterior and multicolored, flavorful flesh. This large-fruited slicing variety, ready in 75-80 days, weighs between 8 to 16 ounces. Its striking green skin showcases red and yellow stripes, while the tri-colored flesh blends shades of creamy green, red, and yellow. Each hue contributes a distinct flavor, merging sweet, spicy, and tart notes, complimented by a pleasing acidity. Discovered within a Beauty King planting, this fair to good producer has quickly become a favored variety among chefs. As an open-pollinated Solanum lycopersicum, it flourishes in full sun and temperatures between 75-95°F. Seeds should be sown 1/8 inch deep and spaced 24 inches apart. Start the seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost. Although not frost-hardy, germination can be hastened by warming the soil with a heat mat. This unique variety brings a whole new palette of flavors to the table.
The Blueberries Tomato, a remarkable breed developed at Oregon State University, blends traditional selection and breeding techniques to produce a truly distinctive variety. Originating in the 1960s from a cross between cultivated tomatoes and wild species from Chile and the Galapagos Islands, these tomatoes display a unique blue to almost black color. When young fruits are exposed to sunlight, their skin turns indigo-purple due to the naturally occurring antioxidant Anthocyanin, also found in blueberries. Harvest these fruits when the skin is rosy red at the base, shoulders exhibit indigo hues, and the fruit yields to touch. Yielding a profusion of cherry-sized, amethyst-colored clusters, the Blueberries Tomato delivers a balanced tomato flavor, perfectly sweet and juicy, making it an extraordinary addition to any garden.
The Brandywine tomato, a cherished heirloom vegetable, is a favorite among gardeners owing to its large, flavorful fruits. This potato-leafed variety, dating back to 1885, produces beautiful pink fruits, each weighing up to 1½ lbs. Maturing in 80 days, the Brandywine tomato, a Solanum lycopersicum species, needs full sun and temperatures of 75-95°F for optimal growth. For best results, sow seeds at a depth of 1/8 inch, maintaining a 24-inch spacing between plants. Although it's not frost hardy, starting seeds indoors 6-10 weeks prior to the last frost and utilizing a heat mat to warm the soil can speed up germination. With its remarkable flavor and historical roots, the Brandywine tomato continues to be a staple in gardens around the world.
TOMATO, BREAD AND SALT
The Bread and Salt tomato, an heirloom variety from Russia, draws its name from the traditional custom of offering bread and salt to guests, symbolizing health and fortune. Maturing in 80 days, this oxheart type produces large, meaty fruit perfect for slicing and sauce making. Its dense flesh also makes it versatile for a variety of culinary uses. Despite its naturally wispy leaves, sturdy support is essential to bear the weight of the delicious tomatoes. As a Solanum lycopersicum species, it thrives in full sun and temperatures between 75-95°F. Seeds should be planted 1/8 inch deep with a 24-inch spacing between plants. Although not frost-hardy, starting the seeds indoors 6-10 weeks prior to the last frost and using a heat mat to warm the soil can expedite germination. The Bread and Salt tomato certainly carries its promise of health and fortune into your garden.
The Chadwick tomato is a beloved choice among home gardeners, owing to its delectably sweet flavor. These 1-ounce cherry tomatoes are products of large, disease-resistant vines that yield abundant harvests. The variety was developed by the late horticulture expert Alan Chadwick, and its enduring popularity testifies to the success of his endeavor. As a Solanum lycopersicum species, Chadwick tomatoes thrive in full sun and temperatures ranging from 75-95°F. To ensure a healthy growth, plant the seeds at a depth of 1/8 inch with a spacing of 24 inches between plants. While they are not frost-hardy, starting the seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost and using a heat mat to warm the soil can promote faster germination. The Chadwick tomato continues to be a testament to Alan Chadwick's contribution to horticulture.
TOMATO, MORTGAGE LIFTER
The Mortgage Lifter tomato is an iconic variety, known for its large, smooth, 1-lb pink fruit and rich, sweet taste. Developed by M.C. Byles of Logan, West Virginia, this tomato variety has gained popularity since its introduction in the 1940s. After six years of careful crossbreeding and selection, Byles presented the Mortgage Lifter, named for its role in paying off his $6000 mortgage as he sold each plant for $1. As a Solanum lycopersicum species, it requires full sun and temperatures between 75-95°F to thrive. For optimal growth, plant the seeds 1/8 inch deep, with a 24-inch spacing between plants. It's not frost-hardy, but you can get a head start by sowing seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost, and using a heat mat to warm the soil and speed up germination. The Mortgage Lifter tomato's history is as rich as its taste.
TOMATO, ORANGE ACCORDION
The Orange Accordion tomato is a remarkable variety that combines unrivaled beauty with superb flavor. Ready in 80 days, this indeterminate, regular leaf tomato boasts an attention-grabbing, high voltage orange color, coupled with a sweet, fruity taste that is rich in nutrients. The deeply lobed, ruffled fruit, often weighing up to 20 ounces, is packed with juicy, meaty flesh and few seeds, making it ideal for sauces, slicing, and even stuffing. As a must-have for both market gardeners and home growers, the Orange Accordion thrives in full sun and temperatures of 75-95°F. To ensure optimal growth, plant the Solanum lycopersicum seeds 1/8 inch deep, maintaining a 24-inch spacing between plants. Although not frost hardy, starting the seeds indoors 6-10 weeks prior to the last frost and using a heat mat to warm the soil can expedite germination. This truly unique tomato variety is sure to be a showstopper in any garden.
TOMATO, PAUL ROBESON
The Paul Robeson tomato is a celebrated variety with a near cult following among seed collectors and tomato enthusiasts who treasure its distinctive, sweet, and smoky flavor. Maturing in 90 days, it produces red-brick colored fruits that weigh between 7 to 10 ounces. This Russian tomato variety is named in honor of the renowned black opera singer and star of 1937's King Solomon’s Mines, Paul Robeson, an American who also advocated for equal rights for Blacks in Russia. This tomato variety is a testament to his impactful legacy. As a Solanum lycopersicum species, it thrives in full sun and temperatures between 75-95°F. Seeds should be planted 1/8 inch deep with a 24-inch spacing between plants. Although not frost-hardy, starting the seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost and using a heat mat to warm the soil can promote faster germination. We're proud to offer this extraordinary variety.
TOMATO, RIO GRANDE
The Rio Grande tomato is a standout variety known for its resilience and fruitful yield. Maturing in around 80-90 days, this tomato is perfect for regions with harsher climates and drier conditions. The robust, determinate plants produce heavy clusters of large, deep red, pear-shaped fruit. Often weighing up to 6-8 ounces, these tomatoes offer a rich, traditional tomato flavor ideal for canning, sauces, or fresh slicing. As a Solanum lycopersicum species, it flourishes in full sun and temperatures between 75-95°F. Seeds should be planted 1/8 inch deep with a 24-inch spacing between plants. It's not frost hardy, so it's advised to start seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost, using a heat mat to warm the soil and speed up germination. The Rio Grande tomato continues to be a reliable and rewarding choice for gardeners facing more challenging growing conditions.
TOMATO, SUNRISE BUMBLE BEE
The Sunrise Bumble Bee tomato is a radiant addition to any garden, maturing in 70 days. Its fruits, with striking swirls of reds and oranges both inside and out, are loved by chefs for their visual appeal and sweet, fruity taste. These oblong tomatoes, weighing barely an ounce, occasionally showcase a pronounced beak at the blossom end. Part of the innovative 'Artisan' series, this Solanum lycopersicum variety thrives in full sun and temperatures between 75-95°F. Seeds should be planted 1/8 inch deep with a 24-inch spacing between plants. Though not frost hardy, starting the seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost and using a heat mat to warm the soil can accelerate germination. With its alluring aesthetics and delightful flavor, the Sunrise Bumble Bee tomato is a treat for both the eyes and the palate.
TOMATO, THORBURN'S LEMON BLUSH
The Thorburn's Lemon Blush tomato is a beacon of heirloom resilience, reviving an antiquity after being nearly lost to time. This semi-determinate variety matures in 75 days, yielding sweet, lemon-colored fruit blushed with salmon pink. Known for its magnificent flavor, this beefsteak tomato was reintroduced after 107 years thanks to William Woys Weaver, a renowned seed saver. Developed by Elbert Carman and first offered in Thorburn’s catalog in 1893, it fell into obscurity before being rediscovered and propagated through Baker Creek. Its large, juicy fruit offers tropical notes and perfect acidity balance. Nearly coreless, it's characterized by firm, juicy flesh and few seeds. The Solanum lycopersicum variety thrives in full sun and temperatures between 75-95°F. Seeds should be planted 1/8 inch deep with a 24-inch spacing between plants. For best results, start seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost using a heat mat to expedite germination. A valuable addition to any garden, this tomato is a testament to the enduring beauty of heirlooms.
