New Seed 2023

I just got my new seed order from Veseys Seeds™, a Canadian company founded in 1939 in Prince Edward Island.  In their 2023 catalogue, a letter from their Vice-president, Gerry Simpson, points out that, in addition to the on-going global warming crisis and pandemic, “there has been an overabundance of life-changing influences in our lives”, from the war in Ukraine and natural disasters such as Hurricane Fiona, to socio-economic crisis including strain in our medical systems, and inflation.  I loved the encouraging message that followed, with an optimistic invitation to recognize that “the one opportunity we do have to escape from all these external influences is the time we take to enjoy the solitude and beauty of our own gardens.” I also think that growing edibles provides a special kind of satisfaction, from selecting seeds or seedlings, working the soil, and nurturing the crops as they absorb energy from the sun, to the reward of a chemical-free and zero-mile harvest.  

This year, I chose five packets of seed, as seen in the photo above.  Tomatoes, peppers and tomatillo have been staples in my garden beds for years, but the varieties I am trying this year are new to me:   

1)  Sungold cherry tomatoes are a super sweet early hybrid, which promises to produce clusters with ten to twenty bright tangerine-coloured fruits in about sixty days after transplanting.  Two varieties of cherry tomatoes that I have grown and loved are black (dark burgundy) and golden (bright yellow), so I have great expectations for these mini tomatoes, which are also the company’s top pick.

001 Sungold tomato

2) Hungarian Hot Wax pepper is a variety of just a tad spicy, long peppers, that mature to yellow, then red, in 65 to 85 days; they were the closest variety I could find to Mexican chiles güeros largos – long blond chilies (photos below, left), and I hope to get a good crop, to be able to prepare them pickled (photo below, right), as they are used in traditional Mexican dishes.

3) Tomayo tomatillo is a vigorous variety,  with large fruit that might grow up to three inches (7.5 cm) in diameter!  As I mentioned in my previous post, the more common names in Mexico for this vegetable/fruit are miltomate, or tomate verde, with the name tomatillo reserved for a particular variety of very small fruits, so for Tomayo, it might be a little bit of a misnomer.  Below, some photos of my crops from the past, with more standard-sized fruit: Purple (left) and Toma Verde (centre and right).

I have grown cucumbers in my backyard for several years, some with amazing yields, others more modest ones, but last summer, due to the unpredictably changing weather, and a hungry platoon of exoskeleton-armed beetles, I had a harvest of exactly ONE cucumber.  I was debating whether or not to give up this crop this year, when I found an alternative that has been trending for a couple of years now:

4) Cucamelon (Melothria scabra) is not really a cucumber, or a melon for that matter, but they all belong to the same botanical family (Cucurbitaceae).  The name comes from the taste and size of its fruits, with a flavour similar to cucumber (with a sour punch), and the appearance of a dwarf watermelon (as seen in the photo below).  When I also learned that it is very productive, more resistant to pests than cucumber, and native to Central America and Mexico since pre-Hispanic times, I decided to give it a go.  In Spanish, it is known as sandiita (little watermelon); other names for this unique fruit are mouse melon (cute), or honouring its origin, Mexican sour cucumber, Mexican gherkin, and Mexican miniature watermelon.

002 cucamelon

Finally, I have grown broccoli in my backyard, and tried several kinds of micro-greens indoors, but this is the first time I am combining both:

5) Sprouting Broccoli seed (photo below, left) is especially produced for micro-greens.  The seed is kept moist in a jar or dedicated sprouter (photo below, centre); after a few days, the resulting sprouts are crunchy and fresh, packed with nutrients and fibre (photo below, right).

As I have posted before, sprouts are the perfect indoor crop to quickly cure a gardener’s winter blues. 

I am starting some seed from all my new packets indoors, and of course, will come back to each crop as they advance during the growing season. 

For your convenience, click on the highlighted text below for products available on Amazon™.  DISCLAIMER: Any reviews included in this post are my own, for items I have purchased, not provided by any company; as an Amazon Associates Program affiliate, I might receive a commission for any purchases originated from the links below, at no extra cost to you.  Thank you to readers who have bought other products starting with a click from my links!

6 thoughts on “New Seed 2023

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