In mid-March 2020, California became the first state to order its nearly 40 million residents to stay home and all nonessential in-person businesses to close down in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Cases of the novel coronavirus had been in the news, at first sparingly and then ever more urgently, from January to that moment in March, so the crisis response was not a surprise, but the halting of life as we knew it was as novel as the virus.
My partner, John, and I were traveling in the early days of a long-planned speaking tour as the concern and confusion regarding the crisis reached its first fevered pitch. Tour events disappeared in front of us wholesale. But my first thought upon hearing about the California lockdown orders was not “How do we get home?” or “How do we keep from getting sick?” or “How do I stem the ebbing of my work and income?” As gardeners, our first thought was “We need to order seeds.”
We were not, apparently, the only gardeners to have this instinctive thought. When I got online the day after the lockdown orders, before being able to get on a flight home, “Out of Stock” and “Back-ordered” popped up on our computer screens over and over again from our favorite organic seed sellers: Redwood Seeds, Peaceful Valley Seed, Territorial Seed, Fedco Seeds, Hudson Valley Seed, Seed Savers Exchange, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Kitazawa Seed, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. As a gardener, to feel a sense of scarcity in the seed supply was an alarm bell ringing—and ringing loudly in my mammalian brain, triggering survival anxieties and a determined instinct to engage with my own survival. Our collective survival.
Seed is important: Botanists know this, ecologists know
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Human beings have been adorning themselves with botanical jewelry made from seeds for thousands of years, and so can you. Dried bean beads for jewelry are inexpensive and come in an array of colors and patterns, and you can even grow your own. Jewelry made from seeds is a relatively simple project — the only difficulty being drilling a hole through the bean.
We all want the best for our garden, but what are good quality seeds? The terms can be confusing. Heirloom, open pollinated, hybrid, resistant, and more descriptors pervade the language when it comes to seeds. Are some seeds better than others? We will investigate the terms and meanings behind seed definitions and get to the bottom of the characteristics of good quality seeds.
Interior design trends come and go—two-toned kitchen cabinets? As of now, out. Incorporating natural elements? As always, in. But, there's one decorating movement that’s ridden the trend wave for years (and years) now, and we want an answer to its ultimate trendiness: farmhouse design. After a decade of shiplap walls and barn doors saturating the interior design world, the question remains: is farmhouse still in style? Or, should you set down the distressed wood and try another trend? We asked two design experts for their thoughts.
If you like chillies – and you have enough sun to grow them in – they are a brilliant choice for containers and small spaces. In this post you can find out why I find them so good, my three favourite varieties (the choice of variety makes a big difference), and three wonderful sauces / pickles to make with your harvests. I’d love to learn about your favourite chilli varieties and homemade chilli sauces in the comments below.
Fionuala Campion says in her article, Dazzling Deer-Resistant Perennials, “Though very graceful and delightful to behold in their native habitat, deer are a voracious force to reckon with in many Northern California gardens, particularly in summer and fall.” But these majestic creatures are not just an issue for gardeners on the west coast. There are populations of deer in all 50 states, and all are munching on the many different plants we’re growing across the country.
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