I admit, I have an addiction. Oh, itâ€™s not the usual female vice of a purse collection or a closet lined with shoes.
For me, itâ€™s seeds. Over fifteen colorful varieties of lettuce, beets in many hues, a dozen different beans and more weird greens than my mother can pronounce (think arugula, mizuna and komatsuna) are lurking in my seed tubs. I am getting itchy to plant that rainbow of radishes, a kaleidoscope of heirloom tomatoes and multiple shades of potatoes to accompany the seventeen varieties of garlic that were tucked in the ground last fall. My love of alliums extends to marvelous onions, leeks and shallot varieties not available on your grocery shelf and I havenâ€™t even started listing the herbs.
It all began years ago when I was newly married and allowed myself the luxury of adding one new variety of seeds to my very practical (and boring) garden assortment. One year I hit upon a packet of mesclun (a mix of lettuce and greens for â€œgourmetâ€ salad) and my life has never been the same. It piqued my curiosity to wonder what the Garden of Eden really was like and to explore the amazing things lurking in my seed catalogues. Many colors of peppers later I needed to support my seed buying addiction by going into business and I am now entering my ninth year as a market gardener.
Having a whole acre to experiment with my seeds has kept both the gardener (me) and the eaters (my family plus five CSA customers) very happy. To my great pleasure, my wild veggies and I are even invited to talk with garden clubs, libraries and church groups. Another place where you might find me surrounded by purple potatoes,Â funky squash and bizarre cucumbers is during my weekly gardening demos at Lehman’s store (Thursdays during the growing season from 10-2.)
I am partial to heirloom seeds, which are open pollinated and when collected at the seasonâ€™s end, will produce a plant similar to the parent. This allows me to save my own seeds and share extras with others. Hybrids are a cross between two varieties and while it is a natural process, I must rely on the seed company to produce those for me. I do choose a few hybrids that are exceptional in taste or disease resistance. For me, the saddest situation in todayâ€™s seed world is the introduction of genetically modified seeds. GMOs are produced by a laboratory process combining DNA of different species which I believe goes beyond how the good Lord intended things to reproduce. It is worth deeper reading to check out the potential dangers in that realm.
With my seed catalogues sprawled on my desk and my wish list for the season in process, I am pleased that even Lehman’s is now supporting my addiction with expanded seed selection in their store and catalogue. So now if I need a quick fix, all I need to do is wander down the road to check out the colorful Seed Saver packets (all heirloom varieties), practical FEDCO treasures or whole rack of sunflower varieties. And donâ€™t forget the herb collection, seed potatoes and bizarre gourds.
I invite you to explore the wonderful world of seeds in your garden this season by trying out a Lehman’s exclusive seed kit. Zing up your salad bowl with the Heirloom Salad Kit, go leafy with the Heirloom Greens Mix or create a colorful garden supper with the Heirloom Favorites Kit. More Seed Saver packets are available individually as well. Seeds are one of the best investments you can make in these unsettled economic times but I will warn you, it can be ADDICTIVE!