For gardeners, January is the season of dreamin’. This is when we can be found sleeping with seed catalogs tucked under our pillows, laboring over garden diagrams whose size bears no resemblance to that of our backyards (many of our dreams include inheriting vast tracts of prime agricultural real estate), and reading aloud to our families the descriptions of new vegetable varieties that are sure to utterly transform our lives as we know them. (For instance, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange has been touting Thai Red roselle as the Southern alternative to cranberries. Imagine your quality of life if you never had to buy another cranberry!)

But seriously, it’s possible I may have overdone it this year. I’ve just ordered 38 new varieties of vegetable and herb seed. In addition to the 26 varieties I still have from last year (saved in airtight containers in the back of the fridge). I’ve calculated that even if I only plant a bare minimum of two or three plants per variety, I’m going to need a surface area three times the size of my current garden (which took me all last spring to dig). So I asked for a second shovel for Christmas. And hope there will be someone to wield it.

In my defense, my list of things to order was a lot longer three weeks ago. I made some really hard choices. I was brutal. I drew thick black lines through Black Beauty Eggplant and Alabama Red Okra. I gave up my idea of starting a cottage industry growing Carwile’s Virginia Peanuts. And I realized that, my first year growing potatoes, I probably shouldn’t get all eight varieties. I contented myself with one order of Yukon Golds, just to get started. And I resigned myself to giving up growing edamame forever. (Okay, just until next year. But as a gardener, you’re always worried that right about July, as the harvest is getting plentiful, you’re going to regret not having planted that one thing that would have been oh, so beautiful atop the growing pile on the kitchen counter. And by then it will be too late. Too late.)

So, with that prelude, here is the order I placed this week with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange:

Chinese Red Noodle Asparagus Bean

De Cicco Broccoli

Catskill Brussels Sprouts

Early Flat Dutch Cabbage

Red Acre Cabbage

Cosmic Purple Carrots

Early Snowball Cauliflower

Early Sunglow Hybrid Sweet Corn (I already have an open-pollinated variety, Texas Honey June, that I like quite a bit but that is meatier than the hybrid sweet corns most people are familiar with. So I’m buying more hybrid seeds as a crowd-pleaser.)

Pennsylvania Butter-Flavored Popcorn

Arkansas Little Leaf Pickling Cucumber

Lacinato (Dinosaur) Kale

Tatsoi Mustard

Jericho Romaine Lettuce

Bronze Arrow Loose-leaf Lettuce

Deer Tongue (Matchless) Loose-Leaf Lettuce

Australian Brown Onion

Deep Purple Bunching Onion

Amish Snap Pea

Corona Bell Pepper (yellow)

Sweet Chocolate Bell Pepper

Jalapeno Pepper

Easter Egg Radish

Victoria Rhubarb

Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash

Waltham Butternut Squash

German Johnson Tomato

Eva Purple Ball Tomato

Old German Tomato

Hungarian Italian Paste Tomato

Cossack Pineapple Ground Cherry

Yukon Gold Seed Potatoes

Sweet Potato Mix

Holy Basil

Long Island Mammoth Dill



Hungarian Blue Poppy (for seeds)

Thai Red Roselle

If there’s something essential that I’ve missed, let me know. I have absolutely no problem placing follow-up orders.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Debra says:

    There ought to be a saying for gardeners similar to “your eyes are bigger than your stomach.” Something like your back isn’t as strong as … hmm… Okay, that didn’t go so well, but you get the idea.

    I can sympathize though. That’s probably why I’m always hitting the garden stores for plants other people have already started.

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