It’s that time of year! And last weekend many of you were here to gather your summer vegetable starts. Are you looking for a specific variety of Peppers and/or Tomatoes? Here are the varieties of pepper and tomato that are arriving later this week, around Thursday or Friday (May 12/13).
A few of our NEW PEPPERS
60 days green, 80 days color, Open-pollinated
For eating fresh by the handful, stuffed for hors d’oeuvres or pickled. The large seed cavity of each sweet, crunchy, squat 1.5”-wide pepper is perfect for stuffing. Upright 18-24″ plants are excellent for decorative containers. Each plant produces a single color of pepper, purple, gold, or red.
70-80 days, Heirloom
Extremely productive plants are loaded with 2-3″ round peppers with thick meaty flesh. They ripen from creamy-white to red. The flavor is sweet and delicious, with just a hint of warmth. One of the best for drying when red and then powdering for paprika; also great fresh.
60 days green, 80 days color, Open-pollinated
For eating fresh by the handful, stuffed for hors d’oeuvres or pickled. The large seed cavity of each sweet, crunchy, squat 1.5”-wide pepper is perfect for stuffing. Upright 18-24″ plants are excellent for decorative containers. Each plant produces a single color of pepper, purple, gold or red.
55 days green, 80 days red, Open-pollinated
Likely introduced to North America in the 1700s, Bull Nose peppers were grown in Thomas Jefferson’s garden at Monticello, and still are. Medium- large, crisp, sweet fruits ripen from green to red with excellent flavor, great for salads, hors d’oevres and for cooking. Plants are productive and sturdy
53 days green, 73 days orange ripe, F1 hybrid
Deliciously sweet and fruity, these beautiful, bright orange, thick-walled 2–3 lobed, tapered fruits are 4–5″ long. The medium-size plants yield well. They are early-ripening and easy to grow in diverse climates. Bred by Janika Eckert.
80 days, Open-pollinated
Golden Treasure is a very tasty and sweet Italian heirloom frying/stuffing pepper, growing to 9” long, with juicy flesh and thin skin. It is also delicious roasted, or raw as a snack or salad pepper. Golden Treasure peppers ripen from green to a glossy golden yellow on very productive plants 2-3’ tall
The bad news is that last week’s small delivery of tomato starts froze when the wind blew open the back door of our greenhouse in the middle of the night.
The good news is that the next 38 flats will be ready for sale on Friday! (and there will be many more becoming available through April and May). This week’s tomato starts include:
Though commonly associated with culinary traditions of the Southeastern US, collards originated in Europe, along with kale, cabbage etc., and are easy to grow in cooler climates, too.
Grow collards in full sun (for fastest growth), or part shade. Give them plenty of space, 18” apart. Collards appreciate moist, fertile soil with plenty of organic matter (compost) and applications of compost tea.
We are here for you! You’re in the high desert/steppe now, with short growing seasons, sudden temperature changes, unpredictable precipitation, low humidity, drying winds, alkaline soils that are low in organic matter and nitrogen, hot summers and cold winters. Despite these challenges, gardens can thrive here, and be productive, rewarding and beautiful!
Our gardens can support us by providing beauty, nutrient-dense food and plant medicine, and shelter from temperature and weather extremes. At the same time, our gardens can give us an opportunity for nurturing that goes beyond our own garden plants, supporting our entire local ecosystem, including our essential insects, birds, native plants and other wildlife.
“The less biodiverse any system is, the greater the potential for its collapse.” Janisse Ray, from The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food.
We’ve been reading headlines stating that 93% of seed varieties available in the early 20th century had disappeared from commerce by 1980. The biggest factor in this drastic decline in diversity is consolidation of the industry. The big multi-national corporations have systematically bought up smaller companies and in so doing have ended production of vast numbers of time-tested open-pollinated and older hybrid varieties and prioritized the production of new patented proprietary hybrids.
Basil is one of the great culinary pleasures of summer, and it’s definitely NOT TOO LATE to plant Basil and enjoy a good crop! Basil plants are beautiful, grow equally well in the ground or in pots, thrive in hot weather, provide a continuous, bounteous crop, and Basil’s many different flavors are essential to a variety of distinctive cuisines. It can be used fresh, dried, or frozen in oil or as pesto. Though basil leaves lose most of the aromatic oils when dried, we have still found that basil dried from your garden is so much more flavorful than commercial dried basil.
ALL of our Basil plants are organically grown!
Sow Fall Crops and be ready for the 2022 growing season! We’re bringing in fresh seeds, packed for 2022, from our local Botanical Interests Seed Company, and should have them on display sometime this Thursday. Most of these seeds are certified organic.
