Yellow of Parma

I’m embarrassed with how MANY things I haven’t done or tried in my gardening life yet. Now that I’m semi-retired, working from home (very occasionally), I’ve started to realize how much is yet to be learned.

But that’s good, very good. Unlike many interests I’ve pursued, gardening has never staled, and I can’t picture it ever getting old. Simply because there always is and always will be more to learn.

The bitter-cold winter’s moving in. The wind’s slamming against the house outside. I’m engrossed and happy by the wood stove, planning for and writing about the garden.

I ordered some ‘Yellow of Parma’ onion seeds. What a name, eh? A long-day storage heirloom variety. Never heard of them before yesterday, and never tried starting onions from seed indoors. Not sure, but I think they signal a change.

I feel like a novice in so many ways. Last year I saved seed from four or five of my heirloom tomatoes, but people have been saving all kinds of seed forever. Why have I never even considered saving my own beans, peas, cucumbers, sunflowers, melons, peppers? I guess I enjoyed picking out the safe hybrids that were bigger or more disease-resistant from the websites and catalogues with those great descriptions and pictures. Or maybe it seemed like too much effort. I don’t know.

But I think that changes this year.

Those onions, the ‘Yellow of Parma’, will be the first I’ve tried from seed, and they’re not hybrids. So with luck and maybe a little skill, there’ll be a few to leave in the ground to produce my own onion seeds the year after this. I hope they represent a new direction.

A big chunk of the seeds I order this year will be open-pollinated. And then maybe I’ll have Grandveggies! Life is good.

16 thoughts on “Yellow of Parma

  1. Sounds great, thinking similar for this coming season, also thinking of growing some unusual plants for here, such as Caro plant which I once grew from a root that was sold in the supermarket, but no-where to be found these day around here. I’ll get a hold of it somehow, will check further a field πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

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  2. Indeed a noble effort. The one scary issue with open pollinating plants is that they can be genetically altered if you have any Monsanto-like plants in the neighborhood. And those are known to produce infertile seeds so you keep buying new seeds from them. All it takes is one little be to spread the pollen and bam, end of the heirloom lineage.

    Evil isn’t it.

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  3. Oh i so enjoyed your post! I always do Dan. I save seed when I can .. The benefits are enormous. I avoid hybrid plants (taught in school) as they dont grow true in the second generation.Oh listen to me waffle! Wish you lived closer we could share seed πŸ™‚

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  4. Being more diligent about saving seed is on my list as well this year. For centuries gardeners have selected the hardiest, best tasting fruits and vegetables from their gardens to create their own varieties unique to their microclimate and I’m intrigued by the idea of breeding plants that work well in my sandy loam, short season, cool mountain environment and then sharing those with others in the area. I’m also annoyed that I’ve been so lazy about doing it πŸ™‚ I guess this is 2015 resolution number 1001….

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  5. Hi Dan, nice to come across your blog. I often grow too many leeks so usually have one or two that go to seed by the end of the season, I enjoy the flower, the bees enjoy the nectar and I have free seed for to following year. Been doing this for a few years now and my leeks are the envy of all the old boys on my allotment! I also save beans and lots of flower seeds, but I should do lots more.

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  6. Hi Dan, thanks for visiting my site – it has meant that I have discovered yours!! I think you may have coined a gardening phrase ‘Grandveggies’ is a very cute description. Welcome to the world of open pollination – you will never go back. Thanks for sharing your journey – I am now following. πŸ™‚

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