What I’m Planting in 2018

One of the many pleasures of this seed-ordering time of year is sharing seed order lists with friends and family. I send my sister Sarah my annual order list and enjoy seeing hers. And it’s always fun to have seed conversations with my neighbor Carol and with other gardening friends. In this spirit of sharing, I’ve made a table listing all the seeds I’m planning to plant this year, some brief comments about why I’ve chosen these vegetables and these varieties, and very often links to posts I’ve written about many of these vegetables over the years of this Lopez Island Kitchen Garden blog. I hope this list will be a useful resource and, more important, that anyone who has other vegetables and vegetable varieties they like will share them in return.

Here’s a key to the seed catalog sources listed by letter after each variety:

A = Adaptive Seeds

F= Fedco Seeds

J = Johnny’s Selected Seeds

MT = Moose Tubers

PT = Pinetree

SSE = Seed Savers Exchange

TSC = Territorial Seed Company

UP = Uprising Seeds

Seed What I’ll plant in 2018 Comments
Arugula Arugula F I plant arugula in August as a fall and winter green.
Basil Genovese F

Sweet F

Round Midnight F


Genovese and Sweet are both good green basil.   Round Midnight is purple and a lovely accent color with sliced tomatoes.
Beans, Bush green Maxibel F Maxibel is my favorite bush green bean.
Beans, Pole fresh Fortex UP

Golden Gate F

Northeaster  J

Rattlesnake F

I like the mixture of colors and shapes of these pole beans.


Beans, Pole shell and dry Aunt Jean

Good Mother Stallard

Soissons Verte


Seeds for all of these I’ve saved over the years or gotten from friends

Beans that don’t dry on the vine make great shell beans.



Beans, Bush shell and dry Cranberry


Black Turtle

Seeds for all of these I’ve saved over the years or gotten from friends

Cranberry I like best as a shell bean. Drabo and Black Turtle I like as a dry bean.


Beets Avalanche TSC

Kestrel F

Touchstone Gold F

I like to grow red, yellow and white beets. TSC used to carry Kestrel then dropped it. I’m glad Fedco  brought it back. I was happy to order it this year.
Broccoli DiCicco J

Piracicaba F

Umpqua F

I grew Piracicaba last year and liked its constant side shoot production.
Brussels Sprouts Diablo F

Gustus F

Hestia TSC

Igor TSC

Nautic TSC

Gustus was my favorite for flavor and hardiness in 2017. I’ll grow more Gustus relative to the others this year.
Cabbage January King A I continue to like January King best for winter cabbage.
Cantaloupe Prescott Fond Blanc F After a few years off, I’m going to try cantaloupe again.
Cauliflower Fioretto 60 F

Snow Crown F

Fioretto with its side-shoot growth habit seems worth a try. I’ll grow Snow Crown cauliflower as a back-up.
Carrots Mokum F

Purple Haze F

Red Cored Chantenay F

White Satin F

Yellowstone F

In addition to orange Mokum and Chantenay, Purple Haze, White Statin and Yellowstone offer beautiful colors as well as sweet, crisp flavor. Purple Haze is my favorite for flavor and beauty of these three colorful, non-orange carrots.
Celeriac Brilliant F

Tellus A

Both celery root varieties  have great flavor but Tellus is a tiny bit sweeter.
Chard Argentata F

Fordhook F

Rainbow F

Rainbow chard is so pretty.

Fordhook is winter hardy in the garden and tender on the plate.  I’m trying Argentata this year for its thicker stems.

Collards Cascade Glaze F

Flash TSC

Despite its rough appearance, collards are very tender when sautéed. It’s a great winter green alone or mixed with cabbage.
Corn Café F

Candy Mountain A

Café matured early in 2017 and was very sweet.   I’m trying Candy Mountain for comparison this year
Eggplant Diamond F

Galine F

Rosa Bianca F

These three eggplant produce reliably in my kitchen garden when grown in a cloche.


Borca A

Pan di Zucchero F


Indigo F

Fiero F

Radicchio de Treviso F

Borca and Pan di Zucchero, both sugarloaf chicories, have become one of our favorite winter greens.

The red versions are great too.

