Tag Archives: seed catalogs

Turnip fantasies and seed catalog dreams

Dec. 30, 2011
Ring in New Year’s with fantasy turnips, seed catalog dreams
Last year, after I had written a column about picking turnips this time of year, reader Christie Veach of Florence wrote to say “our family has made an event of Christmas turnips each year.”
Including photos, she wrote, “below are a few ways we have used the purple tops for a little Christmas fun.”
Included were photos of brightly decorated turnips that were used to decorate the tree.
Well, this year, she sent even more photos, and they are incredible.
They include a “Singing Turnip Tree,” a “Festival of Lights” (turnips wrapped in ribbons topped with candles and arranged like a menorah), a “Mail Order Bride” (of a turnip in a wedding dress emerging from a toy mailbox with a waiting turnip farmer in straw hat and overalls) and a “Church” (with turnips in their Sunday best!).
I wish we could print all of them, but she writes “The turnip church won first place in our family competition.”
Thank you, Christie!
Happy New Year to you, and thanks for sharing, Christie, Donna Veach, Janell Veach and Pagie Walden!
Now is the time when seed catalogs usually start arriving.
The first two appeared at our house about a week ago. The first one? High Mowing Organic Seeds. It’s a relatively new organic seed company, but what it lacks in longevity, it makes up in exuberance. I’m already excited about planting in the spring looking at its pages. To order a catalog:www.highmowingseeds.com or call
1-802-472-6174.
The second catalog was Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. It sent out 300,000 copies of its luxurious full-color catalog. It’s so lush, some people call it “garden porn,” because the pictures will cause just about any gardener to drool. If the Baker Creek catalog doesn’t cause a gardener to long for planting, I don’t know
what will! To order a catalog: www.rareseeds.com or (417) 924-8917.
The third catalog was that of Johnny’s Selected Seeds. In case there are any Eliot Coleman fans out there, Johnny’s is where the quintessential “deep” organic intensive gardener at Four Seasons Farm in Maine sells tools that he designed.
They are a bit pricey, but if you have to have that certain tool to plant seeds or dig a row (plus a great variety of heirloom seeds), Johnny’s is the place to go. (We buy some of our lettuce mixes from Johnny’s.)
To order a catalog: www.johnnyseeds.com or call 1-800-854-2580.
More favorites
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, 1-888-784-1722; Grass Valley, Calif.
Seeds of Change, 1-888-762-7333; Santa Fe, N.M.
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, (540) 894-9480; Mineral, Va.
Also, if you are into seed sharing or seed banks, check Seed Savers Exchange, (319) 382-5990; Decorah, Iowa
Remember, for your 4×8-foot “Jim’s plot,” you want certified organic seeds or, if unavailable, heirloom seeds; no hybrids or genetically modified seeds.
Online: For additional vendor information, visit www.ces.ncsu.edu/chatham/ag/SustAg/seedlist. html#orgseed).
Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.
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Gadgets for organic dads

June 17, 2011
Organic ‘gadget’ dads can check their ERGs, ORPs, Brix and sap!
Father’s Day is Sunday and folks looking for something for Dad might consider some gadgets.
I’m not much of a “gadget guy,” but even I find myself mesmerized by some devices.
Some call the Baker Creek Seeds catalog, with its full-color, glossy photos, “vegetable porn” because the depictions are just … well, any gardener would lust for such plump ripeness! Peaceful Valley, for gadget guys, must be similar.
Just looking at the catalog (www.groworganic.com), I find myself wanting “stuff.”
I mean, what garden gadget guy could do without an Oakton ERGS Meter ($79.99)?
What’s an ERG? Why, glad you asked: that’s Energy Released per Gram of Soil – “the amount of energy available to the growing crops and microorganisms,” the catalog helpfully explains.
A reading above 1,000 means a salt problem and potential for root burn and nematodes; below 200 indicates no crop growth.
Now, presumably, you’ve got your pH level ascertained, via a soil sample, but they have meters for that, too.
But who could be without knowing how his ORP is doing?
Don’t know what an ORP is, you say? That’s Oxygen Reduction Potential (or available oxygen) in the soil. ORP and pH readings, together, provide an rH value. That Redox Value (rH) can determine the ability of humus building for the soil, or with a high reading, loss of carbon.
So, I guess you need your ORP Tester ($159) and possibly pH Test Kit ($14.99) to ensure that you’re not accidentally adding to global warming!
And, if you really want to be a hotshot, and show how your organic produce is measurably better than the cardboard stuff on grocery shelves, you need your Sap Extractor ($39.99) along with your Refractometer ($69.99) for measuring Brix.
High Brix indicates adequate nutrition, fertilization success and good immune systems in the plant; sugar content measures maturity. Take that, industrial agriculture!
The only problem with all this is that if I bought all of this “stuff,” I couldn’t afford to buy any seeds!
Jim PathFinder Ewing is a journalist, author, writer, editor, organic farmer and blogger. His latest book titled Conscious Food: Sustainable Growing, Spiritual Eating (Findhorn Press) is in bookstores now. Find Jim on Facebook: http://bit.ly/cuxUdc or follow him @edibleprayers or @organicwriter or visit blueskywaters.com.