Now is a great time to plant seeds for fall crops such as spinach, lettuce, mesclun, kale, swiss chard, arugula, mustard greens, and watermelon radish. Sow seeds this fall for mache, which will provide tasty salad greens in late winter, before the more conventional spring greens are ready. Fall sowing is also ideal for hardy, drought-tolerant annual flowers like borage, California poppies, cornflower, larkspur, love-in-a-mist, breadseed poppies, and Shirley poppies.
Yes, you can still plant many vegetables and annual flowers, now at greatly reduced prices! If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse, you can grow most peppers, eggplants and tomatoes year-round. In the open garden, look for vegetable varieties that mature the fastest – cucumbers and summer squash, tomatoes, and peppers at 75 days or less. And Kale can still be planted in locations with afternoon shade.
Vegetable Starts 50% off!
Annual Flower Starts 30% off!
Q: Can I plant now?
A: It depends!
Yay! For those of us gardening at about a mile high, the threat of frost is nearly gone! If you’re planting hardy perennials, shrubs, vines, grasses or trees, you’re good to go now (as long as your soil isn’t too wet to work), and we have a remarkable selection! Our stock of seeds and starts for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, summer & winter squash, melons, pumpkins, and watermelons are excellent. We also have plenty of seeds for beans – bush, pole, runner, and dry. A hint about bean seeds: white-seeded beans are more tolerant of cool soils, so they can be planted sooner.
We’ve passed the average last frost date but know that unexpected cold snaps can still occur. Just as we need to add another layer of clothing during cold snaps, our warm-season veggie starts also need additional insulation as the spring season and soil slowly begin to warm up. This layering can come in several forms, each with their own advantages and applications: low-tech overturned plant pots, row cover anchored over wire or plastic pipe frame (as illustrated in the “Hardening-Off” portion of this article), and Solar Caps.
Because of their versatility and re-usability, Solar Caps have been one of our favorite garden tools for over a decade.
Some veggies seem to shy away from the limelight, flourishing underground to provide a surprising, beautiful, and nutritious surprise later in the season. Growing root vegetables is generally easy, and can be a fun way to engage children in gardening. In addition, mountain gardeners often find that root veggies thrive in their cooler conditions.
Once planted, root veggies do not like to be disturbed and therefore are best planted by seed. (We do sell Bull’s Blood Beets as a starts, but these are generally grown for their greens.) We have Botanical Interests, Masa, and Seed Savers Exchange seeds for many root veggies including:
COOL SEASON VEGGIES
We have a Fantastic Selection, too many to list!
Wild Arugula, Astro, (spring), Ice-Bred (fall)
Fiesta, Nutribud, Leaf Broccoli, Spigariello di Liscia Leaf Broccoli, Aspabroc
Yellow Finn, Purple Majesty, Harvest Moon, and Norland Dark Red.
Patterson Red, Redwing, Walla Walla, Ailsa Craig, Red Long of Tropea, Red Geneva, Gladstone, Borrettano, Dakota Tears, Bianco di Maggio.
ALSO, Leeks and Shallots.
JERSEY KNIGHT (roots, 5 per bundle)
All male hybrid with big spears. Does not make seed, so doesn’t become weedy. Best selection for dense clay soils. Very productive and disease resistant. Hardy to Zone 2.
PURPLE PASSION (roots, 5 per bundle)
Beautiful deep burgundy-colored spears with high sugar content, delicious, tender, less fibrous, great in raw salads.
72 days, F-1 hybrid
Early, dependable Italian-style eggplant, mild, creamy-fleshed fruits averaging 1 lb., with glossy black skin.
A FEW of our NEW TOMATOES: offering 75+ varieties in 2022.
50-60 days, Hybrid, Dwarf Indeterminate
Bred specifically for container growing, this dwarf vining tomato is quite early, high-yielding and, best of all – the 1” fruits are sweet and tasty. Johnny’s Seeds considers it the best cherry tomato for patio containers. Dwarf plants stay a manageable size, to 3-4’ tall, with healthy green foliage, and are easily tamed with a tomato cage or trellis.
Even though we are about to receive our biggest snowstorm of this winter thus far, you can still make great progress on your garden by starting seeds indoors or even outside if your garden is prepared and you’re quick and can sow them tomorrow morning! You can also plant our hardy perennials, vines, shrubs and trees that have overwintered outdoors ahead of the storm. And our Onion plants – they’re very cold-hardy, and the earlier they’re planted, the larger their bulbs at harvest time! And, if you can plant in a cold-frame, or under a low tunnel of sheet plastic or Row Cover Fabric, you can plant our spring vegetable starts! Heading varieties like Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower will give you
Large 3″ + bulbs produce 8-20 cloves of good size. Mild, but lasting flavor, with a hint of hot! Dense cloves store extremely well. Flavor can get stronger in storage. This vigorous soft-necked variety won a Rodale taste test of 20 garlic strains – named “Very Best of the Soft-Necks”. Inchelium Red is also exceptionally healthy, easy to peel, and easy to grow!