PEPPER SWEET, CALIFORNIA WONDER
The California Wonder is an heirloom bell pepper recognized for its historical roots and size. Originating from California growers around 1928, it's one of the oldest and largest pepper varieties available. Its sturdy, tall plants yield thick-walled, blocky fruits. Initially a delectable green, these peppers ripen into a vibrant red after approximately 70 days. This Capsicum annuum variety enjoys 8-12 hours of sun daily and thrives in temperatures between 70-95°F. Seeds are to be planted 1/4" deep, with 14-18" spacing between plants. Not frost-hardy, California Wonder is best started indoors under bright light, 8-12 weeks before the last frost date. A heat mat can help expedite germination. The plants might benefit from some afternoon shade during peak summer heat. Taste history in your garden with the versatile and robust California Wonder pepper.
PEPPER HOT, CAYENNE LONG THIN
The Cayenne Long Thin pepper is a treasured heirloom variety renowned for its heat and versatility. Requiring approximately 70 days to reach maturity, the slender, elongated peppers turn a fiery red when ripe, reflecting their potent heat. These hot peppers, grown on 2-foot vigorous plants, are notably productive. The fruits are popular for drying and grinding into a spice, providing a delicious and fiery kick to various dishes. Moreover, they're known for their medicinal use. Cayenne Long Thin thrives under 8-12 hours of daily sunlight and temperatures between 70-95°F. The Capsicum annuum seeds should be sowed at a 1/4" depth and plants spaced 14-18" apart. As they're not frost-hardy, it's best to start them indoors under bright light, 8-12 weeks before the last frost. A heat mat can facilitate germination, and providing some afternoon shade during the hottest summer days can benefit the plants.
PEPPER HOT, HUNGARIAN WAX
The Hungarian Wax pepper, a revered heirloom from Hungary, matures in around 70 days, offering a fine choice for short-season areas. Renowned for their medium to hot heat, these peppers are light yellow and cherished for their versatile culinary uses. They are ideal for canning and pickling, serve as an excellent stuffing pepper, and add zest when roasted or used as pizza topping. Furthermore, they are integral to numerous traditional Hungarian recipes. These peppers yield high volumes over an extended season, providing quick harvests. They thrive best under 8-12 hours of sunlight and temperatures between 70-95°F. Capsicum annuum seeds should be sowed at a depth of 1/4" with plants spaced 14-18" apart. As these plants are not frost-hardy, it's recommended to start them indoors in bright light, 8-12 weeks before the last frost date, with a heat mat to boost soil warmth and accelerate germination. They also appreciate afternoon shade during peak summer heat.
PEPPER HOT, JALAPEÑO CRAIG'S GRANDE
Jalapeño Craig's Grande, a product of Redwood City Seeds, is a succulent and plump variety of hot pepper, perfect for salsa lovers and Jalapeño enthusiasts alike. With its robust, hot, and richly flavored flesh, this pepper is indeed 'Grande' in every sense. Designed to thrive in 8-12 hours of sunlight, and in temperatures ranging from 70-95°F, these seeds sprout in about 7-10 days. As a member of the Capsicum annuum family, it's best to sow these seeds at a depth of 1/4", maintaining a plant spacing of 14-18". Though they're not frost-hardy, they can be started indoors in bright light 8-12 weeks before the last frost date. A heat mat can enhance soil warmth and speed up germination. To safeguard against extreme summer heat, it's advisable to provide the plants with some afternoon shade. Craig's Grande is certainly a prized variety that you will love to grow!
PEPPER SWEET, KING OF THE NORTH
The King of the North, a sweet pepper variety, is notably early maturing, producing sizable peppers in just 68 days. Acclaimed for its abundant yield, this variety flourishes in the cooler summer weather that characterizes New England. The bell peppers it produces are crisp and refreshing, transitioning in color from green to red as they ripen, producing bountiful harvests right up until the onset of frost. These peppers thrive in 8-12 hours of sunlight and temperatures between 70-95°F. For best results, start these Capsicum annuum indoors in bright light 8-12 weeks before the last frost date, sowing the seeds 1/4" deep and spacing the plants 14-18" apart. Employ a heat mat to expedite germination by warming the soil. To avoid heat stress during the peak of summer, these peppers may appreciate some afternoon shade. The King of the North is a truly regal variety, designed to meet the needs of growers in cooler summer climates.
LILAC BELL PEPPER
The Lilac Bell Pepper, scientifically known as Capsicum annuum, is an early-ripening, full-sized sweet bell pepper variety that starts as yellow and slowly transitions to light purple with unique yellow stripes. Even in northern climates, this pepper ensures a complete color transformation. The planting process begins indoors, about 8-10 weeks prior to the last frost, in flats, cells, or pots at an optimal soil temperature of 75-85°F, sowing seeds a quarter-inch deep. Regular fertilization every 7-10 days is recommended. After the last frost, the seedlings are ready to be transplanted 18-24" apart. Although it's not recommended to sow outdoors, especially in northern areas, when they do reach a usable size, use a sharp instrument for harvesting. Leave some peppers to mature fully, enabling them to change color and sweeten. For a fruitful yield, it is suggested to remove early flowers or tiny fruits before planting, provide fertile soil with compost, if necessary, and ensure warmth and adequate fertilization.
PEPPER SWEET, MINI BELL MIX
The Mini Bell Mix, an old Ohio family heirloom of Capsicum annuum, is a delightful mix of petite, vibrant red, yellow, and chocolate bell peppers. The seeds, first received from an elderly neighbor, were cultivated by Lucina Cress, who made these 2-inch bell peppers renowned by selling jars of pickled, cabbage-stuffed peppers at local church bazaars. These peppers, renowned for their suitability for snacking, stuffing, or pickling, are grown on abundant-producing plants that yield a multitude of tiny, colorful orbs. Begin indoors 8-12 weeks prior to the last frost, in bright light with the ideal soil temperature between 70-95°F. Sow seeds at a depth of 1/4 inch and space plants 14-18 inches apart. While peppers appreciate full sun, a bit of afternoon shade can be beneficial during the peak summer heat. This variety is not frost hardy, so appropriate care should be taken in colder climates.
PEPPER HOT, SUGAR RUSH PEACH
Sugar Rush Peach Hot Pepper, is a unique, fun-to-eat pepper with a robust tropical flavor and complex smoky heat, thanks to its seeds. This peach-colored fruit is unlike any pepper, offering an exceptional taste experience. This new open-pollinated variety was accidentally bred by Chris Fowler, a hot pepper expert from Wales, through the adventurous pollination of different Capsicum baccatum or Aji pepper varieties by insects. Fowler acknowledges this fortunate accident which resulted in an early yielding, high producing variety of fruity-hot peppers, contributing to its uniqueness.
YARD LONG BEAN
The Yard Long Bean, also known as the asparagus bean, is an heirloom variety of Vigna unguiculata, admired for its remarkably long pods that can stretch close to 2 feet. These beans, which grow on heavy, 4-foot vines requiring robust support, bear pretty pink flowers akin to miniature sweet peas. The flavor of this bean is a delightful blend of classic bean and asparagus. For optimal tenderness, it's best to harvest when the pods are around 1 foot long. Sow seeds 1 inch deep and 3-4 inches apart after the last frost when soil temperatures exceed 70°F, as cooler soil leads to poor germination. The yield of a packet is around a 10-12 foot single row. For continued production, harvest every 2-3 days before the seeds bulge. Adequate, even moisture is vital for high yields and tender pods, but avoid excessive nitrogen fertilizer, which can inhibit pod growth.
BEAN RUNNER, BLACK KNIGHT
The Black Knight Runner Bean, with its maturation period of 65-80 days, is a gastronomic delight and a feast for the eyes. An edible ornamental, it showcases vibrant scarlet red blooms that give way to strikingly inky black beans. When harvested young, the tender pods make delicious snap beans. However, if allowed to mature, the swelling pods reveal beans of deep obsidian color, whose fantastic flavor and texture make them a culinary treat. The beans require full sun and sprout within 5-8 days in an ideal temperature range of 60-85°F. Seeds should be planted 1 inch deep and 8 inches apart after the last frost, following an overnight soaking. As a frost-sensitive plant (Phaseolus coccineus) with vigorous, long vines, it needs support and thrives best as an early summer crop in hot areas due to its preference for mild temperatures.
