Making a list and checking it twice: seeds to consider in addition to vegetables

Making a list and checking it twice: seeds to consider in addition to vegetables

You’re frustrated because you keep waiting for the blooming of flowers of which you have yet to sow the seeds.-Steve Maraboli

In case you missed it, I LOVE seeds and seed catalogs.  I can taste each veggie as I read the description. Each picture is transposed into my future garden in my active imagination.  The veggies may steal the show but there is more seed stock to consider before the orders are placed.  Don’t neglect herbs, flowers and cover crops.

Herbs

Herbs are the brightener of great food.  They take an ingredient and give it a regional identity.  Herbs express culture.  What’s more, they are nutrient powerhouses and many can easily be grown indoors or in containers.  As you shop, consider what grows naturally in your area and what ethnic foods you enjoy.  

Bring on the pollinators!

Flowers can both protect your crops (think defender marigolds, nasturtium etc) and attract pollinators. We have a “pollinator bed” in the center of our main garden and rows of zinnia between beds.  The zinnias, cone flowers and giardia have so many bees and other pollinators on them in the mornings that we have to raise our voices to talk over the hum.  And after 4 years of walking right through them, we have yet to be stung.  Many self-seed so find what will thrive and leave it alone until you need to thin them the next year.  Nasturtium flowers are edible and make a lovely addition to a salad if your kids don’t beat you to them.

Here is a great list from Seed Savers.

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The last zinnias and basil of the season. The bees can’t get enough

Cover crops and green manures

Bare ground never stays bare for long.  Nature covers itself.  You can use this principle to your advantage.  Cover crops can be used to prevent soil loss.  Green manures can be used to add organic matter (om) to your soil and develop humus.  Cover crops can also serve as green manures.  I am in love with green manures because they have had a substantial and positive impact on our soil, which was just sand with no humus when we started.  We look for things that have deep roots to draw and retain nutrients from the sub layers.  We also seek crops that will sequester nitrogen or provide large amounts of om.  You can even grow certain varieties to smother weeds, a concept we are attempting this year.   As you read descriptions or talk to staff you will learn what traits will benefit your ground.  (And Mammoth Red Clover is BEAUTIFUL.)   Johnny’s (877-564-6697) staff is especially helpful when it come to choosing which farm seed is best for your site.  Southern Exposure, High Mowing and Territorial are all great sources as well, I just haven’t talked to their staff about farm seed.

Now that you have your garden budget in place and your seed order complete, make sure you have any supplies, like seed starting trays, that you may want to buy from your seed catalogs and place your orders!  I like to time it so they arrive in early January.  It helps to prevent the post holiday blues and we start our spring flats then on this part of the planet.

Suggested watching

The lighter presentation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkionqWPc-Q

This is sarcastic but I enjoy it.  (about 10 min long)

Suggested listening

The heavy stuff:

ttp://foodintegritynow.org/2015/09/25/dr-don-huber-the-latest-science-on-gmos-glyphosate-and-infertility/

This is an interview so you have to get past a commercial at the beginning and not mind the interviewer.  Dr Huber does most of the talking.  I prefer lectures but this is very comprehensive and he explains the Shiva study.  I was going to post the study but this is much easier to follow.  This is about an hour long and the link to play it is at the end of the blog before the comments.  It is a good listen when you can actually pay attention because it is really full of information.  I saved it to go over a second time while I am doing something rote.  

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Love from the farm

Happy eating, Katy

6 thoughts on “Making a list and checking it twice: seeds to consider in addition to vegetables

  1. Here we grow chickweed as a cover crop. Bonus – it’s edible too! Most just consider it a weed, but its packed with nutrients. I even saw something on a forager’s blog the other day talking about how “weeds” often have more nutrients than leafy greens we grow!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not sure what I should grow as a cover crop.
    I’m only running a simple set of veg. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, Parsnips, garlic(Already in), Squash (Butternut maybe) and maybe some spinach.

    Any recommendations?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That depends on your soil and your goal. Are you trying to increase humus, fix nitrogen, keep weeds at bay? Many cover crops like a more alkaline soil than ours so they are out right away for us. I’d see what is recommended for your area and then narrow the options based on the season you would like to use a cover and the improvement you would like to see. I call experts and pick their brains. Many universities have cover crop specialists who will respond to phone calls or email.

      Liked by 1 person

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