It’s become a tradition and now that I live in an Italian neighbourhood it’s pretty much a requirement. When my local Italian greengrocer set out the seed rack I did a little happy dance, and it was then that I knew I was doomed to buy more seed than I will ever have room to grow.
Cucumber ‘Spuredda Leccese’ – While not technically a cucumber (Cucumis sativa), this Italian melon (Cucumis melo) from the Puglia region (Southern Italy) is eaten like one. I have seed for several Italian cucumber/melon varieties and am quite taken with them. The poorly translated product description was also a selling point. “It has to be harveste the unripe fruit and consumpted in salad.” It’s either going to be awesome in a salad or bring about the consumption — I like the promise of a little risk.
Arugula ‘Selvetica’ aka rucola selvatica (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) – This is my favourite arugula, hands down, and even though I have several packets from other companies, I can’t seem to stop buying it. Just in case! If The Apocalypse comes in 2012 I will not be without.
Onion ‘Tropea Rossa Tonda’ – I am partial to red onion varieties and am more likely to plant them than white. It’s the colour! This one has an interesting shape and matures to red. I’ve long since started my onion seed — these will go in the second sowing. I believe these may be a short day variety so I don’t know what kind of luck I will have with them; however, we have no shortage for scallion usage so I’d be okay if they never reach bulb size.
Radish ‘Candela di Fuoco’ – Translates to “candle of fire.” I purchased a long, red radish at the farmers’ market a few years back and really enjoyed them roasted in the oven. I’m hoping these will be as good.
Basil ‘Greco a Palla’ – I realized after I bought these that I already have this variety under its English name ‘Dwarf Greek.’ No matter, I grew it last year and intended to grow more. It’s a nice compact basil with small, leaves and a strong flavour. It does well in pots and takes on a nice topiary-style ball form.
Zucchini ‘Striato Pugliese’ – Another variety that hails from the Puglia region. The package indicates that it is an extra early bush variety with stripes. I will definitely be trying it out this year as I have been looking for a new bush variety and was hoping for an early type so that I can stagger the harvest.
Lampascioni ‘Muscari comosum) – Lampascioni is another Puglia region culinary treat. I grew some last year in pots from the bulbs that I purchased at the same greengrocer. The flowers are gorgeous and I’d love more in the garden. Last fall I planted some out into the garden to overwinter. I’m not yet certain if they are hardy to my climate, but I’ll know soon enough. The container grown bulbs are already popping up, but the outdoor bulbs are behind. I have no idea how difficult it will be to grow from seed, but at $1.99 for a generous packet, I figured it is worth the experiment.
Onion ‘Borettana’ (aka Cipollini) – These are small, flat onions with yellow skins. I absolutely love them for pickling or pan frying with raisins and a dash of Balsamic vinegar.