New Seeds of 2008

March 28, 2008

Seed Exchanges

About a month ago I signed up for a seed exchange on one of my favorite gardening websites. The first person puts a bunch of packets of seeds into an envelope and mails it to the second person on the list. The second person takes out the seeds they want from the envelope, puts in their contribution of seed packets and mails it to the third person on the list and so on. It’s nice to choose from a variety of seeds and gives you a chance to try new things.

I was second on the list and chose from a selection of about 25 seed packets :

There was a lot of work put into each seed packet with drawings and detailed seed information. I ended up taking out the following:

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Sweetie Tomato
  • Blondkopfchen Cherry Tomato
  • Black Plum Tomato
  • Lavatera ‘Mont Blanc’
  • Carrot ‘Purple Haze’
  • Cinnamon Basil
  • Carrot ‘lunga San Valerio’, and,
  • Salpiglossis Sinuata ‘Bolero Mixed F2’

In turn, I put in my seeds:

I put in a lot of the larger vegetable seeds that I no longer wanted or had room for, such as cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Annuals and some perennials also went into the package. I also put in a pack of mystery seeds from which I had forgotten the parent plant – it may have been pumpkin. Then I packed it all in an envelope and sent it off to the next person on the list.

Seed exchanges like this are neat to try as you’ll never know what you’ll get from the other person ahead of you. For me, I would never have thought of trying to grow Rainbow chard, lavatera or salpiglossis and now I get to see how it will do in my garden.

Seed Purchases

At the top of the month I went to Seedy Saturday unprepared and only bought a couple of seed packets: Dragon carrot, Earliest + Best tomato, Canabec Rose tomato and Chioggia beet. After drooling over the seed catalogues I picked up from the Cottage Gardener, Eternal Seed and Greta’s Organics, I decided to make an online purchase from the Cottage Gardener. I am now awaiting my seed purchases of the following:

  • Heirloom Leaf Lettuce collection
  • Mustard Green Mix collection
  • Black Spanish Round Radish
  • Red Malabar Spinach
  • Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber
  • Persian Broadleaf Cress

I also drove to Greta’s Organic Gardens and bought some seeds:

  • Montreal Melon,
  • Tall Telephone peas,
  • Cherokee Trail of Tears pole bean,
  • Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomato,
  • Black from Tula tomato,
  • Black Pear tomato,
  • Green Zebra tomato,
  • Old Flame tomato,
  • Opalka tomato, and,
  • Prudens Purple tomato.

I’m looking forward to seeing how everything comes up this spring!


10 Responses to “New Seeds of 2008”

  1. Gillian Says:

    The handmade seed packets look so cute – and what a great way to have a seed exchange!

    I planted hot pepper and eggplant seeds from Greta over two weeks ago but nothing has come up. I’ve got them in a small plastic tray to mimic a greenhouse, but I wonder if they’re still not warm enough. We keep our house quite cool at night. Any thoughts, oh Gardening Guru? 🙂

  2. Kathy Says:

    Hey Gillian,

    Not sure about eggplant however hot peppers need a lot of warmth to germinate. Do you have a seed-starting heating mat or a warm spot on top of your fridge?

    I like to pre-sprout my seeds on a heating mat to help them germinate in a short amount of time. I take a coffee filter, wet it with some water, put the seeds on a quarter of the filter, fold it in half and then fold it again. Then I put it in a sandwich-size Ziploc bag and write the name of the seed and date on top. Put it on a heating mat or on top of your fridge and check it everyday to see if the seeds have sprouted or if the coffee filter is starting to dry out (spritz with water). Once they sprout, you can gently put them in your seedling trays and put them on the windowsill. This way the seeds have more direct contact with warmth and you’ll only be sowing the ones that have germinated.

    Since you’ve already planted your seeds you can put the whole tray on a heating mat or on top of your fridge, placing a dome on top or putting the tray into a large Ziploc bag to help keep the soil moist. It’ll take some more time but they should come up for you.

    Good luck!

  3. Gillian Says:

    Thanks Kathy. I tried putting them on my fridge but the temperature isn’t any warmer there. For the heating mat, are there ones designed specifically for seed starting? The one I have, I use for muscle pain after a long day of gardening – it gets superhot and I don’t want to burn the house down!

  4. Kathy Says:

    Yes, the seed starting heating mats are different than regular heating pads. The seed starting ones have a low, even warmth and can run you about $30 CDN. There’s one at Lee Valley Tools. I bought mine from Rona for $35, which is pretty much the same thing. I didn’t really need it though I’m glad to have it as it cuts down the germination time of my seeds, also I’m kind of impatient. I have a similar fridge that doesn’t give off any heat.

  5. Next step is to begin saving some of your seeds. It is really easier than you might think. Save seeds from your best plants and take the best of this year into next. You can find free seed saving instructions from this 20 year-old non-profit web site:

  6. deb Says:

    What a great idea. I want to do this with our master gardener group.

  7. Kathy Says:

    Hi Bill,
    Yes, I’m definitely interested in saving seeds this year! I experimented with some garlic chives, jack in the pulpit, iris, pole bean and tomato seeds last year. One thing I didn’t realize is that I should have bagged the blooms of the tomato seed so I may have accidentally let them cross with other tomato plants that I had near it. I’m taking a more studious approach this year and will be reading up on saving seeds.

    Hi Deb,
    It’s a nice way to try new plants – some groups call it a “round robin seed exchange”.

  8. badhuman Says:

    Good luck with your seeds. My fiance and I are newbies but we are also growing the Cherokee Trail of Tears Beans and it was one of our first to sprout. That’s what we need- positive reinforcement 🙂

  9. Kathy Says:

    Hi badhuman,
    Cherokee Trail of Tears is my all-time favourite green pole bean! I got it at a Plantcycle exchange last year and it was the tastiest green bean I’ve ever had! Saving the seeds from this bean was great too as they all came true to type. I had grown some Kentucky Wonder beside it and the taste was like cardboard compared to this wonderful bean. There was some cross-pollination on some of the Kentucky Wonder seeds and it was interesting to see the difference from the parent seeds.

  10. I quite like Cherokee Trail of Tears as well ;-).

    That is a great idea about the seed list. I wonder if I can start one up next year. I have a filing cabinet full of seeds (yes, it may be a problem I have).

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