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…]
I often say my approach to gardening is "horticultural how-to and woo-woo," and this is the former part: the tips, tricks and techniques that help make an organic garden grow successfully. From pruning to seed-starting and composting, garden cleanup and prep and more, it's here.
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…]
UH-OH. MY HALLOWEEN DECORATIONS (a.k.a. pumpkins) are frozen solid to the front steps, and at the next thaw will become orangey puddles, I suspect. Christmas lights? Similarly a bit behind schedule—and I haven’t even pondered any holiday shopping. But I saw that my crafty gardening friend Gayla Trail had once again outshone me with a roundup of homemade gift ideas, including lavender-laced caramels, herbed salts, bath “tea bags” and more. She visited with me on this week’s radio show to give us the details (including a chance to win one of the fun garden T-shirts she designed). [read more…]
WONDERING HOW—and when—to prune Hydrangea paniculata shrubs whose blooms are browning off now as late fall takes hold? (That’s one sprouting after a light pruning in spring, above.) Or whether you can plant grocery-store-bought garlic and get a crop next year? These are among the recent questions you’ve asked, that I answered on this week’s edition of my public-radio show. [read more…]