Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Garden of Eatin'

We are back from holiday travels and so happy to be eating fresh from the garden. Roadside salads are horrible, and their dressings even more so. Nice fresh veggies with a heaping helping of high fructose corn syrup. Yesh.

The road reading, however was quite inspiring. We took along a copy of 100 Vegetables and Where They Came From by William Woys Weaver and I read it out loud as we drove. I spent any spare momement in the weeks afterward underlining every tantalizing vegetable and vegetable source that I'd like to find.

I was also captivated by Jo Ann Gardners'
The Heirloom Flower Gardens: Rediscovering and Designing With Classic Ornamentals. I didn't find any new types of flowers in this book, but I did read about some interesting, mainly long lost cultivars and similarly, sadly, long lost seed sources.

Speaking of seed sources, I came home to a plethora of seed catalogs! I've been sifting through Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds most recent catalog. There are only a few things I "need". Jungs, Shumway, totally Tomatoes and
Seymour's Selected Seeds (not Select Seeds who are fabulous!!) also arrived. I thumb through them but refuse to buy anything based on their poor feedback ratings by the Garden watchdog.

On our trip I was also lucky enough to visit Richters Herbs, live and in person. I found the trip rather strange. The garden store is tired. Very tired. They are missing several types of herb seeds and I'm not sure if they are sold out or were not replaced. It didn't look like the seed stock in the store had been refreshed in quite some time. The store itself is a greenhouse, but there aren't really any live plants on display. There isn't a single decorative thing about the place either. It's rather sunbleached and sad. With the store being a greenhouse enviornment, I could see the amazing opportunity to display 12 month lush container gardens full of herbs and show how their beautiful herb garden signs and supplies can be used. That, however didn't keep me from buying a lot of their seed.
The greenhouses themselves were fastidious. The plants were lush and gorgeous in the sales greenhouse and I wish I could have taken one of everything home. A woman, who clearly suffered from dementia was also visiting with her son. Although unable to keep up a conversation, the woman and I enjoyed touching and smelling every leaf in sight. What a lovely outting for a person who's world now relies only on the senses and the here and now.
My mom and I also wandered into the propigation greenhouses and saw how the staff employ some techniques I'd never thought of. This greenhouse was quite cool and moist (I'm sure to keep down pests and to also discourage bloom). The seed tables had plastic hoop houses on them, just 3' tall so one could easily get into it from the side (the plastic was rolled back as the seedlings had already germinated). Without much extra cost to heat the seedlings, everything could stay snug until sprouting. The plants were seeded into very small celled flats and most covered with vermiculite. Some of the soil was sandier than others. I tell you, when it comes to seeds, I don't miss a trick.

On our way out I grabbed another copy of the 2006 mail order catalog, however, when I arrived home only a week later, the 2007 was at the doorstep. That again was kind of strange, like they weren't super enthusiastic about the new sales year.

I didn't think to take some photos while I was there, sorry, I just have pictures of my nephew's 2nd grade Christmas recital.


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