Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Seeds from Fedco

Usually I do my seed orders at the end of December. This year I'm slow. I was traveling a lot of December then I got a cold that just wiped me out. The last thing I want to do is to try to make up my seed order when my brain isn't working quite right. In November I went through all my seeds and made up a list of what I needed (winter squash, cantaloupe, cucumber, sweet pepper, tall choy, cabbage, late broccoli, spinach, corn, radish, onions, bush dried beans).

I ordered all that I needed from Fedco except the bush dried beans. I'll just buy some beans from the local bean farmer (Baer's Best Beans), and plant those. I've done it in the past and then I have as many as I want and lots of beans to eat. They sell a lot of different kinds of beans, like Vermont Cranberry, Soldier, Boston Roman, Jacob's Cattle, Calypso,Yellow Eye and Black Coco, along with all the "normal" beans. Now the stores (Wilson's Farm and Russo's) never have every kind they grow, but I ought to be able to pick up a couple of heirlooms.

Since I found Fedco years ago I've been a die hard fan of them. They aren't a for profit company, they are a co-op of growers and buyers. So the seeds aren't terribly expensive. In addition they are a co-op for New England farmers, so what I buy will grow here. The seeds aren't southern seeds that need a lot of hot weather to grow. They even sometimes say that the seed will grow better in the southern New England area or visa versa. They tell you where your seed comes from be it a small seed farmer all the way to a big multinational that does genetic engineering. They don't sell Monsanto seeds or seed from any of their subsidiaries. I'm guessing because of this they occasionally have trouble getting seed when things run out, or a supplier has problems. Once I ordered Varsity onion seed from them (in December mind you not late) and it ended up being back ordered. I finally got it around the end of February (too late to plant to get onions here). You can tell them to substitute, but I never do. Oh and I'll end on a positive note. If you order at least $30 of seed from then shipping is free.

My Fedco order for a total of $56 or $55 in the tally for the vegetable garden. I don't count the flower seeds.

298 - Windsor Fava Bean ( B=8oz) 1 x $4.00 = $4.00
582 - Ambrosia Bicolor Sweet Corn ( A=2oz) 2 x $2.40 = $4.80
798 - Legume Inoculant ( A=treats 8lb) 1 x $4.50 = $4.50
1049 - Hannahs Choice Muskmelon ( A=1g) 1 x $2.40 = $2.40
1232 - Calypso Pickling Cucumber ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
1234 - Cross Country Pickling Cucumber ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $1.40 = $1.40
2086 - Mokum Carrot ( B=3g) 1 x $4.20 = $4.20
2094 - Sugarsnax Carrot ( B=3g) 1 x $3.50 = $3.50
2248 - French Breakfast Radish ( C=1oz) 1 x $2.50 = $2.50
2488 - Varsity Onion ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $1.80 = $1.80
2491 - Redwing Onion ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $2.20 = $2.20
2510 - Space Spinach ( C=1oz) 1 x $3.50 = $3.50
2555 - Giant Winter Spinach ( B=1/2oz) 1 x $2.40 = $2.40
3273 - Joi Choi Pac Choi ( B=2g) 1 x $3.20 = $3.20
3313 - Fiesta Broccoli OG ( A=0.2g) 1 x $2.30 = $2.30
3339 - Gustus Brussels Sprouts ( A=0.5g) 1 x $2.50 = $2.50
3355 - Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage ( A=2g) 1 x $0.80 = $0.80
3392 - Gunma Cabbage ( A=0.2g) 1 x $1.70 = $1.70
3463 - Winterbor Kale ( A=0.5g) 1 x $1.80 = $1.80
3624 - Ventura Celery OG/BD ( A=0.1g) 1 x $2.20 = $2.20
4616 - Sweet Marjoram ( A=1g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
4674 - Winter Savory ( A=0.1g) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
5141 - Sensation Mix Cosmos ( A=1.4g) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00

If you notice sometimes I buy a lot of seed. "A" packets are their smallest. I bought a "C" packet of French breakfast radishes. The seed will keep for years and years, so I won't buy this variety again for quite some time. I bought two "B" packets of carrot seed. Carrots keep for about 2-4 years, but I use so much of it and they always do better with seed that isn't more than 2 years old. I'll use up my old carrot seed this year (which I don't have much of) and start on the new seed. I always buy carrot seed every year.