BEAN, BLUE LAKE BUSH
The Blue Lake Bush 274, a bush variety of bean introduced in 1949, remains a staple in gardens due to its impressive productivity, tender quality, and great taste. Known for its earliness, it reaches maturity in 60 days, making it ideal for market sales. This variety germinates within 7-14 days in full sun and optimal temperatures of 70-80°F. The seeds should be planted half to one inch deep, spaced 4 inches apart. An important feature of this frost-sensitive plant (Phaseolus vulgaris) is its bush habit, which eliminates the need for staking. To encourage productivity, it is recommended to pick the beans frequently. Also, for an extended harvest season, successive planting is advisable. For improved germination, an overnight soaking of seeds before direct sowing after the last frost is recommended. The Blue Lake Bush 274 bean variety is a superb choice for plentiful yields of high-quality pods.
RATTLESNAKE POLE BEAN
The Rattlesnake Pole Bean is a popular, highly flavorful variety known for its vigorous vines and prolonged yield season. Notable for their length (8-10") and attractive green color with purple stripes, these beans thrive particularly well in hot, humid, and drought conditions. To ensure optimal growth, sow these beans after the last frost when soil temperatures exceed 60ºF. They should be planted 1" deep and spaced 3-4" apart for trellis or pole growth. Cultivate these beans in light, well-drained soil, ensuring adequate, even moisture, especially during flowering. Be wary of over-fertilization with nitrogen as it could lead to excessive foliage and delayed pod growth. For best results, harvest before the seeds bulge and the beans snap easily, picking every 2-3 days to encourage continuous production. With the inclusion of an inoculant at planting, you can expect a larger harvest and more robust Rattlesnake Pole Bean plants.
BEAN, PURPLE TEEPEE
The Purple Teepee is a superbly productive bush bean that matures in 60 days, producing straight, purple pods that conveniently sit above the foliage. This distinctive feature not only eases the harvest but also shields the pods from ground contact. For the most tender and flavorful snaps, these beans should be picked young, when they are 4-5 inches long. Thriving in full sun, the Purple Teepee beans are best grown in temperatures between 70-80 Degrees F. For optimal results, seeds should be sowed 1/2" to 1" deep and spaced 4" apart after the last frost, with an overnight soaking for better germination. Frequent picking is crucial to maintaining plant productivity, and succession planting can ensure a prolonged harvest. Despite its bushy habit that requires no staking, the Purple Teepee is not frost hardy, demanding a mindful growing season.
Evergreen White Bunching Onion
The Evergreen White Bunching Onion, a cherished heirloom variety, is celebrated for its slim, non-bulbing stalks, reaching 12 to 14 inches in height. Its tender and mildly flavored white flesh make it a fantastic addition to various dishes, from stir-fry, salads, and salsas, to soups and Asian recipes. As a bunching onion or scallion, it notably does not form bulbs. This cold-hardy and disease-resistant variety is particularly well-suited to regular sowing for a continuous crop. For optimal results, start sowing in early spring and continue to introduce new seeds every two weeks until late summer or early fall, depending on your local climate. The Evergreen White Bunching Onion proves resilient in warmer climates, able to successfully overwinter. This popular and reliable onion variety takes around 70 days to mature, promising a rewarding harvest year after year.
CARROT, BLACK NEBULA
The Black Nebula Carrot, with its remarkably deep purple color, is an antioxidant-rich superfood, hailing from the markets of Northern India. At 75 days to maturity, this variety stands out with roots that are sweet and subtly reminiscent of wild berries. The Black Nebula is not only delicious eaten raw or cooked, but also makes a stunning dark purple juice, which turns bright pink with a squeeze of lemon. Remarkably, it retains its color after cooking and is packed with anthocyanins. A 100 gram serving delivers over half the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Growing tips include providing full sun, light and fluffy soil, adequate moisture, and average fertilizing. Best grown in cooler weather, it sprouts in 12-18 days with an ideal temperature of 50-75 F. Beyond its culinary appeal, it decorates gardens with its exquisite white flowers tinged with lavender when left unharvested.
Carrot, Short n Sweet
The Short n Sweet Carrot is a variety specifically bred to thrive in heavy or poor soils, offering an accessible solution for challenging growing conditions. This carrot cultivar is brimming with vitamins and boasts a rich, sweet flavor that derives from its 4" vibrant orange roots, consistent in color to the core. Apart from less than ideal soil types, it's also adaptable to large containers, providing flexibility for various gardening setups. A Burpee Exclusive, the Short n Sweet carrot is easy to grow with a note of caution - it's best sown directly in deep, well-worked, stone-free soil after the danger of heavy frost has passed in spring. Transplanting is not advised as it may lead to crooked root development. This hardy carrot variety ensures a nutritious and flavorful harvest even in challenging soil conditions.
Carrot, Kaleidoscope Blend
The Kaleidoscope Blend Carrot is an exceptional blend that combines five unique carrot varieties into a striking, vibrant display of color. This exclusive mix is sure to grab attention at the dinner table and may even entice the little ones. After extensive testing of hundreds of carrot varieties, we've meticulously crafted this blend to incorporate five crunchy, distinctive carrots: Atomic Red, Bambino, Cosmic Purple, Lunar White, and Solar Yellow. The roots of these carrots mature to a smooth, tapering form measuring approximately 8" x 2", provided they are grown in loose soil. This organic selection does not just offer an aesthetically pleasing medley of wild colors, but also brings a diverse range of flavors and nutrients to your table, making it a must-have in any home garden.
Radish, Early Scarlet Globe
The Early Scarlet Globe Radish is a remarkable heirloom variety that effortlessly matures in about 25 days, yielding stunning, scarlet-red radishes boasting a crisp, peppery white flesh. This easy-to-grow variety thrives in both full sun and partial shade conditions, making it a versatile addition to any garden. The radishes display uniformity in size and shape, making them excellent for bunching. The crisp and crunchy texture of the Early Scarlet Globe pairs beautifully with its subtly sweet undertone, creating a balanced flavor profile. These radishes are a delightful addition to salads or sandwiches, and can also be enjoyed raw for a quick, healthy snack. The Early Scarlet Globe radish is not just a fast and resilient grower, but also a flavorful and nutritious choice for gardeners and food enthusiasts alike.
Turnip, Purple Top White Globe
The Purple Top White Globe Turnip Seed is a best-seller and a favorite among home gardeners. This heirloom variety consistently yields impressive crops of large, 4-6 inch round roots with attractive purple tops. Known for their crisp, sweet, and mild flavor, these turnips possess a fine-grained flesh that is delectable when eaten fresh. They are equally delicious when roasted with other root vegetables or incorporated into soups and stews. The turnip tops can be harvested as nutritious greens, making this a versatile plant in the kitchen. This variety is particularly suited for growing as a fall crop, as the frost further enhances their already delightful flavor. You can expect these delectable turnips to mature and be ready for harvest in approximately 55 days.
CUCUMBER, BEIT ALPHA
The Beit Alpha cucumber is an irresistibly sweet variety, typically harvested small with tender skin that requires no peeling. Originating from a kibbutz farm in Israel, this Mediterranean favorite is gaining popularity among Americans due to its remarkable flavor and prolific yields. Known for its burpless quality and impressive shelf life, this cucumber is ideal for greenhouse growth, thanks to its parthenocarpic nature, meaning it doesn't require pollinators. Sprouting in 7-14 days in full sun and ideal temperatures of 70-90°F, it thrives in rich soil with ample moisture. While it's not frost hardy, it appreciates some afternoon shade during the hottest parts of summer. Employing a trellis for vertical growth saves space and encourages higher yields. Remember, frequent harvesting is key to maintaining the plant's productive rhythm.
The Armenian Cucumber, a Middle Eastern heirloom dating back to pre-1400, is distinctively delicious with its long pale green exterior and crisp white flesh. If grown on a trellis, this cucumber grows straight, but expect it to curl if left to sprawl on the ground. Unlike many cucumber varieties, it remains tender and tasty even when large. Interestingly, it's a relative of the honeydew melon. Optimal growth requires soil temperatures of 70-85ºF, either sowing indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost or sowing outdoors once the soil warms to above 70ºF. Frequent harvesting is key to maintain yield. For the best results, plant in fertile soil enriched with compost or well-rotted manure, and ensure ample watering. Utilizing a trellis for growth aids in air circulation, conserves space, and provides shade for heat-sensitive crops. Growth is further enhanced by black plastic and row covers, which facilitate weed and insect control while accelerating growth.
