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…]
How to grow garden plants from seeds, including vegetable seeds and herbs and annual flowers and vines. Browse the archive below for tips on topics like growing the perfect tomato, what grow lights and other seed-starting gear to use, when to sow peas or spinach or a second crop of beans, and even if you can grow Clematis from those fluffy seedheads it produces.
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…]
HAIL HAMMERED MY GARDEN in late May, and among the casualties: much of my garlic crop. Yes, even the narrow, strappy leaves of my favorite Allium were slashed to ribbons, with many plants hit squarely and decapitated altogether. About half of my 75 ‘German Extra Hardy’ plants failed to make the big, fat bulbs I have been growing for more than a decade. While I gradually build my stock back up, the loss presents an opportunity to try new varieties, both of which I’m planting this week, like this: [read more…]
AROUND NOW, THE HOOKS on my mudroom walls offer no space for coats (though the weather hints I’ll be needing mine). Too many paper shopping bags are hanging there instead (photo above), one after another with faded, upside-down plants inside, meant to let go of their increasingly dry seed. That’s my primitive tactic, but there are better ways to save seed, and the Organic Seed Alliance shares them—from which variety you grow with eventual saving in mind, to maintaining that crop in the garden, to drying and even storing it–in a free, 30-page book-like pdf download loaded with both the botanical science and sensible tips, too. [read more…]