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Portland Grows @ PPL– Current Seed Varieties

Beardtongue / Penstemon Strictus

This beautiful perennial grows spikes of bright blue flowers and evergreen foliage. They are a bee-friendly plant, and very easy to grow.

Spacing: 16-20”

Planting depth: 1/16”

Days to germination: 15-30

Days to maturity: Late spring

Early Frosty Shell Pea

This variety is easy to grow and easy to save seeds from mature plants. The vines can grow up to 3 feet, and production varies but typically yields a large quantity.  Peas produce more when staked, and installing at planting will avoid disturbing the seedlings. Peas are 25% sucrose by weight, and lose nearly half their sugars within six hours after harvesting at room temperature. Keep cool and shell as soon as possible after picking if you plan to freeze. Peas are one of the oldest cultivated vegetables in the world!

Spacing: 3”

Planting depth: 1“

Days to germination: 8-10

Days to maturity: 60-70

Gigante d’Italia Parsley

This variety produces big flat leaves on sturdy plants. It is the most popular herb in Western cultures, and has a bright tang of Mediterranean origin.

Growing tips:

Sow indoors eight weeks before the last frost, or plant directly in the ground after the last frost, and three months before the first fall frost. Parsley is a slow germinator but will take hold and shoot up once it has time. Parsley prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. You can harvest the large outer leaves and let the smaller inner leaves mature for continuous harvest. With protection from snow, it will come back in the spring, and can be harvested for a month before going to seed.

Spacing: 12”

Planting depth: ¼ “

Days to germination: 21

Days to maturity: 85

Harris Model Parsnips

These are a classic parsnip, and growers enjoy them because they do well when the rest of the garden is dormant. Any time the ground is not frozen, you can pull them up, even into the winter! You can also leave them in the ground to flower in the spring, which are very good at attracting native pollinators and garden insects. If you’ve never had a parsnip, consider it like an earthy cousin to the carrot.

Spacing: 8”

Planting depth: ¼”

Days to germination: 13-40

Days to maturity: 85-90

Meadow Sweet / Filipendula Ulmuria

This perennial grows white flowers that are edible, along with its leaves. It is a hardy plant and can grow in a variety of conditions from full sun to part shade. Meadowsweet is known by other names, and in Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale, it is knowns as Meadwort, which was one of the ingredients in a beverage called “save.” It is used to produce aspirin, and has been used in holistic herbal remedies for centuries. The plant attracts wildlife, bees, and feeds birds. The seeds should be sown in the fall in clumps, and

Spacing: 1” in clumps

Planting depth: 1”

Days to germination: 21-90

Days to maturity: flowers June to September, seeds ripen August to September

Non-heading broccoli / Piracicaba 

This variety of broccoli is preferred by some because of its sweet tender floret. The greens are edible, and it grows well in cool consistent temperatures. Broccoli contains high levels of sulforaphane, which is a substance that helps remove carcinogens from the body. Piracicaba are hardy growers that require warmer temperatures to germinate, but damaged by extreme fluctuations in temperature.

Spacing: 24”

Planting depth: ½”

Days to germination: 6-10

Days to maturity: 56

Reisetomate Tomato

This heirloom variety of tomato produces a very unique fruit—it looks like a big bunch of cherry tomatoes fused together. It is also known as the “Traveler tomato”, its roots are from Central America when people would carry it with them on a journey and be able to tear off pieces to eat without a knife. Tomatoes enjoy full sun and need good, soaking waterings. Be sure to support the stems as they grow.

Spacing: 24-36”

Planting depth: ½

Days to germination: 5-10

Days to maturity: 85

Turkish Rocket Bunias Orientalis

This plant is a perennial, and very easy to grow. It is broccoli-like with a flavor close to cabbage. In some parts of the world it grows like a weed, but its tasty leaves and edible flowering stems make it a good choice to cultivate. It is drought tolerant, and is a great choice for a beginner grower. If you choose to grow this plant, the seeds are removed from the flower heads, which will also prevent invasive creep.

Spacing: 12”

Planting depth: ½ “

Days to germination: 21

Days to maturity: as soon as leaves are produced

Winter Marvel Lettuce

This is a large green butterhead, recommended for fall production. It grows rapidly and bolts readily in summer heat. If you are sowing in spring for an early harvest, the window is very narrow. This is an old European variety.

Growing tips: Will not germinate when sown in soil temperature over 80˚, and sow every two weeks for a continuous supply. Must be thinned frequently and ruthlessly to a final distance of 1”. This is a hardy variety and can tolerate frost. Best grown in cool weather with lots of moisture, though be careful to prevent bottom rot. You can aid this by not planting lettuce in the same beds more than two years in a row.

Spacing: 12”

Planting depth: ¼ “

Days to germination: 21

Days to maturity: 45-85 depending on variety