The seed catalogs are arriving almost daily now, and the luscious photographs and descriptions are irresistible. Temptation lurks on every page. I indulge my fantasies for weeks by making a “wish list” that ignores the amount of space available. At some point, reality and reason surface and most things will be marked off, but the thought niggles, “If not now, when?” Each year seems to gallop past more quickly than the last. The number of seasons available for me to experiment with new crops and varieties is rapidly diminishing. “If not now, when?” So here are six things that are tempting me at the moment:
Squash “Mashed Potato” is an acorn type that is pure white. I’m not sure why this appeals to me in this age of “the brightest color is best for you” advice, and there must be forty or more other varieties of acorn squash available that are much more colorful. Frankly, acorn squash is not my favorite anyway, but still “Mashed Potato” keeps floating to the surface. All the catalogs describe it as “delectable” or even “absolutely delectable!” Sweet, silky and incredibly high-yielding (8-10 squash per compact plant!) are also impelling adjectives to a gardener/cook.
This year I grew black-eyed peas for the first time. It was fun and I’m glad I tried them but other than in our traditional New Year’s Day salsa for good luck, we’re not enjoying them much. Their space in the potager may be replaced by this “White Dixie Butterpea” which is described as a baby lima. I like limas and these are described as “melt in your mouth!” 70-75 days, prolific, “meaty,” vigorous, tolerant of drought are common descriptors. I’d never really planned to grow corn in the potager, but this “Bronze Orange” multi-purpose corn from Baker Creek is tempting me to give it one of the 6′ x 6′ beds. The dwarf stalks only reach 3-4′ in height, but is said to produce up to 5 ears per stalk. It can be eaten in the milk stage (although the catalog warns not to expect it to taste like sweet corn) or allowed to dry for a “superior” flour. No days to maturity are listed, but orange is my color and the mill for grinding flour is still packed away in the basement!
Speaking of orange, these “Earthwalker” sunflowers are really tempting. I’d vowed not to order more sunflower because there are so many seeds left in the packages from last year, and these are 6-8′ tall which is taller than desirable in the Cutting Garden. However, the flowers are 8-10″ across and in such luscious colors they may make the cut! (Image from SeedsNSuch)
This is rutabaga “Joan” from Seed Savers Exchange. Having eaten rutabaga for the first time in my long, long life while in Atlanta in October, and finding that it was delicious it may get space in the potager this year. There are half a dozen varieties available which will require a bit more research, but right now “Joan” is in the lead because it is touted as being “one of the sweetest and best textured” on the market. 90-100 days, but nothing listed as to storage length.
This year was a dreadful season for shallots. There are very few left hanging on the allium rack for spring planting. I’ve been looking at shallot bulbs, but DANG! they are expensive! Fortunately, High Mowing Seeds (and many others) offer “Conservor” shallot seed. These tear-drop shaped shallots have rust-colored skin and a pink interior. Reported to be good for storage. 110 days
So, these are the six top contenders on the “maybe” list. Once the final plans are drawn on the potager plan for the “must-have” crops, some may be included…..unless they are pushed out by new catalog arrivals!
What are the top “maybe” crops in your thoughts? And, if you’d like to see what other gardeners are thinking about or observing this Saturday, go to The Propagator, who hosts this meme.