I bought a lot of spinach seed too. I find spinach hard to germinate and keep up in the garden. I have so many rot diseases that it takes the seed down fast. So I often resow. Plus I sow a whole 4'x8' bed in the spring and one in the fall. That takes a lot of seed.

I chose two different pickling cucumbers. I didn't like Little Leaf from last year. I like to trellis my cucumbers and it wasn't much of a climber. It also had very tough skin. So my refrigerator pickles weren't as good. The canned pickles were delicious, but I like the refrigerator ones best. So I'm going to try to more picklers as see how they do. I might have to break down and buy my favorite which neither of the two places I'm ordering seed from have.

I also got two cabbages. One is a spring cabbage and one a good storage cabbage for fall. The Early Jersey Wakefield is a pointy cabbage. And the Gunma is a flat cabbage. So neither are round cabbages. I'll see if they grow. The red savoy I tried growing last year never headed up and just sat there staying tiny all spring and summer.

Last year I grew three kinds of broccoli, but they were all early types. I decided I wanted to try a later one. So I'm trying Fiesta. It is supposed to just keep producing. I hope so. I'll put these plants at the edge of the bed so when I rotate the rest of the brassicas I can cover these with a small section of remay.

And for the first time I'm hoping to get some Brussels sprouts up. I might succeed. I might not. You never know. I've never succeeded before, but I so rarely try to grow them. They take such a long time and so much space. I figure I have space though, so I'm going to give it a try.

I still have a Pinetree order to get in. It will be small as I have all the seeds I need. It is just a few seeds I want that I'm going to get from them. I probably should have crossed checked what each of the companies sold and bought from the cheapest, but I didn't think of that until I'd already placed my Fedco order.


  1. I think you should tell us what type of cuke is your favorite for pickling! ;-)
    I've been given the 'no go' on a new seed order from the hubs so I'll have to be sneaky this year. He thinks I have too many seeds. Time to start making some more room (for fresh stock) quickly!

  2. We got our Fedco order in early since last year they quickly ran out of things. We're lucky that Charley Baer is now growing his beans here in Southern Maine, and I was able to persuade him to become a vendor at our farmers' market! He brought some Scarlet Beauties at the last market, but my favorite may be the Peregion.

  3. I am looking seriously at your seed order. I have a wish list I think at Bakers Creek. It is everything I need and will be ordering this month. I went to Fedco but I guess I didn't really see what I was looking for. First description I have to follow is the number of days that really limits what I can get.

    Did already order a new patio tomato for my pots and a new bell pepper.

  4. Looks like a good list. I am going to have to check them all out

  5. Good information. I just placed my order, and tried not to buy too many seeds for my little plot. I am always amazed how much you can grow!

  6. I have my favorite seed sources too - as growers that trial seed right here in the northwest - particularly cascadia regions of the northwest are a high priority for me. Territorial Seed and Abundant Life seeds have been good sources for most of my seed requirements. I do order a few odds and ends from others when I want a specific item and the other two do not carry it.

    After three years of messing around with other broccoli varieties looking for a bigger central head along with good side shoot production... I am going back to the open polinated Umpqua variety that I grew for many years before my search for bigger heads began. Truth is, I was mostly disappointed with the various other varieties and needed to just go back to the tried and true.

    Hope you are completely over your cold and are feeling better.

  7. Barbie, Diamant cukes. They are so early and so productive. This is probably because they are parthenocarpic and gynoceous. (don't need pollination and don't make male blossoms) And their skins aren't tough. And they get really sweet when it gets hot.

    diaryofatomato, I didn't know he had moved from the Peabody area of Massachusetts. Nice that you can get his beans at your farmers market. Very convenient and he probably brings a better variety too.

    wilderness and Laura, there are so many great small seed companies out there. I love the regional ones. What grows well in one spot doesn't always grow well in another.

  8. I have never ordered from Fedco. I have all of my seed orders completed with the exception of Seed Potatoes and Onions. Those are picked out and just need to be ordered.

    I also have a hard time germinating spinach and go through a lot of seed. Hopefully we will have a good spring crop from what is over wintering in the garden right now.