CUCUMBER, BOSTON PICKLING
The Boston Pickling cucumber is an esteemed heirloom variety dating back to 1880. With its vigorous vines and generous yields, this cucumber is renowned for its smooth, green fruit, that is ideal for pickling. Its crisp and high-quality produce made it immensely popular at the dawn of the 20th century. Requiring full sun, the seeds sprout within 7-14 days in an ideal temperature range of 70-90°F. Non-frost hardy, these cucumbers should be spaced 18-36" apart. For best growth, ensure the soil is rich and consistently moist. Protection from the intense afternoon sun can be beneficial in the peak of summer. Growing these cucumbers on a trellis not only saves space but also helps in maintaining production as long as you harvest frequently. Boston Pickling cucumbers uphold a tradition of quality and taste, making them a delightful addition to your garden.
The Muncher Cucumber, a Middle Eastern Beit-Alpha type, is known for its compact yet strong vines, making it a perfect choice for container growing. Its skin is remarkably smooth, practically spineless, and is always burpless and never bitter. This variety offers heavy yields that pickle well at about 4" size, and can reach 9" at full maturity. Germination takes 4-10 days in optimum soil temperatures of 70-85°F. For indoor sowing, start 3-4 weeks before the last frost, providing a warm soil temperature and using biodegradable pots to reduce root damage. Once the danger of frost has passed, transplant them 36-48" apart. Alternatively, for outdoor sowing, sow a few seeds every 36-48" after the last frost, when soil temperatures exceed 70°F. To maintain a steady harvest, check and pick cucumbers daily. Plant these cucumbers in fertile soil, well-amended with compost or well-rotted manure, and keep them well watered. Trellising provides good air circulation and space efficiency, and they can also benefit from growing on black plastic and using row covers.
CUCUMBER, Straight Eight
Straight Eight Slicing Cucumber is a long-time favorite amongst gardeners, well-regarded for its productivity and the quality of its fruits. An All-America Selections winner from 1935, Straight Eight is known for its extremely heavy yields of dark green, 8-inch-long fruits that are 2 ½ inches across. These uniformly straight cucumbers feature a small seed cavity and crisp, fine-grained flesh, making them perfect for fresh consumption and salad preparations. The seeds can be started indoors and later transplanted into the garden, or directly sown outdoors. While many gardeners prefer to grow them in hills, others encourage the vines to climb a fence or trellis. With its rich heritage and proven track record, the Straight Eight cucumber continues to impress with its productivity and quality, reaching maturity in 65 days.
The Spookie Pumpkin is a unique cross between sugar pie and jack o’ lantern pumpkins, resulting in a versatile variety that's perfect for either making pies or carving for Halloween. Weighing in at 6 to 10 pounds and measuring about 7 inches across, Spookie pumpkins boast smooth, hard red-orange skin and sweet, thick yellow-orange flesh. This pumpkin variety is notable for its exceptionally high yields and strong-stemmed fruits. Seeds should be planted half to one inch deep and require optimum soil temperatures of 70-90ºF for germination. Whether started indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost or sowed outdoors afterwards, Spookie pumpkins thrive in fertile soil and require regular watering for optimum growth. When their skin turns color and hardens, they're ready to harvest, leaving a few inches of the stem on for the best storage potential. A packet typically plants a 12-15 foot single row or 4-5 hills.
Snow Peas, Big Bunny's Goliath
Big Bunny's Goliath Snow Peas are a gardener's delight. These tall, robust peas, growing up to 150cm, show impressive resistance to powdery mildew. The crunchy, juicy mange-tout pods are known for their sweet flavor and have a crisp texture that remains fresh in the fridge, though they're tempting to enjoy straight off the plant. Best suited for late winter or early spring sowing, these peas thrive in partial sun with regular watering, and are an excellent choice for smaller gardens due to their abundant yield. The 25 seeds per pack can be sown directly into the soil about 8cm apart and 2-3cm deep. Support the climbing plants with a sturdy framework and continue to pick the pods to encourage extended harvesting. Please note, due to biosecurity reasons, Big Bunny does not ship outside New Zealand. Always check Big Bunny's shop for an expanding variety of seed options.
SNOW PEAS, LITTLE PURPLE
Little Snowpea Purple offers an enchanting blend of beauty and taste in your garden. Petite vines mature early, bearing charming bi-colored purple flowers and crunchy green pods. Compact and highly productive, they are perfect for any garden space and can be grown in containers or directly in the ground. You will fall in love with their flowers, just as you'll relish eating the peas. The plants reach up to 24" in height, and each ounce contains 110-125 seeds. Best sown outdoors during early spring until the last frost date when soil temperatures range from 50-75ºF, plant seeds 1" deep and 1-2" apart. For a smaller fall harvest, sow seeds two months before the last frost date. Be sure to harvest daily for continuous yield. For improved yields, consider adding an inoculant with rhizobium bacteria. Vines longer than 3 feet will require support.
WATERMELON, SUGAR BABY BUSH
Ideal for gardeners constrained by limited space, the Sugar Baby Bush Watermelon offers a bountiful yield with vines that only reach about 3 feet in length. As an early producer, it takes around 75 days to bear juicy and sweet fruit weighing between 6-12 pounds. The flesh is a deep scarlet color, encased within a dark green skin devoid of any striping. To cultivate, seeds should be planted in full sun, with germination typically occurring within 5-10 days in soil temperatures ranging from 70-95 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant seeds at a depth of 1/2-1 inch and spaced 3 feet apart. This variety is not frost hardy, so it is recommended to either direct seed post the last frost date or use indoor-started transplants when the warm weather has fully arrived. Sugar Baby Bush thrives in rich soil, amended with compost, and requires plenty of moisture.
GREEN MACHINE ZUCCHINI
The Green Machine Zucchini is a high-performing, productive plant that provides bountiful yields throughout the growing season. This strain boasts a smooth growing experience with reduced stem spines, making harvesting a breeze. Start harvesting when fruits reach 3-4 inches, checking and gathering a few times a week by cutting or gently twisting off the zucchinis. The Green Machine Zucchini has the added advantage of intermediate resistance to common plant diseases like cucumber mosaic virus, powdery mildew, watermelon mosaic virus, and zucchini yellow mosaic virus. Plant this variety in fertile soil enriched with compost or well-rotted manure and ensure consistent watering. For increased growth speed, weed and insect control, consider growing the Green Machine Zucchini on black plastic and using row covers. This plant is not just a food source, but a garden superstar that facilitates a seamless gardening experience.
Common Arugula, Eruca sativa, is a delightful green boasting a spicy, peppery, and mustard-like flavor that has made it a staple in salads, sandwiches, and even pizzas. With an impressive germination rate, crunchy texture, and cool-weather tolerance, it is often hailed as an ideal cold-weather green. Sow densely at the beginning of spring, trimming regularly for tender early-season greens. To ensure a continuous harvest, succession plant every 2-3 weeks until the summer heat arrives. Arugula is also great for late-summer planting, yielding a fall harvest. Maturing as early as four weeks, it can handle some frost and is notably drought-tolerant. If pests or birds are problematic with your lettuce, consider growing arugula as a robust alternative. However, keep in mind that chickens are fond of it! Plant seeds at a depth of 1/8 inch and space them 6 inches apart. It thrives in 4-8 hours of sun, and an ideal temperature range of 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit. For summer plantings, choose a partly shaded spot to avoid bolting and to enhance flavor.
Black Tuscan Lacinato, or Dinosaur Kale, is a highly prolific heirloom kale variety that matures in 70-80 days. Known also as Brassica oleracea var. sabellica, these organic and non-GMO seeds are among the most commercially cultivated kale types. The Italian translation of its name, "cavolo nero", literally means "black cabbage," indicative of its dark bluish-green hue. The distinct embossed texture of Lacinato kale's leaves is reminiscent of prehistoric times, earning it the moniker "Dinosaur kale." This variety offers around 8,000 seeds per ounce. Not only does it serve as a nutrient-rich addition to your garden, but its unique aesthetics also add visual interest. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned gardener, Lacinato kale is an excellent choice due to its robustness and high yield.
