Monday, March 21, 2011

The first seeds of spring...

when I had the farm in Lakebay in the early '90s, by the first day of Spring...... the heirloom tomatoes, the weird bell peppers and the hot and mild peppers were sprouted in the greenhouse, and growing  strong .... 6" tall was about the average, and often strong growers like the Brandywines could easily be almost a foot. Also by now, I'd transplanted almost everything into 4" pots for selling at the first Farmer's Mkt in May.
After people got past the idea that I was crazy, with my black flowers, green flowers, and weird homegrown tomato best sellers were Black Krim, Mr. Stripey, and Yellow Cherry.

Black Krim pic is from

Mr Stripey pic is from

Yellow cherry pic from

How did I find all these weird seeds before Google? There is this very quaint place in every's called the Library!
fer instance...
Landreth Seeds is Americas Oldest Seed House established in 1784....they supplied seeds to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the Bonaparte family.

"Our founders introduced into the United States some of the most beloved flowers and vegetables known today including the Zinnia, the white potato, various tomatoes, and our own Bloomsdale Spinach. We have become the oldest seed house in America because we are passionate in our quest for excellence in quality, service and innovation."

Since I don't know how long I'm gonna be in this house, I'm gonna plant seeds and a few summer bulbs like gladiolas, and lilies...hardy things that can take neglect. This turn of events does cut down on the truly weird....but not much. When the weather gets a bit warmer, I'll plant some odds in the big pots I scored last fall.
The seed racks are still really full, so I'll probably buy a few Territorial Seeds, a pot or 2 of  black Mondo grass, and a lot of  Hume Seeds.

I should have started the Sweet pea seeds in January...but it's not too late for them
The most heat-resistant varieties are Old Spice which are so so so Fragrant! and I like the little Super Snoops too. I soak my seeds for a day to get them ready for the rainy really, it helps them crack the shell and get growing. I am famous, however, for having 15 tin cans of soaking pea seeds with the packet clothespinned to the edges, scattered all over the house........these are perfect for the Official Washington State Fence...Cyclone..
Sweet Peas need a very rich soil...this is the time to use a lot of that compost. Fish meal, bone meal, egg shells, and a few alfalfa pellets...but I avoid most nitrogen-heavy fertilizers...I want something like 0-20-20. Don't forget the Slug bait!

pic from

 ..... Of course ...bunches of Alyssum. It really does smell like Honey! The white is most fragrant but I love shades of I mix and match.
Then Night Scented stock and the other fragrant charmers  will be planted near the doors and the windows that open on a warm day.......the flower bed under the living room window, the kitchen windows, and my sewing room...the  Regular old Stock..... and tiny Mignonette. I think I'll put some in a few pots, mixed with other summer faves, and then on warm days and evenings, I can place them under the windows and enjoy the fragrance as it wafts in the breezes....and bring a pot inside for the night....

My faves are weird....but fragrant is also very much at the top of my What to plant list!

Those are my first choices for planting seeds directly in garden beds here at the Tiny House. This weekend, the first of Spring 2011, I'll mow the lawn (electrically) and get my flower beds ready.
These days, until I settle down in a bigger house again, I'll let someone else grow the heirloom tomato and pepper starts I like. I'll go to the Farmer's Mkt or a local nursery to get the heirloom plants....they're widely available finally and Huzzaaah!

Then the old stand-bys..Calendula, poppies, bachelor buttons, larkspur and forget-me-not...these pics are from Hume Seeds. I know once these are planted, I'll pop in some sprouts of Nigella, Canterbury Bells, Salpiglossis....and then in April, the nasturtium seeds......both the climbing and the little bushes....the Variegated Alaska series are a fave...with its splotchy variegated leaves....if it's's mine!

The sentimental favorites.......Bachelor buttons......

Forget Me Nots which only need planting won't forget them...they do go wild.

And Dorothy Gale's nemesis....Poppies! Papavar somniferum paeoniflorum.
 Poppies from seed....Shirley...California poppies, Eschscholzia ...the red Flanders Field poppy....

pic from
Van Gogh Poppy Flowers, article on the theft in Egypt in 2010 from Bloomberg news.

oh and later in May....the daisies, the cosmos, the zinnias, and the sunflowers! the sunflowers!
Let the Gardens begin!