HAVE A GARDENER OR READER on your list? Maybe “The Backyard Parables” or “And I Shall Have Some Peace There”–my two most recent books–or even a set of both might make a good gift. Signed, or signed and gift-wrapped copies available–and the shipping’s on me. Shop on-sale items here (or read more about the books first at this link).
DEAR SANTA: A girl my age doesn’t need any more “stuff,” so let’s emphasize the practical, shall we, old friend? Easier mowing; less mess with the kitchen scraps; more pro tools to process garden harvest into food that keeps; warmer (and also skid-proof) tootsies in winter; oh, and a tactic for truly flipping squirrels the bird (as in squirrel-proof bird feeders). Those gifts would make garden types like myself truly happy. Those–and maybe just a small herd of the madcap cashmere cats that my neighbor makes from recycled sweaters? [read more…]
THE CONVERSATION CONTINUES about a different kind of seed company–seed companies that don’t just package and re-sell seeds, but actually grow some or all of their inventory themselves, spending endless hours year in and year out first-hand, making sure each crop is the best it can be. This week, my guest on the blog and on radio is Lia Babitch, co-manager of Turtle Tree Biodynamic Seeds—a very special company for many reasons even beyond the TLC they put into their open-pollinated crops. We talked about some exceptional peas, beans, yellow tomatoes, winter squash and even a chicory—a new-to-the catalog crop for winter forcing. [read more…]
EVER GROW AN OPEN-POLLINATED or heirloom variety from seed, only to have it not look or taste like the photo on the packet—or even like the “same” variety when you grew it before? Maybe not your fault! Seeds aren’t like widgets; someone has to take care of the living genetics to make sure subsequent generations remain true to type, and even continue to evolve. But who’s doing that critical, demanding work? In a new series, we’ll meet seed farmers who are, and hopefully get you shopping smarter than ever before. Our first expert Q&A is with geneticist and longtime plant breeder Dr. John Navazio—senior scientist with the Organic Seed Alliance—who helps set the scene. I’ve bought a copy of his recent seed book to share with you as well. [read more…]