Monday, 12 January 2009

Old Cold, New Seeds

I am either fighting off the second round of my first cold (which started before Christmas!), or I'm the lucky recipient of a second cold. Either way, I've spent far too much time in the last few days coughing and/or blowing my nose. So, instead of a 'real' blog post, I will take the easy way out and post the list of the seeds I received from Salt Spring Seeds last week. Their website is a wealth of information on all of these plants and more. First the veggies, then the culinary and medicinal herbs:
  • Lettuce - a blend of 20 kinds
  • Bush Snap Bean - "Provider"
  • Bush Snap Bean - an unusual kind called "Tanya's pink pod."
  • Beans - "Golden Rocky" - golden when fresh, black bean when dried for winter use
  • Greens - 'Burnet Saxifraga' - a perennial green that attracts beneficial insects.
  • Greens - 'Bietina' - a rare type of Swiss chard that is cold hardy
  • Greens - Salad Burnet - another perennial salad green the leaves of which can also be dried for tea.
  • Peas - 'Cascadia'
  • Chinese Rhubarb - stems good raw or cooked, leaves are insect repellent and its fiber is good for home made paper.
  • Cucumbers - 'Senger Farm'
  • French Sorrell - another perennial salad green with a lemony flavor.
  • Plain Leaf Chervil - cold hardy
  • Parsley - 'giante d'Italia' - cold tolerant and can re-seed itself.
  • St. John's Wort - "antispasmodic, antidepressant, antiviral properties. Good bee and border plant."
  • Echinacea (the purple kind) - boosts immune system
  • Calamint - "aromatic tea herb...a cross between mint and marjoram"
  • Milk Thistle - beneficial for the liver
  • Evening Primrose - "Alleviates PMS. Roots can be eaten as a vegetable, shoots as a salad."
  • Wild Thyme - drought tolerant; I'm going to use this in the rock path leading to the garden.
  • Lemon Bergamot
  • Calendula Mix - used in skin lotions, petals are edible
  • Codonopsis - "Hardy, shade-loving vine. Roots have a similar effect to Ginseng."
  • Coltsfoot - "used for bronchitis, whooping cough, and asthma."
  • Chinese Motherwort - attracts bees, used to reduce high blood pressure.
  • Baikal Skullcap - "prized Chinese medicinal for fevers, colds, high blood pressure, headaches, hepatitis and shingles."
Getting the seeds in the mail was a high point in my week, and I've been dreaming of my herb garden ever since -- in between blowing my nose, that is! Maybe next year (or the year after) I'll have Echinacea tea of my own to drink so I can keep my colds down to one a year instead of two per month!

I just recently rounded out my vegetable seed supply with an order from Bowseed, after going through the seeds I already have to make sure I don't double up on things I don't need. I've been ordering in larger quantities as well, due to the potential seed shortages I've been hearing about. Plus, it is a lot less expensive to buy seed in larger packages. Here's what I ordered from Bowseed:

Beans - Tendergreen - (these are the ones that produced so well for me last year)
Carrots - Chantenay Red Core - (these have also worked well for me in my soil conditions.)
Endive - Green Curled Ruffec - (our guinea pigs love this stuff!)
Kale, Siberian - (also a favorite of the pigs, and of the people.)
Lettuce - Grand Rapids - (a leaf lettuce that is an early producer, according to the catalog)
Peas - Oregon Sugar - (a sweet and early pea with an edible pod)
Pumpkins - Small Sugar - (the kind you can use for pie)
Spinach - Hybrid #7 - (a hybrid that is apparently good for this area)
Squash - Table Queen or Acorn (I will be planting these only in moderation this year!)
Swiss Chard - Ruby Red - (beautiful and tasty!)

By the way, I have an extra copy of the 2009 Bowseed Catalogue if anyone would like it. Their seeds are field tested to be hardy to this area (Zone 2 - 3). Just leave me a message in the comments if you would like me to mail it to you.

I hope everyone is keeping well and warm this Winter, and staving off the worst of the cold/flu season.


Coll said...

Hi, What does codonopsis(?)do? Is it a medicinal or just a veg or flower I don't know! Thanks. Coll

Theresa said...

Whoops, I forgot that one...I will go add the details to the main text...

Liz said...

Yay! I'm glad you got your seeds. It's a great feeling. Hope you're feeling better soon.

Theresa said...

Thanks Liz, you're right -- it is a good feeling to know I have enough seed to grow what I need. My cold does finally seem to be on the way out...after nearly three weeks!

SoapBoxTech said...

hehe congrats on your seeds, lady T. The potential for seed shortages is scary indeed, tho perhaps not as scary as the rampant GMO activity. Kinda shows just how skewed a world it is when the local seed growers cannot earn a viable enough living for it to be a healthy industry. Kudos to you for planning such a diverse garden.

