Friday, March 4, 2011

Purple Carrots, Blue Corn, and Shower Loofas

Matt told me the other night that we HAVE to sit down and get our seed ordered.  While I may be more responsible when it comes to paperwork, I am not the responsible one when it comes to time.  I am fashionably late to just about everything.  And let's admit it, it is difficult to think of growing anything when you are bundled up in 3 layers every morning.  But he was right, the seeds need to come, so we sat down with the 2011 Bountiful Gardens catalog. 

Bountiful Gardens sells "Heirloom, Untreated, Open-Pollinated Seeds for Sustainable Growing".  We are going to give them a try because their prices are reasonable and they have a great selection.  We decided to go with heirloom not only because we thought heirloom plants would fit right along with our farm's focus on heritage livestock, but because we think heirloom vegetables are just better.  Most of the varieties of vegetables you find in a supermarket were chosen because they are bigger, have better color, are more uniform in shape, and are more shelf-stable.  But bigger and prettier does not necessarily equal better.  The trade-offs for these pretty vegetables include nutrition value, disease resistance, taste, and the inability to keep your own seeds year after year.  Not to mention the uniqueness of each heirloom vegetable.  If you like yellow corn, you can find it in an heirloom variety (Golden Bantam).  However, you can also find corn in blue (Hopi Blue or Isleta Blue), white (Hickory King White Dent Corn or Country Gentleman/Shoe-peg), and multicolored (Festivity or Painted Mountain).  Carrots can be found in the more familiar orange (Juwarot) but can also be found in red (Saint Valery), white (Belgian White), and purple (Dragon Purple).  Looking for something even more unique?  How about popcorn with no hulls (Japanese Hulless Popcorn) and pumpkin seeds with no shells (Kakai)!  Or suprise your friends by growing your own shower loofas.  That's right, those bath staples we all thought were sea sponges are a gourd (Luffa) that can be eaten as a vegetable under 2 inches or can be grown larger to dry and use as a sponge!!! 

The wonders never cease when you are learning to rely more on yourself and less on Walmart!

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