Last year, when many people were spending a lot more time at home, they suddenly began getting more interested in gardening. The unexpected surge of people growing their own fruits and vegetables had seed companies scrambling and running low on stock.
This year, reports indicate the major seed sources are ready.
One tip is to choose maritime Northwest seed sources first, because those seeds are for the Pacific Northwest. Look for reliable locals like Ed Hume Seeds, Territorial Seeds, Nichols Garden Nursery (herb seeds), Irish Eyes Seeds (specializing in seed potatoes, vegetables), Uprising Organics, (organic vegetable, flower, herb seeds and grains), and Northwest Meadowscapes (meadow wildflowers).
Other favorite and reliable seed sources outside of the local area are Renee’s Seeds (heirloom vegetables, flowers, and herbs), Seed Saver’s Exchange Heirloom Seeds (rare and organic vegetables, flowers, and herbs) and American Meadows (wildflower seeds). All of the seed companies have a section devoted in part to organic seeds.
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH ORGANIC SEEDS?
It’s not that organic seeds produce organic vegetables and flowers. Organic seeds come from a certified organic farm. To stay organic, seeds need to be raised in an organic environment minus nonorganic pesticides throughout the entire lifecycle. However, there are organic treatments to fend off pests and other issues. But organic seeds tend to fend for themselves and might be sturdier. The seeds harvested at an organic farm depend on the health of the mother plant. Buying organic seed supports organic farmers.
Growing from seed is inexpensive and highly satisfying. And there are more opportunities to grow oddball vegetables and flowers that nurseries don’t tend to sell. Since not everyone has a greenhouse, heat mat, or bright- enough spot in a window to grow everything from seed, it’s a good idea to do a little of both — seeds and transplants. Grow plants that can be “direct-seeded.” This is limiting, because the South Sound soil doesn’t really warm up until July.
Easy and reliable vegetables to “direct seed” locally are leaf lettuces, flat-leaved spinach (basically any greens), Danvers and Nantes carrots, and bunching green onions. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and especially tomatoes are better from transplants from a local nursery. It takes longer to germinate from seed. Grow annual herbs like Italian basil, parsley, and cilantro from seed. Rosemary, English thyme, and garden sage are better grown from transplants. Herb growing, whether seeds or transplants, can fill a container, too.
COMPLETE CONTAINER HERB GARDENING BY SUE GOETZ
Sue Goetz, Northwest author, speaker, and herb expert, released her third book in December. Complete Container Herb Gardening: Design and Grow Beautiful, Bountiful Herb-Filled Pots is about her favorite subject, the cultivation and use of herbs.
Goetz details how to plant herbs in terra-cotta, stone, metal, and ceramic containers and even grow bags. She explains where to put the containers and how to maintain them, right down to aging a too-new-looking terra-cotta pot.
Displays and designs for mixing herbs in window boxes and hanging baskets are given the full treatment. Indoor herbs are discussed, too. She includes easy projects for growing herbs in pots with culinary, personal beauty, and recipes in mind. Learn to cook, cream, and clean with a variety of easy-to-grow herbs. Cool Springs Press, 192 p. | $26.99