All Things Gardening forum: What are your gardening recommendations to have in a garden?

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California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 22, 2017 5:21 PM CST
I plan on buying the heirloom pack of seeds, but I'm wondering if there are some things that aren't in those packages you'd like to recommend? Fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers? They can be common, or not, or from other countries. Thanks in advance :)
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Jan 23, 2017 5:32 PM CST
Hi Renae -- grow what you enjoy! My must-haves in the veg garden would be green beans, onions, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, beets, zucchini, winter squash, garlic. I also grow marigolds, sunflowers, calendula and nasturtiums among the vegetables, to help attract pollinators. One of my favorite herbs is savory, as well as basil, rosemary, sage and oregano. I like to grow brassicas, but am not always diligent enough to keep them free of cabbage worms Sticking tongue out . And then, I always grow some stuff "just for fun" -- mini Indian corn, broom corn, Hopi Red Dye amaranth, small gourds, birdhouse gourds; the possibilities seem to be almost endless, just depends on what catches your fancy (and how much room you have).

Happy gardening!
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California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 23, 2017 5:43 PM CST
That's a great list. I do want a variety of tomatoes in my garden, but it's the fact that they can get diseased easily makes me worried, how will I tell if it's sprouting a diseased stem or if it's just a new stem growing from it? My local nursery also doesn't have any good plants either. I usually try to check out Walmart or home depot, but even then they don't offer trees or really much of anything to my interest. I love fruits and vegetables, so it's hard to decide what to grow and what to buy in the stores...Thanks for the advice though weedwhacker! :)
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Jan 23, 2017 6:19 PM CST
RenaeC said: I plan on buying the heirloom pack of seeds, but I'm wondering if there are some things that aren't in those packages you'd like to recommend? ...


Well, "Heirloom" just means "it is an OP variety" and "it has been around for 50+ years, or 75+ years, or 100+ years". The only thing it really excludes is seed varieties that are hybrids (like F1), and also OP varieties developed SO recently that not even MARKETING executives would dare call them "heirloom". Like some of Frank Morton's recent very-showy lettuce varieties, that he bred so that not even teenagers would say they get bitter in heat.
http://www.territorialseed.com...

Whatever you like (lettuce, cucumbers, squash, greens), you can find in either heirloom or F1 varieties.

The "truest" use of the name "heirloom" ought to suggest documented history going back 100 years, with a certain family or region prizing THAT variety and selecting it the whole time for "what people like" in a home garden variety.

Varieties that have been bred and optimized for supermarkets are mostly F1 hybrids, and those commercial breeders seek things like:
- hard, tough skin that won't bruise in trucks or when stock boys bounce it on the floor
- pretty, standardized appearance that lasts on the shelf without changing (like embalmed fruit)
- huge size for shelf appeal
- enough disease resistances to sound like the resume of a CDC researcher
- metronomic consistency of ripening time, so one huge combine can harvest hundreds of acres with minimum waste
- You can't save seeds worth beans. You have to buy more every year

That's what you "lose" when you stick to heirlooms or other OP varieties. You can't expect tough skinned, agri-business-ready, huge shiny tasteless vegetables. The ideal supermarket F1 vegetable would probably be made of UV-resistant plastic.

Heirlooms tend to be less hardy in long truck rides and may not last for weeks on a supermarket shelf. You can't pick them green and ship them cross-country on bumpy roads, then gas them to turn them red.They may not have the uniformly-reddest-of-all-shiny-red colors. (For example, many heirloom tomatoes have "funny colors", hence they will seldom appear in a supermarket.)

But heirlooms ARE likely to have been bred for flavor! Ask a produce clerk about "flavor" and she or he may not even know what you mean.

Heirlooms tend to be bred for tenderness.

Heirlooms may perform better in certain regions or climates, like where they were originally developed.

You can save Heirloom or OP seeds and have them come true. Even better, as you save seeds from your own plants, you can save from the best plants in your soil, your climate, and under your growing techniques. Maybe "Aunt Agatha's Runner Bean" was the best it could be in Aunt Agatha's climate, but your climate is different. If you save from only your best plants each year for ten years, you'll have variety better-adapted to your climate and soil and pests.

