peace seedlings’ world of ‘woddities’

dylana kapulerIT’S AN UNASSUMING little catalog; even in its printed incarnation, five-year-old Peace Seedlings is more a 20-page flyer than flashy or magazine-like. In its third season on the web, the company’s whole description and 2013 seed listing fits on one super-long, scrollable page, and you have to order by mail, with a check. Peace Seedlings makes me think of simpler days when there were more such treasure troves to discover as a gardener. It’s a list of what my retro-home-blogging friend Pam would call “woddities,” or wonderful oddities, and it makes me happy. I spent a delightful tea time yesterday imagining every plant in it in my mind’s eye, savoring each description from edible Andean tubers to a Hutterite bush bean that “makes epic creamy bean soup,” to purple-podded vining snap peas (‘Sugar Magnolia’ photo below) and long-stemmed marigolds and oh, those bodacious tomatoes up top.

sugar magnolia pea from peace seedlingsWhen I began to garden, the really unusual stuff was always in unpretentious lists, un-fancy “catalogs” often organized by botanical Latin names, such as the famous one from the enigmatic J.L. Hudson Seedsman, or John Jeavons’ early offerings at Bountiful Gardens, or Dr. Alan Kapuler’s Peace Seeds. In more than 30 years of breeding plants, Kapuler has done it for the public domain—not to try to own or patent the resulting genetics, but to make available good crops to help feed people and the planet—making a little bit of peace.

No surprise that Corvallis, Oregon-based Peace Seedlings is an offshoot of his work, the undertaking of Alan and Linda Kapuler’s youngest daughter, Dylana, and her partner, Mario DiBenedetto.

I got my new-favorite beet, 3 Root Grex, from Peace last season; you might recall my article about that multi-colored wonder. Now I’m taken in at the possibility of other “grex” listings—grex means “flock” in Latin, and is not a true mix but an interbreeding population. The current catalog includes K-S Grex onions, in beautiful pinks and light yellows, and a turnip called 6 Root Grex—all Kapuler originals.

As are the crazy determinate tomato called ‘Geranium Kiss’ in that top photo of Dylana, described as, “stocky 2-foot determinate plants, w/ hyper-tresses of 20-70, 1-oz. fruits, 3-4 sets, a ‘one-stake wonder.’” Oh, my.

Andean Tuber mandala Peace SeedlingsThis is the place to explore unusual unusual edible roots and tubers, such as yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius, the “apple of the Andes”); or bright-colored varieties of oca (Oxalis tuberosa); or mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum var. pilifera), a nasturtium relative with an anise flavor, whose flowers attract hummingbirds…and listen to this:

“Traditionally grown in polycultures of potatoes, oca, ulluco in Andean South America because the tubers contain aromatic mustard oils that discourage rodents.” Any gardener who has harvested her potatoes only to find them chewed up by voles and the like should perk up at such a companion-planting possibility.

An excellent article in the “Corvallis Advocate” newspaper thoroughly details these interesting crops, and the Peace team’s work with them. That’s a mandala of them in the photo above, arranged by Mario.

marigold leis peace seedlingsI felt positively summery reading about big, bushy marigold plants covered in orange flowers that Alan Kapuler found in Baja, Tagetes erecta ‘La Ribera,’ or another shrubby-sized marigold with long stems and burgundy flowers edged in gold called Tagetes patula ‘Frances’s Choice.’ The Peace team strings them into leis for sale at the local farmers’ market (those are leis made from the China Cat Mix, above).

As you can see, this little list has me in deep trouble. I think the same will happen to you if you pay a visit, maybe over a cup of tea. Remember to close your eyes after reading each description and just imagine!

more from peace seedlings

  • Browse the online catalog now
  • Order a catalog list by sending a SASE to 2385 SE Thompson St., Corvallis OR 97333
  • Orders are placed the old-fashioned way, by mail–again, bringing me back to my happy recollections of my origins as a gardener!

how to win the peace seedlings gift certificates

Dylana and Mario of Peace SeedlingsTO ENTER TO WIN one of two $20 gift certificates I’ll purchase for you from Peace Seedlings, simply comment below by answering this question [UPDATE: giveaway ended!]:

How many seed catalogs–in print, or online–have you found yourself browsing through this winter, and how many total places are you ordering from?

