It is officially that time of year again! Time to go through all the new seed catalogs that have come in & decide what all to plant this season. Over the last few years I’ve added to my list of companies I have enjoyed working with. I thought I’d post some of my favorites and a couple new ones that I have just discovered this year for those of you looking for something beyond the long time standards.
I thought I would highlight one seed company and a few of my personal favorite varieties from each place each posting. Please feel free to give me some suggestions if you have a favorite seed source you would love to share!
Kitazawa Seed Co.
Kitazawa Seed Co. is a wonderful place to go for your more unique greens and Asian Vegetables They do however cary many of your “traditional” items as well. For example they have 15 varieties of Chinese Cabbage sorting them out by head type. Just as a side note if you are looking for Malabar Spinach seeds, they also carry both the red vine & green vine varieties. They also list 20 varieties of Eggplant by origin type such as Chinese, Japanese, or Thai types. Another nice addition to this catalog is the variety of Thai basil they offer. They’re selection includes 8 varieties of Thai Basil from a delicate citrus Lemon Basil, to Thai Red Stem Basil with green leaves and purple stems, to a more standard Siam Queen variety. There are also a few varieties of peas, melons, & squashes as well.
A nice bonus is that in the back of the catalog are several pages of recipes that include many of the vegetables & greens offered in the catalog.
If you have never grown Malabar Spinach before, it is quite easy to grow & a wonderful vine for covering a trellis, or wall as it is an annual & both looks attractive and tastes great! This year I used the berries for food die when making pasta. The berries give a bright vibrant magenta color to anything they touch (I did find it washes out of fabric rather easily if rinsed quickly after staining)
You can use the leave just as you would any other green. they have a succulent like texture. The small leaves are great for adding into salads while the larger leaves are perfect for soups, stews, stir fry or alone as seasoned cooked greens. The plant does need a good amount of water & loves full sun! (if your plant looks yellowed, or isn’t thriving as much as you think it should, chances are that it needs more sun.) It is also one of the first plants to die off after the first sign of frost. To save the seeds, simply pull the dark purple berries off the stems and let dry. Or, you can simply let the berries dry on the stems and pull them off after the vine has dried. Sometimes the plant may even re-seed it’s self the next season depending on the conditions.