Yes! It Is Here!



My first seed catalog of the year.  I love this part of farming; the planning and dreaming of the harvest that will be coming soon. Especially now that I can garden again after a few years without that pleasure.  This catalog is full of pretty pictures and descriptions of the vast number of varieties.  I excitedly showed pictures of different veggies to a friend and did not notice the glazed look that came from someone not into the process…..yet.

The catalog is stock full of different varieties of veggies that are not seen in the stores.  Did you know there were carrots that have a purple skin?  I gotta try those.   How about carrots which are totally purple?  And purple potatoes…….they are pretty, but they don’t stay purple when you cook them.

So you like radishes.  How about trying the Easter egg radishes, or white ones, or purple ones?  I only like the red and white ones.

I have eaten only a couple of types of squash.  How about trying these heritage varieties?

Do you have a guess as to how many different varieties of potatoes are out there????  I only know of a few.  Yet we get fed the ones in the store that are tasteless and bred for storage.  How boring is that?

Wow….those tomatoes are gnarled and ugly.  Yes, but they taste better than anything you can get at the store.

I don’t like melons or cucumbers.  That is understandable.  There is no flavor in the unripe, rock-hard ones found in the stores.

And the conversation goes on.  His eyes glaze over, but I am excited about the possibilities that come with spring and a good gardening catalog.

There is nothing better than sampling the bountiful supply of fruits and vegetables that we can grow in our own back yard.   God did not supply us with only one type of radish or squash.  His is a bountiful supply…..full of variety and flavor.

In my first catalog I count 14 varieties of carrots, 11 of broccoli. 25 of cucumbers, 24 of garlic, and 10 of potatoes.  And that is just the beginning.  My excitement grows as I read up on the properties of each and try to select the ones that I want to experiment with this year.  Add the new choices to the favorites that I have grown before and this summer promises to be bountiful and varied!

I love going into the garden and pulling a carrot from the earth, wiping it on my jeans, and crunching away.  Carrots fresh from the garden are dripping in juice and sweet.   I personally do not like red radishes, but the purple ones……yummy!  I learned to love cucumbers by growing a heritage variety.  They had flavor and texture.  And those ugly tomatoes……..they taste better than any other tomato I ever encountered.

In this catalog there are both hybrid and heritage varieties.  Hybrid is an offspring of two plants of different varieties or species.  These seeds grow great food, but we cannot save seeds from them and expect another crop like the one it came from.  Heritage seeds are ones that have been protected and saved from year to year by farmers and gardeners for generations.  These plants give us the seeds that we can save and use for next year’s planting.  For the first time I am going to go exclusively with heritage seeds.

Another thing to look at is your growing zone.  Where we live will only grow certain things unless we make special concessions.  Like in the Pacific Northwest where I live, I have to start short season tomatoes in a greenhouse, plant them into a cloche, hope for a warm summer, then bring the whole plant into the barn to hang in the fall to finish the harvest.  Another trick for tomatoes is to put them up against a south facing wall which will hold heat.  In other parts of the country, tomatoes can be perennial so consider those things when selecting seeds.  If I purchased long season tomatoes, I would have no harvest at all.

As we get into the planning stage for our gardens, I will tell you how I prepare my garden for planting.  And it is not like you think.  I have not rototilled for many years and I have lush vegetables, very few insect casualties, and no watering.  Stay tuned for that post coming next week.  Until then, order a catalog or two.  Browse the internet for heritage seeds and enjoy dreaming.

The seed catalogs that I use.

Territorial Seed Company  This company has both hybrid and heritage seeds.  And a large selection of herbs and flowers.  A beautiful catalog.

Victory Heirloom Seeds  I am just getting acquainted with this company.  I am liking their purpose….The primary reason for our existence as an organization is to help protect open pollinated and heirloom seed varieties during a time when the diversity of plant life on our planet is quickly shrinking.  And I like their quick response time.

I have come across a growing list of non-GMO, organic, heirloom seed companies.  Thanks to Off Grid Info for putting this together.  Food Independence

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About Janolyn

I am a mother of 5 wonderful children, 4 boys and 1 girl. During the years that my children were growing up, we grew most of our own food with a vegetable garden, many fruit trees and berry patches. I grew flowers for joy. We milked goats and raised our own meats and eggs. I learned to make my own cheeses, butter, canned foods, sourdough, and fermented foods. I made our own health products like soap, hand creams, lip balm, and herbal tinctures. We live off the power grid and have learned to do without conveniences that most Americans consider essential. The land clearing and building has been mostly accomplished with hand tools; some of them even the right tool for the job. After a couple of miscarriages between #2 and #3 due to “standard medical procedures”, I consulted a midwife and my last 3 children were born safely at home. That was when I was first alerted to the fact that doctors did not know everything nor would they have the time to share it with their patients if they did. As I learned the basic principles of heath-through-nutrition from my midwife, I learned alternative gardening practices from her husband. That introduction started a lifelong love of learning the practical life of our ancestors. I want to share what I have been learning with you and learn from those who are also living a sustainable life.

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