Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice Musings + Seed Savers Exchange

Pondering on this solstice the dreaming gardeners do mid-winter, it strikes me as a real-time definition of optimism. It's 18 degrees F outside, last year's growing season is behind us (good or bad, for this gardener it's always eye-popping in December to look at photos of ripe August produce), and anything is possible in the year ahead.

Like these lemon drop tomatoes, from Seed Savers Exchange (SSE),
another ultra-reliable seed source for us.
SSE says they'll grow even in cold-wet conditions. Will summer 2011 be like 2009, with exactly that, or more like this year, the blast furnace?

Seeds are an affordable indulgence. What else can you buy online for $2.75 plus shipping with so much inherent potential? Not saying seed orders don't quickly build into real money for many of us, but seeds never go to waste around here.

calls out to me from the new 2011 SSE selections.
Last year, Bruce and I made a real effort to use up all our old seeds. I cataloged what we had and many sprouted nicely after three years in their packets. We shared seeds with gardeners at the first-year Hermitage Triangle Community Garden and I tossed the oldest seeds into my own in-ground garden, where they did well. And Debbie shared her Franchi seeds with us.

Now we can feel righteous about buying fresh seed for the coming growing season.

Maybe Bruce and his friends at the in-ground community garden could use this gorgeous Frances Perry poppy in their perennial beds. Why not?

A few lunar eclipse links...
  • Homegrown Evolution has a good post on peat moss. I'm conflicted. After three years of growing in SIPs, it appears to be the very best medium. 
  • Fast Grow the Weeds talks about sorrel, a new crop for us last year immensely enjoyed for its citrus-like tang.
  • Feast your eyes on the tomato selection from SSE.


mmpaints said...

I love seed savers too. The seed is always great and the old varieties they have are outstanding. Nothing like planting your own piece of history.

H2 said...

Well put, mmpaints. Hey I notice you grow tobacco. How does it do in southern IL?

Homegrown Evolution said...

The peat moss SIP issue is a real conundrum. The author of the anti-peat article I linked to, a horticultural professor, said that she's going to write an article next year on peat moss alternatives. Will put it on our blog when she posts it. In the meantime I'm still using peat in SIPs.

mmpaints said...

The tobacco does pretty good but you really have to add the compost. 5' tall and water hogs.

H2 said...

Hey Homegrown:
From the smart (and copious) comments on your peat post, it didn't seem like anyone was discussing peat's use in SIPs.

Will be eager to see the professor's 2011 discussion of peat alternatives. But will these be for in-ground gardens or SIPs? With luck, both (nudge nudge).

H2 said...

Now we know we need extra-large reservoirs in the SIPs that might grow tobacco. Thanks much for the valuable info.