The Most Ambitious Project Yet

Garden 2010

After much deliberation (and a healthy dose of procrastination), I’ve finally selected and plotted my intentions for the 2010 garden.

It might seem awfully early to some, but seeds must be ordered, delivered and started before a springtime sowing in late May can be accomplished.

This year will be interesting for a number of reasons.

Primarily because I’m going to be trying to grow a couple crowns of asparagus for the first time, but I’m also attempting rare French strawberries from seed, as well as leeks, garlic and chard.

As you can see from my crude 10,000 foot drawing, there are lots of different veggies being installed, as well as a small bee garden that I hope will attract a healthy amount of polinators to our rooftop sanctuary.  We had a bit of a problem with the lack of bees last year, though I’m not sure if it was due to colony collapse or the overall shitty weather, but it can’t hurt to encourage them with a pretty flower garden.

In case you were curious, here are the plans for this year:

Beans – cranberry, orca, sayamusume, tri-colour bush, black coco, purple fava

Peas – chestnut chickpea, large manitoba, asparagus peas, carouby de maussane

Garlic – red russian hardneck

Berries – mignonette strawberries, wolfberries

Carrots – rainbow blend, parmex

Chard – bright lights

Peppers – friar’s hat, ancho, jalapeno, 5 color Chinese

Tubers – mixed bag potatoes, Carmen sunchokes

Leeks – varna

Beets – blankoma, chioggia, touchstone gold

Asparagus – Jersey giant

Herbs/Flowers – lady lavender, bee blend, catnip, lemon thyme, rosemary, curly parsley, Italian bush basil

Lettuce – luscious blend, mesclun

Shallots – ambition

Tomatoes – gold nugget, sungold, principe borghese, bonner, chibikko, orange banana, old ivory egg, yellow bell, old timer red and yellow, pink Thai egg, tonodose des conores, white currant, Sicilian saucer, black cherry, red currant, costoluto genovese

As you can see from both the image and the list above, I’m still skewing mostly towards tomatoes, and will once again be growing them in a series of kiddie pools.  Since we had such a poor showing last year, I’m hedging my bets by not growing many of the (sometimes difficult) full size heirloom varieties, and am focusing on a myriad of rare cherry tomatoes instead.  My reasoning behind that is simple; cherry tomatoes are delicious and easy to eat, and every Saturday during the summer last year I was shelling out $10 for a couple of pints of them.  If we extrapolate that over the course of the growing season, I spent close to $200 just on cherry tomatoes, and I could certainly find better places to spend that money, or at the very least on other things at the market.  I’ve also selected one monstrous tomato (the Sicilian saucer) to grow just because – the write up about it said they typically grow 2-3 pound specimens, which is somewhat reminiscent of the Greek freak.  As some of you might know, I am captivated by all things tiny and adorable (hence my love of mini vegetables) but, I also have a strange fascination with foodstuffs that are freakishly large.  I’m entirely prepared that this Sicilian saucer might not grow anything at all, but there’s always a chance that it will grow some. Beyond that I’m looking forward to the chibikko, a rare Japanese tomato, and the tonodose des conores, an old French variant.

Seeds have been gathered from numerous sources, including West Coast Seeds, Salt Spring Seeds, Richter’s, Vesey’s, Clover Roads Organic Farms and Heritage Harvest Seeds.  I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t find anything I wanted from Urban Harvest, but I’m sure I’ll be visiting them in May if I need any transplants.

If you’re interested in growing food that’s heritage, heirloom or just plain rare, I’d suggest you check any of these guys out, for their astonishing selection of plants.  I know they all certainly had more than I have the ability to grow, but there’s always another year to plan for!

Until next time…

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2 Responses to “The Most Ambitious Project Yet”

  1. foodwithlegs says:


    Impressively ambitious plan, I like it.

    Good luck with the asparagus mine are heading into their third summer so I should be able to harvest a small bunch for eating.

    I’ve had good luck with Salt Spring Seeds–tomatoes in particular. On top of your list The Cottage Gardener and William Dam are my go-to places for heritage/heirloom.


    P.S. I’d comment more often but apparently remembering another password is beyond my abilities.

  2. mochapj says:

    Thanks! So far most of my friends have told me they think my plan (complete with computer generated diagram) is insane.

    I imagine come harvest time they’ll be singing a different tune, as is the case most years.

    I checked out William Dam and didn’t see anything that floated the boat this year, but hadn’t heard of The Cottage Gardener, so I’ll have to check them out.

    My first order of seeds showed up at my office today, so it feels like I’m that much closer to garden time already!

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