80 days, Open-Pollinated, Indeterminate
A consistently great sauce tomato. This heirloom variety from Wisconsin’s Amish community produces large, long, meaty, and juicy 8-12 oz. red fruits on vigorous plants and is one of the few paste tomatoes that also taste great fresh. The juiciness makes a thinner sauce – cook down for a thicker, super-sweet sauce. Excellent for use for salads, canning, pastes, sauces, drying and roasting! Water evenly and add bio-available calcium to prevent blossom-end rot. Amish Paste is part of Slow Foods US Ark of Taste, a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction. By growing Ark varieties, you help ensure they remain in production and on our plates.
Open-Pollinated, Indeterminate, 70-75 Days
A mysterious and delicious entry in our Taste of Tomato a few years ago, sharing second place (with Pineapple). You won’t find this tomato from seed companies, as we saved seed from the tomatoes donated by the participant who simply said that it came from the location of an Anasazi ruin. The very dark red/purple/black, 2″, round or oval fruit have rich, complex, old-fashioned tomato flavor and pleasing texture and begin ripening in mid-season. The productive plant is indeterminate, with regular leaves. It has been a star in Eve’s garden, and she collects and processes seed for us every year. If you grow this one, please let us know what you think and how it performs in your garden!
70-80 days red ripe, Open-pollinated
We’re thrilled to have this superb, early, high-performing sweet pepper available again! ‘Gypsy Queens’ comes to us from Adaptive Seeds and is their effort at de-hybridizing the very popular F1 hybrid Gypsy pepper. It produces a profusion of elongated, tapered, bell-shaped fruits, which have excellent flavor & productivity. They start out pale lime-yellow and mature to a warm sunny red. Sweet, medium-thick flesh is great for eating fresh, and reliable plants tolerate heat, drought, as well as cool nights and cool, short summers.
75 days to green, 100 days to orange, Open-pollinated,
The world’s first truly heatless Habanero! Bred by organic breeder Michael Mazourek, Habanada is the product of natural breeding techniques. These exceptional snacking peppers have all of the fruity, tropical and floral notes of the habanero without any spice (even the seeds are sweet and add to the flavor). Imagine the culinary possibilities (Habanada sorbet, anyone?)! The 2″-3″ long peppers are more tapered at the ends, and not blocky like the habanero, and are borne on attractive 24″ h x 18″ w tree-like plants that do well in large containers.
75 days, Open-pollinated, Sweet
Amazingly sweet, fruity flavor makes these heirloom peppers tempting and delightful eaten straight off the plant, but traditional Italian cuisine typically uses them for frying. The long, slender, wrinkled fruit will easily reach 6–9 inches starting green and ripening to red on super productive, disease- resistant plants that are widely adapted. Its especially rich flavor has earned Jimmy Nardello’s placement in “The Ark of Taste” by Slow Food USA. If you happen to grow Hot Portugal pepper, make sure you label your plants well-
-Hot Portugal is a twin in every way except the hotness!
70 days, Open Pollinated
Reliable yields of large sweet blocky bells turn from green to red; prolific yields even in short-season areas and cool climates.
75-83 days, Open Pollinated
These beautiful, mini-sized snacking peppers are remarkably sweet and flavorful. Delicious sautéed, in salads and perfect for a healthy snack. Children love them! The tall plants yield well for snack-type peppers. Stake or cage to support. They work well in containers, planted one per 18” pot. Bred by Janika Eckert.
70-90 days, Open-pollinated
Marconi Rosso is a large sweet pepper growing to 8” long and 3” wide. The green fruits ripen to deep red and are delicious at all stages. Incredibly sweet and beautiful, these long, slim peppers with medium-thick walls and sweet skin are the gourmet’s choice. They are excellent raw, roasted, grilled and stuffed. The plants are 4’ tall by 1.5 to 2’ wide, fast-growing and prolific.
90 days, Open-Pollinated,
A breeding breakthrough from Doug Jones of Common Ground Ecovillage as he de-hybridizes Giant Marconi into a more compact habit while retaining the heavy early fruit set of 2½ x 9″ blunt-tipped, tender-skinned Italian-style Lamuyo peppers. Grown in an open field in central Maine without black plastic, it produced nearly a dozen fruits per plant in trials, 35% of them ripened red on the plants and were sweet and delicious with good texture when green, but mature even sweeter with a bit of a smoky undertone. Enjoy them cooked, grilled, or raw.
