Thursday, March 4, 2010

This Year's Seeds - Bu Yılın Tohumları

(İngilizceyi bilmeyen okurların anlayışına sığınarak Türkçe çevirinin eksikliği için özür dilerim! Son haftalarda öyle yoğunum ki İngilizce tarafını ihmal etmemek için çabalıyorum...yine de ihmal ettim...biraz zamanım olunca en azından özetleyeceğim!)

My profligacy in the seed department is coming home to roost. I always go overboard, but gardening here is still pretty experimental, and besides the tried-and-true, there are things I'm not at all sure will survive or not. Then there's always a bit of overkill on flower seeds - you buy a pack of 100 seeds and maybe really only want three or four of what you're planting...


Winter squash "Triamble" (C. maxima, a gray three-lobed one that keeps forever), "Seminole" (C. moschata, vining with rock-hard fruits that are reportedly delicious), "Table Queen" (C. pepo, the best acorn variety out there), "Pennsylvania Dutch" (C. moschata, an ancestor to the modern butternut, but strongly recurved) and "Bungkang" (C. moschata, with deeply furrowed dark green skin, from SE Asia). How on earth did I end up with 5 winter squash varieties? God help me. I might have to farm one out to a friend with several acres...I kind of wanted to grow "Futtsu" again this year too...
Korean Radish "Tae Baek"
Thai Basil "Thai Magic"
Tah Tsoi (Trying this for the first time at the suggestion of a friend who loves it.)
Rainbow Chard (A long-time favorite vegetable)
Cardoon (Also qualifies as an ornamental in my book)
Amaranth "Oscar Blanco" (a very tall one, up to 12 feet, pink, that is both ornamental and edible)
Sugar Snap Peas (Mine almost never make it to the kitchen...I end up snacking on them in the garden.)
Red Orach (Also ornamental but it tastes great)
Flatleaf Parsley (In Turkey parsley is a vegetable, not just a garnish!)
Coriander (Cilantro - almost completely unknown here.)
Oxheart tomatoes (Ordered them for friends last year and they loved them.)
"Pink Ponderosa" Tomato (free gift from Baker Creek)
Molokheiya (A leafy vegetable popular in Egypt and Cyprus)


Tall Snapdragons
"Balcony Mix" Petunias (old-time fragrant lavender variety)
"Aztec Sweet" Nicotiana
Nicotiana glutinosa (Pink bell-shaped one, sounded intriguing!)
Tithonia "Mexican Torch"
Sweet Four O'Clock (Mirabilis longiflora - long white flowers with red centers and very fragrant)
Asclepias tuberosa "Gay Butterflies"
Matthiola bicornis ("Evening Scented Stock) - everyone should grow this!
Salvia patens (Wonderful low-spreading salvia with huge clear blue flowers)
Nepeta nervosa (we'll see if it survives the neighborhood cats...)
Nectaroscordum siculum (Great onion relative with downward-hanging red and white flowers; the leaves smell absolutely foul when crushed)
Melittis melissophyllum (Bastard balm)
Impatiens balfourii
Hesperis matronalis (I've tried twice already to get this going here and it hasn't come up, but I'm trying again. It was one of my favorite plants in my Seattle garden; there's nothing quite like the smell of it at night!)
Decaisnea fargesii (A bizarre plant with steely blue pods full of snotty pulp that is marginally edible. I'm hoping my neighbor will think it's as wonderful as or better the Ailanthus tree she allows to grow...)
Canna speciosa (A hardy one from the Himalayas with blue-purple flowers. Cannas are remarkably easy from seed, as long as you nick the seedcoat and soak them overnight first. If they swell, you nicked it far enough, otherwise try again. Then they come up like zinnias!)

Oh - and then there are the sweet peas and Korean runner beans sent to me by a seed-trading friend in Washington, an odd little Mexican cucurbit that's good for stuffing and keeps down cholesterol sent by a new friend in Iowa, and Solanum quitoense and Bitter melon, as well as a start of another cholesterol-reducing plant, Moluccan Spinach (Gynura divaricata) sent by a correspondent from North Carolina. It's growing great in a pot now. I'm looking forward to seeing what it does in the long run, it's in the same genus as "Purple Passion Plant," the fuzzy purple houseplant with the foul-smelling orange flowers. This one isn't fuzzy (it probably wouldn't be too palatable if it were) but it's definitely purple! And a jar of assorted morning glories from my friend Rabia in New Mexico, I can't wait! Thanks to everyone for sharing!

My seed sources this year were Chiltern Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Evergreen Seeds. I've always had great luck with the first two; it's my first time ordering from Evergreen.

AND - to help me deal with all this, this year I happened to find something I'd been looking for unsuccessfully in garden centers here for years: Seed flats! I found them in Eminönü, but not in the gardening area (that would be too logical). Directly across the parking lot from the cheese and meat shops along the side of the Spice Market, about half way between Kahve Dünyası and the road, is a shop that sells all sorts of plastic items - little ziplock bags, garbage bags, you name it. And 3 different sizes of seed flats. They also sell what we called "jiffy bags" back home - the black cheap bags that nurseries use to raise plants in. Good to know!


lou said...

Hi. Do you grow peppers in your garden? I am looking for seeds for Urfa, Mara and any Turkish heirloom peppers. Any suggestions? Thanks. loulaz

Sazji said...

I don't - Some lower grade Maraş pepper has seeds in it. The Turkish seed companies tend to stock really run-of-the-mill types like stuffing peppers, sivri an "çarliston". Sometimes there's a thin snaky one they use a lot for pickling. For those other ones you might have to go to Urfa!