The new seeds are arriving. I anticipate this every year because their arrival makes it seem like spring is just around the corner. Grab a catalog and dream. Which new varieties look the most prolific, interesting or tasty? How many can I fit in my garden? Which ones will they replace? And that’s just the vegetables! The flowers are candy-pretty, colorful fluffy candy. Don’t even get me started looking at those. I don’t have enough space in my tiny raised beds at home to plant a whole packet of flowers, let alone 2 or more. But it’s always fun to pretend.
This year, the arrival of Renee’s Garden seeds was a little more exciting because she, Renee Shephard-owner, has added an USDA certified organic line. Renee’s Garden has signed the Safe Seed Pledge, developed by The Council for Responsible Genetics. Renee’s Garden does not sell chemically treated or genetically engineered seeds. However, this is the first year they have offered a line of USDA certified organic seeds. Renee’s Garden has the prettiest packages, great advice and sometimes recipes. Their selection includes wonderful heirlooms, a good amount of varieties that you won’t find on other seed racks, and some combination packages that have 2 or 3 varieties in one package. That’s great if you’re limited on space and want to try more than one type of beans or tomatoes. I’m most excited about an organic Container french Zucchini variety called Astia. It is supposed to be early-bearing and prolific but not compact. Of course, I will have to plant Spitfire Climbing Nasturtiums again. I’m over the subtle ‘Moonlight’ and I have to go back to that blaze of orange-red. After having the least tasty beans recently, I’m definitely going to grow Emerite Pole Filet beans again. They’re yummy.
Territorial Seeds are in, too. Territorial Seed Co. is located in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Their seeds are great. There trial gardens are south of Cottage Grove, so nearby. The Territorial Catalog is a great reference. Territorial Seed Co. has also taken the Safe Seed Pledge. Many of their new introductions are only available through the catalog, as stock is limited initially. Also in stock is “Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades” by Steve Solomon the original owner of Territorial Seed Co. It is still a great book for our area. The current owners, Tom and Julie Johns have owned the business since 1985.
Botanical Interests, from Colorado, should be arriving any day. They have a great many certified Organic varieties. I want to try their Microgreens mix this year. Possibly one of the sprouts packages as well. Botanical Interests is family owned. They do not sell GMO seeds.
Ed Hume, out of Washington, has their winter rack in the store currently, but the spring rack will arrive shortly. They have been in business since 1977. They offer varieties selected for short season and cool climates. Just like the others, they sell only untreated and not genetically engineered seeds.
Want to learn more about starting your own vegetable and flower plants from seed? Join us Sunday, March 27th at 1pm as Karen shares her expertise in Seed Starting.
I love vegetables! If I go 24 hours without something green and crunchy I feel sick and unhealthy. In 2013, my goal is a healthier life. So I am upping my consumption of vegetables, especially raw vegetables. I’m trying to find more ways to incorporate vegetables into breakfast, not an easy task for me despite my love of veggies. Also, I’m trying to increase the different kinds of vegetables I eat. Salad is my “go to” raw vegetable. I especially like a combination of Romaine and Red Butterhead lettuces with radishes, carrots, black olives and artichokes. Just last week, though, I had a salad with Arugula, Romaine, and apples. It was so good that I will be buying Arugula more. My favorite find this year, though, has been marinated Kale salad. There are lots of variations on the internet, but the one I like is simple. I found it on Katherine Martinelli’s site. It’s raw, it’s tart and I like it so much we’re eating it weekly. Here’s the recipe:
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste (optional)
1 small bunch Lacinato Kale (roughly chopped)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
- Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and mustard in a salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the kale and toss with your hands, massaging the vinaigrette into the kale.
- Add the parmesan and toss to fully mis it in.
- You can serve the salad immediately, but it’s even better if you let it marinate (keep it in a container in the refrigerator) for at least a few hours.