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Seeking suggestions for growing...Lost in seed catalogs

 
pollinator
Posts: 274
Location: istanbul - turkey
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I can and do grow a ton of vegetables and fruits in my garden in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey is in a customs union with the EU while she is not an EU state with a terrible exchange rate and postage fees. So it is cost-prohibitive and I can only grow great local varieties. They taste great and already adapted to local conditions. But frankly, I am quite envious when people start to talk about sugar-span peas, snowflake turnip, scarlet runner bean, salanova lettuce or glass gem corn. Sometimes I feel like I am the only kid in the school who is not allowed to have pokemon cards or Jordan shoes :P I want to grow them so much!

A friend of mine will make a short trip from the US this Jan-February (first time in 10 years!). Great!

As expectedly, I am lost in seed catalogs :) This is the first time I can actually buy from them; such as baker creek, burpee... or any other company based in America. I feel like I am getting overwhelmed by possibilities. Which heirlooms (or varieties in general) would you recommend? Which ones I should try?

Thanks a lot!!
 
gardener
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Location: South of Capricorn
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This is my life!! Except seed imports are actually illegal here, although some seeds have accidentally fallen into my suitcase in the past (whoops).
I have gotten burned plenty of times buying things that are not adapted to where I live, so I think it's helpful to think about what kind of plants will be best suited. What's your climate like? and more importantly, what do you like to eat?

(Dr Google tells me Istanbul is 8B with significant snow. things I really loved that I can only buy in the US that would probably do well in your summer are curly kale, asparagus (or noodle) beans, scarlet runners would probably do well in your fall or spring seasons... I do grow sweet corn becuase I love it, but it doesn't do well here and is often an insane effort.  For me, basil, shiso, and dill are essential. Other than that my rule is to only grow things I can't get locally or which are insanely expensive. This means I grow blue potatoes, orange sweet potatoes, kales, noodle beans, chinese greens like pak choi, and long Asian eggplant.)
 
gardener & author
Posts: 1739
Location: Tasmania
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I try not to get too caught up in all the pretty colours and focus on finding plants that grow vigorously, put up with uneven watering and maybe some neglect and imperfect soil, but once my soil improves maybe I'll look for pretty colours as well.

Some of my favourites:
Red Russian kale
Principe borghese tomatoes
Tommy toe tomatoes
Amish paste tomatoes
Costata romenesca zucchini
Painted mountain corn
Short kuroda carrot
Mihicili cabbage
Giant curled mustard
Mini cabbage
Daikon radish
Early wonder beetroot
Purple top turnip
Scarlet emperor bean
Provider bush bean
Freckles lettuce
 
s. ayalp
pollinator
Posts: 274
Location: istanbul - turkey
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Thanks a lot!

I don't have a chance to try new varieties and this opportunity is happening for the first time. Istanbul's climate is, well, weird. It is 9b, but we might have a ton of lake effect snow. Moreover; in the middle of summer, it turns very humid. It is Mediterranean Climate, but some years we had thunderstorms in July that dropped over 300mm of rain (twice). We had winters that had no rain or snow, not even a bit. Also, my garden is on a very steep slope in a quite deep valley. I have a ton of microclimates. I am just going to plant and try to grow as many varieties possible and see which ones work best. I might even try to blend them in with local varieties. So I am just going wild for once :)

Also, any ny winter squash/pumpkin suggestions are greatly appreciated :) I grow the same white sweet pumpkin every year. It works great, but even it has a name that is boring: white pumpkin.
 
