Veggie Tales - December 2019

December 1, 2019
last modified: December 1, 2019

Happy December! Καλό Μήνα σε όλους!

Where did the year go? December has arrived And that means Winter is almost upon us (unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere!)

For many of us, the growing season has ended and our gardens are resting. Other gardens are tucked in under frost blankets, row covers or high tunnels to keep the frosty air away from winter greens (we picked some kale, Asian greens and mustard greens out of our garden for some soup yesterday!)

December also means that the seed catalogs are beginning to trickle in And are featuring the “new” varieties for 2020 along side our old favorites.

What do you think will be new for you in 2020?

Comments (157)

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

    Warning!!! Don't procrastinate like me. I waited until today, well, actually this evening, to get in the last of the veggies. Tomorrow and Wednesday will have very cold temps, lows of 18 and 14. High of only 21 on Wednesday. Do I know these kind of thinks will happen? Oh, yes, I do. They usually happen even earlier. But I was outside after dark with my husband getting leeks out of the cold wet soil with only a porch light to show us where to dig. Then I picked what kale leaves I could find. What a mess to clean up...there is no hose outside anymore and the leeks were covered with mud. With several dishpans and pails on the kitchen floor I was able to get things mostly cleaned up. Why do I do this? With short days and low sun, plants hardly grow after Nov. 1 around here anyway. The good news is that the leeks and kale look great and there is room in the refrigerator for short term storage. We have some good eating ahead.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    Good luck with clean up Naturegirl have to love that mud!

    Kevin that helps a lot...my little sort of hoophouse has room for one row of tomatoes down 16' on the left and cucumbers, climbing squash and a few peppers on the right. Like the idea or 8" for cherry tomatoes. How much total growth from ground up did your tomatoes do for the season including letting them down etc? I'm trying to do a microcosm of your macrocosm!

    Of course there will be more tomatoes etc outside as well...DW tells me she thinks we will run out of canned tomato sauce before there is new.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    Kevin I never need more than 1/4 # of any seeds, usually a packet is plenty for me...Do Eden Brothers of Bulk Seed Store make any sense for your volume?

  • Jamie

    6 pounds 3 oz of Meyer Lemons tonight

    there are two more on the tree that weren’t quite ripe.

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan

    NIce harvest, Jamie. Do you know how you will be using them?

    Jamie thanked naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan
  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    Jamie I'm sooo. jealous!

    Jamie thanked Len NW 7a
  • cindy_7

    Jamie - I got a response from Ohio Heirloom Seeds tonight. He said he was overwhelmed with responses and the slots were full within two minutes. He also said that he may do another offer next year. Oh, well. Email is free.

  • Jamie

    better luck next year, Cindy!

    thanks, all - Mike squeezed two of them tonight and got enough juice to make 3 (and a half) lemon drop martinis. I think I’ll make a lemon tart with a couple. We will squeeze the rest and freeze the juice and zest. I want to get as much use out of them as possible hahaha

  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA

    Len - I measured one of the cherry tomato stems at 20+ ft this year after pulling down. Never heard of those seed companies... I’ve found that Johnnys and High Mowing are decent when ordering at any type

    of quantity. Fedco is one I was thinking of trying too.

    Wish Baker Creek would do some sort of volume discounts.

    John - I like the reselling idea...especially seeds, sets, tubers. Could do well at our spring charity seedling sale. Selling pots trays and other things I am buying already (Vermont Compost organic potting mix anyone?) might be a good idea too - to get pricing down even more.


    just kidding about the Vermont compost but that stuff is supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    Kevin that Vermont compost must have gold dust in the mix!

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    For pound+ quantities of seeds Stokes has great pricing.

  • cindy_7

    Len - You and I may be the only ones still awake. I'm watching football.

  • RD Texas

    Cindy, you must be in the fantasy football playoffs.

    I made it through all the group temptations for seeds...until today-Jamie is the winner for tempting me with the Centiflor Red seeds and so I also picked up Andrew Raharts Jumbo Red, 2nd generation tomato collection, the Big Tomato collection, Box Car Willie, and Sweet Aperitif. I am such a tomato freak, well the seed company is called Totally Tomatoes (I did manage to stay below $50, so I guess that is a win...kind of) lol

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Jamie - are Meyer limes supposed to turn yellow like that? haha

    I've ordered 5 packets each from Baker Creek and Vermont Bean Co. so far. Both orders combined were $41.28 including $4.95 for VBC shipping. Other than buying seed potatoes and onion starts I should be done for the year (yeah, right!).

