First Seed Roundup for 2010

Photo of ‘Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge’ Tomato: Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

If you’ve been reading this site over the years, you can probably make a pretty safe guess as to where I am right now in the areas of seed starting and garden planning 2010. Behind. Barely started.

Most of my decisions so far have been made over a cup of coffee and with some lazy flipping through catalogues. Thankfully if you’re in my zone, we still have time. I don’t start to panic until all of the Seedy Saturday events are done. And us urban gardeners often have the advantage of hotter growing spaces that speed the growing process up once the summer heat comes on.

That’s my excuse anyway.

  • Tomato ‘Reisetomate’: Baker Creek Seeds sent me a preview catalogue a few months back and this was the first tomato variety that caught my eye. I love an ugly tomato and I believe this just might be the most hideous beast out there. It is essentially a large bunch of cherry tomatoes smashed together into one enormous mess. The catalogue also says that the plant’s name, meaning traveler, is derived from its use as trip food in Central America. Considering the current state of travel between the Canada and the U.S, I don’t think they’d let me bring one in my carry on as sustenance.
  • Tomato ‘Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge’: This is another tomato from the Baker Creek catalogue that caught my eye. These are an orange ribbed tomato (my favourite) with purple smudges on top. Reviewers describe them as mushy and tasteless but I’m going to try them anyway.
  • Poppy ‘Mother of Pearl’: I have nowhere to grow this one but when has that ever stopped me? The subtle, pale shades and delicate crinkliness of these poppies are too much to resist.
  • Pole Bean ‘Conio’: Last night I asked Colette of Urban Harvest about what was new in their 2010 catalogue and she mentioned this pole bean that she brought back from Terra Madre in 2008 and had grown out locally. Colette never fails to draw me in with new bean varieties. But what really got me about this one wasn’t the description so much as the name. Apparently conio or coño is an expletive referring to female genitalia. I’m always looking for an excuse to swear without being chastised for it.
  • ‘Christmas’ Lima Bean: While I’m on the topic of beans, I tried to grow this variety last year. I only had about six beans so they were special. I planted them and they germinated. And then the raccoons or squirrels got them. The end. I’d like to give them a go again this year but haven’t found a source. Urban Harvest has them listed but Colette says they don’t have any. If you’ve got a source please tell us in the comments!
  • Sweet Pea ‘Wild Yellow’ (Lathyrus chloranthus): I saw these sweet pea flowers in the West Coast Seeds catalogue and was smitten by the yellowy-green hue. My only hesitation is in that descriptions I have found say nothing about smell and I make it a point to only grow sweet peas that smell wonderful. Otherwise, what’s the point?
  • Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum): I grew nodding onion in pots out on the roof nearly a decade ago and have got the itch to try my hand at these unique and ornamental alliums again. Botanical Interests have come through with seeds that have been newly added to their repertoire for 2010.
  • Spinach ‘Bordeaux’: I saw these last year and regretted that I didn’t get any, especially since it turned out to be such an excellent year for spinach. Imagine a windowbox full of this colourful and architecturally shaped spinach. I always find spinach to be particularly gorgeous, but these have burgundy veins to boot.
Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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17 thoughts on “First Seed Roundup for 2010

  1. Gayla,

    I saw those Christmas Lima Beans in the Baker Creek Seed catalog. They’re called Christmas Pole Lima Beans but I assume that’s the same. I remembered them because they’re so pretty! I would grow them but I don’t care for lima beans:)

  2. I’m so glad you posted that! I had the same experience with christmas lima beans – I planted 30, and one came up! I blamed it on a combination of raccoons, squirrels and my cats. I haven’t started looking for seeds yet, but I want to give them another chance.

  3. The point to sweet peas can be many things to many people. Fragrance is but one; form, stem length, colour, and frilliness are several others. Most are sweet scented; it just varies in degree.

  4. I agree… and those are all details I look for. But with so little space, I put scent at the top of my list when it comes to sweet peas. Especially because there are so many deliciously scented varieties.

  5. My parents have shouted “Coño Carajo!” as an expletive throughout my entire childhood. I think in their case in means something like, “FUCK!” “DAMN!” or “SHIT!”

    I love profanity. They (inadvertently) taught me well. I outta get that bean for the mother, she’ll get a good laugh out of it, then tell me to watch my mouth.

  6. I’m glad to hear of others who are spending the last few dull days of January dreaming of gardens & green things! Here on the west coast we have lots of shoots popping out of the soggy ground & I even saw cherry blossoms on a few trees down in Victoria last week!! Spring just might arrive early this year!

  7. Gayla,

    Welcome Back! I too am starting to sort out my seeds for the veggie garden. I’m doing a children’s themed garden for my daughter that has a sort of teepee in the centre – peas grow up the poles to enclose the teepee – too much fun! Can you or anyone else recommend an easy to grow sweet pea variety that grows quite tall that I can use?

  8. I have Christmas limas in my pantry that I got, for food, not for seed, from After hearing an interview with the owner, who said they would grow if you planted them, I gave it a whirl and indeed the germinated and grew very well! I didn’t try the Christmas limas themselves, but I don’t know why it would be any different. Personally I was not a big fan (don’t like limas, but thought I’d be open minded) so I have plenty to share but they are a bit old (at least for growing I figure, though not for eating).

  9. Hi, I saw your link for the seedy saturday and am very interested in doing something like this in our SMALL community. Do you have any advice, input, ideas for me? Thank you!

  10. Ciao Jen-

    The “everlasting” type sweet peas are a very good choice for using on a teepee trellis. The antique sweet peas don’t really fill out as much as these will. They’ll branch extensively and you can train them onto twine that you weave around the sides of the trellis. Just remember to leave a “door” for her to crawl into. Everlasting sweet peas will self-seed if you allow the pods to develop, dry, and “explode” which will send the seed flying onto the ground and come up the following year.

  11. just made this years purchase from Baker’s Creek. Concentrating on lettuces this season. Can’t wait!

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