Fava Windsor F I always grow favas and like Windsor for its size and rich flavor.
Fennel Mantovano A

Preludio J

These two fennel varieties have been very bolt resistant in my garden, planted in early spring and again in late summer.
Ground Cherry Ambrosia Husk Cherry F After a few years off, I’m growing ground cherries  again this year.
Kale Lacinato F

Lacinato, Dazzling Blue A

Red Russian F

Redbor TSC

White Russian F

Winterbor TSC

If I could grow only one vegetable, it would be kale. Search my blog for the many entries on growing kale, kale puree, kale flower buds and kale salad
Leeks Bleu de Solaize F

Lancelot F

These two leek varieties seem most winter hardy, most rust resistant and sweetest.
Lettuce Super Gourmet Blend TSC I like lettuce mixes.  They are a good way to get variety without buying a lot of different seed packets.
Mache Granon A


I can’t imagine not having mache in the winter garden.
Mustard Red Giant F Sautéed red mustard is a favorite winter side dish.
Onions Newburg A

Patterson F

Redwing F

Purplette J

I miss Copra! Newburg and Patterson are OK substitutes but not as sweet as Copra.

Redwing is a great storage red onion.

Purplette is a spring favorite.

Pac Choi Shuko F I’ve never grown Pac Choi so this will be an adventure.
Parsley Gigante d’Italia F My favorite parsley
Parsnip Gladiator TSC What would winter meals be without sweet parsnips?
Peas, Snap Sugarsnap F I continue to plant this original sugar snap pea despite the off-types that still appear and the lack of disease resistance.   I like the flavor better than any other sugar snap pea.
Peppers Red sweet:

Carmen F

King of the North F

Lady Bell F

Revolution F

Orange sweet:

Etudia A

Gourmet F

Yellow sweet:

Flavorburst F

Poblano spicy:

Ancho Magnifico TSC

Tiburon F

Peppers produce reliably in my kitchen garden when grown in a cloche.

I grow red, orange and yellow sweet peppers for their flavor and colors and roast and freeze any that are left.

Poblanos are mainly a winter treat, roasted and frozen in summer/fall and used thawed for sauces and mixed with mashed squash or potatoes in winter.

Potato Daisy Gold MT

German Butterball MT

At the recommendation of Will Bonsall, I grew Daisy Gold last year, really liked it and will grow it again.

German Butterball is an old favorite.   Both store well.

Raab Sorrento TSC Though kale and other brassicas provide delicous raab-like flower buds in the spring, I like to grow a little raab in the fall.
Radish Champion F

Cheriette F

I grow radishes in the cool of spring and enjoy them alone and with new lettuce. These two varieties make pretty, mildly spicy red globes.
Rutabaga Joan TSC Earthy, sweet rutabaga is the perfect winter root.  Search my blog for many root vegetable recipes.
Shallot Ed’s Red My friend Dave Sabold gives me seed of Ed’s Red.   Shallots are another winter treat.
Spinach Abundant Bloomsdale A Some years I plant spinach in late fall and let it winter over and begin growing early in the spring. It’s always welcome in salads and wilted in butter.
Squash, Summer Costata Romanesca F Costata Romanesca is my favorite zucchini, flavorful and not watery.
Squash, Winter Burpees Butterbush F

Hunter TSC

Candystick Dessert Delicata A

Honeyboat Delicata A

Blue Kuri A

Potimarron A

Tetsukabuto PT

Burgess Buttercup TSC

While I like big winter squash like Buttercup and Blue Kuri for pies, mashes and soups, I’ve also grown to like smaller, one-meal squash like Honeyboat Delicata for roasting. And for the past few years I’ve also liked Butternut squashes for both roasting and stews.
Tomato Amish paste F

Brandywine, Pink F

Cherokee Carbon TSC

Cherokee Purple TSC

Darby Red & Yellow A

Dester SSE

Fiachetto de Manduria UP

Genuwine TSC

Golden Jubilee (aka Golden Sunray) F

Hillbilly TSC

Jasper Cherry F

Jaune de Flamme F

Momotaro F

Mortgage Lifter TSC

Orange Paruche TSC

Prudens Purple F

Speckled Roman F

Sunchocola Cherry TSC

Weavers Black Brandywine F

Each year, I grow old favorites, return to some I’ve grown and liked in the past (underlined), and try some new (italics) that look intriguing. I was especially pleased this year to find in the Fedco description of Golden Jubilee that this tomato used to be offered under the name Golden Sunray, an old favorite of mine.  Search my blog for many post about drying tomatoesroasting tomatoes, training tomatoes and growing tomatoes.



Turnips Gold Ball F

Oasis F

White Egg F

Gilfeather F

Spring turnips are an amazing treat. Try them!

Gilfeather winter turnip is just as great a treat.  Try them too!





