PO Box 2458, Tijeras NM 87059

Mountain Gardens--finding success with plants for the high desert and East Mountains of New Mexico

Thursday, January 2, 2014


The seed catalogs are pouring in, and like many of you, we're struggling with difficult choices. Hundreds of tomatos, tens of cukes, heirlooms, non-GMOs, new hybrids, veggies, flowers, perennials!!!

Stop, take a breath, think systematically (not my strong suit). First, I'm making notes, this year, for every catalog, item (including a few notes about the selection like length to maturity--always important up here), page number, price/quantity, etc. This lets me compare between catalogs, and eventually I'll consolidate my orders. Why pay $6.00 or $7.00 dollars for a package of 300 seeds from (---) when I only need 25? On the other hand, I really want to try Summer Girl tomato (49-52 days!), so I may end up spending $6.95 for 25 seeds. Ouch... But Northern Exposure is out of stock at Burpee!

Stop, take a breath, think...And so it goes.

I have my favorite suppliers, but this year, with the nursery closed I can spread my wings a little. No more Early Girl! I want to try Indigo Rose, a purple tomato high in anthocyanin (it's in the news). I'm intrigued by Peppermint Swiss Chard and Red Candy Apple onions--and Fairy Tale zucchini and Asparabroc broccolini. But first I need to go through my seed stash. If I already have twenty some packs of lettuce seed, is it really sensible to order more? Hmmm...

OMG, I just fired off an order! The internet is the very devil...but I have to get those Northern Exposure tomatoes, after all, and the prices were so reasonable for some other very desirable seed I've been wanting to try like the Romanesco broccoli--and systems were made to be broken, dammit. But I'll get back on track with the potato seed, melons, fennel, carrots, cukes, etc. I'm nothing if not methodical.

Before I fire off the next order, anyone who would like something particular started, just email it. Even though the nursery is closed, I have little confidence in my ability to start sane quantities of veggies. I'll start seeds beginning in February (peppers are soooo slow), but don't wait too long to contact us, because I'll have to order seed I don't already have (within reason, please). Or if you have seed, but don't have much luck germinating it...

Those who are trying to germinate seed, remember that most veggies are fairly easy, but some require cool, some heat, some light, some dark. Follow directions. There are easy annual flowers like cosmos and marigold, and difficult ones. Do some research. Perennials, especially flowering natives, can be really difficult. Again, do your research. Don't waste time and money spring planting seed that requires winter exposure or two years alternate chilling.

If you really get into it, one of my favorite resources is Seed Germination and Theory, by Norman Deno available for free download at http://www.scribd.com/doc/44360991/SEED-GERMINATION-THEORY-AND-PRACTICE-by-Professor-Norman-C-Deno