Just so that I don't miss documenting what is obviously an annual event around here, this is my obligatory April snowfall pic, taken yesterday -
|You can make out the absolutely HUGE fluffy flakes of snow as they fall.|
So on to my latest round of seed purchases which was instigated, as is so often the case, by a search for one particular variety. Last year I pulled up all of my chives. They were in a shallow bed that had been invaded by grass and it was such a pain picking all of the grass out whenever I harvested. I decided that it would be better to start from scratch this year. And in addition to standard chives, I also wanted to add in some garlic chives - I had been meaning to include them in my herb bed for a couple of years, but just never got around to it.
Chives are one of the few plants that I prefer to get from a garden centre instead of starting from seed – I find that this really gives me a jump start since seed sown chives seem to take a long time to become well established.
As I was thinking about the chives, I recalled seeing some rather unusual garlic chives on Norma’s blog. They were quite unlike the garlic chives I had grown in the past, being much fatter than the standard garden centre fare.
After doing a bit of searching, I found a local seed house that specializes in Asian varieties – AgroHaitai. They had a couple of "Chinese Chive" varieties and I decided to try “Dah Ye” which has 1cm (0.40”) wide leaves with an "excellent" garlic flavor. It is also supposed to get quite tall at 45cm (18”).
Of course, I couldn’t pick up just one packet of seeds, now could I?
|Agro-Haitai Seed Order|
I ended up with 8 additional packets. The most exciting bit? I hadn't heard of any of these varieties before:
- Farmer’s Long Eggplant – A variety from Taiwan that is better yielding then Ping Tung Long.
- White Princess Eggplant – Early variety that is white (obviously!), tender and great tasting.
- Lu Mei Hot Pepper – Early & high yielding; mildly hot and harvested when green (always a plus in a short season!)
- Chinese Miben Winter Squash – Sweet, vigorous & high yielding; stores well.
- Zao Feng Winter Squash– A dark green, flattened variety that matures early. The flesh is described as dry, nutty & sweet.
- Jing Orange Winter Squash – Early maturing, vigorous. Also sweet, dry & nutty.
- SD Mini Napa – Heads are only about 1 kg. Slow bolting & disease resistant.
- CR Mini Top Napa – Another mini- type that you can harvest in as little as 45 days after transplanting. Slow bolting.
The descriptions are based on details I found on the website & seed packets. Only time will tell if they hold true.
This was yet another case of taking advantage of ordering from a source that I don’t usually purchase from. Several of the seeds I purchased will not end up in the garden this season but I’ll be ready for next year (and the year after that!).
One of the first things that struck me when I opened the envelope were the sealed plastic seed packets, which is quite unusual. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve seen them packaged this way. I’m thinking that, so long as the seeds were properly dried, this may increase their storage life. Since I'm not planning to grow all of them this year, that would be quite beneficial.
The second thing I noticed? The SD Mini Napa seeds. Their vibrant blue colour indicated that they were treated in some way.
|I'm sure some seeds may look like this, but not brassica seeds :(|
The seed packets were also missing a vital piece of information that most every other seed packet in my collection contains - a date. In order to give us some assurance as to the freshness of the seed, packets normally contain either a harvest or "use by" date. The labels on the AgroHaitai packets had neither. This, of course, calls into question how old the seeds may be. It would be rather simple to hold seeds over that don't sell from one season to the next.
Back to the chives. I've sown most of the garlic chive seeds in a 2x4" cell. I held back on sowing all of them, just in case I have more damping off issues. And now the waiting game - hopefully I'll be seeing some signs of life by next weekend.