Posts Tagged ‘Seeds!’

Coming to Fruition

Ilex verticillata 'Winter Red' Oct 31 2011

When I first decided to divide my fall posts into flowers, foliage, and fruits, I chose to leave the fruits for last, figuring that I’d have several more weeks to capture the bounty of berries and seedheads. Unfortunately, the unusual cold and snow event at the end of October flattened much of the garden and meadow, bringing the 2011 gardening season to a screeching halt. That was disappointing, of course, but since then, a new twist to this topic has come to mind. I still have some autumn shots to share, but after them, I’ll reveal the new point of this post.

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Tis the Season

rudbeckia-fulgida-and-eryngium-yuccifolium-late-oct-08

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

Um…no, not that season, though you’d be justified in guessing that if you too have noticed the sudden onslaught of holiday carols on the radio. I’m thinking about seed seasons. You see, a year in the life of a seed geek includes four seasons, but they’re a little different than the usual calendar or meteorological ones: a time to sow, a time to reap, a time to share, and a time to acquire. Continue reading

Origami for Seed Savers

Origami seed envelope

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

Summer isn’t a time that most people associate with seeds: the prime spring sowing time is long past, and new seed catalogs won’t be arriving for another two months or so. But for seed fanatics, the fun continues all season long.

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The Population Explosion

Seedlings under lights

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

It’s a funny thing about seeds: First you worry that they’re not going to sprout; then you worry how you’re going to deal with all of the seedlings. It’s so easy to sow a dozen pots, plunk them onto a heating mat, and fit them neatly onto a shelf under a single fluorescent light fixture. It may take a few days for the first leaflets to appear, but before you know it, the pots are filled with forests of study little seedlings. The next step is to transplant those seedlings into individual pots. And then, my friends, is when reality sets in.

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Sowing Begins

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

Seeds sown for chilling Feb 3 08February is one of my least favorite months, but it does have one thing going for it: the start of seed-sowing season. The fun actually starts right after Christmas, with glorious hours immersed in the current crop of seed catalogs and seed-exchange lists, followed by a frenzy of making my own lists, fine-tuning choices, and placing the orders.

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And So It Begins…

Text and photos ©Nancy J. Ondra

Seeds from Pinetree and Territorial Jan 28 08It’s still winter outside, but spring is showing signs of returning – at least in my mailbox. The last two days have brought a bounty of seed orders: Pinetree Garden Seeds (42 packets) and Territorial Seed Company (11 packets) on Tuesday and Thompson & Morgan (13 packets) yesterday. So, 66 so far, and many more on the way! What was I thinking? I should have been thinking of how I’m going to manage all of this with four plant lights and one cold frame. Oh well, it’s worked out every other year, so I’m sure I’ll manage somehow. (As a side note, the rather ominous-looking bladed instrument in the photo is a machete from Pinetree. I’ve always wanted one, and I couldn’t resist it at $9.98.

Potato seeds Jan 28 08Many of the seeds are repeats of last year’s favorite veggies and flowers, but I do have a few new things to try. One of the most intriguing so far is potato seeds – not seed potatoes, but actual potato seeds. They arrived from Territorial in this curious little container protected with a large tuft of cotton. Never having seen actual potato seeds, I didn’t know what to expect. I wish I’d been more careful when I pulled out the cotton, because I managed to lose a few of the seeds in the process. As you can see (those three white dots in front of the container), they’re pretty small!

Lysimachia atropurpurea June 8 06One favorite that I haven’t had for a few years is Lysimachia atropurpurea. Not to be confused with the aggressive purple-leaved loosestrife (Lysimachia ciliata ‘Purpurea’) or the invasive purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), this delicate beauty usually acts like a biennial here. The first year, its clumps of grayish green leaves are interesting but not especially showy. If they make it through the winter, though, the second-year show is fantastic, with spikes of blackberry-scented, violet-colored flowers in early summer. I’ve let them go to seed in past years but they’ve never self-sowed, so I’m thrilled to have a new batch of seed to try again.