Posts: 1141
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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oikos tree crops just released a perennial vegetable seed catalog, thatd be worth looking at!
 
s. ayalp
pollinator
Posts: 274
Location: istanbul - turkey
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A little update:
So 8 months ago I ordered seeds, some lost on the way. These are what I was able to receive, and their mid season performances
Candy Roaster - North Georgia Squash = most vigorous squash among others, easier to grow. I have 5 squashes by 2 plants, 3 of which are 10+ pounds. I did not taste it yet. Apparently you need to keep them stored for taste improvement. But I am going to cook smallest one just to see how it tastes. It got covered with powdery mildew, but somehow made it through. I am going to plant it next year too.
Honey Boat Delicate Squash = nice plant but got decimated by powdery mildew in mid season. I was able to get one squash out of 4 plants. Not very encouraging. Made a taste test, it was the most bland squash I have ever tasted. Something to do with my conditions. Will try to grow it again next year, just to give it a second chance. Seeds are saved.
Gete Okosomin Squash = nice plant. Got decimated by powdery mildew. No fruits, no nothing
Buen Gusto de Horno Squash = best resistance against powdery mildew. I have one small fruit and one medium size on the way. I saw the pictures and its appearance is the reason that made me go "why not". It sure looks weird.
Table Queen Acorn Squash = I thought this would be the best performer. Got decimated by powdery mildew, no fruits. Nothing. Very disappointing.

Cherokee Long Ear Popcorn = Plants as high as I am. Got stressed in the beginning but made it through. Each plant has 2 ears. No damage by insects, diseases etc. Great performance. Might try it next year. Seeds will be saved.
Strawberry Popcorn =  Plants 1m+ (3ft). Each plant has 1 or 2 ears. Probably I planted them in a wrong spot, but performed very well.

Scarlet Runner Bean = Well it definitely has nice flowers. But that was it for me. Plants do not put on green beans after flowering. I have never had this problem before. I think it has to do something with temperature or (unlikely but) pollination. Each Plant is covered with 50-100 flowers for the last month or so but I had one bean only. I still have some hope, it might perform differently in the fall. Will see
Chinese Red Noodle Bean = plants didn't germinate. Pff.
Chinese Light Green Long Bean = great performance! I have beans that are almost 1 m long. I am trying to save all the seeds that I can get. I'll try to grow it as a major crop next year.

Just recently I received another delivery and it includes:
Glass Gem Corn, Principle Borghese Tomato, Musquee De Provence Pumpkin, Early Scarlet Horn Carrot, Blue Berries Tomato, Blue Beauty Tomato, Russian Red or Ragged Jack Kale, Golden Bantam 12-Row Corn, Fisher's Earliest Sweet Corn, Takane Ruby Buckwheat, Parisienne Carrot, Painted Mountain Corn, Corbaci Pepper, Scarlet Kale, Corbaci Pepper ( yeah I know it is weird me ordering a Turkish variety from the US to Turkey, but hey mistakes you know), Buena Mulata Hot Pepper, Filius Blue Pepper,
Peppermint - Magenta chard

 
gardener
Posts: 551
Location: Central Texas
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s. ayalp wrote:A little update:


Scarlet Runner Bean = Well it definitely has nice flowers. But that was it for me. Plants do not put on green beans after flowering. I have never had this problem before. I think it has to do something with temperature or (unlikely but) pollination. Each Plant is covered with 50-100 flowers for the last month or so but I had one bean only. I still have some hope, it might perform differently in the fall. Will see
Chinese Red Noodle Bean = plants didn't germinate. Pff.
Chinese Light Green Long Bean = great performance! I have beans that are almost 1 m long. I am trying to save all the seeds that I can get. I'll try to grow it as a major crop next year.



My scarlet runner beans made some pods in the spring, but stopped once it got hot this summer, even though they've been blooming non-stop. Like you, I hope the cooler weather in autumn will encourage them to start producing again. I also grew the long beans this year and have had similar results. They seem to like the heat, and have produced during the hottest parts of the summer.
One thing I noticed was the runners came up quickly and started producing in early spring, while the long beans were slow to get going but, when it got hot and the runners slowed down, that was the same time the long beans started going strong so, between the two, I have had a steady supply of green beans during the growing season.
 
pollinator
Posts: 211
Location: WV
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I've never grown in your climate before but I've had really good luck with seeds from Everwilde Farms this year. The prices are good and the seeds come in resealable foil packets. I've also had good luck with seeds from Baker Creek as well.