KALE, RUSSIAN RED
Russian Red or Ragged Jack kale is a pre-1885 heirloom variety that matures in around 50 days. This highly nutritious kale type stands out with its eye-catching, red-tinged, oak-type leaves and purplish-red stems, lending both color and appeal to your garden and plate. Not only is it tender and mild, it is particularly well-suited as baby greens. Thriving best in a temperature range of 45-85 degrees Fahrenheit, Russian Red sprouts in 6-9 days, ideally under 6-12 hours of sun. The seeds should be planted 1/4" deep and spaced 8" apart. Brassica oleracea var. sabellica is frost hardy, making it perfect for spring or fall planting. For best results, either directly seed or transplant it 2-4 weeks before spring frosts or 8 weeks before fall frosts. This kale variant prefers rich soil, and with proper care, it will reward you with a vibrant, flavorful harvest.
LETTUCE, LITTLE GEM
Little Gem Lettuce, a perfect blend of romaine and butterhead types, offers crisp, sweet mini heads with thick hearts. Its compact 6" by 6" heads, resistant to early summer heat, make it an excellent choice for intensive planting in small spaces. Seeds germinate in 4-10 days under optimal soil temperatures of 60-75ºF, as anything above 75ºF inhibits germination. Sow seeds ¼ inch deep and 1" apart in spring when soil temperature reaches 50ºF, then thin to 6-12". Maintain soil moisture during germination and sow every 2-3 weeks for a longer harvest. For baby greens, sow heavily every 10-14 days. If starting indoors, sow 2-3 seeds per cell/pot 3-4 weeks before planting outside, then thin to one per cell. Transplant 8-12" apart in 12" rows. Harvest by cutting whole heads at the base or snipping individual leaves. Ensure fertile soil by incorporating compost or well-rotted manure before planting and provide consistent moisture for optimum growth. Mulching can help retain soil moisture.
Developed at Cornell University in 1963, Buttercrunch Lettuce, a butterhead type, forms a loose 8 to 9-inch head, displaying dark green leaves that are slow to bolt. It's recognized as one of the top vegetable introductions and is resistant to lettuce mosaic virus. With optimal soil temperatures of 60-75ºF, seeds germinate within 4-10 days. Plant them ¼ inch deep in the spring when soil temperature reaches at least 50ºF. Maintain a distance of 1" between seeds and thin to 6-12" based on desired lettuce size. For consistent harvest, sow every 2-3 weeks and for baby greens, sow heavily every 10-14 days. If starting indoors, sow 2-3 seeds per cell/pot 3-4 weeks before outside planting and thin to one per cell. Upon transplanting, keep a distance of 8-12" in 12" apart rows. A single packet can plant a 25-foot row. Harvest by cutting whole heads or individual leaves. For best growth, Buttercrunch Lettuce requires fertile soil enriched with compost or well-rotted manure, adequate moisture, and mulching for moisture retention.
LETTUCE, RED ROMAINE
Red Romaine Lettuce, recognized for its beautiful merlot-colored leaves, enhances the visual appeal and flavor of Caesar salads. Its long, wide, spoon-shaped leaves deliver a crisp, crunchy texture. Standing 12" tall at maturity, the plant can be harvested earlier for baby heads of romaine. The seeds germinate within 4-10 days in optimal soil temperatures of 60-70ºF, but anything above 75 ºF inhibits germination. Sow the seeds ¼ inch deep, either indoors 3-4 weeks before outdoor planting or outdoors in the spring when soil temperature reaches at least 50ºF. If planting outdoors, maintain a 1" distance between seeds, thinning them to 6-12" based on the desired lettuce size. For a prolonged harvest, sow every 2-3 weeks and for baby greens, sow heavily every 10-14 days. A packet can plant a 25-40 foot single row. Harvest the lettuce by cutting whole heads or individual leaves at the base. Red Romaine Lettuce requires fertile soil enriched with compost or well-rotted manure, ample and consistent moisture, and mulching to retain said moisture for optimal growth.
The Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce, an heirloom variety cherished for over 150 years, is one of the most tender and delicately flavored leaf lettuces known. Its large, ruffled leaves exhibit an appealing green hue. Adapted to a wide range of climates, this lettuce is optimal for early spring sowing. To ensure the best quality, lettuce should be harvested early, as over-maturing can lead to bitter and tough leaves. Morning harvests, when leaves are crisp and moisture-rich, are recommended. Harvesting can commence anytime for looseleaf types once the leaves reach a usable size, while butterhead types should be harvested when the heads are formed and leaves have grown sufficiently. Harvesting involves cutting the heads below the crown, though with leaf types, it's possible to pick just a few leaves at a time. Store for 5-7 days in a refrigerator, typically in a plastic bag or wrapped in moist paper towels. Apart from salads and sandwiches, this lettuce is a fitting garnish, can be braised, or added to soups, and its decorative appeal enhances any garden.
SPINACH, GIANT NOBLE
The Giant Noble is the colossus of the spinach family, boasting plants that can spread up to 25 inches. Introduced in 1926, this variety is celebrated for its tender leaves that are ideal for canning, steaming, or salad preparation, delivering both quantity and quality. These spinach plants take 45 days to mature, requiring 6-10 hours of sunlight daily and ideal temperatures ranging between 45-75 degrees F. Seeds should be sown half an inch deep, with plant spacing of 6-8 inches. This spinach variety is frost hardy, and direct sowing should occur in late winter to early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked. The Giant Noble prefers rich, well-drained soil and ample moisture. Note that long summer days or hot conditions can trigger bolting, thus it's crucial to maintain optimum growing conditions to maximize yield.
Swiss Chard, Bright Lights
Bright Lights Swiss Chard is a vibrant mix that paints your garden with stems of gold, pink, crimson, and even white with pink stripes, along with hues of orange, scarlet, purple, green, and white. Not just visually stunning, all varieties are delicious to eat, with their flavor profile at its best when harvested young for salads. A garden marvel, this Swiss Chard is simple to cultivate and versatile in its culinary uses, offering a spinach or beet greens-like treat from late spring until winter. Thriving best under full sun, it also tolerates light shade, ensuring a resilient and rewarding addition to any garden. Bright Lights Swiss Chard brings together the aesthetics of a floral mix with the utility and nutrition of leafy greens, making it an all-season star in your garden.
Cilantro is an essential ingredient in salsa, offering its distinctive pungent flavor to a variety of Asian and Mexican dishes. Notably, its seeds, known as coriander, are used to concoct curry powder and add depth to sausages. This versatile herb is best started outdoors after the risk of frost has passed. To harvest, cilantro leaves should be picked prior to the development of the flower stem, whereas coriander seeds should be collected as they transition from green to gray-brown. While the leaves can be dried or frozen, their fresh form greatly enhances the taste of dishes, offering a flavor that surpasses its smell. Meanwhile, the ripe coriander seeds play a pivotal role in curries, serve as a pickling spice, and can even be sugar-coated for a unique candy. Whether as cilantro or coriander, this plant offers a wealth of culinary applications.
Genovese Basil, an Italian variety selected for its outstanding flavor, is the quintessential choice for crafting delicious pesto. Known for its sweet and spicy aroma, these organic seeds are incredibly easy to cultivate, making basil plants an essential feature in every herb garden given their prolific yield. Unlike other varieties, Genovese basil is less prone to bitterness even during slow cooking, ensuring a consistent, rich flavor in your dishes. Whether you choose to use the leaves freshly harvested or dried for later use, they are a perfect seasoning in a variety of dishes. However, it's in the creation of aromatic, palate-pleasing pesto where Genovese basil truly shines, asserting its distinct, pungent flavor that has made it a culinary treasure.
Sweet Marjoram, an annual herb, is a wonderful addition to salads, dressings, meats, sausages, lamb dishes, beans, and soups, offering a burst of flavor whether used fresh or dried. It can be conveniently started indoors early or planted outdoors once the threat of frost has passed. For a touch of Middle Eastern cuisine, consider the Zaatar variety of Marjoram. Known scientifically as Origanum syriacum, or 'Syrian Oregano,' Zaatar is more aromatic than its European cousin. It’s a summer-bloomer that becomes a haven for pollinators, thanks to its abundant white flowers. After shearing it to the ground for culinary use, the plant regrows, providing a continual supply of aromatic leaves. Not only is Zaatar easy to grow and deer-resistant, but it also adds an ornamental touch to window boxes, hanging baskets, and other containers. Its use parallels that of Oregano, Marjoram, or Thyme, adding a distinctive flair to meats, breads, spice blends, and Middle Eastern dishes.