    I do still need to place an order for an irrigation kit from Dripworks or someplace else. That will be at least $150. I need to buy some more fencing as well.

    I had to re-mulch several beds with shredded leaves last weekend because the 2 nights of hurricane force winds blew what mulch I had on them off. I think the first night did most of the damage because we hadn't had any rain since I first covered the beds and the leaves were still dry. Oddly it was the beds that run north/south that were most affected. The east/west beds were still in good shape. I did notice that quite a bit more of my garlic had sprouted since I first mulched them. I was concerned because only about 10% had sprouted before I mulched.

  • Jamie

    hahahaha, Jack!

    Richard- I am glad I was able to inspire you! (and I hope that tomato does well for both of us)

    I haven't made my final list of seeds to order yet, but this year, I think the majority will be ornamentals, as I think I have a good stash of vegetable seeds. We will see when I finally get around to looking through them (I was lazy over the weekend and didn't do it haha!)

  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA

    Jack - what goodies did you get from Baker Creek? As I mentioned above we purchased all of our "NEEDED" seeds from High Mowing, and some of the order is starting to trickle in. Had fun with the youngest son last night going through all the different packets - he was interested in what each seed looked like so he had me open every one of the 50 or so packets we got. Oldest was playing Minecraft on the couch 8-( .

    I think Im probably good for one smallish order from Johnny's and a few from Baker Creek (free shipping makes it a little easier to splurge there - good marketing technique).

    I might try out that Lucky Tiger tomato. Looks very similar to Brads Atomic Grape.


    Also have eyes on this Red Freddy purple basil:


    We also usually order quite a few packets of zinnias from BC.. The Queen Lime varieties are really nice.

    They are carrying Orange and Pink Jazz tomatoes now:


    Hm just noticed a lot of stuff is out of stock - think they sold out for good or will the restock? Maybe we should get our order in sooner rather than later.

  • Jamie

    I bet they are getting ready to restock, Kevin.

  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA

    Sure hope so! This page does not look too promising... like 75% of the New Items 2020 are out of stock!!


  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Kevin - I ordered Easter Basket radish mix, Golden Beets, Costata Romanesco squash, Yellow Brandywine tomato, and a packet of Birdhouse gourds for a retired friend who has a hobby/business making birdhouses and painting them.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Kevin - that does seem odd that they are sold out of such a high percentage already. I just received their catalog late last week.

  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA

    response from baker creek customer service:

    Hello Kevin,

    We are hoping to have it listed soon! Keep an eye on the website and they will be listed as available within the next week or so.

    Have a wonderful day!

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    Jack...my drip system is17MM tubing that has been in for over 10 years without any issues other than me chopping a line accidentally once in a while. I did learn to have a hair dryer handy when making connections because it is stiff when cold.

  • 14tomatoes_md_7a

    Just got the SAHUARO HYBRID peppers: bulk 125 seeds -- packet actually has about 250 seeds! Kevin and other market growers -- that's a nice deal.

    Also arrived my hopeful substitute for french tarragon -- Sweet Mace or Mexican Mint - Marigold. Free packet was Basil - Dark Purple Opal. Love it.


  • RD Texas

    Doh, Kevin got me with the Baker Creek Lucky Tiger. Gotta love Baker Creek anyway...their free shipping taunts me in my gardening dreams

  • Lyla

    Cindy, just received the tomato seeds! Thank you! I think I'm going to have to rent a community garden plot to try all my varieties, if I'm not careful.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Cindy - regarding seeds...I haven't forgotten that I need to send you some Wes seeds. Are there any others from my small collection that you would like?

    Anyone else? I have plenty of most of the OP varieties listed.

    Anna Russian Oxheart
    Big Beef - F1
    Big Cheef
    Big Zac - F1
    Black Cherry
    Black from Tula
    Black Krim
    Black Opal
    Bloody Butcher
    Bolseno - F1
    Brad's Atomic Grape
    Brandywine Suddeth's Strain
    Brandywine Yellow
    Cherokee Carbon F2
    Cherokee Purple
    Chyornyl Tarasenko
    Comstock sauce and slice
    Copper River
    Dark Galaxy
    Dwarf Beauty King
    Dwarf Black Angus
    Dwarf BrandyFred

    Dwarf Iditarod Red
    Dwarf Mr. Snow
    Dwarf Rosella Purple

    Dwarf Sleeping Lady
    Dwarf Tasmanian Chocolate
    Dwarf Wild Fred

    Eva Purple Ball
    Galina's yellow
    German Johnson
    Girl Girl's Weird Thing

