Preparing for the 2012 Gardens

About a week ago, I made our 2012 seed order.  We’d been chatting about it off and on since early December, but out of fear of not getting exactly the seeds we wanted (I had to order a few alternatives last year since we waited until February), I placed my order.

We decided to order through Park Seed, largely because of the success that we had last year with a few key vegetables: green & yellow beans, a variety of orange tomato, peppers and squash.  Given how important these vegetables are to our winter diets, it made sense to stick with varieties that we had such good luck with last year, especially since last year provided such a challenging growing season.

Below, you will find my list of this year’s vegetables, including notes from last year.

This Year’s Vegetables
*Indicates a specific variety that we grew last year

*Orange Parachue Hybrid – these were the only tomatoes that thrived in last year’s blight – and the only reason I was able to put up any tomato sauce at all, even if it is orange! The fruit from this plant was sweet and delicious both fresh and processed.
Golden Gem Hybrid -a new variety that promises bright yellow orbs that are super-sweet and fairly early
Costoluto Genovese – I’m not sure I can get these to grow this far north, but they promise to be a remarkable canning tomato. This is likely my fretting fruit of 2012.
Container Choice Hybrid – This was our free seed, so we’ll toss a few in and keep track of how they grow. Who doesn’t love a few extra tomato plants?

Peas– Both of these varieties were large producers and great performers in the freezer

An 8 qt. mixing bowl full of summer's bounty!

*Mr. Big

*Italian Large Leaf Basil – We had phenomenal results with this plant last year, and I still have the pesto in the freezer to prove it!
We’ll likely supplement with other herbs from the farmer’s market, but I already have an existing kitchen herb garden that meets most of our needs.

*Gonzalez Hybrid – We grew these last year and the heads were the perfect size for a dinner for two. This year, I want to make better use of the bounty and freeze it for stirfrys next winter.


In the foreground are some early challenge tomatoes that we won't be growing again. The large purple and yellow peppers are the delicious Oregon variety, and at the far back left is a Gonzales Cabbage.

*Oregon Hybrid – These were one of the most high-yielding peppers we’ve ever encountered! We had over sixty peppers at the height of the season (and they froze beautifully after being diced for easy pizza toppings and stir-ins).
*Sweet Rainbow Mix – The color of these peppers was almost as interesting and varied as the taste. What a treat!
*Early Jalapeno – We had a rough year for Jalapeno peppers, but we’re hoping for a larger crop in 2012.

Organic Winter Squash Harvest Blend
*Summer Squash Medley – A great mix of new and old favorites!
Pumpkin – Fall Rainbow Blend – I wanted these last year, but we waited too long to order. Cinderella pumpkins, here I come!
Cucumber – Homemade Pickles – We’re hoping that these are better than the bush variety that really floundered in our garden last year.

*Tendersnax – A delicious, sweet carrot that grew poorly because of our garden conditions last year. We’re hoping for better 2012 results (though we’re using up a leftover, unopened packet of 2011 seed).
Nandrin – These carrots are supposed to be enormous and freeze well – I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Beans – These two varieties were some of the best freezing beans I’ve ever encountered. I picked them young, washed and blanched them immediately, then froze them. We’re still enjoying them now and they continue to taste fresh-picked! I planted them in the same row, for a lovely smattering of color
*Tenderette (green color)
*Soliel (a soft yellow color)

Redbor Hybrid – I’ve only recently learned to love kale, and I’m hoping this is as pretty in flowerpots as it is in the garden.

Salad Bowl Mix

Dwarf Mix

In addition to these seeds, we will also purchase onion sets from our local feed & seed store. In the fall we planted garlic (Phillips sourced at the Commonground Fair and California, Silver and Pioneer from Gurney’s).

Our garden costs at this point are about $50, and I hope to continue to keep track as we go to do a general cost analysis at the end of the year.  The only additional costs that we are currently anticipating involve potting soil for the annual indoor planting and the electricity associated with our growing lights.


6 thoughts on “Preparing for the 2012 Gardens

  1. Nice planting list! Glad you got your seed order in….I still need to do that!! We are planning our garden now and trying to figure out where everything will go this year. I would love to add sunflowers to my garden too 🙂

    • I’m hoping we can use some of the sunflowers for chicken entertainment next winter. When we ran out of space last year, I had Jason help me dig a new garden… there’s always hope! :o)

  2. I’m still working on my seed order. I’ve made a list, and I finished with one company, but I still have more to go! P.S. How did I not know that my blog was in your blog roll? Thanks! – Allison

  3. I have my list of seeds compiled, but haven’t placed the order yet. I probably should get on that. I always try to get blue hubbard squash seeds, and Fedco always sends me a replacement because they are sold out. This year I hope to actually plant them!

    • Heather,
      I’m glad I’m not the only one with what I call wishful thinking veggies every year. Let’s commit to getting ours in this year! I’ll look forward to photos of your blue hubbards and you can hold me accountable for asparagus photos in the spring (and – in three years – some actual asparagus!).

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