Thursday, July 06, 2006

What's Growin' On: 7/6/06

Some Things Simply Refuse To Say Die

Realization Of The Day:
I may just end up with a 2006 broccoli crop yet.

Yes, these are the same poor, pathetic seedlings I started way back in February and then
tried to kill in April, declared I was going to snip and eat in May just to be rid of them (then promptly forgot to), and have for some inane reason been watering them twice a day ever since. These incredibly rootbound mini plants are over four months old! They have twice been nibbled down to near death by bugs, and yet they won't leave me alone. (Yes, I suppose I could stop watering them, but really, that seems so cruel.)

At one point ages ago, someone suggested that I simply leave them as is and plant them as a fall crop, but I figured (as had happened in so many previous years) that the seedlings would immaturely bolt and flower long before the weather had cooled down sufficiently to put them into the ground. Ha! These little things have been so busy clinging on for dear life that they haven't even begun to think about going to seed.

And oh yes (just in case you're wondering) those are the same little flats of leeks, cutting celery, and parsley, too--though I did manage to put half a dozen parsley plants into individual plugs a while back (they're next to this basil that still hasn't been planted either), and two of the parsley plants even made it into the ground (where they are thriving in my new experimental herb garden in the greenhouse). All of my parsley should be so lucky. Actually today I decided that I would fill in the big empty hole in the center of my herb garden (couldn't decide what to put there) with the rest of the parsley.

So I suppose I should start looking for broccoli recipes that call for leeks and cutting celery. I still have plenty of time before planting day to find one.

Planting Ahead:
I don't know about you, but I always start planning next year's garden before this year's has barely sprouted. (It usually begins immediately after the first minor catastrophe of the season--I just start over with a clean and perfect slate on next year's garden.)

Anyway, in a comment back in April I mentioned I had come across an old Seeds of Italy catalog and asked if anyone had any experience with their seeds because they sounded fabulous. Well, my pal Laurie at the always informative . . .Slowly She Turned said that "my favorite organic farmers just recommended Seeds of Italy to me. They said that there were a LOT of seeds in a packet and that the germination rate was amazing."

And then last month new British reader Rebsie (who shares her lovely garden at Daughter Of The Soil--don't miss the stunning photos of her poppies) said this: "I can highly recommend Seeds of Italy (Franchi Sementi) ... I've been buying seeds from them for a few years and have had good service from them. The vegetables are truly wonderful and every bit as gorgeous as they look on the website! Very generous packets too ... you'll be planting them year after year. Yum."

I'm convinced. Now I wonder what kinds of broccoli seeds they sell.


  1. Aww, thanks for linking to my garden blog, I really appreciate that!

    I've had a similar broccoli experience this year myself. I planted out some tiny slug-ravaged stumps because I was too sentimental to throw them away and now I have massive voluptuous plants. I don't know how they did it.

    The Trionfo Violetto pole beans you may have seen in my recent posts are from Seeds of Italy. I bought them four years ago and I'm not even half way through the packet yet. Everything is purple except the leaves, and they're so beautiful. I grow them over an arch so that the beans hang down underneath and are both decorative and easy to pick!

    Seeds of Italy also do some of the most elongated San Marzano tomatoes I've ever seen (I'm trying those for the first time this year, but they're only small plants as yet) so if your San Marzano identity crisis doesn't resolve itself they might be worth a try.

  2. (Delurking here.) My local nursery, which is a terrific place owned by Italian immigrants, sells these seeds. I've used them for a few things - no broccoli yet, sadly - and not only are the packets enormous, but the germination rate is high. If you like, I'll pick up a few packs for you - just email me (

    As always, love the blog.

  3. I just bought some graph paper and started planning out next year's square foot beds!

  4. You could always say those are your bonsai veggies!

    I also love those poppies and used to grow tons of them in my front yard. Unfortunately I found out the hard way that one of my neighbors has a drug problem . . . I came home to missing and/or slit & "bleeding" poppies. We tried building a fence to keep them out, but it didn't work. The only way to stop them was to quit growing the poppies. It is a shame, because they are one of my favorite flowers. Later I found out it is illegal to grow them or sell them in the US.


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