Tag Archives: seeds

Introducing Beanstalk Seeds

Are you looking for a fun way to get your kids outside? Do you want to engage them with nature? Teach them how to love fresh vegetables?

Beanstalk Seeds is a new seed company specializing in seeds for children’s gardening!

With exciting seeds, including those in our Plant a Rainbow kit, and resources such as our Garden Guidesheets, Beanstalk Seeds makes it easy and fun for you to engage your kids in the growing process.

What Are Beanstalk Seeds?
Previously only available at our office in KC, Kansas City Community Gardens’ specialty seeds are now available to families, youth groups and schools throughout the country at www.beanstalkseeds.com.

School Garden Report from Upstate New York

Group photo in school garden

This spring, with a donation of plants from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County, and a variety of seeds donated by Page Seed Company of Greene, NY, students planted tomatoes, green peppers, basil, parsley, onions, sweet potatoes, nasturtium, string beans, strawberries, herbs, and perennial flowers.

“I can’t wait to eat the strawberries,” exclaims Asma Butt, who participated in the group since its beginning last year.

The student group Girls on the Run has also contributed to creating and maintaining vibrant gardens on the Sidney Elementary campus. In May, Girls on the Run members worked to clean up the front flower gardens and plant new flowers in areas that were overrun with grass and weeds. The front gardens were further expanded in June with a donation of perennial flowers from the Hill and Valley Garden club of Sidney.

school garden students saving bean seeds

The food-to-school movement, which seeks to bring more locally grown, fresh food into schools, is gaining popularity with students nationwide. Not only does it address a need for healthier food and eating habits, but it can also connect those needs with an exposure to science education at its most fundamental level.

With a growing interest in growing their own food and working with plants, Green Thumb members are already looking toward next year. Mackenzie Dutton, a 3rd grader and avid gardener, wants to expand the gardening opportunities at the elementary school. “I’d like to do more field trips, more nature walks, and grow more food,” Dutton remarks.

Josh Gray, teacher and garden coordinator, adds, “Our future plans include expanding the gardens, putting in some dwarf fruit trees, berry bushes, creating a Native American food garden, a medicinal garden, and a butterfly garden. We’d also like to increase our cafeteria composting program, work with classroom teachers to integrate nutrition and horticultural education into the school-day, and eventually start providing students with fresh, very local, student-grown food. And then maybe get some chickens…”

More pictures and information about the Green Thumb Growers Guild are available at http://www.sidneycsd.org/GreenThumb.aspx

students in the greenhouse

Spring Planting 2014

cucumber2

In celebration of spring let’s discuss what we’re growing this year.
Our list includes:

Chayote
Genovese Italian Basil
Edamame Soy Beans
Blue Lake Bush Bean
Black-Seeded Yard Long Pole Bean
Honey Select Corn
Rocky Top Mix Lettuce
Imperial Black Beauty Eggplant
Cayenne Pepper
Jalapeno Pepper
Nardello Sweet Pepper
Aunt Ruby’S German Green Tomato
Kelloggs Breakfast Tomato
Black Vernissage (Cherry) Tomato
Prudens Purple Tomato
Early Red Chief Tomato
Lemon Cucumber (shown above)
Mideast Prolific Cucumber
Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumber (shown below)
Burgess Buttercup Winter Squash
Golden Scallopini Bush Squash
Golden Bush Zucchini
Cocozelle Bush Zucchini
Green Rocky Ford Melon
Haogen Melon
Crimson Sweet Watermelon
and Peanuts!

mexcian-sour-gherkin

Seed Companies we use:

Baker Creek
Botanical Interests
Peaceful Valley
Pinetree
Renee’s Garden
Seeds of Change

What are you growing this year?

Panel Discussion on California Proposition 37

This past weekend I attended the Seed Library of Los Angeles’ (SLOLA) presentation of “The Truth about GMOs.” Special guest speakers included:

Jeffrey Smith, Director, Institute for Responsible Technology, and the leading consumer advocate promoting healthier non-GMO choices; author of the world’s bestselling and #1 rated book on the health dangers of GMOs, Seeds of Deception.

Tom Newmark, Board Member, Greenpeace, Inc. USA. He is a founder of Sacred Seeds, a sanctuary in Costa Rica dedicated to conserving medicinal plants across the globe.

Please see this incredibly informative presentation in the video below.

In November, California voters will decide the fate of  Proposition 37, a Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Initiative.

A panel discussion has been organized by eight Hamilton High School science students and the South Robertson Neighborhood Council Green Team Committee to evaluate the issues and then make a recommendation to the Neighborhood Council which in turn will send its recommendation to the Los Angeles City Council.

The students have put together an impressive roster of advocates on both sides of the issue to explain their positions in depth.  If you think that this is not a nuanced issue, you might be surprised after hearing this interesting panel of speakers.  The panel consists of:  a biologist, a representative from Women for Agriculture, a lobbyist, environmental activists and a filmmaker.  The event is open to the community and there will be a Q & A following.  Any questions concerning this event can be directed to: Paula Waxman at paulawaxman@soronc.org or 310-559-2552.