https://garden.org/ideas/view/...
Name: Amanda
KC metro area, Missouri (Zone 6a)
Roses Zinnias Region: Missouri Cat Lover Dog Lover Bookworm
Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: United States of America Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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pepper23
Jan 23, 2017 8:20 PM CST
I couldn't have said that better myself. Thumbs up Hurray!
California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 23, 2017 8:52 PM CST
I'm not shipping them though. They produce will be just for my household from my garden to our table. So should I not invest in heirlooms? I'm confused.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Jan 23, 2017 11:49 PM CST
Tomato diseases... yes, they abound! Don't let that discourage you, Renae... give your plants plenty of fertilizer and they will outrun the disease in many cases. Heirlooms seem to be more susceptible, but hybrids also get diseased Shrug! . It just takes a while to find what really works for you. My greatest success over the course of many years has been growing tomato plants inside a hoop house -- not sure about the cause and effect, whether the disease comes from water splashing up onto the plants from the dirt, or coming in on the wind, or what, but the same variety (Viva Italia, a determinate) that I've grown for many years, grew essentially disease free for me last year inside the HH, whereas it was always the first to succumb in my open garden.

In short -- definitely do not shy away from heirlooms, just be aware that there is a great variation in both heirlooms and hybrids and it may take a while to find the varieties that you really like and that work well for you.

My favorite heirloom tomatoes (although I have entirely different growing conditions than what you have, so these may or may not be good for you):
Aunt Ruby's German Green
Djena Lee's Golden Girl
Martino's Roma
Brandywine
Pruden's Purple
Bloody Butcher

Hybrids that I like:
Country Taste (highly recommend!)
Fourth of July
Juliet
Goliath

Here's the thing with heirloom/open pollinated varieties: you can save seeds from the OP/heirloom types, but if you don't want/need to do that, there are many fine hybrids to explore. Hybrids are not the same as GMO -- they are a cross between OP varieties. I recommend just trying different varieties and continuing to ask questions. It's really what is so intriguing about gardening! Smiling
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California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 24, 2017 12:45 AM CST
Yea, I definitely don't want GMO's in my garden. I guess the only way to go about this is to just get hands on experience and do my research when I find something that doesn't look right. Thanks for the info. Roma tomatoes, and I'm unsure if they're grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, but those are my favorite. They're really sweet. I think they're grape. My SO's aunt also has a very small side house garden, but she makes an amazing salad. Everything is from that tiny garden. It doesn't look like much, but the flavors are so powerful. I don't know why the salads taste the way they do. It's got lettuce, purple onions, green peppers, roma tomatos and I think a vinegarette dressing on top. One of the best salads I've had.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Jan 24, 2017 9:02 AM CST
The good news is... GMO (more accurately, genetically engineered) seeds aren't being sold on a gardening level, only on a large scale for farmers.
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 24, 2017 6:14 PM CST
Ok that's good. I remember a friend telling me that i needed to be careful where i buy my seeds from because theres some buisness name i cant remember the name of, but they own about like 80% of seed companies and are into GMO. Idk how true that is though. And when i was at walmart last night the only pregrown plants they had were red onions and herbs and a few annual plants nothing really caught my eye. The gardening section was closed so i couldnt ask anyone for the help i needed in that department.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Jan 24, 2017 9:12 PM CST
RenaeC said:I'm not shipping them though. They produce will be just for my household from my garden to our table. So should I not invest in heirlooms? I'm confused.


That's my fault. I never seem able to keep simple answers short.

Heirlooms are almost the same as "OP varieties". They just have a longer history. It might be nice to know that some particular vegetable was selected in New England and then went in covered wagons to Utah. Or that it was popular in France in 1850, and has remained popular ever since.

The main difference between Heirlooms and hybrids are that Heirlooms will "come true to their parents" if you save seeds from them and avoid cross-pollination.

Seeds saved from hybrids don't come true to the parents unless you happen to get lucky.

So if you don't plan your own seeds for the first few years, you might not care at all whether you buy heirlooms, non-heirloom OP varieties, or hybrids.

Heirlooms veggies tend to be selected for flavor, and maybe for people who harvest-and-cook in the same day.

Hybrids tend to be selected for agribusiness. All they care about is productivity, profit margin, shipping it cross-country and still looking good on a supermarket shelf weeks later. Consider supermarket tomatoes: compared to any heirloom or OP, many or most "supermarket hybrids" are only worth spitting out or making into ketchup.

Probably there ARE some hybrids created for the home market, to get disease resistances or whatever. Perennial flowers are often hybrids because you can get fantastic new appearances that way, and charge higher prices.

My policy is to try every OP variety I can find before trying ANY hybrid. Unless someone I trust says "these taste GOOD".

(Almost the only seed catalog I trust that way is Baker Creek. Many catalogs like Parks or Burpee tend to describe EVERY variety as "most popular" "tenderest" "best production" "best taste" or "easiest to grow". Or all five! Like Lake Woebegone: "Where ALL the children are above average".

