Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Joy of the Potential . . . (and we have a winner!)

The seed catalogs arrive in January, vegetable porn for eyes weary of a bare wintry landscape -- an explosion of green, chartreuse, crimson, scarlet, gold, yellow, orange and coral, purple, mauve and lavender in a time of somber grays and whites and browns.

The abundance of varieties overwhelms me -- a profusion of peppers -- six pages worth in the Seed Savers catalog -- with names like poems: Aji Cystal, Black Hungarian, Bull Nose, Fatalii ('the hottest pepper we offer'), Georgia Flame, Hinkelhatz, Red Rocoto, Rooster Spur, Tolli's Sweet Italian and Wenk's Yellow Hots.

I am on fire with capiscum desire.

I have saved some seeds on my own -- these are from one of the handsome winter squashes our friends brought us at Christmas. (It was delicious baked -- a robust, non-watery vegetable and the leftovers made a delicious curried squash soup.)

But for the most part, I'll be pouring over the catalog pages -- trying to balance lust and reality.

Lettuce -- I'll need both romaine and looseleaf -- and buttercrunch for spectacular flavor and oakleaf to get through summer's warmth. And there has to be a mix of color for at least one bed of bright greeny-yellow combined with deepest red -- maybe Red Velvet . . or Flame . . . or Mascara.

The speckled trout look of Forellenschuss is well nigh irresistible to me, as is the name -- as are varieties with French names -- Merveille des Quatre Saisons, Reine des Glaces, Rouge d'Hiver -- would I be as tempted if they were listed as Four Season Wonder, Ice Queen, or Winter Red?

Probably not.

Okay, I'll stop drooling over the seed catalogs and announce that Tammy of Fairlight Farm is the winner of the forthcoming Miss Birdie book (or a copy of one of the current books, if she doesn't want to wait months for a prize.) Congratulations, Tammy!

We'll do another contest in the coming months.

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Anonymous said...

Congrats, Tammi! And I know what you mean about the seed catalogs, Vicki. Lolla rosa is one of my favorite lettuces - that lovely green edged with ruffled deep red. And then the peppers, and beans, and melons, and . . . When it gets to the flower catalogs, my reach far, far exceeds my grasp.

Tammy said...

Oh my gosh! I didn't see that coming! I was just reading along about the delights of the seed catalogs and then saw my name. I am SO excited, Vicki! Yes, yes, I'll wait for Miss Birdie! :-) I hope you can sign it for me to, that would be even greater. Thank you so much for having another great contest. (I can't stop grinning)....and now you've led me astray on all the varieties of lettuce.. who would have imagined all that luscious color!
Take care,

Susan M. Bell said...

Congrats Tammy. I am green with envy here.

Vicki - I have a query. I've thought about saving seeds from squash and stuff I buy at the grocery store to plant. Someone told me that seeds from veggies bought at the store wouldn't grow right. What do you think?

I'm planning a decent size garden this year...if I can keep Muffin from digging through it.

Vicki Lane said...

Congratulations, Tammy! Of course I'll sign it for you!

Karen, Lolla Rosa is one of my favorites too -- beautiful -- a voluptuous Italian signora lolling about in in her green and red ruffles.

Susan, I've had good luck saving seeds from winter squash from the store. But things like tomatoes and peppers are a bit more iffy. If they're hybrids, it's possible they won't breed true.

Susan M. Bell said...

Thanks Vicki. Actually, winter squash is mainly what I was looking for. I've never grown any, and I think I'm going to try a few this year.

Pat in east TN said...

Congrats Tammy!!!

I've been drooling over catalogs too and love hearing about everybody's favorites. Even though our winter hasn't been that 'winter-ish' so far, I am sooo looking forward to spring and gardening.

Vicki Lane said...

Oh, me too, me too!

Anonymous said...

I have the Pinetree Garden catalogue by the computer and here you are, writing about seeds. I've looked at burgundy okra,Jacob's Cattle beans, even vegetable marrow, which always sounds so exotic in English novels.

Congrats to Tammy! We are anxiously awaiting Miss Birdie's arrival at Accent.

Vicki Lane said...

Hey, BB,

You'll notice I've added The Village Witch to my links -- a shepherdess,a med student, a garden expert,a poet, and over there a witch. All you fascinating folk!