New Winter Heirloom Offerings for Your Garden

Discover the hardiest heirloom seeds and bulbs to either start indoors or plant in-ground in late winter or early spring.

Photo by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

‘Purple of Sicily’ Cauliflower

An early spring vegetable, cauliflower has risen in popularity as a low-carb substitute in a variety of dishes. If you want to grow your own, you’ll be happy to know that this Italian heirloom is one of your best bets: It’s both rich in minerals and naturally insect-resistant, which allows each head to grow to an average weight of 2 to 3 pounds. One gardener noted, “The leaves were large enough to swaddle a baby, and there was a purple head, which would grow to the size of a serving platter.” The purple florets turn green and sweeten when sautéed.

In most Zones, you’ll need to start the seeds indoors, 4 to 6 weeks before your Zone’s transplant date. ‘Purple of Sicily’ will also germinate outdoors in moderate temperatures, between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Harvest when the heads are firm, full, and compact. Cut through the stalk beneath the head with a sharp knife, making sure to leave several of the leaves for protection. Pick this cauliflower often, so that it doesn’t bolt and go to seed.

$3.00 per packet (200 seeds)
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

French Baby ‘Primor’ Leeks

Get an early jump-start on your spring garden by starting these seeds in February, either indoors or outdoors, depending on your Zone. ‘Primor’ leeks are bred in France for extra-early and vigorous yields. Seeds will germinate in just 2 to 3 weeks, and by the time stalks reach 3 to 4 inches tall, indoor growers will be able to transplant them outside when the danger of frost has passed, and spring brings its full sun. Be sure to use fertile soil, add compost or manure before planting, and add fertilizer throughout the growing season. This spirited hybrid produces quick and prodigious yields, making it an excellent investment for market farmers. You can choose to pull the leeks up as 1⁄2-inch-thick babies that sweeten on the grill, or grow them to maturity as long, savory, bulbless stalks.



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