California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 24, 2017 9:42 PM CST
The brands of seeds i have are mostly from American seeds and one them says they are an heirloom variety and two tomato and green been packs say they are highly disease risistant, so those have to be hybrids then, right? The others dont give any information on them. The other brand I have is from Burpees, but again not much information is on the back. The produce we get from our store usually goes bad after a week or two after purchasing it, so i dont know if they are hybrid or not. Maybe hybrids would be best for me to get since our household is small and i doubt we'd eat all our harvests the first week. I do plan on learning to can and perserve the things I grow as well.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jan 25, 2017 7:33 AM CST
Personally, I'm a fan of stuff that will come back next year from dropped seed.
I received some seed for Everglades tomatoes a few years back.... Perfectly adapted for my area.... Planted them once, I share plants by digging the self sown seedlings in the spring.

At my previous garden, I had summer peas that came back every year... Really wish they had made the move with me!

In California, finding seed that is adapted to your climate might be difficult, due to the agribusiness that the state has become, with everybody growing hybrids for the marketplace, but.... California tends to be at the front of the crowd in new trends, it just might be possible that the great tasting OP varieties are already California adapted...

So... Maybe look over the baker creek catalog, and ask yourself which of the neat looking varieties you really would like to try....

Trying new things is neat....

I have purple sandwich tomatoes that I replant every year, and... Glass gem corn (the cats eat it) plus cherokee tears beans, and some excellent watermelons that I save the seeds from and replant....

I don't even try to keep the varieties separate, if they cross, it adds new genes into the gene pool.

Maybe google "landrace".

In California, you should be able to grow anything... If you are allowed to water it....

Maybe research water wise gardening, and try a few varieties adapted to desert gardening.

Edit:
Re small household....
I wouldn't let the size of the household stop me from trying lots of new stuff.
What you don't eat?
Try sharing with the neighbor, try offering extra produce at church, or take it to the food bank, or.... Feed it to the chickens.... And... Anything extra after that? It will feed the soil, if nothing else....

My cats eat the extra produce, they get it before I can.... I need to try a different tomato cage, they've started picking them green....
[Last edited by stone - Jan 25, 2017 7:41 AM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Jan 25, 2017 9:02 AM CST
RenaeC said:The brands of seeds i have are mostly from American seeds and one them says they are an heirloom variety and two tomato and green been packs say they are highly disease risistant, so those have to be hybrids then, right? The others dont give any information on them. The other brand I have is from Burpees, but again not much information is on the back. The produce we get from our store usually goes bad after a week or two after purchasing it, so i dont know if they are hybrid or not. Maybe hybrids would be best for me to get since our household is small and i doubt we'd eat all our harvests the first week. I do plan on learning to can and perserve the things I grow as well.


Can't say about the tomatoes without know the name of the variety, but your beans are open pollinated; as far as I know, there are no hybrid beans available. And if you'd like to give seed saving a try, beans are a great first step; they rarely cross-pollinate and are easy to collect -- you just need to leave some pods on the plant until they are brown and dry, then open them up and remove the seeds.

Also -- and I know this can be confusing -- OP types can (and are) grown on a large enough scale to be "selected" for improved traits, such as disease resistance, improved flavor, etc etc. For example, if you grew 100 Bloody Butcher tomato plants some might be taller than others, some might have larger fruit, and so on. So, if you want to have larger tomatoes, you would save the seeds from those plants and then grow out another 100 plants, again selecting the ones with larger fruit and repeating the process... over and over. That's quite a simplified version, but the point is that the result would be a different strain of Bloody Butcher, but it's still open-pollinated. Smiling
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Jan 25, 2017 1:56 PM CST
RenaeC said:The brands of seeds i have are mostly from American seeds and one them says they are an heirloom variety and two tomato and green been packs say they are highly disease risistant, so those have to be hybrids then, right? The others dont give any information on them. The other brand I have is from Burpees, but again not much information is on the back. The produce we get from our store usually goes bad after a week or two after purchasing it, so i dont know if they are hybrid or not. Maybe hybrids would be best for me to get since our household is small and i doubt we'd eat all our harvests the first week. I do plan on learning to can and perserve the things I grow as well.


That is pretty much the way to think, with a few tweaks.

>> two tomato and green been packs say they are highly disease resistant, so those have to be hybrids then, right?

