2012 Seed Choices, Part 3

The main list is here, Part 1 here, Part 2 here.

Brassicas! I don't think any other family can match the cabbage family for it's diverse selection of edible plants.

And it's that diversity that makes it hard to narrow down one's seed selections to just a few. At least that's what I tell myself ;)

Some brassicas I'm growing this year are new to me - like collards and cauliflower. I've never actually eaten collards before, but I tend to like all others members of this family, and I like eating greens, so odds are I'll like collards as well. And it's worth the $3.00 for seeds and a few square feet of the garden to try collards this year, and see how they grow.

As some, like the rutabaga and turnips, are from seeds I've had for two years, but have yet to plant. Yeah, I suck ;)

Of course, they, along with the one variety of Brussel sprouts, don't make up the majority of varieties in this group. So, what's with all the kale, cabbage, broccoli and radishes?


Let's start with the broccoli. ANY geek worth the title grows romanesco, of course, since it is so freakin' cool in such a fractally, Fibonacci sorta way. As for the true broccoli: Captain is from my seed stash, and is a hybrid, and I want to compare it to an open-pollinated variety, hence the Green Goliath. And Spigiarello provides a main head, then a good number of shoots after the main head is harvested, prolonging the harvest. So I'll compare those three varieties directly to see which performs the best for me.

And kale. I never knew, before I started looking at seed porn catalogs, just how many types of kale there were! But which will grow best in my garden? Which will be the best for overwintering? Which will tolerate the summer heat the best? I have no idea. But I do have choices: buying packs of individual varieties, or opting for the small gardener's best friend: the seed mix. Which is, of course, what I did. For the price of one pack of seeds, I get to compare three varieties of kale, plus the Winterbor from my seed stash. Seed mixes are cheaper that buying the individual varieties, and I won't waste as much seed if I decide not to grow one or more varieties again.

The radishes are a similar story: I wanted to try a few different ones this year, so I bought two different seed mixes, plus the ones from my stash. And radishes are such a small, quick crop, planting that many varieties doesn't actually take up too much space.

The cabbage selections are a bit different though. Here, I'm selecting varieties for different harvest times: a quick-growing early cabbage as well as storage cabbages for fall harvest. Two of the varieties come from the seed stash, and three, including the early variety (Early Jersey Wakefield) are new this year. And of course, the napa cabbage. I might possibly add some other Asian greens, like bok choi, that also belong in this family. We'll wait and see what's available locally (I have one local garden center that sources seeds from one of my favourite of the "big" guys, the Ontario Seed Company, so I don't mind buying some seeds off the rack vs. ordering them from a catalog).

So, what do you get when you add a very diverse family, a couple variety trials and selecting for different harvest times?

28 different varieties, that's what!

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