Are the guinea pigs for soup??

Anonymous said...

Okay, I think this is the perfect oportunity for me to ask this silly question that's been floating in my mind for weeks. You're going to be growing cucumbers. Now, I remember growing up and seeing my parents growing cukes that spread on the ground like zuccinis. But now, when I read directions for the seeds and look through other blogs, it looks like most people like to grow them on trellises, growing them vertically and keeping them off the ground. So which way is it? Is my memory wrong? Is it better to grow them one way or the other? Or is it a space preference? What do YOU do?

Theresa said...

SoapBox, nooooooo! The guinea pigs are our friends! :) They eat the veggies, just like we do.

Desiree - I have very little cucumber experience, having only tried growing them once, and the ones I planted last year were frost killed. Apparently though, if you grow them hanging, they will grow straighter than if you let them trail on the ground. Probably what I will do is put them at the edge of the garden, so they can trail out over the side and into the surrounding bush/grass area. If I get ambitious I may build some kind of trellis/support thingy, but I have enough space that I don't have to do that if I don't want to.

SoapBoxTech said...


Theresa said...


kale for sale said...

I hope just thinking about those medicinal herbs has you feeling better. Your variety of herbs sounds wonderful. I never used thyme before I had it in the yard and now I'd be lost without it. I'll have to add something new this year too.

Theresa said...

Thanks Kale - I'm starting to come around, at last. Ginger tea has been very soothing, and sometimes I'll plop a few dried rosehips in there.

I'm not sure if I will plant every herb seed I received, I'll probably start with some easy ones first. Definitely the echinacea though - I've wanted to have that for a while now. I have to do some thinking and planning about what to plant where, given what's growing there already. I am hoping to just have a lot of these herbs naturalize in the more wild areas of our acreage, sort off to the side of the 'yard' proper. There are already some bergamot and yarrow plants growing here and there already, so my vision is to have just a collection of herb plants growing in patches on the perimeter of the yard, where the aspen woodlot starts. Ah...visions of Spring....:)

Apple Jack Creek said...

Theresa, your seed order looks much like mine!

I have one BIG warning for you though: that milk thistle stuff is NASTY. Plant it far, far away from anywhere you want to walk. Wear long sleeves (padded, like a parka) and heavy gloves when you harvest. Then use tweezers to get the little seeds out of the heads ... and then, when all that is done, you have to soak those seeds in vodka, because the active ingredient in the darn things is not water soluble! So .. you take a spoonful of vodka tincture to help your liver. :)

I am never planting those beastly plants again! I bet they'd make a great border though, to keep wild critters out. What critter in it's right mind would brave those thorns?

I planted the Salt Spring lettuce mix last year and it was great - I'll be planting it again this year too! I'm hoping for better cucumber luck this time too - all my transplants died last year. Maybe I'll try cloches.

I did get a bunch of herbs again, and more than last year - if I see anything in my seed list that isn't in yours maybe we can trade some extras! :)

G. Harrison said...

Reading your post and the comments from readers/gardeners keeps my hopes alive for my own attempt at a Victory Garden in the spring.

I finished three new bird feeders yesterday, tucked one under my arm to hang on the clothesline, and discovered we didn't have one. (our reno man stored it somewhere on the deck, buried under three feet of snow. so, back to the drawing board.)

also discovered that Kleenex stocks are soaring. what gives? who's using all the tissues?


Gord H.

Theresa said...

AJC - thanks for the milk thistle warning! I will keep plantings of that to a minimum, and put it further out in the 'bush.' I will happily do some seed trading with you - that makes good sense! I've considered taking part in Salt Spring Seeds' seed sanctuary program ( - with a small seed purchase you can get a free amount of seeds in subsequent years just by growing them in your local area and reporting back on how they grow there. Hmm...I may have just talked myself into it. :)

Gord - I probably have boosted sales in the disposable tissue market - I'm just not ready to use a hanky when I've got a cold! Maybe one day when I get more brave...

You will have fun with your Victory Garden, I'm sure! Where do you order seeds from out thataway?

Lori said...

Hey Theresa!!
I may have to use some of your Evening Primrose in the summer! Apparently it works to induce labor and I'll be trying all I can to get that going naturally this time!! Typically people use Evening Primrose Oil capsules though, so I don't know how we'd need to prepare it!

Theresa said...

Hi Lori! I think we may have to consult with a midwife or doula or someone first before trying any of the evening primrose stuff - I would be kind of scared to just try it without the advice of someone experienced in such things. But there is certainly enough time to look into it!

SoapBoxTech said...

I just learned that guinea pig is apparently a staple part of the Ecuadorian watch your buddies when you have your Ecuadorian friends over.

Theresa said...

Ack! ;)