Probably but not necessarily. If you are not saving your own seeds (yet), it doesn't matter. They are disease resistant, which is VERY important of those specific diseases are prevalent where you live. As someone pointed out on another thread, if your region does not HAVE a particular disease widespread, having resistance to that doesn't help you much.

>> The produce we get from our store usually goes bad after a week or two after purchasing it, so i dont know if they are hybrid or not.

Considering it was probably harvested days or a week before you bought it, those sure are tough veggies! I would guess "hybrid", as with most veggies from supermarkets, but agin, not necessarily.

>> Maybe hybrids would be best for me to get since our household is small and i doubt we'd eat all our harvests the first week.

One of the best things about a home garden is that you don't have to store stale food for weeks. Usually I eat what I pick the same day. If you have a really big harvest all at once, (as with "determinate" tomato varieties), they will taste better and retain more nutrition if you freeze, dry or preserve them.

I think most home gardeners try to keep fresh food available by planting 1/3 to 1/2 as many plants at a time, but planting three "waves" two weeks apart. They ripen at different times so you always have some fresh ones coming along.

>> The other brand I have is from Burpees, but again not much information is on the back

Right! Some day buy at least one packet from Botanical Interests, just to see how much info THEY put on a pkt! Then, after you see what a GOOD seed packet is like, cut it open and find yet more info on the inside of the pkt!

Did you also notice that Burpee and Parks often don;t say whether each variety is OP or hybrid? That way, you don;t even KNOW whether you can save useful seeds without doing some research, and maybe not then when they use a "house brand name" instead of a recognized variety name.

Maybe they've changed in the last 3-5 years, I don't buy from them any more. I figure that if a seed vendor won't tell me "OP or hybrid", or won't even tell me a recognizable variety NAME, they are not my friend and do not have my interests at heart.

There are plenty of GOOD seed vendors who DO.
Baker Creek sells no hybrids, only OP and heirloom OP cultivars. Good for them!

Market growers and people who want to can or freeze several bushels of something can easily buy varieties suited to agribusiness from any of many vendors. The hard thing used to be finding great home-gardener varieties (mostly OP in my opinion, but there ARE also many very good hybrids - like Sungold tomatoes come to mind. And fancy Chinese cabbage like Michihli and Napa - Asians have done a GREAT job of producing hybrids that really focus on quality. I think they "just can't get" the same results in OP varieties. Or they're too smart to breed their best hybrids back into an OP form WITH most of the desirable characteristics. If they did that, no one would buy the pricy hybrid seeds from them!

I'm sorry that partly contradicts other things I've said - when something is just a "tendency", there are always exceptions.

Or: "Go not to the Elves for advice, for they will say both 'Yes' and 'No'."
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Jan 25, 2017 4:47 PM CST
Reading back through this thread, I hope we haven't confused and scared you off of the whole idea, Renae!

Since you are just starting out, don't overthink things; plant what sounds good to you -- your garden won't be perfect (because no one has a perfect garden, believe me), but you will learn many things and also have some good stuff to eat. Don't start out too big in terms of garden size, which can become overwhelming in a hurry.

Don't forget to check out the articles in the Learning Library of NGA here: https://garden.org/learn/artic...

And, there is a lot of good information about how much to grow, spacing of plants, etc at this site: http://www.harvesttotable.com/...

And finally, remember that gardening is supposed to be fun! Smiling

“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 25, 2017 6:29 PM CST
Im actually a lot more confused hahaha Hilarious! but, i still want to grow my own garden. My grandpa did it and his garden was beautiful. I like to think i got my green thumb from him. Im just trying to think so can i regrow collected seeds from hybrid harvests or no? Which ones can be collected from harvests for the next years growth? I usually just buy seeds from walmart and the dollar store as theyre extremely cheap, but as you saw there is no information on them.

The tomatoes i have are large red cherry and i mistook the label of the cucumbers for beans. Theyre actually cucumber munchers that are high disease resistant. The heirloom seed is dwarf gray sugar and morning glory pearly gates. I was pretty tired when i was looking at the seeds, but those are the ones that are heirlooms and possible hybrids. And my dogs love fruits and veggies. One of them has even stolen a sweet potato off of the table once :lol:
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
Image
Weedwhacker
Jan 25, 2017 6:52 PM CST
"but, i still want to grow my own garden."

Atta girl, great attitude! Thumbs up

Collecting seeds from hybrids to regrow -- no, other than as an experiment to see what you will get.

