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Seeds in the Spotlight

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Seeds in the Spotlight
    Posted: 19 April 2013 at 13:01
I get the newsletter from, and they just recently started adding a new feature, called Seeds in the Spotlight. I thought it would be interesting to pass along here:
Dear Ronald,
We recently decided that our E-mail newsletters were the perfect place to shine a spotlight on some of our most unique, wonderful varieties of seeds! So, we’re kicking off our “Seed Spotlight” series of articles in this newsletter.  Look for our Seed Spotlights to give you in-depth information on the heritage of certain seeds, growing instructions and tips, pictures, great recipes, and other interesting tidbits.  Each month we will select a different unique variety of vegetable, fruit, or flower seed, that is due to be planted at that time of year.  We'll also be offering a special discount off the variety of the month, to make it easier for you to give them a shot.   We hope you’ll join us in growing and enjoying something new!

Seed Spotlight: Chioggia Beets

At Seeds from Italy, we’ve thought for years that beets are an under-appreciated veggie.  Picky children will have nothing to do with them, and this aversion often carries over into later life.  If you’re one such person, we implore you to give them another chance!  This delightful root, considered the sweetest of the vegetables, is flavorful, versatile, beautiful, and easy to grow.  Grab a packet soon, because the time to plant is now! Also, as part of our Seed Spotlight articles, every small packet of Chioggia Beets is discounted to only $2.00 until May 15th.

The Chioggia Beet (
pronounced “Key-o-juh”) is one of the sweetest beets available, and it certainly has the most striking looks.  This beet originates from the region of Chioggia, a small costal town about 25km south of Venice, renowned for its agriculture.  The distinctive pink and white rings inside the beet make it a very aesthetic addition to your dinner.  As an interesting side note, beets are very closely related to chard, though this plant has been selected to grow roots rather than leaves like chard.

Planting and Harvesting Instructions:

Beet seeds can be sown directly into the ground as soon as the soil has warmed up to 45 degrees.  Plant seeds with a density of about 15 per foot, and sow them a little over 1/4 of an inch deep.  Make sure rows are at least 1 foot apart.  As the beets grow, thin them by simply harvesting the largest of the plants.  Also make sure to keep the beets well irrigated to prevent Scab from forming.  Pick the beets when they are 2”-4” in size.  We recommend doing succession plantings every two or three weeks, to ensure that you have a fresh crop of beets for a long time.  

Storage and Cooking

Your beets are great fresh, but they can also be stored up to 6 months, in a cool, very humid place.  The fridge works well, or a root cellar will suffice, if you make sure to maintain the humidity by splashing water around every few days, or hosing the beets down regularly.

The beet greens are also edible and make a nice substitution for spinach.

There are countless scores of Chioggia Beet recipes out there, but we chose this Chioggia Beet Carpaccio recipe from the PopArtichoke Food Blog because it’s beautiful, tasty, and easy to prepare.  See the full recipe here.

Photos Courtesy of PopArtichoke.

Tomatoes all year

We've discovered an easy way to keep enjoying your tomato harvest through the winter.  Wash and dry ripe tomatoes, then put them whole into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer.  When you're ready to eat them, run them under warm water for a minute or two.  The peels slip off easily.  Carve out the core and slice them into your soup!

Seeds on Sale

In addition to our sale on Chioggia Beets, Basil Italiano Classico and Misticanza All Lettuce are also discounted to only $2.00 a packet until May 15th.

Heat Resistant Lettuce

With last year going down as the hottest year on record, many gardeners had problems with lettuce bolting early or tasting bitter. Research in West Virginia found that several Seeds from Italy lettuce varieties showed excellent heat tolerance.  Dr. Lewis Jett, the commercial horticulture specialist at West Virginia University, said that at his research station in central West Virginia, 37°N latitude, the temperature surpassed 100°F a few times.

Dr. Jett trialed 30 varieties of head lettuce. He chose Bibbs (which includes Butterhead, Boston, and Batavian types), Romaines, and one crisphead. He did not trial leaf lettuces. Among those that did best in the heat were Regina dei Ghiacci, Rossa di Trento, and Rouge Grenobloise. On his list of good choices for all seasons were Regina dei Ghiacci, Maravilla de Verano Canasta, and Radichetta Barba dei Frati, which he also praised for excellent flavor.

Seeds from Italy varieties that were NOT good in the heat were Parella Rosa, Passion Brune, and Quattro Stagioni.
You can read the entire results of his study and see lots of gorgeous lettuce photos here.

Mixed Packs: More Varieties for Your Money

With such big packets and so many varieties of vegetable seeds to choose from, it can be a daunting task to select and use all of your seeds each year!  If you want to try more varieties of seed, but don't want to pay for a whole packet of each type, we suggest taking a look at our various mixed packets of seeds.  Misticanza All Chicory is a great way to sample 12 different varieties of chicory and radicchio.  Misticanza Quattro Staggioni is a mix of 14 different popular varieties of lettuce, endive, radicchio and chicory.  The Misticanza All Lettuce contains 14 lettuce varieties. The Radish Mix, Carrot Misticanza and Chard Mixed Colors packets will add more great colors and varieties for your salads.  Finally, we encourage you to try the Winter Squash Assortment.  This is a great way to sample some of the most unique Italian squash. Just look at all those great varieties!
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 April 2013 at 15:01


Thank you for posting ...
Relatively, we have availability quite recently in Madrid Capital to biological grown radicchio magenta red lettuce variety from Treviso, Italia, Arugula field greens, and of course Genovese Basil ...
The best beet root that we have had is Swiss ... Amazing ...
Excellent reference and thanks again.
Volamos a Mediterraneo, un paraiso que conquista su gente u su cocina.
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