Off-topic, but my great-grandfather was born in Turkey, moved to Germany, and immigrated to the US when he was ten.  I've always been curious about the area.
 
s. ayalp
pollinator
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Kc Simmons wrote:
One thing I noticed was the runners came up quickly and started producing in early spring, while the long beans were slow to get going but, when it got hot and the runners slowed down, that was the same time the long beans started going strong so, between the two, I have had a steady supply of green beans during the growing season.



This is a very pleasant discovery for me too I missed the spring season, because I was building the beds, But I am looking forward for the fall season.

Michelle Heath wrote:
Off-topic, but my great-grandfather was born in Turkey, moved to Germany, and immigrated to the US when he was ten.  I've always been curious about the area.


I bought most of the seeds from Baker creek.
It is hard to describe this country. So many cultures, people, traditions mixed together. So many climates - zones too. Hope you will have a chance in the future to visit.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 1510
Location: southern Illinois.
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Your location is exotic enough, from the perspective of the USA, that I suspect if you directly contacted the seed companies with this question that, more often than, I suspect you would get a reply.
 
pollinator
Posts: 449
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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I can get lost in seed catalogs as well, and in spite of my best efforts, sometimes, I will go to one of my favorite plant stores and see something that appeals to me for no particular reason and ... buy it... and get burned. We get our seed catalogs during the winter months, the idle season, so it is particularly tempting to thumb through endlessly, and maybe end up with choices that I regret later. So I try to get organized.
First, look at what did not work, and around this time of the year, look at what failed and why. Annual crops in the garden, bushes, trees... [I still would like pear trees but I've tried 6 times and they always die! So forget it this year! Unless...:-/ ]
Second I promise myself I will not get tempted ... again. I try [but often fail], to make an inventory of the seeds I still have left before I go shopping in a catalog or to my favorite stores.
Third, the first thing I do when getting a catalog is go through it with a sharpie: I look *only* at things that have a chance to grow HERE, and cross out everything else mercilessly. All zone 5 and up are out. That should not take more than a day, two at most.
4th. Which veggies do we usually eat and which ones are left, canned or frozen? They end up being given away to the local pantry or to my chickens. That was a waste of resources, time and effort! Which trees, bushes and vines would I like to have and for what purpose? Snow catcher? deer barrier? edible? ornamental? That one takes me all winter and I'm not always done in April, but I love to salivate over all the pretty pictures and read everything about them, research in Permies or in the Wiki what other folks have said about each and eventually arrive at a decision.
There is where I often get back to bad habits and get seduced by a pretty picture, a glorified promise of a bountiful harvest for hardly any work. You know what I mean. I think we have all been there.
Make a list! and yeah!, just try to stick to it![I double dare you;-) ]
Since I don't have a hot house, there are some plants that I will buy from the local store or pick up somewhere. I prepare my own sweet potato slips which are hard to get and more expensive but for the more common things, for which there is a wide choice, I buy the plant. Tomatoes, basil, etc. fall in that category, so I don't look into catalogs for that: I know I will buy local, so I skip those sections of catalogs. Trees/ bushes are a little different as we can plant in the Spring and in the Fall. In the fall, I replace those trees that died. In the Spring, I expand to plant in new areas.
That is how I try to stay sane during the winter months when I'm cooped up and develop a serious cabin fever! But really, this is a job that gets concentrated in the winter but for practical reasons, the evaluation is really ongoing all year long.
 
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My squashes were decimated by powdery mildew too. There has been a lot of research on using milk to deter powdery mildew. I'm going to try it next year. You need to spray it on the leaves as a preventative, before the mildew shows up, and then repeated every couple of weeks or after rain. It should be diluted in water—people have tried different dilutions, but 40% milk to 60% water seems to be a good dilution. Also, I have heard that it needs to be applied in sunlight—there seems to be a reaction between the milk and the sun.
 
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