Monday, March 1, 2010

seed stories, part 3

In Idaho last week, huge flashy displays of seed packets graced the supermarkets, feed-and-seed stores, and 'big-box' retailers. More seeds than we see in California at this time of year, but with more time to wait before planting. Obviously when the temperature is below freezing every night a person needs the comfort of planning for summer flowers and veggies.

Naturally I bought more than my share:
  • hyacinth bean was totally new to me and not to be missed though I already had three varieties of pole beans in addition to the scarlet runners that are already standing tall from last season's saved seed;
  • two varieties of hollyhock -- not silly-looking doubles but the stately single blooms of our grandmothers' gardens;
  • miniature Indian corn with its multi-colored kernels;
  • Armenian cucumbers  -- long, mild, light green substitute for the Japanese cucumbers I grew back in the 1980's (where, oh where are those seeds being sold?); 
  • summer savory -- an annual herb I haven't been able to find at any of the local nurseries or farmers markets; and
  • a strange, striped single marigold (Jolly Jester) that looks like a USC cheerleader's uniform. 
Along with the seeds, I bought two packs of biodegradable jiffy pots, and this evening planted 40 of them with various beans, corn, hollyhocks, and Swiss chard (that W.A.S.P. veggie from my first seed story).

Yard-long beans, cucumbers, sunflowers, marigolds, evening primrose, and zuchinni were started a couple of weeks ago. Only the zukes look totally hopeless at this point, but I have plenty of seed to start them over again, along with yellow crooknecked summer squash.

Where will all these crops grow? Most will have to be squeezed into narrow strips along the fences. Luckily I've had a recent flash of insight about planting some small, sunflower-centered front-yard tableaux of 'CBS' (corn-bean-squash) New World natives. Why didn't I buy any pumpkin seed? Or gourds? These would twine enticingly among the Indian corn.

Seed stories never seem to cease.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License