(My answer: More than 20, since I have lost count by now, and probably 5.)

If you’re feeling shy or just prefer not to say, simply comment with “Count me in” or some such answer, and you’ll be in the running. No worry.

I’ll select two winners after entries close at midnight Thursday, February 21, 2013. Good luck to all.

(All photos copyright Peace Seedlings.)

February 15, 2013


  1. Michele says

    Would love to have them For our master gardener demonstration garden
    I browse about 15 catalogs. We generally buy from three or four

  2. Sarah Sellers says

    I have yet to venture into the daydreamy world of shopping for seeds in catalogues as I fear that I may make purchases beyond my expertise or space. That said, I need to jump in this year. Thank you for recommending this uber-cool supplier!

  3. says

    About 20 give or take and I will be ordering from three of them, for sure as I begin replacing my traditional house landscaping with edible landscaping. I save a lot of seed so will fill in with others.

  4. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says

    I looked at almost 2 dozen catalogs, ordering from only 3. All were sorely tempting. But I have a huge box of my own saved seeds, waiting patiently in the garage. Plastic milk jugs for winter sowing have been de-labeled, cut to make the top hinge over, impaled with a screwdriver for drainage holes, filled with the proper soil and got rained on last night. No seeds in them yet – process of deciding comes today.

    I adore the look of those purple pea pods…. hmmmm.

  5. Tiiu Mayer says

    I’m not keeping count because I fainted from pure pleasure after perusing the North American Rock Garden Society online catalog with about 5000 entries. If you are jaded by Jung, Henry Field and even T & M content or perhaps even have them memorized ( Filderkraut, p54…..) try NARGS, even if you aren’t into rock gardening.

  6. says

    Last year, our CSA provided veggie starts, and I plan to order from them again. I’m still using up seeds collected from previous years, so…my total is zero! But, I’d love to have the chance to order from Peace!

  7. Paulette Nunnally says

    I have looked through 10 magazines and am ordering from 2.
    Count me in. I would love to have a certificate.

  8. June Millette Fisher says

    We’ve edited our seed catalogs to about 5. We have just sold our home in Vermont and are relocating to SC where we will have a whole new gardening experience. Please count me in!

  9. Cary says

    God is good. Leeks, onions, shallot seeds planted and in process of germinating on top of the bookcase. Once the fire is going, is the warmest spot downstairs. High hopes. Other good news.. Fabulous kale seeds saved from last year found in the shed in bucket of gardening goo, exactly where they should be, but forgot I put them there. Also found brand new seed order stashed in copper pot, had been searching for for 2 hours. Excellent start to 2013. Now if I can only find that little box I bought to hold seed collection. Just kidding, it is right here. Let the snow fly, food’s growin! :) In answer to your question Margaret, we’ve probably got about 18 catalogs, about 5 of them are the result of having met Margaret Roach :)! Thanks so much for all the new and lovely options. Also thanks for your help with my banana shallot seed depth!

  10. Patty Hinger says

    I have a small garden so I only order from a couple web sites but probably browse through about 6 or 7 just for fun! I am sure if I didn’t work full time etc I would definetly check out more!

  11. Mary says

    I get about a dozen catalogues, and ordered from 4 this year, and will stop by High Mowing Seeds on my way by this week to pick up a melon seed I like and some nicotiana seed.

  12. Nell says

    I’ve cut down my catalogs last year, so I only received about 6 or 7. I’m only ordering from one catalog this year – Seeds of Change because I received a gift card for my birthday. I’ve recently become interested in seed saving (and I have a “bazillion seeds left over from previous years) so I’ve limited my seed buying. However, I have NEVER heard of this company and would LOVE to have an opportunity to try their seeds, so please enter me in your wonderful drawing.


  13. Carol says

    Too many to count and ordering from three. I always over order. I never seem to have as much time,energy and space, but in January everything seems possible. Thank you.

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