try some new seed catalogs
I’M MAD ABOUT SEED. So mad that I have to have some “rules” for seed shopping. For instance: I restrain myself before binging in the new catalogs until I do a careful inventory of my leftover seed, and see what I really need. My most important rule of all:
I buy organic seed when available, and seek out regionally appropriate varieties, too, in the hopes of best garden success, since seed is alive and I want to make it feel at home.
I explain my thinking on this and more in the December-January 2014-15 issue of “Mother Earth News” (as I did in a much briefer piece in “The New York Times” in 2013).
I hope you’ll “meet” some of the stars of the organic seed breeding and growing world in the articles and podcasts linked below, and add their websites and catalogs to your list of possibilities for the seed-shopping season.
- My Seed Series: podcasts and posts with leading organic seed experts.
- Why does buying organic matter in seeds?
- Hybrid or heirloom or “modern O.P.’s”? Which should you grow?
- Are last year’s leftover seeds any good? My Seed Viability Chart.
- When to start seed (my handy calculator tool).
- The Open Source Seed Initiative: why to support it.
- My “Mother Earth News” article (and one from “The New York Times.”)
q&a’s with organic seed companies
- Tomatoes! With “Epic Tomatoes” author Craig LeHoullier
- Oddball edibles, with Niki Jabbour
- Yes, but which variety to grow? With Chanticleer vegetable gardener David Mattern
- Power-shop the 2016 catalogs, with me and Joseph Tychonievich
- Better beans and tough tomatoes, with Prairie Road Organic Seed
- Grow onions from seed, with Siskiyou Seeds’ Don Tipping
- Growing kale from seed, with Sarah Kleeger of Adaptive Seeds
- How to master spinach, with Tom Stearns
- Heritage corn and polyculture tactics with Rowen White
- Lia Babitch of Turtle Tree Biodynamic Seed
- Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds
- Ira Wallace of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
- Bill McDorman and Native Seeds/SEARCH
- Better beets with Brian Campbell of Uprising Seeds
- Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seeds
- Squash and kale diversity with Andrew Still of Adaptive Seeds
- Ken Greene of Hudson Valley Seed Library
- Carol Koury of Sow True Seed
- University of Wisconsin corn breeder Bill Tracy
- John Navazio and Organic Seed Alliance
- …and more sources can be found in my Resources List
growing from seed: overall how-to’s
- My seed-sowing calculator, for when to start seed.
- How long do seeds last? A viability chart for leftover seed.
- How to start seed indoors (the basics).
- How to prevent spindly seedlings.
- My seed FAQ page.
growing specific vegetables from seed
- How to grow beets.
- How to grow carrots.
- How to grow spinach.
- How to grow kale.
- How to grow melons.
- How to grow squash, cucumbers and other cucurbits.
- How to grow tomatoes.
- How to grow onions.
- How to grow peppers.
- How to grow dry beans.
how to save seed
(Garden “doodles” by Andre Jordan for A Way to Garden.)