Seed Ordering Steps 2018

Seed Ordering 2018

There are a couple of steps I follow when preparing to order new seeds each year. I reorganize seed packets in the shallow boxes where I keep them, replacing the spring, summer, fall planting order they’ve been in since the start of the last planting year with an alphabetical order that matches most seed catalog layouts, and then I check the contents of each packet and decide what seeds I need to order for the year ahead. This year, however, my seed boxes seemed fuller than ever and the challenge of alphabetizing so many packets prompted me to look seriously at my seed-ordering habits. Just how long have I been keeping some of these seed packets and why?

If I want more of a variety and the seed packet is empty, it’s an easy decision to order more. But if there are a few, or more than a few, seeds left in packets ordered one, two, three or more years ago, do I order new seeds and avoid the risk of running out or do I stay with the old seeds, plant what’s left, and hope for germination? I confess to the habit of ordering new if there’s the slightest chance I’ll need them but also keeping the old even though I do know that seeds don’t stay viable forever. As a result, my seed boxes have arugula going back to 2011, beets to 2009, broccoli to 2008, corn to 2007 and on through the alphabet to some really old zucchini seeds. Two boxes have become five.

Getting serious about sorting out these overflowing boxes, I searched for some seed viability charts. Of the many charts online, I settled on one from the High Mowing Seeds, a table that lists seeds alphabetically in one column and “longevity under proper seed storage conditions” in the next. Using it, I separated my seed collection into two boxes of probably viable and three boxes of most likely not viable. I’m not ready to discard these older seeds quite yet; I do remember times when some officially expired seeds of corn, peas and onions have germinated. But at least when this year’s seed packets arrive, I’ll have a much easier time filing them into the current, thinned out, viable seeds boxes.

Seed Type Longevity Under Proper Seed Storage Conditions
Artichokes 5 years
Arugula 3 years
Beans 3 years
Beets 4 years
Broccoli 3 years
Brussels Sprouts 4 years
Cabbage 4 years
Carrots 3 years
Cauliflower 4 years
Celery/Celeriac 5 years
Chard 4 years
Collards 5 years
Corn 2 years
Cress 5 years
Cucumbers 5 years
Eggplant 4 years
Endive/Escarole 5 years
Fennel 4 years
Kale 4 years
Kohlrabi 4 years
Leeks 1 year
Lettuce 5 years
Melons 5 years
Mustard 4 years
Okra 2 years
Onions 1 year
Peas 3 years
Peppers 2 years
Pumpkins 4 years
Radish 5 years
Rutabagas 4 years
Spinach 2-3 years
Summer Squash 4 years
Tomatoes 4 years
Turnips 5 years
Watermelon 4 years
Winter Squash 4 years

Another thing I do while sorting through seed packets is to note the especially successful varieties from the year before. There were four new varieties from 2017, all from Territorial Seeds, that I will definitely plant again:

Redbor Kale: advertised as “vigorous and cold hardy…both beautiful and tasty. Mild and crisp, this finely curled kale adds a flash of color to salads.” I’ll grow even more plants next year.

Hunter Butternut Squash: I really like Burpee’s Butterbush butternut squash but the description of Hunter tempted me to order seeds for comparison. Hunter is everything the description claims and I’ll plant it again next year: “A classic butternut that sprints past most common varieties, maturing faster than any of them that we’ve trialed! The shapely fruit have creamy, smooth textured, sweet orange flesh, and average 1 1/4 to 2 pounds each. Healthy plants are highly productive too. These long-storing squash will provide delicious eating all winter long.”

Cherokee Carbon Tomato: “The best of Cherokee Purple and Carbon, these beautiful beefsteaks have a dusky blush and rich, delicious flavor.” Who knew there’d be a tomato even tastier than Cherokee Purple? From Territorial’s Heirloom marriage series, Cherokee Carbon is one that I will definitely plant again.

Orange Paruche Cherry Tomato: I’m always tempted to try taste-test winners and I can see why Orange Paruche won. It has replaced Sungold as my favorite orange tomato. “The quintessential flavor of summer is captured in these succulent, sweet and flavorful fruit. Orange Paruche excels in productivity with astonishing quantities of brilliant, glowing orange fruit that are irresistible and vitamin-packed. The 1-inch round fruit crowd branched trusses on the indeterminate, vigorous plants. The winner of our in-house taste test.”

And how long will I keep these seeds before reordering them? According to the seed viability chart, seeds of kale, winter squash and tomatoes should be good for four years. Unless I run out, I’ll try not to order more until 2021.