    Goose Creek
    Indian Stripe
    Jaune Flamme
    Jetstar F1
    JD's Special C-Tex
    Kellogg's Breakfast (KBX)
    Linvingston's Yellow Oxheart

    Liz Birt
    Lucid Gem
    Lucky Cross
    Margaret Curtain
    Marglobe improved
    Mexican Black F2
    Mortgage Lifter
    Neve's Azorean Red
    Orange Jazz - F1

    Ozark Sunset
    Paul Robeson
    Pink Ping Pong

    Pork Chop
    Pruden's Purple

    Purple Dog Creek
    Rebel Yell
    San Marzano 2
    Sungold - F1
    Sunrise Bumblebee
    Super Sweet 100 - F1

  • Chris (6a NY)

    Wow, Jack!! If you had to choose a top 10 from that list, what would it be?

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Chris - I haven't grown half of them. I got about 35 varieties in a trade 2 years ago and have only grown a few of those. I went back and edited my post. Those in bold I have grown before. I am trying a few more of them for the first time this year.

    Of those I have grown out this would be my current top 10 in no particular order.

    Big Beef

    Brandywine Suddeth

    German Johnson

    Girl Girl's Weird Thing

    Kellogg's Breakfast (KBX)

    Pink Ping Pong

    Pruden's Purple

    Rebel Yell



    I have yet to find a Black/Purple that's made it onto my must grow list. This year I'm trying Chyornyl Tarasenko and Paul Robeson for the first time.

    This year I'm currently planning to grow the following

    Big Beef - 3

    Bolseno - 1

    Brandywine Suddeth - 1

    German Johnson - 1

    Girl Girl's Weird Thing - 1

    Kellogg's Breakfast (KBX) - 3

    Pink Ping Pong - 1

    Pruden's Purple - 1

    Rebel Yell - 1

    Sungold - 1

    Wes - 1

    Dwarf Beauty King - 1 (container)

    Dwarf Mr. Snow - 1 (container)

    Dwarf Brandyfred - 1 (container)

    Livingston's Yellow Oxheart - 1

    Neve's Azorean Red - 1

    Paul Robeson - 1

    Chynoryl Tarasenko - 1

    Brandywine Yellow - 1

  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA

    Jack - no love for Black Cherry?

  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA

    Looks like some of the stuff came back in stock at Baker Creek.

    Here's my order. Some splurging (peanuts?!?), some market crops, some will be grown and sold as seedlings.

    Tennessee Red Peanut

    Free Seed Variety 1

    Jing Orange Okra

    Carolina Reaper Hot Pepper

    Death Spiral Hot Pepper

    Free Seed Variety 2

    Candy Cane Select Mix - Zinnia

    Hedou Tiny Bok Choy

    Free Seed Variety 3

    Hopi Black Dye - Sunflower

    Japanese Wasabi Radish

    Free Seed Variety 4

    Pink Jazz Tomato

    Playtime Mix Calendula

    Queen Lime

    Queen Lime Blush Zinnia

    Queen Lime Red

    Queen Lime Orange Zinnia

    Zinnia - Exquisite

    Zinnia - Scabiosa

    Basil - Genovese Red Freddy

    Basil - Lime

    Basil - Lettuce Leaf

    Basil - Siam Queen Thai

    Paul Robeson Tomato

    Lucky Tiger Tomato

    Pink Bumble Bee Tomato

    Purple Bumble Bee Tomato

    Costoluto Florentino Tomato

    Red Rosso Sicilian Tomato

    Tommy Toe Tomato

    Principe Borghese Tomato

    Dr. Wyche's Yellow

  • Chris (6a NY)

    Jack, is that the most tomato plants you've grown in one year?? That's a lot. Seems like I have to give this Pink Ping Pong a try! Cindy sent me seeds last year, but I didn't have room for another plan.

  • Chris (6a NY)

    Kevin - you're a zinnia fan, huh?? I have really grown(ha) to like zinnias. Are you going to do that for cut flowers at the farm? You should checkout strawflower and also Indian Summer rudbeckia(a much larger version of your average black-eyed susan) for cutting. Also, if you have any interest, edible flowers are a big thing with restaurants and maybe you can entice customers. Gem marigolds, assorted viola and nasturtium could be sold by the pint or 1/2 pint, if you grow enough of them.