BASIL, DARK PURPLE OPAL
Dark Purple Opal Basil, an annual, is renowned for its deep violet foliage which brings a rich, sweet flavor and a dramatic, aromatic accent to your floral designs and landscapes. This variety pairs beautifully with brightly colored flowers and vegetables, adding a striking contrast. Developed at the University of Connecticut in the 1950s, Professors Joseph M. Lent and John Scarchuck set out to enhance the existing purple basil, which suffered inconsistent coloration. They selected a purple-splotched variety from Turkey out of countless global samples, leading to the creation of this robust, intensely purple variety named Dark Opal. In 1962, this exceptional basil was recognized with a bronze medal in the All America’s Selection award. Thriving in heat, this basil can be sown in long-summer areas or started indoors post-last-frost. For prolonged harvest, promptly remove flower buds. With a sprouting time of 6-10 days and requiring 8-12 hours of sun, it's an ideal plant for an eye-catching and aromatic garden.
Italian Oregano, an organic seasoning staple, is prominently used in various culinary delights. This flavorful herb is a cornerstone of Italian cuisine, finding its place in a wide range of dishes including pizzas and salads, as well as in tomato sauces and fish dressings. To harvest, wait until the plant has reached about 4-5 inches in height, usually just before it blooms for optimal flavor. Cut sprigs of oregano, leaving at least one-third of the plant to allow it to continue growing. Harvesting in the morning after the dew has dried yields the most potent flavor. Whether you're using it fresh or drying it for later use, Italian Oregano is an essential component for creating delicious, aromatic dishes.
Curly Parsley is known for its finely cut, curly leaves and compact plant structure. Offering a wonderful flavor and rich in vitamins, this variety can be started early indoors or outdoors post-frost. The outer leaves can be harvested by cutting at the base of the leafstalk, and used as needed. Its fresh sprigs are a delightful addition to salads, and they beautifully accent vegetables and potatoes. Chewing on a fresh parsley leaf can even freshen your breath. For storage, fresh parsley can be kept in zip lock bags in the refrigerator for up to a week. The leaves freeze well in ice cubes or sealed zip lock bags, can be dried, used in vinegars, or made into a tasty herbed parsley butter. This versatile herb is an essential addition to any kitchen garden.
Native to the Mediterranean region, Rosemary is a striking evergreen shrub with a lovely aroma that wafts into the air upon a gentle brush of the hand. Belonging to the mint family, it is an easy-to-grow plant that offers both culinary and ornamental value. It thrives in well-drained soil that stays evenly moist initially, becoming more drought-tolerant as it establishes. It's also excellent for container gardening, allowing those in colder climates to bring it indoors during winter. Unlike most herbs, Rosemary flaunts a stronger flavor when fresh than when dried. Feel free to cut sprigs anytime for use and trim it regularly to promote tender new growth, preventing it from becoming woody. It's hard to overdo Rosemary – its myriad uses and delightful fragrance will make it a constant joy in your home and garden.
Sage, with its mildly pungent flavor and pleasant aroma, is renowned as the most popular herb for seasoning. Its savory flavor and subtle pepper taste enrich stuffing, pork, and cheese dishes. Sage can be used both fresh and dried, offering culinary versatility. This attractive herb also adds beautiful gray accents to your flower gardens. For storage, it's best to cut the top 5 inches of stalks before flowering in early summer and dry the leaves in the shade. Repeat as new growth develops. Besides its culinary use, Sage thrives as a potted plant, making it a fantastic choice for both indoor and outdoor gardening. The herb's rich flavor, coupled with its aesthetic appeal, makes it a valuable addition to any herb collection.
Thyme, a widely used culinary herb, is known for its aromatic leaves that season meats, poultry, stews, sauces, soups, and dressings. Easy to grow and adaptable, it's both a decorative and functional plant in home gardens, and is even used by bees to create delicious honey. Harvest sprigs as needed throughout the season, and use it either fresh or dried. To dry, cut whole stems on a sunny morning and dry in a cool, airy location, in the oven at low heat, or in a dehydrator. Store the dried leaves in a sealed container in a dry, dark location. For an alternative preservation method, freeze thyme leaves in ice cube trays with water or olive oil. Thyme can also be added to vinegars, used to make herb butters, or infused into honey, offering a wide range of culinary possibilities.
The Gypsy Hybrid broccoli is an adaptable variety, suited for summer or autumn crops, known for its strong root system and resistance to downy mildew. It produces uniform, well-domed heads with medium-small beads and medium-sized stems, perfect for organic gardening. To ensure a continuous harvest, cut the heads when the buds are firm and tight, typically 50-60 days after transplanting, and make sure to cut 5 to 10 inches down the stalk. This not only promotes the growth of side shoots for an abundance of smaller heads but also extends the harvest period. The harvested broccoli can be enjoyed fresh or preserved by freezing. To freeze, simply cut the florets, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes, plunge into cold water to halt cooking, drain, and store in freezer bags. Enjoy the fresh, nutrient-rich heads either raw or cooked to add a healthful boost to your meals.
Miranda Broccoli is a striking sprouting broccoli, prized for its violet-colored heads and abundant side shoots. Despite the challenges of one of the hottest, driest summers on record, these plants thrived after being started indoors and transferred to our raised beds. This broccoli variety started producing its first substantial 8-inch main head in mid-August, followed by numerous vibrant sprouts. To ensure the best harvest, pick the heads while they're tight and before the flower buds begin to open. Varieties like Miranda that produce side shoots should be continuously picked to encourage extended production. Cultivate Miranda Broccoli in fertile soil, abundant in organic matter right from the outset. To optimize growth, maintain consistent moisture levels, a goal that can be aided by mulching to help retain water. With the right care, Miranda Broccoli will provide a hearty and visually stunning addition to your vegetable garden.
CABBAGE, GOLDEN ACRE
Golden Acre Cabbage is an early maturing, round-headed variety renowned for its ability to yield impressively sized heads, nearing 5 pounds, without sacrificing timeliness. Its compact, short-stemmed structure, which features few outer leaves, allows for efficient pack sales and forcing. Moreover, its flavor profile is exceptional. Ready to harvest when the heads feel solid upon light pressing, it's crucial to promptly gather early varieties like Golden Acre to prevent splitting, though later-maturing storage varieties can hold for longer. As a heavy feeder, Golden Acre Cabbage thrives in fertile soil rich in organic matter. If the soil lacks fertility, amending with compost can provide the necessary nutrients. Consistent and adequate moisture is also key for optimal growth, with mulching serving as a beneficial method for moisture retention. With the correct care, Golden Acre Cabbage offers a robust, flavorful, and prompt yield in your vegetable garden.
CABBAGE, RUBY PERFECTION
Ruby Perfection Cabbage, the breeder's replacement for Ruby Ball, boasts a striking deep purple head and mirrors its predecessor's performance closely. Weighing in at around 3 pounds, this hardy variety demonstrated remarkable resilience in our garden, with even the deer-nibbled plants yielding satisfactory, albeit slightly smaller, cabbages. The readiness for harvest can be assessed by gently pressing the heads; a solid feel indicates maturity. It's best to harvest early varieties like Ruby Perfection promptly to avoid splitting, while later maturing storage types can remain in the ground longer. As with most cabbage, Ruby Perfection is a heavy feeder, thriving in fertile soil abundant in organic matter. If the soil lacks fertility, enriching with compost is advisable. To achieve optimal growth, ensure adequate, consistent moisture; mulching can aid significantly in moisture retention. Despite the challenges, Ruby Perfection Cabbage rewards you with hardy, attractive, and tasty harvests.
CAULIFLOWER, PURPLE OF SICILY
The Purple of Sicily Cauliflower, an Italian heirloom, is a standout in any garden, offering vibrant purple heads that weigh between 2-3 lbs. Renowned for its fine, sweet flavor, this cauliflower variant cooks to an appealing bright green, adding an unexpected twist to any dish. Remarkably, it exhibits higher insect resistance than many white varieties, making it an easier and more rewarding option for gardeners. Besides its striking aesthetics and flavor, Purple of Sicily also has a high mineral content, adding a nutritious punch to its list of attributes. With a maturity period of about 70 days, this cauliflower proves itself a reliable and gratifying choice year after year, maintaining its status as our favorite purple cauliflower. The Purple of Sicily's unique color, taste, and ease of growth make it an exceptional addition to any vegetable plot.
