In the Garden...Buy Your Seeds NOW!

I have planted Heavenly Blue morning glories on my front porch trellises for the past few years. That is, until last year when I couldn't find any seed packets from the multitude of farm stores around here. This year I knew to buy early, so when the first seed packets hit the racks in January, I got a jump on other gardeners. ugh...There were other morning glories, but the slot for Heavenly Blue was empty.

This is a beautiful, well-tamed morning glory. It is the truest blue of any flower I've seen, and has gorgeous deep green heart-shaped leaves.
 "We had them, but they went fast. I doubt if we'll get more in. All of the stores are having trouble re-ordering any seeds now that people have started gardening again." To aid in the economic crisis along with knowing where their veggies came from, it seems many people found out what a joy it was to garden last year. I guess they added a bit of Heavenly Blue color to the garden while they were at it.

So, if you haven't purchased your seeds, you better get them as soon as possible. Gardening has become the number one pastime. I am glad to see it, although it is making it harder to get the seeds that I rely on each year. This year I am turning to 100% heirloom seeds and going to start saving my own seeds each year. Here are some great sources for heirloom seeds with some rich history contained in each variety. (click on the name to go to their website)

Seed Savers Exchange  is a non-profit organization that saves and shares the heirloom seeds of our garden heritage. Today, the 890-acre Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa is the largest non-governmental seed bank in the United States. "We permanently maintain more than 25,000 endangered vegetable varieties, most having been brought to North America by members' ancestors who immigrated from Europe, the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world." Here are just some seeds I am trying this year...

Broom Corn ($2.75 for 100 seeds) for autumn projects and Milkmaid Nasturiums, a creamy lt. yellow that grows to 12 feet to add to my window boxes.

The Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, established at Monticello in 1987, collects, preserves, and distributes historic plant varieties that center on Thomas Jefferson's horticultural interests and the plants he grew at Monticello. It also covers the broad history of plants cultivated in America by including varieties documented through the nineteenth century.

The vegetable gardens at Monticello

Heritage Harvest Seed specializes in rare and endangered varieties. This young company's catalog is chock-full of intriguing heirlooms, like this rare French cherry tomato that is a very dark red and sweet, called Tonodose des Conores. ($3 for 25 seeds)

Ronniger's Potato Farm is known for its amazing collection of interesting potato varieties, including a number of rare spuds, along with garlic, onions. Many of the old-timers had faded to obscurity, but Ronnigers brought them back and now offers them virus-free thanks to the high-tech world of meristem tissue culture. Certified organic. This beautiful red potato is one of theirs, called Rio Colorado. It is a small, firm mid-season potato that is great for stews, creaming, and any time you want those tasty small potatoes.

South Carolina Foundation Seed Association  is perhaps the most interesting source of pass-along and handed-down heirlooms from Georgia and the old South. This foundation offers beans, butterbeans, corn, peanuts, squash, pumpkins, and others adapted to hot summers. Each of these varieties has a rich history, including some traditional Native American and African-American varieties. You have to download their order form and send it in. But, if you want seed such as Texas Longhorn field peas that can be grown up John Haulk Corn (which grows to 15 feet) and is good eating and for corn meal, it is worth the old fashion trouble of sending in the form.

So, what about my Heavenly Blue morning glories?

I found them at a seed company not far from where I live, called The Victory Seed Company. They are a small, family owned organization that works to preserve plant varieties by locating, growing, documenting and offering heirloom and rare open-pollinated seeds to home gardeners. Along with some nice information about World War II Victory Gardens accompanied by original posters and pamphlets, this family seed company offers a good-sized assortment of heirloom and more recent vegetables, flowers, and herbs.

Have fun planning your own victory garden, and remember, buy your seeds early!


therealestatecowgirl said...

Enjoyed your seed ideas and share your pain when the seed rack is empty! You brightened up a VERY cold and grey morning here in the Deep South :) Really enjoy your illustrations/graphics mixed in with the blog! Cheers!!!

Faith Imagined said...

I don't garden but this post sure makes me want to learn!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful source of information on a really fun (not to mention fruitful) thing to do. I love to garden and watch the labor turn into something useful and it just looks so nice to see a well manicured garden. There aren't too many things better than eating fresh food from your own garden. So, THANKS, you say it so well!

Anonymous said...; You saved my day again.

Anonymous said...

Only a "seasoned" gardener would look for specific seeds and heirloom and saving their own seeds. You're right though, they make a huge difference. I think it's becoming a lost art and appreciate that you share it with us in such a wonderful way!