Two of my oxalis plants are blooming and at least one more has buds that are on the way. First up is Oxalis obtusa ‘Buttercup’.
Here’s a photo of the plant, back in November when it was still in the process of emerging from dormancy.
I used to keep the oxalis in my unheated porch, but had to move them into the basement under lights when pots started to freeze. It’s still chilly down there (they like some cold), but I think it was the lights that prompted this big wave of blooms.
UPDATE: The winner is commenter #116: Kaitlin.
Seed starting season is in the air and I must say that even though it is early days yet, having a handful of pots on the go gives me something new to look forward to everyday and brings the gardening season that much closer as we slog through these last weeks of winter. My naranjilla seeds germinated yesterday. Hooray!
Hudson Valley Seed Library is a small-scale seed company located in the greater New York area that specializes in beautiful packages designed by local artists. Besides making a gorgeous product, they have a commitment to producing seed from heirloom varieties that have been adapted to their climate. As a result, all of their seeds are grown by a group of farmers and gardeners from the surrounding region (including their own farm).
My favourite packets.
Hudson Valley Seed Library have provided me with one Gift Membership Pack (10 seed packets of your choosing) along with a handful of individual Art Packs that will enable one reader to get a very good start on their garden this spring.
To enter, simply leave a comment below. Any comment will do, but I’d love to hear about the plants you intend to start from seed in the coming months.
I will choose a winner at random on Thursday, Feb 3, 2011.
Disclaimer: In the interest of transparency, I have not been paid to do this giveaway, nor have I received any sort of compensation for it.
I’ve had my new lighting setup in place for a while now, and last week I finally got around to sowing the lithops seeds I purchased almost a year ago. Here they are this morning, a few days after they first started to emerge from the soil.
Based on the size of the vermiculite, you can see just how tiny they are. So adorable.
Those of us in the northeastern reaches of North America are something like just past the halfway mark to spring. The days are getting longer, and even though I am thoroughly discouraged by endless applications of boots and layers of heavy clothing, there is some hope. Spring is within a reasonably foreseeable future. There are times when it feels like I can almost touch it and smell it, and yesterday afternoon I realized that I can! It’s growing just behind my desk.
On Twitter, I mentioned the tomato plant I am growing in my office. I don’t know which variety it is as it came up as a volunteer in one of the houseplant pots that I must have put out on the roof last summer. It’s got to be one of the determinate varieties that I grew, but who’s to know? It’s a mystery. When it was sturdy enough, I carefully pulled the little seedling out of the soil it was sharing with an epiphytic cactus, no less, and gave it a new pot with more appropriate soil.
As of now, in the dead of winter, the variety isn’t important or worth speculating about. What matters is the smell, that beautiful, invigorating, strong tomato smell. It is probably the smell I miss most through the winter months.
I try to spend a few minutes with my plants each day, not just for their sake, but for my own. I keep many of the most aromatic and softly textured plants in my office where I have easy access to touching and smelling them. They keep me going.
I’ve always considered tomato a productive, workhorse plant that is grown with the expressed intention of producing an edible crop. But yesterday I realized that their usefulness goes above and beyond the food we put into our mouths.
When I mentioned my plant on Twitter, a few people chimed in immediately about the smell and how much they missed it. It’s still a bit early to start tomatoes in my area, and yet I’ve been enjoying mine for over a month already. It got me thinking that there is no reason why we can’t or shouldn’t grow a tomato plant indoors, in the off-season, for no other reason than our own pleasure. Even if we can’t provide it with a strong enough light that can take it all the way through to spring and a life outdoors where it will produce tomatoes… so what. Isn’t it worth growing for the smell alone?
That’s cheap therapy.
Seed buying and seed starting season is upon us. It won’t be long now (let’s pretend, even though the snow outside says otherwise) before we’re happily knee-deep into the growing season.
Yesterday, I put out a call on Twitter for an online list or chart of garden companies (as well as makers of garden products) affiliated with Monsanto. Several people replied, hoping to find something similar that they can refer to when making seed and product purchases for their own gardens.
It’s time to have this talk, and even though I have brought it up here and there, I am remiss in having neglected to post about this until now. It seems like many of us are flailing around, trying to make heads or tails of who, what, and where is profiting on our excitement to grow our own food and flowers. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find a more definitive list that covers affiliate companies in the garden product spectrum beyond seeds, but considering the way things are going, seeds are a great place to start and one in which our spending dollars can make an impact.
The following link goes to the Council for Responsible Genetics Safe Seed Resource List that includes all of the US and Canadian seed sellers that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge affirming their commitment to non-genetically modified seed. While you’re there, I would also urge you to read through the CRG’s FAQ that makes an argument for why we should care about genetically modified seed and buying GM-free in the first place.
I was also pointed to another page put together by a concerned gardener that includes a list of some known GM seed sellers to avoid, as well as links to additional articles around the issues with Monsanto.
I’d love to turn this page into a resource that we can all refer back to and am happy to add to it over time. If you know of any interesting articles, companies or products to be avoided, or have anything to add, please comment below.