...sometimes even a single feather is enough to fly. (Robert Maclean)


oh, seeeeeeds

Sorry folks -
 for the long lapse between blog posts.
As you gardeners know, January is a seedy month.

I had well-intentioned plans for moderation and even seed catalog celibacy this year...
(What a novel idea - to just use what seeds I have saved from our garden,
and catalog seeds left from last year and the year before,
since many if not all of them would still be viable.)

But alas and alack,
I could not resist the allure
of new varieties I hadn't heard of,
and things I have dreamed of growing. 

My epitaph will never praise me for
dreaming small, being ever-practical,
or having a balanced and tidy checkbook.
And I am quite fine with that.


So I had a foot-tall stack of seed catalogs to go through.
And go through them I did.
 And oh, the temptations.

My seed sobriety sponsor is not happy,
(though I did get a lot of flower seeds for her,
 so that softened the blow a bit.)

She's planning an extensive cut flower garden this year.
If all goes well, we'll have an array of
dahlias and zinnias
 and sunflowers and poppies
and cosmos and calendulas
among many other things..!


When my seed orders were accumulating in my online shopping carts,
after whittling it down somewhat,
I came up with several excellent reasons for allowing myself
 the seeds I had become smitten with.

And at least I have a rationale for my splurge.
In fact, I have several:

a) I like supporting seed companies that are committed to good practices
(safe seed pledge, no-GMOs, the Open Source Seed Initiative, etc.)
b) I can always share my seedy bounty with my school garden and with friends
c) It's a security thing.  What if Big Brother starts restricting access to good seeds?

So there you have it.
Reasons a plenty.

Several separate catalog orders later, I am done.
Until next year comes around, of course.


I want to tell those of you who live in the Finger Lakes region
that there is an awesome new seed company that I hope you'll consider supporting.

Fruition Seeds in Canandaigua, NY.

I love what they're doing.
They're super ethical.
Beyond organic.
And they're growing out and improving varieties for OUR micro-region,
and things good overall for the whole Northeast.

This is my first year with them, but I think they're going to be  my new first-stop shop,
the foundation of my seed supply.
Read a little bit about their philosophy and what makes them special here.

They also have a helpful resource online,
tips about what you can grow / do garden-wise for every month of the year.
Check it out here.


 There's also Hudson Valley Seed Co.
Besides making some of the most beautiful seed packs out there,
they also grow out many of their own seeds,
and are also adapting them to our climate and growing conditions.

And I'm still a super fan of Fedco Seeds.

 You can view their whole catalog here.
This year's cover particularly captivated me.
What a gorgeous depiction of how alive good soil is...
And frankly, Fedco rocks.


Besides growing a lot of flowers from seed
and trying our hand at new vegetable varieties...

Our main experiments this year will be:

- creating a medicine wheel garden
 (we're using an old pool cover to kill the grass)

- attempting to grow some basket willow and living willow

- grafting tomatoes for greater disease resistance and vigor

- trying to grow a "pancake patch" of heirloom grains

- going a teensy bit nutty with northern hardy peanuts!
(check out this video from the folks at Fruition!):  

All of this is probably way more than we can actually accomplish in one growing season,
but we sure as heck are going to give it a try.

Winter is a good time to think about your overall landscape
 and the bigger-picture plan for your property or growing site.

Overall, besides our dabbling with annual crops and flower gardens,
we'll be moving more and more into establishing permaculture plants around here.

I've become slightly obsessed with many lesser-known fruits.

Of all of the "new" (new to me) fruits I have tried this year,
I am absolutely smitten with
hardy kiwis,

nanking cherries 

and American persimmon.

American persimmons are definitely not going to win any beauty contest
but oh-my-lordy they are so incredibly sweet tasting
and have such a unique and complex flavor.

I can wax on and on about any of these fruits,
but you simply have to try them yourself.

Lucky you, if you live in the Finger Lakes region,
Sean Dembrosky is cultivating all of these out at Edible Acres in Trumansburg.

You can even purchase the most beautiful gift certificates --
hand-made by our very own Sasha...!

Aren't they stunning?
They remind me of Matisse and Calder.

(and here's a shameless plug for Sasha's latest artistic and entrepreneurial ventures!)

Check out: Sister Sister and Energy Field.  

We are always in awe of what she comes up with.


Happy dreaming,
happy seeding!

p.s. check out this children's book  -- A Seed is Sleepy
written by Dianna Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long:

 While it tends to cover seeds of a warmer climate than ours,
it's still really beautifully done and a great book to read with
young gardeners!