90 days, Open Pollinated, Heirloom
These little, thin-walled 1-2” bell peppers ripen to gold or red. They make colorful stuffed appetizers, and are great for pickling. Several of the short, stout, productive plants can be grown together in a large pot. Paradoxically, though small-fruited, they ripen fairly late.
55 days green, 90 days red, Open-pollinated, No Heat
A great choice for those who love the jalapeno flavor, but don’t like the heat. This variety was bred to have no heat, yet keep the flavor and appearance of traditional jalapenos – no gloves needed for chopping or slicing! Attractive, very flavorful fruits are 3″ long, ripen from green to red and are great for fresh use, salsa, guacamole, soups, stuffing and roasting. Sturdy plants produce heavy yields.
70 days, Open-pollinated
Sheepnose is a super-sweet heirloom pimento-type pepper from Ohio. The beautiful, thick-walled, crisp, juicy fruits ripen from green to red and are shaped like little pumpkins (or wheels of cheese, or the noses of sheep), flattened, ribbed globes, 3-4” diameter and 2.5-3” tall. They keep for a long time in the fridge, if you can resist enjoying them raw, on pizza, in pasta, casseroles, antipasto or salad, roasted, sautéed, and a classic for canning. Plants are small (1-2’ tall), easy to grow, heavy-yielding, and can be grown in patio containers.
75 days, Open-pollinated, Heirloom
Yields of 1–1.5” fruit could be described as “ever-bearing”. Small plants produce dozens of these pretty, round, flattened fruit turning from green to red. Flavor is fine and they are ideal for canning, pickling, or stuffing.
80+ days, Open-pollinated
This is a fun pepper to eat, a delicious and mostly heat-free scotch bonnet pepper, having the fruity sweetness without the spice. As soon as you take a bite the floral and fruity punch of the habanero/scotch bonnet kicks in and you initially have the sensation of some mild heat, but with little after- effect. The bright red pods look a lot like the Jamaica Scotch Bonnet. Great for use as a seasoning pepper in all kinds of exotic cuisines!
70 -80 days, Open Pollinated
This early and productive bell pepper bears up to a dozen thick-walled 6-8” tapered fruits; ripening from green to chocolate-brown with gorgeous burgundy flesh inside, really delicious rich flavor, and good juicy crunch! Eve’s favorite!
70-80 Days, Open Pollinated, Heirloom, Very Mild Heat
Also known as “Cuban pepper” and “Italian frying pepper”, Cubanelle is a variety of sweet pepper with just a touch of heat (-1000 on the Scoville scale), commonly used in Cuban, Puerto Rican and Dominican cuisines. When unripe, the 6-8” fruit is light yellowish-green, but turns bright red if allowed to ripen. Prized for its sweet, mild flesh, rich flavor, and pretty colors. Cubanelle is thin-walled, especially suited for quick cooking and has a low water content. Best picked when yellow-green for use in roasting, stuffing, pizza topping, frying, a substitute for Anaheims, or in a yellow mole, and is one of the traditional ingredients in sofrito.
Heirloom 70 Days
Sheepnose is a super-sweet heirloom pimento-type pepper from Ohio. The beautiful, thick-walled, crisp, juicy fruits ripen from green to red and are shaped like little pumpkins (or wheels of cheese, or the noses of sheep), flattened, ribbed globes, 3-4” diameter and 2.5-3” tall. They keep for a long time in the fridge, if you can resist enjoying them raw, on pizza, in pasta, casseroles, antipasto or salad, roasted, sautéed, etc. They are a classic sweet pepper for canning. Plants are small (1-2’ tall), easy to grow, and heavy-yielding. They can be grown in patio containers.
60 days, Open Pollinated
This early, small, mild, thin-walled glossy green pepper is popular in Japan, where they are pan-fried and salted and served as an appetizer or side-dish. The thin walls blister and char easily when roasted or grilled, taking on a rich flavor that’s delicious with coarse salt and lemon juice! The fruits grow up to 3-4″ long. The plant has a spreading habit and produces very prolifically. The peppers are typically harvested and used green, but eventually turns orange and red with sweeter flavor. Shishito can be grown successfully in large containers.