Save seeds from OP plants, but best to isolate them in some way so as to avoid cross pollination. However, tomatoes are pretty much self pollinating and I routinely save seeds from them without noticing any crossing. If you only grow one type of OP cucumber, you could save seeds (keep in mind, you have to let the ones you are saving seeds from keep growing a lot longer than when you would normally picking them to eat). A lot of things won't even produce seed until the 2nd year -- like beets, carrots, swiss chard. If you only grow one variety of sweet corn (and no one else is growing corn nearby) you could let some ears keep going to maturity (i.e., once the kernels are dry) and regrow them. You could let one type of lettuce "bolt" (go to seed) and save those seeds to regrow.

Yep, lots to learn...

Also, if you buy seeds from Walmart or wherever and the seed packet doesn't have much information (it should certainly have the name of the variety, if nothing else), you can go to the plants database here and look it up for more information, or ask on the "vegetables and fruit" forum here.
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California, San Joaquin valley (Zone 9b)
RenaeC
Jan 25, 2017 7:17 PM CST
Ok, great thanks for the info! Where can i buy OP seeds at a fair price? My fruits and veggies will either be in a seperate pot or in a raised garden bed, so how do i seperate the ones in a garden bed? Would i put blocks or something to keep their roots from crossing? Some plants i plan to have in an aqua ponic system as well. I do know some veggies cant be planted next to some plants.

For Asain veggies, i plan to have taro root, lemon grass, choy sum, and ginger root. (I currently have fresh ginger root in my freezer)

For corn, i want glass gem corn, white sweet corn and possibly a yellow variety.

For lettuce, i want romaine, iceburg, and there is another kind i dont know the name of, it's in those premade lettuce packages with red and green red lettuces. Those are good.

I love salads and im open to any suggestions and i actually do love trying new things, so any suggestions on fruits or veggies is welcomed.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Jan 25, 2017 9:07 PM CST
Renae, definitely listen to Sandy/Weedwhacker, not me.

I haven't mastered either "clarity" or "concise".

First decide what you like (lettuce, green beans, tomatoes, snap peas).

Try a few of those from whatever sources come to hand. The price of seed is fairly small compared to all the effort & time you put into a garden.

Eventually you'll either decide to keep the ones that grow best for you, or the ones that taste best to you.

>> Where can I buy OP seeds at a fair price?

There are so many online vendors that I couldn't narrow it down on that basis alone.
If you find a seed vendor who specializes in your part of California, they might have the4 varieties that best suit your climate (or are popular).

Some people look for an online vendor who sells very small packets, for $1-2 each. (It's more common to see packets for $2.50-$3.50, but enough seed to make several sowings.

I go in the opposite direction, but maybe you should pay more attention to people with GOOD advice!

I look for a site that sells something that I want, in a much LARGER pkt than I need for myself. Those "bulk" pkts might cost 50% more, but give you 4-5 TIMES as much seed.

Then I cackle happily, dividing up that big bulk pkt into 5-15 smaller "trade-size packets".
Then I join more seed swaps than I can handle.

Now I can trade away 20-50 or more packets that I got "for cheap" because I bought in bulk.
The nice thing is that in return, I get 20-50, or more, packets, each of which is unique and new to me!

I can pay the postage ONCE to some seed vendor, plus twice for the seed swap, and get up to 100 unique varieties for 3 postage-costs.

This is the NGA seed swap site:
https://garden.org/apps/swap/

You can also try to arrange one-for-one swaps with individual people over here, but then you two postages for EACH exchange, and might only find 2-3 things you both want to trade.
https://garden.org/forums/view...

Sometimes, people there will offer their extra seeds if you just pay the postage or send a SASE.

--
Seed swapping is one reason to save your own seeds, with or without isolation. That way, you can collect CUPS of your own seeds for the cost of growing, harvesting and drying them.

If you don't do any isolation at all, you can discuss what you have flowering simultaneously with people here, and they can tell you whether anything is likely to cross noticeably.

Beans, peas, tomatoes and lettuce all have "perfect" flowers, so they tend to isolate themselves FOR you, and you're likely to have less than1/2% cross-pollination with those species, even if you don;t worry about isolation. Just mention in the seed swap "these might be slightly cross-pollinated with XXX" and you're covered.

That might even attract more curiosity than "I have this pure commercial seed". Some people want to try home-made hybrids, which is what cross-pollinating produces - a few "rogue"plants that are your own unique hybrid, plus 80-90% of the self-pollinated normal variety.

I like this site's brochure on saving seeds. They are reasonable about isolation, and point out the easiest and second-easiest types to save seed from.
http://www.seedambassadors.org...
http://www.seedambassadors.org...



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