Thursday, March 14, 2013

2013 Rooftop Vegetable Seed Selections

Yay, back for a new growing season! Are you excited? I'm excited, I can't wait to open up the roof.

Without further ado:

Carrot - Short and Sweet, 68 days
Melon - Minnesota Midget OP, 65 days
Melon - Serenade F1, 78 days
Peas (Shelling) - Caselode, 57 days
Potatoes - Yukon Gold, 70-90 days
Sweet Corn - On Deck F1, 61 days
Sweet Pepper - Giant Aconcagua OP, 75 days [1st Generation Rooftop Seeds]
Sweet Pepper - Planet F1, 65 days
Tomato (Cherry) - Jasper F1, 60 days
Tomato (Early) - Beaver Lodge OP, 55 days
Tomato (Main) - Brandy Boy F1, 75 days
Tomato (Main) - Cosmonaut Volkov OP, 72 days
Tomato (Main) - Japanese Black Trifele OP, 74 days
Soybean - Butterbean OP, 90 days

I haven't indulged in any impulse purchases yet, so this list might get longer later.

Have you started your seeds yet? I'm waiting until the first week of April. Any sooner just makes for more work further down the line.

I'm trying one new (new to me at least) plant variety this year, sweet corn. Growing corn has been on my list for a long time, but the heights they reach do not mix well with a windy roof so I've always let that wish go. Now, however, I've read about Burpee's new container friendly corn, On Deck, which only gets 4-5 ft. tall, so I'm giving it a try. I hope it works out, rooftop corn would be awesome.

I'll be growing more tomato varieties this year since last year's tomato yield sucked. Last year I grew too many Summertime Green plants, which had very poor productivity on the roof. They skewed my total yield way down. The 1 Mountain Magic plant I grew almost outperformed the 4 Summertime Green plants combined. Oh well, live and learn.

I should have grown a greater diversity of tomatoes, hybrid and open pollinated, early and main season, to lower my risk of such lopsided numbers, which is what I'm going to do this year. A couple more containers will be added to the roof to accommodate the additions.

The cherry tomato, Jasper F1, is a 2013 AAS Winner. Red tomatoes usually don't stand out to me, but Jasper's description really caught my eye (emphasis mine):
Excellent taste, a long harvest window and outstanding performance in the trials contributes to this tomato’s success.

Vigorous vines require little or no fertilization. An added bonus is fusarium resistance and the ability to overcome weather-related stresses.
Excellent flavor and an ability to overcome weather related stress? Sign me up!

Beaver Lodge is my choice for an early tomato. The maturity date is 5 days sooner than the cherry. It's recommended for cool regions so I think I might try to push my luck and put this out a couple weeks earlier than everything else.

Brandywine tomatoes are another plant I have always wanted to try, but the low yield per plant kept me away. Brandy Boy is my hybrid compromise.

Cosmonaut Volkov and Japanese Black Trifele were my wild card picks. For wild card picks I disregarded strategy and risk and just browsed catalogs until something caught my eye. I still apply certain standards for these picks however. They must be open pollinated so I can save the seeds if I choose. Their description must mention a yield/productivity of good or better and their description must mention a flavor of great or better. Tomato descriptions that mention just good flavor, or even worse, omit any reference to flavor at all are avoided like the plague.

For melons I chose 1 hybrid, Serenade, and 1 open pollinated variety, Minnesota Midget. They have different maturity times so I hope to have a constant supply of melons for most of the growing season. The Minnesota Midget seeds were courtesy of fellow NYC rooftop gardener Dan, thanks Dan! Actually, I lost the packet he gave me so I had to re-order them online, but he still deserves thanks despite my mistake.

2 peppers this year. Giant Aconcagua, open pollinated, saved from last year's garden, and Planet, a hybrid. Planet has an early maturity, 65 days, but peppers tend to develop quickly on the roof so I wonder how early this will produce.

The rest of the seeds (carrots, peas and soybeans) will be planted once the main crops expire, or possibly grown indoors. The Caselode peas were bought last year, but I forgot to grow them, so they're getting another chance.

Seeds: $72.37

Total: $72.37

2013 Running Total: $72.37

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  1. So I started all of my seeds a few weeks ago, including the seeds you generously share with me. And none of the pepper seeds (I think there were two kinds in what you sent plus one more I purchased from Baker Creek) have germinated. They are in peet pots- two different trays. And not a single one shows any signs of growth. Just about everything else is growing though. Do you think this is user error or is this common? I've googled and found every answer under the sun. But I can't imagine three varieties of seeds were all bad. I'm curious to find tips on what I did wrong.


    1. Hi KK, from my experience peppers and eggplants are slow to sprout. Having a heat source helps, top of the fridge, near a heat vent, that kind of thing, water and warmth basically.

    2. Thanks, Elaine! I'll try to be patient! It's hard when you are just itching for spring.


    3. No problem, every gardener understands the itch!

  2. Yey for the 2013 season! I just got a seed catalog...but I am all set of seeds this year. Looking through the catalog though...I'm so tempted to buy more!

    1. Once I order seeds I dump the catalogs to avoid further temptation. I'm generally a frugal person, but seed ordering is my exception to the rule. It's the only time I won't balk at paying $5+ shipping for a $10-$15 order. Since I ordered from 3 different companies almost a 3rd of my seed cost went to shipping fees. Don't care though, I just want to start growing again!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!