Sunday, January 03, 2010

Seed Catalog Order

Not exactly the same as planned, but it's exciting to look ahead. I ordered from Burpee this year. I liked their user reviews of varieties, accessible right on the variety description. It looks honest - varieties that are labeled as user favorites, and featured prominently, are not necessarily the ones that won the reviews. For example, most thought that Tomato variety "Red Lightening" was tough-skinned and not flavorful. Much less expensive, and much older variety, "Supersweet 100" had a much higher rating for flavor, but complaints about splitting - exactly my experience. "Brandy Boy" was panned by many who grew it - so I changed my mind and went to old reliable "Better Boy", which has that old growing-up-in-the-midwest flavor, is reliable, disease resistant, and bears many big juicy tomatoes. I also added Black Truffle hybrid due to rave reviews, but kept Northen Exposure and 4th of July despite so-so reviews, as an experiment due to early bearing properties and reported tolerance to cold.

Photo Thumbnails from (note - they aren't paying me anything at all to post, or giving me any special deal or product - this is just my garden log. But I hope it's OK to include them in this discussion. Full sized photos can be seen at the Burpee website)
55103A Bush Bean Roma II 53 days - 1 Pkt. (2 oz.) 1 $2.95

83139 Burpee Booster for Beans and Peas - 1-3oz. Pkg (40' row) 1 $8.25

53512A Snap Pea Super Sugar Snap V.P. 64 days - 1 Pkt. (200 seeds) 1 $3.95

52936A Tomato Fourth of July Hybrid 49 days - 1 Pkt. (40 seeds) 1 $3.95

56663A Tomato Northern Exposure Hybrid 67 days - 1 Pkt. (30 Seeds) 1 $3.95

56812A Tomato Cherokee Purple (Heirloom) 85 days - 1 Pkt. (50 seeds) 1 $3.95

52027A Tomato Super Sweet 100 Hybrid (Cherry) 70 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $2.95

67265A Tomato Black Truffle Hybrid 75 days - 1 packet (30 seeds) 1 $3.95

50724A Tomato Better Boy Hybrid 72 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $3.95

62120A Tomato Black Pearl Hybrid 65 days - Packet (30 seeds) 1 $5.25

65005A Bush Bean Eureka 55 days - Packet (2 oz.) 1 $3.95

54460A Eggplant Millionaire Hybrid 55 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $2.95

65025A Eggplant Fairy Tale 50 days - Packet (30 seeds) 1 $5.25

54148A Hot Pepper Big Red Hybrid 70 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $3.95

63770A Pepper Red Popper 55 days - Packet (40 seeds) 1 $4.75

56020A Costa Rican Sweet Pepper 70 days - Packet (40 seeds) 1 $4.75

57109A Zucchini Sweet Zuke Hybrid 48 days - 1 Pkt. (25 seeds) 1 $3.95

53231A Zucchini Butterstick Hybrid 50 days - 1 Pkt. (25 seeds) 1 $2.95

62810A Cucumber Palace King Hybrid (Oriental) 62 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $4.95

62802A Cucumber Early Pride Hybrid (Slicing) 55 days - 1 Pkt. (30 seeds) 1 $2.95

91056 Seedling Heat Mats - 1 Mat - 10in.X20-3/4in. 1 $36.75

This seems like a lot of expense, but I take the following into account:
1. It's a hobby.
2. Given the evaluations, and my past experience, I'm confident that most of these are high-potential varieties in my yard. I chose for early yield, reported disease resistance, and either my personal experience of reliability or multiple reviews. With storebought, it's more difficult to do this.
3. For tomatoes, varieties that turn out well - and a few are already proven performers - this is a 3 or 4-year supply of seeds. Some are admittedly experiments - 4th of July due to reported very early yield, Northern Exposure for reported good bearing in cool short summers. I usually experiment with a couple of new types - I love the black varieties, so will try Black Truffle. Cherokee Purple has always done well for me, as have Better Boy, Supersweet 100, and Lemon Boy. I'll see if my old Lemon Boy seeds sprout, if not see if some are locally available, since Burpee doesn't carry them. They should do fine, they are only 1 year old seeds.
4. For the beans, this will be enough for about 20 meals for two. Plus, when the plants quit bearing, they are fed to the chickens and become eggs. Both the Romas and the yellow beans are excellent, better than anything from the store.
5. For the zucchinis and cucumbers, two plants of each variety will be enough for many meals and snacks, plus some to give away, plus some for the chickens.
6. The pepper seeds may also last 4 years or more. I'm not sure about what to expect, but experience tells me they last longer than that.
7. The eggplants are listed as early bearing varieties. In fact, among the earliest. That's needed here, because they start late and bear late.

The seed mat is part of my master plan for peppers, especially, but also tomatoes and some of the others. Warmer start means faster start, and maybe even more seeds will sprout. It should last a long time. One year I used a heating pad - it seemed to help, but not recommended, they are not made for that.


  1. You can find online instructions to save your own seeds from the varieties that do best in your garden on the website of this 20 year-old non-profit:

  2. Thanks for the link.