SeedCatalogsSo, here we are – finally Friday! Been waiting for this day all week, right? Me too. Friday is a regular blog day for us, but I have absolutely no idea what to write about. Plus, I’m a little brain dead from doing year end tasks, processing payments, and messing with membership stuff at work. I’m not really a numbers person, but find myself working with finances a great deal lately. My mind is tired today. I find that when I’m particularly tired, one of the fun things to do when I get home is go through the mail and look at all the seed catalogs we’re getting. I like to compare prices, see new varieties, and try to think about what would work really well here. What are the new things we’re going to try? It’s time I should be putting together an order! pumpkinsWhich are your go-to catalogs? I remember pouring over the Burpee Catalog with my mother every year.  She’d let me pick something new to try. We’d discuss which sweet corn we wanted to plant, or pop-corn, or Indian corn.  Which fun gourds looked like they’d be neat for the Cornucopia? How many different pumpkins should we choose to grow for Halloween? All of those memories are so wonderful to have. When I was a kid, the planning and choosing was the most fun, next to harvesting. All that weeding and stuff in between – not so much.

daffodilsAlthough now, I really do enjoy working in the garden, as an adult – the weeding is a good time to empty all the negative thoughts and get your hands in the good soil.  Mom gave us a wonderful mix of bulbs at Thanksgiving – like a hundred bulbs! At least that’s what it seemed like; different Jonquils and Narcissus and even some Alliums. I love bulbs because they naturalize so well and multiply – then you can spread them all over the property and just let them be. The best part of that gift was spending a good hour and a half with my hands in the soil 🙂  They were ready to pop up, so I’m hoping we’ll have a wonderful bloom soon. This bulb assortment came from Breck’s – which is an amazing company. A bit expensive, but if you can get the bulbs on sale – they are absolutely wonderful! The bulbs are shipped directly from Holland and always arrive in great condition. Anyway, didn’t mean this to be a commercial, I just got a bit carried away. If you’re interested in bulbs and other flowers of that type, I recommend checking out the website, at the very least.

johnny's seedsWe’ve decided that this year we’ll plant organic/non-GMO seeds. I’d prefer heritage seeds so that we’ll have a better chance of knowing what we’ll end up with if we replant from what we are growing – so, I’m trying to be a bit more discerning in my seed ordering this year.  The two catalogs I like best – so far – are Territorial Seed Company and Seeds of Change. Territorial Seed Company is located in Cottage Grove, Oregon and is a large, family-owned company whose mission is to improve people’s self-sufficiency and independence by enabling gardeners to produce an abundance of good tasting, fresh-from-the-garden food. They offer hybrid, open-pollinated and heirloom seed varieties. Territorial’s germination standards are higher than prescribed by the Federal Seed Act and their farm is certified USDA Organic, Biodynamic® by Demeter USA. Seeds of Change is a rather large company located in Rancho Dominguez, California. They offer 100% certified organic, open-pollinated, hybrid and heirloom seeds, and they grow all their own seeds on their research farm or within their network of organic farmers. At this time, they are the only such company which has the marketing power (they are owned by the Mars Company) to have their seeds available at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Whole Foods, and lots of other retail chains. I’ve ordered from both Territorial and Seeds of Change in the past and have planted their seeds with much success AND have kept seeds I hadn’t used and had some really good luck getting seeds as old as two years to grow. Sue likes Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Located in Winslow, Maine. They are an employee owned company, which is rather cool, that has more than 1,200 varieties of hybrid, open pollinated and heirloom vegetables, medicinal, culinary herbs and flowers. They  are also different in that they offer larger quantities of seeds and cover crops, helpful if you’re trying to plant or cover larger areas.
A couple of others that I’d like to check out are: Renee’s Garden – a small company that markets itself as a “garden to table” seed company; Fedco Co-Op Seeds – a cooperative business where consumer members own 60 percent, and employee members own 40 percent, because Safe Seed labelthe cooperative doesn’t have an individual owner, profit isn’t its primary goal, so their seeds and other products are quite affordable; Seed Savers Exchange – is a non-profit organization working to save heirloom garden seed from extinction. Their focus is on preserving varieties of seed that gardeners and farmers bring to North America when their families immigrate(d), and traditional varieties grown by American Indians, Mennonites and the Amish.
All of these companies have signed the “Safe Seed Pledge”. Signing the Safe Seed Pledge is voluntary and unregulated, but it’s a very safe bet that any company that has signed the pledge is committed to the cause. It reads: “Agriculture and seeds provide the basis upon which our lives depend. We must protect this foundation as a safe and genetically stable source for future generations. For the benefit of all farmers, gardeners and consumers who want an alternative, we pledge that we do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants. The mechanical transfer of genetic material outside of natural reproductive methods and between genera, families or kingdoms, poses great biological risks as well as economic, political, and cultural threats. We feel that genetically engineered varieties have been insufficiently tested prior to public release. More research and testing is necessary to non-gmo-logofurther assess the potential risks of genetically engineered seeds. Further, we wish to support agricultural progress that leads to healthier soils, genetically diverse agricultural ecosystems and ultimately people and communities.”   If you are interested in finding other seed companies who are this dedicated to healthy, sustainable, and reproducible seeds for all gardeners – just google “Safe Seed Pledge” and the results will spool out in front of you.  If you have a favorite catalog that I haven’t mentioned here, I’d be interested in hearing about it. You know we’ll share what we order, from where, and how it all turns out! Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!

Today’s Weather: A Beautiful! Which is quite nice; however, we were really hoping that the rain would be more forthcoming. We really need some measurable! As it is, 0% chance of rain for the next 5 days.  Currently we are 52° at 7:25, low expected to be 37° overnight. Sunset tonight was at 5:38, sunrise tomorrow is at 7:21.

Egg Report: Yesterday, we had  10 chicken eggs, but the duck took the day off. Today, we had 10 chicken eggs, the duck took another day off. I’m sensing a pattern.