Cauliflower, Snow Crown Hybrid
Snow Crown Hybrid Cauliflower is an easily grown superfood known for its large, flavorful heads. This fast-growing variety produces sizable, 7-8 inch snow-white heads that weigh around 2 lbs each. With their fully-domed curds, these cauliflowers boast a sweet flavor that makes them versatile for culinary use, excellent for raw consumption on vegetable platters or used in cooking methods like roasting and steaming. A unique feature of the Snow Crown Hybrid is its long wrappers which provide excellent protection. As a cool-season crop, it's suitable for either spring or fall gardens. For spring planting, it's advisable to start the cauliflower seeds indoors and transplant them to the garden around two weeks prior to the last frost-free date. With its remarkable ease of cultivation and delectable taste, the Snow Crown Hybrid Cauliflower is a worthy addition to any home garden.
Potatoes, French Fingerling
French Fingerling Potatoes, recognized for their gourmet flavor, are an outstanding variety known for their unique pink skin and bicolor, yellow and red-flecked flesh. These potatoes, with their tall, spreading plants, are larger and more oval than the Russian Banana variety. They are best enjoyed boiled or roasted, truly bringing out their distinctive taste. Notably resistant to common scab, these potatoes are also practical to grow. Small, "new" potatoes can be harvested around 7-8 weeks post-planting. Once the foliage has died back, the main crop tubers should remain in the ground for an additional two weeks to set the skin. Afterwards, dig out the tubers, gently brush off soil, and let the skins dry before storing. To ensure their quality, store the potatoes in a cool, humid place with a temperature around 40°F (4.4°C) and keep them away from light.
Potato, Purple Majesty
Make your meals vibrant and delicious with Purple Majesty Potatoes! Showcasing a striking deep purple color both in their skins and flesh, these potatoes bring an unexpected twist to your traditional potato dishes. Whether you transform them into uniquely colored fries and chips or incorporate them into a colorful Fourth of July potato salad, they are sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Aside from their aesthetic appeal, these buttery-flavored potatoes are packed with nutrition, especially anthocyanins - powerful antioxidants known for their health benefits. Make your next cookout unforgettable by serving up these certified seed potatoes. Their unexpected color, delectable flavor, and impressive health benefits make Purple Majesty Potatoes as nutritious as they are delightful.
Brought to you by the University of Maine, Caribou Russet potatoes are the embodiment of classic baked potato flavor and are also exceptional for mashing. These moderate yielders produce attractive, oval-to-oblong russeted tubers, generally more elongated than the Gold Rush variety. You can start enjoying small "new" potatoes about 7-8 weeks after planting. When the foliage dies back, let the main crop remain in the ground for an additional two weeks to toughen the skin. Once harvested, brush off the soil and allow the skins to dry before storing. These potatoes store well, especially in a cool, dark, humid environment, ideally at around 40°F (4.4°C). Treat yourself to the superior baking experience and exquisite flavor of Caribou Russet potatoes.
Potatoes, Yukon Gold
A favorite among potato lovers, Yukon Gold potatoes produce large, upright plants that yield round-oval tubers. The potatoes are cherished for their smooth, thin skin and remarkably tasty light yellow flesh, making them versatile for all cooking styles. You can start harvesting small "new" potatoes about 7-8 weeks after planting. Once the foliage has wilted, allow the main crop to remain in the ground for an additional two weeks to harden the skin. When you're ready to store them, simply dig up the tubers, brush off any soil, and let the skins dry. Yukon Gold potatoes store excellently in a cool, dark, and humid space, ideally at 40°F (4.4°C). Indulge in the classic, delicious flavor of Yukon Gold potatoes, a long-standing culinary delight.
This everbearing strawberry plant is a delightful addition to any garden, producing high yields of large, incredibly sweet fruit from late spring through fall. These strawberries, with their soft texture and sumptuous sweetness, are perfect for fresh consumption, desserts, jams, or preserves. Hardy in cold temperatures, the plants also emit long runners, making them a fantastic choice for container gardening. Ensure the crown of the plant is just above soil level when planting. Harvest the ripe strawberries in the cool of the morning, and immediately refrigerate them to maintain their freshness. Depending on your growing zone, plant strawberries either in the spring or fall. The plants can thrive in in-ground gardens, raised beds, or containers, given they receive 1 to 1.5 inches of water weekly. Be sure to avoid wetting the leaves to maintain plant health.
With roots in Greek terminology, "chamomile" translates to "ground apple," a reference to its apple-like scent and suitability as a ground cover or grass substitute. These plants are low-growing, typically reaching heights of 4-6 inches, and spread rapidly, creating a carpet of delicate, fragrant foliage. Chamomile's dried flowers are used to create calming teas, nerve tonics, and skin cleansers. They also feature in potpourri, adding a charming aroma. Harvest chamomile when the flowers are in full bloom, using them fresh or dried. To dry, lay flowers on a screen in a dark, dry, well-ventilated area. Beyond its culinary and medicinal uses, chamomile serves various garden purposes too. It attracts bees and other beneficial insects, makes for a pleasing low-traffic lawn substitute, ground cover, and edging, and can even be grown between stepping stones for a touch of whimsical beauty.
Long prized for its medicinal properties, Comfrey has been cultivated for centuries, primarily for its use in poultices to aid the healing of external wounds. Additionally, it holds a significant place in organic gardens. The plant, showcasing deep green fuzzy leaves and nodding purple flowers, can be used as an instant compost when its leaves are buried with other plants. Alternatively, it can be chopped and utilized as mulch, or made into a nutrient-rich compost tea. Furthermore, adding it to your compost pile works as an activator, fostering heat and contributing nitrogen, crucial for plant growth. Growing up to 36-40 inches tall, the herb provides all essential nutrients for plant development. Aside from its medicinal and composting uses, it serves as an ornamental addition to gardens and is a magnet for bees and other beneficial insects.
Ginger mint plants, also known as redmint, Scotch spearmint, or golden apple mint, are versatile herbs with numerous uses. Throughout the growing season, you can harvest this plant starting when it reaches 3 to 4 inches tall. In the landscape, ginger mint is a beautiful attractant for birds, butterflies, and bees, creating a vibrant, dynamic garden environment. Not only pleasing to the eye, ginger mint also offers substantial nutritional benefits. It's high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, with dried mint exhibiting even higher nutritional value than its fresh counterpart. However, both fresh and dried ginger mint bring a delightful flavor to teas and various dishes. Try using fresh ginger mint to craft delectable jams, jellies, and sauces for a tantalizing taste experience. Its versatile nature makes it a valuable addition to any garden.
Blooming right from the first year, Lavender features fragrant purple flowers on tall spikes that make a stunning contrast with its silvery gray foliage. This plant is loved for its calming aroma, making it an excellent choice for crafts and drying. It's also perfect for fresh-cut bouquets, bringing a serene scent and striking color into the home. Lavender flowers, bearing a sweet floral flavor, can be used in baked goods and lavender lemonade, or served with berries and citrus for a delightful twist. As a deer-resistant plant, it's an ideal addition to any home garden. Lavender's versatile nature allows it to grow beautifully in pots or as a border, while its delightful scent is perfect for creating sachets and salts, in addition to its culinary uses.
Lemon Balm is a fragrant herb that is a delightful addition to any garden, offering multiple uses from medicinal to culinary and ornamental. Its fresh leaves emit a tangy, lemon-flavored aroma that is ideally suited for a calming tea or to impart a zesty touch to poultry and other dishes. Beyond its culinary benefits, lemon balm serves a medicinal purpose, being utilized in herbal remedies. As an ornamental plant, it lends a splash of greenery and a lemony scent to your garden, attracting bees and beneficial insects, enhancing the health of your garden ecosystem. The best time to harvest lemon balm is just before it flowers when the leaves are rich in oils, full of aroma and flavor. Gently pluck the leaves from the stems, ensuring not to strip the plant completely to allow for regrowth. Whether used fresh or dried, this herb is sure to add a bright, lemony touch to your dishes and teas.
DWARF BLUE CENTAUREA, Bachelor Buttons
Dwarf Blue Centaurea, also known as Bachelor's Buttons or Cornflower, is a European native loved by American gardeners since the 17th century for its remarkable periwinkle blue flowers. This versatile plant seamlessly integrates into annual and perennial flower beds, cottage and wildflower gardens, or even vegetable gardens, bringing a splash of intense blue. The 1-2" flowers bloom continuously from midsummer onwards, attracting a host of beneficial insects and birds, enhancing biodiversity. Notably, these flowers are not only a treat for the eyes but are edible too, making a charming garnish for dishes. Dwarf Blue Centaurea is resilient, tolerating drought and deer while providing a bounty of cut flowers. It's a self-seeder that can tolerate dry soil, although regular watering promotes healthier plants. Care should be taken not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive leaf growth at the expense of blossoms. Deadhead spent flowers to control self-seeding if desired.
