Ten Stars of the 2018 Seeds n’ Such Catalog (Seeds, Horticulture, Organic Gardening)
Seeds n’ Such seems to be a humble name for a seed house offering so much inspiration for avid, imaginative gardeners. I hope to try the following 10 varieties of seeds, even though I have to admit, some will prove challenging for me to bring to fruition, since have been gardening on a swamp that was filled in with slag for than a generation ago. Yes, it is crowned with top soil and lovingly rendered compost, but still…. It’s home, not quite an oasis yet.
My newest approach to the conundrum of gardening here, in the place that I love, is doing more container gardening.
In fact, my husband recently completed a certificate course in container gardening, and so, we are both brimming with motivation to put plants into pots. I envision part of our mint bed becoming a container strawberry patch this year, with no worries really of keeping the mint down. Mint does not take “No” for an answer. It is so resilient. Maybe we should all be more like mint!
But now I digress. We start so many of our plants from seeds; this can be rewarding and/ or frustrating. Seeds have personalities. Give some a bit of slag, and they make a rainforest. Others scream fragility, and must be coaxed to awaken and sprout. It is deep winter here, with seed catalogs filling my mailbox with such optimistic allure.
Seed catalogs work against my winter doldrums, allowing me to plunge into pure green reverie. I had never thought about reviewing the catalogs before, but during this bitter winter, a muse hit me with an emerald wand.
Here are my top ten seed picks from this compact, positively-notable catalog, Seeds n’ Such. Prices are modest and quite affordable, compared to many the catalogs that land in your mailbox.
- Queen Red Lime Zinnia: This unique zinnia appears on the front page of the catalog. It joins the ranks of several beloved multi-colored zinnias, like the peppermint stick variety. I am a great fan of this flower, but often our cool, wet summers here at top the Appalachian Mountains in Northeastern Pennsylvania do not create the best conditions for sun-loving zinnias. So, for me growing zinnias is always hit-or-miss. They are not prima donnas, but zinnias don’t like wet feet. (In this way, they remind me much of basil and rosemary.) I want to try this red lime variety. I love the lime green center of this flower, reminiscent of the totally green “Envy” zinnia, a true garden jewel. According to the catalog’s description, this flower offers a progression of colors starting at petal’s edge with “smoky dark rose,” with petals morphing in color through dusty rose, pink, and even chartreuse before finishing off with the lime green center. This flower promises stunning results. Wish me luck. I want this one to grow luxuriantly.
- Evening Scentsation Hybrid Petunia: Warning. I have never started petunias from seed—successfully. Oh, I have tried. But nothing has happened. If can find these and simply buy a flat, I will. But that is a longshot. This indigo-blue petunia is less notable for its color than for its promise of evening fragrance: roses mixed with honey mixed with hyacinth. I am a fool for the scent of old-fashioned petunias, as they tend to perfume the night, if not the neighborhood. This one promises heavenly scents, a sumptuous mixture of perfumes that I suspect we can only grow.
- Cosmos Cupcake Mix: This seed pack contains three colors of cupcakes: lavender, pink and white. I grew white cupcakes last summer. Now, please realize that I am a cosmos aficionado and have been one since age six! They are easy to grow and deliver spectacular fields of color. This cupcake variety is perhaps not so easily recognized as a member of the cosmos family, at first glance. The delightful upright cups will astonish any cosmos lover who has fallen into a rut. I look forward to extending my reach beyond the white cupcakes, although this color proved both refreshing and charming.
- Golden Sweet Snow Peas: Snow peas are a family favorite, whether sautéed, steamed, or eaten raw. I never knew that a golden variety existed. Well here it is, obtained as an heirloom from a village market in India. Sweet anticipation. Imagine a raw salad plate mixing the golden snow peas with our traditional green ones.
- Dreamland Zinnias: I have grown these for a long time. I love the petite habit and large intensely colored blooms. “Dreamland,” in my opinion, is the best zinnia for pots and the edging of walkways. The low price here of $2.79 for a package is noteworthy.
- Alumia Marigold Vanilla Cream: These distinct French marigolds are captivating the imaginations of marigold lovers worldwide. I will need to write an entire blog about my love this extremely faithful and hardy flower. (Yes, we even have a cat named “Marigold.”) The name of the flower means “Mary’s Gold.” In botanical folklore, they represent the alchemical gold of the Virgin Mary. This variety is unique primrose yellow.
- Halloween Radish Mix: Radishes are not so pricey in most grocery stores. Sometimes, I find a rainbow mix at our local farmer’s market. The pinks, purples and whites add culinary whimsy to what most consider an only red vegetable. Let’s face it, we take our radishes, a very low-carb food, mostly for granted. I want to change this! I recently found a recipe for low-carb radish “home fries.” As many of you know, I am diabetic and need to live on a low-carb diet. Frankly, I don’t grow radishes much. So, when I cultivate them, I do it to obtain a wider range of colors for visual appeal. From the photo in the catalog, I see white, magenta-violet, and BLACK radishes. Try planting these in several containers for a long-term colorful harvest.
- Bumble Bee Cherry Tomato Mix: I like to grow as many varieties of tomatoes as possible; however, I am a city gardener with limited space. Last year, was something of an off year for my tomatoes: We grew only about eight varieties, with Aunt Ruby’s Green, being the absolute star of the patch. Aunt Ruby is not going away, but she has plenty of room for bright company. These Bumble Bee cherry tomatoes are all striped works of botanical art. According to the catalog description the mix contains, “pink with yellow stripes, yellow with red stripes and purple striped with metallic green.” Also, this is organic seed! My old favorite cherry tomato “Sweet Million” will have to make room for these beauties. Purple with metallic green stripes! How can any tomato lover resist the promise of such hues?
- Artisan Tomato Mix: This mix contains all of the Bumblebee cherry varieties plus several elongated ones, with a range of colors in pink, orange and yellow.
- Black Salsify: Ah, you have no idea how I searched for this black variety of oyster plant, often known as scorzonera amongst old Italian gardeners (I suppose I am one of those)! These parsnip-like roots do have a delicate oyster flavor. My soil does not run deep enough to plant these in the ground, so they will go in containers, along with my rainbow carrots. You may want or need to leave these delicacies over winter before harvesting. Some claim that over-wintering improves the flavor of these roots. If you are not patient, do NOT plant black salsify. This delicacy is a member of dandelion family and related to daisies. I suspect that scorzonera was kissed by oysters, one day, some way, somehow. As an aside, I would buy these, if I could find them. I was promised some at the local farmer’s market, but they never materialized, and I would have been happy with the white variety, too! But I have had no luck in obtaining white salsify either.
I have never ordered from this catalog before, but in effect, it has pulled me in, offering
a huge selection of old favorites and many new, alluring-intriguing varieties.
We at Mountain Laurel Copywriting offer reviews of all seeds we are sent by any and all seed purveyors. Depending upon the seeds sent to us, we begin our reviews at the end of June and continue writing about them through the fall.
We also look forward to interviewing those who run seed houses, as each has his/ her unique vision of the garden.
Contact: Seeds n’ Such
PO Box 1
Granville South Carolina
Copyright 2018 by Maria Jacketti