WHEN: Thursday, September 6th
TIME: 7:00 to 9:00 pm
WHERE:  Hamilton High School Cafeteria, 2955 South Robertson Blvd., LA 90034

“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” ~  Thomas Jefferson

Saving Carrot Seeds

single carrot harvest

We first planted carrot seeds in September. We harvested them in January. We also left a few plants to flower so we could save seeds from them.  The flowers appeared towards the end of April and today, the end of July, they are ready to be harvested for seed.

Allowing carrots to go to seeds not only provides seeds for next season but the flowers also attract beneficial insects that snack on the pests attacking your summer plants.

carrot flower

A few things to know when saving seed from carrots:

1) Make sure you are starting with an heirloom or open-pollinated variety and not a hybrid.

2) It takes a long time to go from seed-to-seed. Plan for it. We sowed seeds in September and harvested seeds in July. That’s 10 months total.

3) It takes a lot of space. One carrot plant sends up one main stalk and multiple side stalks. Instead of one carrot plant needing only 2 inches square, one carrot plant going to seed needs about 2 feet square.

4) Reduce watering after the plant has flowered. Stop watering once the plants start turning brown and the seeds have fully matured. When they’ve completely turned brown the seeds are ready to harvest.

5) Hang seed stalks upside down in a cool dry place for another week to assure complete dryness.

6) Separate seeds from stem over a newspaper or plate.

7) Gather seeds into a plastic bag or glass jar and store in a cool dry place.

mature carrot seed

“GROW TOGETHER” WITH ONE SEED CHICAGO IN THE YEAR OF THE HERBS.

Kids in Hoophouse

The following is a guest post from OneSeedChicago.com. If you are a Chicago gardener please vote, everyone else, take notes, perhaps you’ll be inspired to start a similar program in your city.

NeighborSpace’s One Seed Chicago project lets Chicago gardeners vote on their favorite seed then distributes the winning seed for free to encourage urban farming, healthy eating habits, and sitting down for meals with family and friends.

CHICAGO – Gardeners across Chicago started the New Year by voting for their favorite herb seed for One Seed Chicago and the winning seed will be mailed to them for free. This year’s candidates are basil, chamomile, and cilantro. As in previous years, One Seed Chicago will teach Chicagoans how to grow the winning seed in their garden. Local chefs and foodies are encouraged to submit original recipes for the community featuring any of this year’s candidates to demonstrate how easy it is to go from garden to plate.

“For the fifth year One Seed Chicago is uniting Chicago gardeners,” said Ben Helphand, NeighborSpace Executive Director. “By planting a common seed, backyards, windowsills, community gardens and balconies across the City will be linked together in a season-long celebration of urban gardening and local eating.”

The three candidates were selected at the annual GreenNet Potluck. Community gardeners from across the city took part in a One Seed Chicago primary election which narrowed the race to the three herb candidates. In addtion, this year One Seed Chicago is expanding voting even further, offering schools, offices, garden clubs and wherever gardeners gather the opportunity to host a polling station.

“This being an election year, we thought we’d celebrate our democracy by growing new voters along with seeds,” explains Helphand. “Gardeners who want to host a polling station can download a ballot, poster and Teacher’s activity guides from the One Seed Chicago website.”

Voting
Voting began on Sunday, January 1, 2012 and continues until April 1, 2012. The winning seed will be unveiled at GreenNet’s annual Green and Growing Fair at the Garfield Park Conservatory. To vote simply log onto www.OneSeedChicago.com.

Origins of One Seed Chicago
One Seed Chicago is a project of NeighborSpace, Chicago’s land trust for community gardens. Entering its fourth year One Seed Chicago aims to introduce more Chicagoans to the joys and benefits of gardening. Previous winners: Sunflower 2008. Blue Lake Pole bean 2009. Beebalm 2010. Swiss chard 2011. Since 2008 One Seed Chicago has distributed over one million seeds to Chicago residents.

About NeighborSpace
NeighborSpace is a nonprofit urban land trust dedicated to preserving and sustaining community managed open spaces in Chicago. Their growing network of gardens provide thousands of people the opportunity to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers; to restore habitats; and create unique gathering places in their own neighborhoods. NeighborSpace’s partners in the community can rest assured that the land will remain dedicated to conservation and their efforts will never be displaced. For more information, please visit www.neighbor-space.org.

Seed Starting for the Spring

Sunflower Seeds awaiting harvest

Sunflower Seeds

New 2012 seed catalogs have started to show up in the mail. Still makes me feel like a kid to peruse them while dreaming about what gourmet treats we’ll be cooking up with all that we harvest.

Now that the winter break is over it is time to think about what we’ll be planting in the spring and then to start those seedlings indoors.

Warm-season crops include those from the Cucurbiticeae Family (cucumbers, chayote, melons, pumpkin, squash, watermelons) and Solanaceae Family (eggplants, tomatoes, peppers).

Vegetables with larger seeds like beans and corn that we also plant in the spring are better off sowed directly in the soil after the last frost.

For an introductory handout see Starting from Seed.

For more extensive information See Plant Propagation from Seed from the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Three seed companies I recommend:

Botanical Interests – Large selection of organic varieties.

Pinetree Garden Seeds – Smaller packets, smaller prices.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – Large selection of heirloom varieties.