I am finally getting around to ordering seeds, once again, through Fedco. I'm aware of the existence of other reputable companies, but have decided to stick with Fedco because of 1) convenience--this was the only catalog I have received and I have been too busy to explore alternatives, 2) success I've had with most of the varieties I've purchased, and 3) their cool catalog, minimalist in style with its black-and-white newsprint, but full of commentary and interesting factoids. Yesterday, while anticipating the Boston snowstorm that wasn't, I tore out the form and began painstakingly transcribing the correct codes for my upcoming crops. I ended up with a few of last year's successes, a few that have worked well for other gardeners in the area, and other vegetables/herbs and varieties I haven't yet grown. I'm still compiling my list, but for this post I thought I'd share some information, new to me.
Black Prince Tomato: Fedco had not offered this variety for thirteen years because when it was first sold, the company "could not find a market for it." Now Google "black prince tomato" and most of the links up front are from other seed merchants, probably due to the popularity of heirlooms nowadays, and for the variety's rich flavor. According to one online source, this Siberian tomato originated in Irkutsk, Russia, and is known for its health benefits due to its abundance of the antioxidant lypocene. Though other reports indicate that the plant has grown successfully in western and southern regions of the US, I'm going to give the Black Prince a chance here in New England. Since it also grows well in cold climates in Russia, maybe if I try growing it, Murphy's Law will take effect and we'll end up having a warmer summer.Catnip: The fact that our cat (above, one of my daughter's many photos) goes crazy for catnip is enough reason to order it, but the Fedco catalog states that this herb can calm mild stomach disorders, aid sleep, and lower fevers if added to tea. Rats hate it, and crushing and rubbing it on the skin can repel mosquitoes better than DEET (according to an Iowa State University study).
Sugar Ann Snap Pea: I had mixed results growing it last season but it could have been worse. Fedco's crop was blown away by a hurricane. As a result, it's not available in 2010, so I'm ordering Cascadia instead.