  • Jamie

    I've grown to love zinnias over the last few years also- mainly because the goldfinches love the seeds. I will find several of them hanging from a zinnia flower pulling out the seeds before they are even dried- and that continues into the fall. The only thing that I do not really care for is the fact that they seem to get some sort of a mildew or fungus toward the end of the summer.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Kevin - I grew Black Cherry a couple years ago and liked it just fine but I am only growing one cherry tomato plant this year and Sungold is a must grow for me. My other 4x4 'cherry trellis' bed will be used for Pink Ping Pong this year. I like to be able to easily pick cherry and small/abundant tomatoes from all sides of the bed. I'm sure I'll grow Black Cherry again sometime in the future.

    Chris - I'll be growing a couple fewer tomato plants than I did last year. I grew 6 dwarfs last year with 5 of them in a raised bed and one in a container. This year I'm just growing 3 of them in containers since they seem to do better that they do in ground (as long as I can keep them upright). haha

  • RD Texas

    Jack I wouldn't mind working a trade for some of those dwarf tomato seeds. I've got tons of pepper seeds-the starfis, Sugar Rush Peach, and Fish peppers were my favorites this year and they are all still producing. I've got lots of okra and eggplant seeds too

  • cindy_7

    Lyla - that means that it took a week for the seeds to get to you. That's ridiculous considering how close we are.

    Jack - Yes, please! How about Chapman. Heidi and KBX if you're good with that. Not sure if Orange Jazz is a F1??

    I've grown Riesentraube before. It wasn't a prolific as the current write-ups seem to state.

    In today's mail there was a huge seed catalog. Biggest one ever and it's over 5/8" thick. The Whole Seed Catalog. Do not recall ever ordering from them before and do not know why I received it. It is a beautiful catalog inside. Large, nicely photographed produce. Had to be an expensive catalog to produce.

  • Jamie

    Cindy- that’s from Baker Creek! Is it the 400 page version or the smaller one?

  • RD Texas

    This is where I recoved after the surgery

  • RD Texas

    Starfish peppers are doing better now than in the summer

  • RD Texas

    Still have about 50 little bell peppers

  • RD Texas

    free cherry tomatoes from the local nursery-very oversized with fairly thin skin, but they are mushy inside so it screws up the taste

  • cindy_7

    Jamie - It's 450 pages! And now I just found the page that says Baker Creek. I didn't look at the fine print, partly because I didn't have my glasses on. :)

  • Jamie

    I’m patiently awaiting my copy hahaha

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa

    I got a Baker Creek catalog last year. That one says Whole Seed Catalog, but under that it says Baker Creek. It has a UPC bar code so I guess someone somewhere has bought one. Didn't buy from it, but it's a nice catalog. Burpee however is really cheap on sending catalogs. I have a 2018 which is good enough as I'm going to buy online. A catalog is nicer to read than clicking over a web site.

    The Fedco catalog isn't very nice, but I'm making up an order. If you want rootstocks and some seed they won't combine orders as far as I can figure.

  • cindy_7

    Richard - I also saved dwarf tomato seeds. Let me know if you want me to post a list.

  • Lyla

    Cindy—I know! It’s strange. I’m not sure why it took so long. Could have walked to where you live in less time.

    Richard, I love those starfish peppers. I’m trying to overwinter one of mine since they just started producing for real in September. Mine turned out much milder than advertised, which in our house made them very useful.

  • RD Texas

    Lyla, I agree with you and wish I had to planted more of the Starfish pepper plants. Mine were also late producers and they have double now than earlier in the year. The Sugar Rush Peach peppers are also great especially in hot sauce-the have the perfect amount of heat. I also think the starfish have the perfect amount of heat for eating them raw and that was one of the few I find tasty enough to eat with sandwiches. I used to use ghost peppers for my hot sauce, but one can only put 2-4 per quart sized Mason jar or it is impossible to eat. I use about 9-12 of the SRP and Starfish peppers.

    Cindy that would be great. I am open to any dwarf plants and actually might try to grow a few inside during the winter and space may be at a premium after I move. I have a whole bunch of pepper seeds and I think I owe you some fish pepper seeds. I also have 30-50 new kinds of tomato seeds. I have also been thinking about growing the Wes tomatoes also. I might shoot for a hundred this Spring if that is at all possible after getting into a new place. I can also go through the new seeds (when they arrive) and the other recent arrivals and post a list for you to peruse as you inventory of tomato varieties is probably the most extensive on this site, but I am sure I have a few new ones you might want to try.

  • RD Texas

    John, the Baker Creek catalogue that I got about 2 weeks ago was 147 pages. It says, "Our 23rd annual Pure Seed Book." Sugar Stars Phlox are on the cover.

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