Tag Archives: sunflower

2012 Garden Orders Placed

Happily, my garden orders will only be about $100 this year compared to $200 + dirt money we spent last year and the year before. The garden will be a little bit smaller which partly accounts for the decreased cost. The vine borers were so bad with the pumpkins last year that I’m not going to plant anything that they can eat. Hopefully a year of starving will keep them at bay, and I can grow some nice pumpkins again next year.

I have a lot of seeds left over from last year which helps too.  I only had to order one type of tomato this year.

Goals and Decisions

This year I decided I wanted to plant less types of plants, and to do more canning with the larger crops. I settled on beets, peas and basil. Beets because I like beets (and I bought a pound of beet seeds last year!), peas because you can never have too many fresh peas, and basil because last year’s crop was sufficient for cooking, but much too small to make pesto. And I love pesto.

I also focused on turning the garden next to our house into an herb garden. I just got accepted to the UMN Masters of Geographic Information Science, so I expect that the next couple of years will be very busy. I plan to continue gardening, but I want to reduce the amount of work it takes. I’m hoping that having an herb garden is part of that solution.

This Year’s Order: $101.23

The total isn’t actually in yet, because I haven’t bought the cherry tree, but it’s in the budget this time around and I know what kind I want. We’re going to get a North Star sour cherry tree. Here’s the rest of the order.

Next On The Todo List

Next up on the todo list is to clean my starter pots so they’ll be ready when the seeds get here. I also need to sharpen my lawn mower,  shovels and hoes. I bought a tiller that doesn’t start last fall, so I need to get that running and till the garden.

It’s nice to be working on gardening stuff again!

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2011 Garden Orders

I have finally placed my seed orders for this year. I was planning on not waiting this long, but we were out of town a couple of times and so, here it is March already.

We will still be adding a couple of things to this order. My 5 year old is extremely excited for his own garden. I’m giving him a 3×3 plot to do whatever he wants with. I’m going to take him to Home Depot to pick out seeds — he’ll like that a lot more than looking in the catalogs or ordering online.

We are also planning on getting some more black dirt to continue to improve the gardening in some spots in the yard. I think we paid about $150 or so for 8 cubic yards last year. Hopefully we can find a similar deal this year. I’m also going to get a bag of potting soil for starting some seeds indoors. Lastly, we’re going to get a cherry tree this year!

Too Many Seeds — Ideas?

I know I have way more seeds than I need this year. It’s just that I wanted the variety of seeds. I’ll plant as many seeds as I can fit under lights inside, and try to sell the starts, but that’s still going to leave me with a lot of seeds. Does anyone have an idea of what I can do with the extra seeds?

Deciding What To Get

As a beginner gardener ordering can be confusing. There are so many varieties for each and every crop type. I didn’t realize how many types of sunflowers there were till I went to order them today! Eventually I’d like to get to the point where I plant mostly the same things each year, where I know what grows well, how much it will produce and can plan accordingly. Last year some tomato plants didn’t do so hot, and we had way too many summer squash. Just a couple of plants made the cut for a repeat appearance this year. I have marked the returning champions in bold below.

Last year I decided not to worry about seed collecting, but as I was putting together my shopping list today I decided to make it a higher priority this time around. I’m still not an organic/heirloom farming zealot, but saving money on seeds next year would be nice. Where there were multiple options I went with the heirloom variety for the most part. There were a couple of things (Sweet Million tomatoes!) which we really liked last year and are happy to have them even if they’re not heirloom plants.

Without further ado, here’s our main order for the year.

2011 Seed and Garden Order ($206.37)

Nourse Farms ($76.65)

We got 100 strawberry plants and 20 raspberry canes from Nourse Farms last year. The plants arrived in great shape and they have the biggest variety of strawberry plants I have seen online. The vast majority of them survived just fine too. I am ordering more to fill in a couple of empty spots. They let you pick the week that they’ll ship everything to you. I chose to have them shipped the week of 5/23/2011 as it should be after the last average frost here.

  • Blackberries (Illini Hardy) 10 canes
  • Strawberries (Earliglow) 25 plants
  • Strawberries (Mesabi) 25 plants

Totally Tomatos ($22.55)

Totally tomatoes is focused on tomatoes and peppers. They have a few other vegetables, but not too much. Last year they threw in several free packets of trial seeds along with the order too. Their online checkout process reminds me of a website from the late 1990s, but it works.

  • Tomatoes (Mortgage Lifter) 60 seeds (heirloom)
    • These matured a lot later and were a lot uglier than the nice round ones we started the summer with. They has lots of lobes and several cracks, but they were SO good that we had to get more.
  • Tomatoes (Sweet Million) 60 seeds (hybrid)
    • These tomatoes produced like CRAZY. We did our best to keep up but were finally beaten at the end of the season. They were delicious in salads, eating fresh and in spaghetti sauce.
  • Tomatoes (Glacier Tomato) 30 seeds (heirloom)
  • Bell Pepper (North Star Hybrid) 30 seeds (hybrid)
  • Hot Peppers (Hot Pepper Mix) 100 seeds
  • Banana Pepper (Sweet Banana Pepper) 100 seeds

American Meadows ($32.82)

I found American Meadows when Googleing for bulk lettuce seeds. They had a couple of things that I needed including the a bulk wildflower mix that looks pretty decent. Their website is pretty straightforward if you know what you’re searching for, but it’s difficult to browse. I tried browsing some of the vegetable categories but gave up and headed to Burpee.

  • Lettuce (Buttercrunch Lettuce) 1/4 lb.
  • Rosemary 64 seeds
  • Oregano 624 seeds
  • Sweet Basil 875 Seeds (Organic)
  • Midwest Wildflower Seed Mix 1/4 lb.

Burpee ($74.25)

Burpee seems to me like the WalMart of the seed world. They seem to be everywhere (at least when searching Google for seeds!) and they seem to have some of everything. Their heirloom section seems to be better labeled than it was last year. I was mainly disappointed by the product descriptions. Generally speaking the user reviews were more informative than the official Burpee description. This probably stems from the concise catalog descriptions being used on the website, but the effect is that it seems like they don’t know much about what they’re selling.

Retail Me Not had a $15 off of a $75 order coupon.

  • Sunflower (Mammoth Russian) 75 seeds (heirloom)
  • Sweet Corn (Golden Bantam) 200 seeds (heirloom)
  • Beans (Purple King) 4oz (heirloom?)
    • These beans were long, delicious, crunchy and very productive. We ate most of them as green beans, but let some turn to beans at the end of the summer. The dried beans were delicious too.
  • Beans (Heavyweight II) 4oz
    • These started producing late, but ended up being very productive despite the abuse of being in the sandy part of the yard which doesn’t get as much water as the main garden.
  • Peas (Thomas Laxton) 2oz (heirloom)
    • We got snow peas and these peas last year and these were a favorite by far. Crispy and sweet and delicious.
  • Cucumbers (Straight Eight) 100 seeds (heirloom)
  • Pumpkins (Connecticut Field) 25 seeds (heirloom)
    • I think we had 7 carve-able pumpkins all decent sizes. They also made delicious pumpkin pies.
  • Pumpkin (Atlantic Giant) “1 Pkt” (heirloom)
  • Spinach (Bloommsdale Long Standing) 300 seeds (heirloom)
  • Summer Squash (Earl Prolific Straightneck) 60 seeds (heirloom)
  • Winter Squash (Waltham Butternut) 40 seeds (heirloom)
  • Winter Squash (Vegetable Spaghetti) 25 seeds
  • Winter Squash (Buttercup) 25 seeds
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