Mountain Mint, a native of Eastern North America, is treasured not only for its culinary and medicinal properties but also for its role in attracting beneficial pollinators into the garden. Towering up to 3-4 feet, this rustic mint exhibits tiers of small white flowers peppered with hints of lavender, creating a picturesque natural spectacle. When crushed, its leaves exude a spicy mint flavor ideal for tea, adding a dash of nature to your brew. Beyond its culinary use, Mountain Mint serves as a natural insect repellant, offering an eco-friendly solution to common garden pests. This versatile herb is a perfect fit for the peripheries of a woodland or the back border of a garden, thriving in full to part shade conditions. All these aspects come together to make Mountain Mint a culinary, medicinal, and ornamental staple, welcoming bees and other beneficial organisms into your garden.
With its hardy nature and extended bloom period, Catmint is a delight for any garden lover. Distinct from its relative catnip, this member of the mint family offers a more visually pleasing display, boasting soft gray-green foliage crowned with clusters of lavender-blue flowers. This eye-catching combination lends a cool, refreshing vibe to any hot day. Catmint is versatile, with variations in color, height, bloom time, and growing conditions, making it a perfect fit for virtually any garden space. In contrast, catnip (Nepeta cataria), while more aromatic, is less aesthetically pleasing, tending to be weedy and invasive. Despite its lack of ornamental charm, it holds value in the garden as a culinary herb and a natural repellent against certain insects such as mosquitoes, aphids, and squash bugs. Thus, while catmint and catnip belong to the same family, they each offer unique contributions to the garden.
Echinacea, more commonly known as Coneflower, is renowned for its distinctive brown or black central cones encircled by daisy-like rays, typically purple. Though hybrid varieties come in a range of colors, only the Echinacea paradoxa, or Yellow Coneflower, naturally produces yellow blooms. Native to North America, this plant was treasured by Native Americans and continues to be used today for its medicinal properties. Offering more than just healing benefits, its striking appearance and pollinator-attracting qualities make it a perfect choice for wildflower gardens, pollinator gardens, meadows, or rain gardens. Echinacea embodies a unique blend of beauty, functionality, and historical significance.
Achillea Yarrow, a versatile, pale-toned perennial, is a summer staple that thrives in sunny spots with its remarkable heat and drought tolerance. It grows swiftly and effortlessly, returning year after year, proving its resilience even in poor soil conditions. This mix is an excellent choice for a variety of settings, including borders, pots, and both fresh and dried flower arrangements. Beyond its visual appeal and delightful fragrance, Yarrow plays a crucial role in the ecosystem by attracting beneficial pollinators, making it not only a charming addition to any garden but also an environmentally friendly one.
Bee Balm, also known as Wild Bergamot, is a cherished classic in the flower garden world. Famous for its alluring beauty and captivating fragrance, it stands tall with radiant purple blooms adorning its thistle-like structure during the summer. Bee Balm is not only aesthetically pleasing, but it also plays a pivotal role in attracting essential pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. As one of the top lures for these beneficial creatures, Bee Balm is an undeniable 'must-have' for any garden. It's an easy-to-grow and maintain perennial that thrives in bright, sunny growing areas. Beyond its role in the garden ecosystem, Bee Balm makes an excellent choice for container gardens and cut flower arrangements, enhancing its versatility and appeal.
Sedum 'Autumn Fire', an upgraded version of the popular Sedum 'Autumn Joy', is a stonecrop plant known for its extended bloom time, larger growth, and enhanced flower heads. Blossoming in late summer, it showcases flat heads adorned with attractive rose-pink flowers that persist well into the autumn, earning it the name 'Autumn Fire'. The faded flowers can be left on the plant through winter, adding a touch of interest to your garden even in colder months. This low-maintenance plant is not only easy to grow but also ideal for mass plantings, containers, and rock gardens, lending versatility to its usage. Notably, it's a major attraction for beneficial bees, butterflies, and birds, while proving resistant to deer and rabbits. All these traits collectively make Sedum 'Autumn Fire' a fantastic addition to any garden.
Marigold 'Red Cherry' is a captivating early-flowering variety of traditional French marigolds, boasting striking mahogany red blooms accented with a golden eye. These scarlet flowers continuously bloom from spring until frost, adding a vibrant touch to your garden for an extended period. Marigolds are particularly known for their companion planting value in vegetable or herb gardens, as they can deter pests while attracting beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators. Besides their aesthetic appeal and utility in vegetable plots, these marigolds also bring fragrance and edible beauty to cut flower gardens and containers. Preferring full sun exposure, this variety is quite easy to grow and maintain, offering a fun and rewarding gardening experience. Add Marigold 'Red Cherry' to your garden for a long-lasting display of vivid, fragrant, and beneficial blooms.
Snapdragons, or Antirrhinum majus, are versatile perennials often grown as annuals that command attention in the garden with their saturated, vibrantly colored flowers. Resembling the snout of a dragon, these intriguing flowers bloom from the bottom up, offering a prolonged display throughout cool weather in either spring or fall. However, with adequate hydration, they can endure the heat of midsummer and continue to thrive into the fall. Available in an impressive array of sizes and types, from towering four-foot varieties to dwarf, trailing, and creeping ones, snapdragons cater to a variety of gardening needs, whether for mixed borders, patio containers, garden wall crevices, or as filler plants in baskets. Typically, these plants rely on larger bumblebees for pollination, their unique flower "jaws" accommodating these pollinators. Seed to flower takes around two to three months, making indoor starts before the last winter frost a popular strategy.
Pansies are a timeless classic, adding vibrant splashes of color to gardens with their wide color palette, spanning from red, blue, and yellow, to orange, white, and black, as well as intriguing bi-colors. Their flowers come in diverse patterns, from clear and unmarked, to whimsically whiskered or distinctly blotched. These resilient flowers are perfect for adding flair to flower beds and borders, but their adaptability doesn't stop there. They thrive equally well in containers and window boxes, making them an excellent choice for those looking to introduce floral accents to their patios, balconies, or window sills. Offering more than just their aesthetic appeal, pansies also exhibit a hearty toughness, living up to their reputation as an old "tried and true" garden standard. Enjoy the cheerful presence of pansies and the versatility they bring to your garden spaces.
Calendula is an attractive plant with a unique versatility and resilience, standing up to both the heat of summer and the chill of early frosts. Its delightful flowers, ranging in hue from creamy yellow to deep orange, sit atop 18-inch plants, offering a long blooming period that adds lasting color to any garden space. Beyond its visual appeal, Calendula serves numerous practical uses. Its 1.5-inch flowers can be dried and used to brew a soothing herbal tea. As a magnet for pollinators, it enhances biodiversity, while its suitability for cut flowers means you can enjoy its vibrant blooms indoors. Calendula is also an excellent companion plant in the vegetable garden, contributing to the health of cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, and carrots. Whether in flower beds, containers, or edible/medicinal gardens, Calendula is a lovely and beneficial addition.
Nasturtiums, encompassing over 80 species in the Tropaeolum genus, are vibrant herbaceous plants native to South and Central America. Available in both perennial and annual varieties, these easy-to-grow plants bloom with rich, jewel-toned flowers, adding a burst of warmth to any garden. Nasturtiums, with their distinctive rounded, lotus-like leaves, are planted in spring, post the threat of frost, and surprisingly thrive on neglect. Their variety offers a fit for every gardening purpose - bushy ones for borders and edges, trailing ones for containers and walls, and climbers for dramatic height. In addition to their aesthetic appeal, nasturtiums are known for their edible flowers and leaves, which offer a peppery tang, making them a common feature in vegetable gardens. They are often planted alongside broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower due to their pest-repelling properties, marking them as both beautiful and beneficial.
Mammoth Dill, a remarkable variety, stands out with its height reaching up to 6 feet and its expansive, lush, airy foliage. This dill is renowned for its giant flowers, with seed umbels sometimes spreading across 15"-18", adding a dramatic visual appeal to your garden. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it also serves a significant role in attracting beneficial insects to your vegetable and flower garden, promoting a healthier ecosystem. Its leaves can be harvested once the plant reaches 6-8", and its seeds, turning from green to brown, can be collected before they drop to the ground. Mammoth Dill serves various uses, including culinary, medicinal, and promoting pollination in your garden. For a continuous leaf harvest, consider sowing every 3-4 weeks throughout the season. Tall varieties may require support to prevent toppling, and this dill can be comfortably grown in containers, ensuring its versatility in any garden setting.