85 days, Hybrid, Mild
Trident F1 hybrid has the advantages of producing high yields of exceptionally large, thick-walled poblano-type peppers (6” by 3”), performing better under cool conditions, ripening early and disease resistance. The tall, widely-adapted plants produce richly flavored, smooth, glossy dark green fruits that taper to a flat point, with relatively gentle heat measuring only 250 to 1,500 Scoville units, ideal for chiles rellenos, stews, or frying. The fruits maintain their size over multiple pickings. When allowed to fully mature to deep brick red, they are dried (called Ancho), and are essential for making chile powder and sauces, especially the classic mole.
90 days, Open-pollinated, Very Hot
The 2-3″ long, slender, pointy peppers are very hot (50,000 – 100,000 Scoville units) and are perfect in nam phrik, the hot pepper condiment found on every Thai table. When compared to commercial Thai pepper varieties, These Thai hot pepper plants are a bit smaller than commercial varieties, but the fruit is a bit larger and nearly every one of them ripens by frost. The plants are quite ornamental and are a great choice for containers.
65 days green, 80 days red, Open-pollinated, Hot
This very rare, northern-adapted C. baccatum species of hot pepper produces 3″ long, waxy-yellow fruit that ripen to a classic orange-red. Aji Marchant is usually harvested under-ripe when still green/yellow and used for pickling. The immature peppers are especially flavorful with a unique earthy-citrus bite that is not overly spicy, but definitely packs a punch when fully ripe. An excellent frying pepper at all levels of ripeness, they also make tasty dried pepper flakes after ripening to a bright red. This heirloom pepper was brought to California by Chilean immigrants during the 1849 gold rush.
60-75 days, Open Pollinated
A brilliantly ornamental pepper from Mexico, Aurora’s compact, bushy plants are only 12” tall and wide, but they are lit up by dozens of pointy, upright, 1 ½” glossy fruits that look like colored Christmas lights! The peppers ripen from lavender to purple to orange and finally to red, creating an incredibly colorful show as they appear in all stages at once. Their heat measures from 30,00 to 50,000 Scoville units. The plant is perfect for container growing and the fruits make a beautiful salsa.
85 days, Open Pollinated
A very popular chile. Medium-hot large 8” fruits are excellent roasted and stuffed for chile rellenos.
70-75 days, Open-pollinated, Very Hot
Also called ‘Shipkas’, Bulgarian Carrot Peppers are rumored to have been smuggled out of Russia during the late 1980s, making their way through Europe, the Caribbean, and then the United States. They’re great for salsa, chutney, roasting, stir fry, and grilling. The prolific plant is about 18” tall, and the bright orange, 3-4”-long ‘carrots’ have a crunchy texture and sweet and tangy flavor, and they produce a burst of heat that measures 20,000 – 30,000 Scoville units. They ripen from green to yellow, and then finally orange. This plant does well in areas with cool nights, like ours!
65 days, Heirloom, Medium hot, 4,000 – 5,000 SHU
This famous New Mexico heirloom chile is from the farming town of Chimayo in northern New Mexico, at 5,900′ elevation. Its great flavor is the result of hand selection over hundreds of years. The 6-7” long fruit are probably the earliest Southwestern chile to ripen to red. They are thin-skinned and dry quickly in the sun. Allow the chiles to remain on the plant and mature until almost completely red. This native strain has fantastic red chile flavor and makes great chile powder and sauces for enchiladas, burritos, etc. At first it tastes sweet and then medium hot. Since it’s not too hot, you can use it in large quantities and achieve flavor nirvana, not heat nirvana. A Renewing America’s Food Traditions variety listed with the Ark of Taste as a threatened American food tradition.
63-65 days, Open Pollinated, 2,500-5,000 SHU
Early Jalapeno is a medium-hot pepper and the best Jalapeno variety for an early crop. The short, blunt 2 to 2.5” peppers are thick-walled and juicy. Early Jalapeno will reportedly set fruit under cooler conditions than other Jalapeno varieties. Red, fully ripe fruits are both slightly sweeter and spicier. The stocky 2-foot tall plants will not fall over or break branches.
85 days, Open-pollinated, Low-Medium heat
The Guajillo chile is the dried form of the Mirasol pepper. It is the one of the most popular chiles grown in Mexico, with a raisin-like wrinkled texture, and the 2nd most popular dried chile. The Guajillo has sweet, fruity tones, and then it hits you with a savory heat of 2,000 to 5,000 Scoville units. The fruits grow to 3-6” long and just over an inch wide, standing upright on the plant, with the plant growing about 2’tall. In Mexico, Guajillo chiles are dried first as whole pods, crushed to a powder to make a seasoning paste. This is used to create very flavorful mole sauces, salsas, sauces, spiced cocoa and chocolate, marinades, spice rubs, and more.