So shortly after the New Year I ordered some seeds, and a few plants. Actually, in preparing for this post I discovered that I ordered some seeds back in September. Those seeds, as best I can tell, were thrown out during our frenzied pre-holiday house cleaning. More than $40 worth of seeds! This is more than a little embarrassing.

How did we manage to do that? I’m still not sure. With luck, these new seeds will avoid the trash can.

In any case, I’m dividing this subject into three posts: edibles first, then cottage garden-style annuals for the border, then annuals for containers. These days I find long posts quite tiring to write.

We don’t do much with edibles in our garden, basically we grow herbs and a couple of tomato plants. So this will be a fairly boring post. Even so, what we do grow is essential to Judy’s efforts in the kitchen, especially as just-picked herbs are infinitely superior to anything at the store or even the farmers’ market.

So here’s what we got.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum). If we could only grow one herb, it would be this one. We ordered two varieties. ‘Emerald Tower’ is a new offering from Burpee that boasts of delayed bolting along with an upright habit. So maybe with this variety I won’t have to constantly pinch off the flowers. ‘Siam Queen’ is a type of Thai basil for when Judy wants to cook coconut chicken curry and such like.

‘Black Cherry’ tomatoes

Tomatoes are the only vegetables we grow. I ordered ‘Black Cherry’, which we grow almost every year. I’ll grow it on the same trellis that supports the Clematis Jackmanii. We’re also trying a new variety bred for containers, ‘Veranda Red Hybrid’. ‘Veranda Red’ is a determinate variety which means it will yield for a shorter period, but I hope its fruit is ready a week or so before ‘Black Cherry’. I hope to grow ‘Veranda Red’ in containers on the roof of the back porch.

Swallowtail Caterpillar on parsley.

‘Italian Dark Green’ Parsley (Petrosilum crispum). We grow parsley in the ground for the Black Swallowtail Caterpillars and in containers for the kitchen, though the caterpillars often ignore this arrangement. After basil, parsley is the most frequently used home-grown herb in Judy’s kitchen. Rabbits like parsley as much as we do, though, so sometimes I’ll protect it with chicken wire. Fortunately, the rabbits tend to give stronger-tasting herbs a pass.

Fernleaf Dill (Anethum graveolens). Another plant grown for both human and caterpillar consumption.

Dill, Parsley, Cilantro and Mint growing in pots on the back porch steps. Mint manages to live through winters right in the container, so there’s never a need to replant.

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum). I love cilantro, especially for fresh salsa. I don’t understand those people who can’t stand the flavor or fragrance. My only complaint about Cilantro is that it’s so quick to bolt. I always mean to keep planting new seeds to keep up a fresh supply, but usually forget to keep up.

Anyhow, that’s it for edibles. Not mentioned here are the perennial herbs that grow in our garden, like Mint, Fennel, Oregano, and Rue.

More seeds soon to come.

28 Comments on “Ordering Herb and Tomato Seeds”

  1. I bought seeds for Black Cherry this year, the first time for them. I had Black Chocolate Cherry before and wasn’t impressed. I love growing herbs more than vegetables! Cilantro smells SO good, I can only describe it as smelling like “fresh.”

  2. Yum. I need to find more room to grow even this much. I was thrilled to find organic serrano chile plants and have saved some seeds to sow this year; at least chiles grow easily. Instead of throwing out seed packets, I often find hoards of them from previous years…

  3. We also grow basil, although it needs shade in our hot summers, and this year we have Greek basil which is doing well. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know Cilantro, or perhaps we have another name for it. (I’m off to look it up) I always learn something from your posts.

  4. Oh gosh, I LOVE Cilantro, too! This is not a boring post. It makes me hopeful for spring: Thank you. I need to get organized and start thinking about what and when I’m going to plant my seeds. I remember seeing little caterpillars near your front door when we visited–I think they were swallowtails. Have fun planning and planting.

  5. Like you and Judy, I also grow tomatoes and herbs. And rhubarb. We part ways on cilantro. I’m one of those who can’t stand the flavor. I sow Italian parley seed around flower borders every February, pouring boiling water over the new seed, then covering with a light layer of soil and tamping down. As you note, the swallowtail caterpillars love the mature leaves and stems.

  6. It must be in the name. I as the other Lisa stated, find that I end up with packets from previous years stuck here and there. I finally have a box I can keep them all in. Now to keep track of the box… Love reading about your seed debacle. It makes me feel human. I am looking forward to more about seeds. Cheers…

  7. It is good to start thinking about seeds. I have just today received one of the new seed trays I ordered! Basil is our favourite herb too but it never gets a chance to flower as I use it all so quickly! I have learnt from last year and will sow tomatoes early again, but only a few. If they don’t germinate I still have time to sow more. I love Cilantro too (which we call coriander here) but have the same problem with bolting and forgetting to resow. I must try harder this year! 😉 All the best Jason.

  8. Those black cherry tomatoes look fantastic- here in the UK I’m only growing 3 types this year … I tried to grow too many varieties last year – so it’s Sungold – a really zingy cherry type . Marmande – a beef steak type and Black Krim – which in my opinion is the most delicious tomato you could ever wish for !

  9. Every time I read a post like this I wish I had the sun to grow at least some tomatoes, but I just don’t. What helps to keep summertime electricity bills down also means a dearth of summertime veggies and herbs. The good news is that there’s a local picking farm that overflows with varieties of veggies in season, as well as figs, peaches, blackberries, and such. They grow those Black Cherry tomatoes, and they are delicious. My other favorite is a pear-shaped yellow tomato that’s better than candy. It’s season is a little shorter, but I always look forward to it.

  10. I had a good laugh about your lost seeds because we managed to lose two BOOKS that I bought a few months ago. We concluded that they grew legs and walked off. Much easier to accidentally throw away seeds than books! If I could only grow a tiny garden, it would be full of herbs. Such a sensory feast–smell, taste, crawling with caterpillars, and an amazing variety of shapes, textures, and flowers (rue, for example, such interesting foliage and flowers). Hope you’re doing well.

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