Gardening Relief and “Complete Container Herb Garden”

      What a relief! It’s finally time to go outside, get away from cable news and practice the art of gardening. Like anything else, the more you practice the better you get.

     Seeds should be more plentiful this year but it’s not too early to stock up. Last year the seed companies were inundated with new gardeners who decided to grow their own vegetables. This year the major seed sources are ready for us.  

     Choose Maritime Northwest seed sources first. They sell seeds for our area. Reliable locals like Ed Hume Seeds (vegetables, flowers herbs), Territorial Seeds, (vegetables, flowers, herbs), Nichols Garden Nursery, (herb seeds), Irish Eyes Seeds (specialize in seed potatoes, vegetables), Uprising Organics, (organic vegetable, flower, herb seeds and grains) and Northwest Meadowscapes (meadow wildflowers).  

     Other favorite and reliable seed sources outside of our area are Renee’s Seeds (heirloom vegetables, flowers and herbs), Seed Saver’s Exchange Heirloom Seeds (rare and organic vegetables, flowers and herbs) and American Meadows (wildflower seeds). All of these seed companies have a section devoted in part to organic seeds. So, what’s the difference between “regular” seeds and…

Organic Seeds?

It’s not that organic seeds produce organic vegetables and flowers. Organic seeds come from a certified organic farm. They only produce organic plants if you don’t spray them with non organic chemicals.  Contrary to popular opinion, plants that produce organic seeds may be sprayed with chemicals but they are organic chemicals.   Organic seeds fend for themselves and “may” be sturdier. The seeds harvested at an organic farm depend on the health of the mother plant. Buying organic seed supports organic farmers. That’s a good enough reason to grow from organic seeds.

     So is it better to grow from seed or…

Time Saving Transplants

    Growing from seed is cheaper and highly satisfying. There are more opportunities to grow oddball vegetables and flowers that nurseries don’t tend to sell.

     Since not everyone has a greenhouse, heat mat or bright enough spot in a window to grow everything from seed, it’s a good idea to do a little of both…seeds and transplants.

     Grow those plants that can be “direct seeded”. This limits us since the South Sound soil doesn’t really warm up until July.

     Easy and reliable vegetables to “direct seed” are leaf lettuces, flat leaved spinach (basically any greens), Danvers and Nantes carrots and bunching green onions. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and especially tomatoes are better from transplants from your local nursery. They take longer to germinate from seed and you don’t generally need large crops of these. Grow annual herbs like Italian basil, parsley and cilantro from seed. Rosemary, English thyme and garden sage are better grown from transplants.

     Herb growing, whether seeds or transplants can fill a…

“Complete Container Herb Gardening” by Sue Goetz

     Sue Goetz, our local author, speaker and herb expert released her third book in December.  “A Complete Container Herb Gardening: Design and Grow Beautiful, Bountiful Herb-Filled Pots” about her favorite subject, the cultivation and use of herbs.

     Sue details how to plant herbs in terra cotta, stone, metal and ceramic containers and even grow bags. She explains where to put the containers and how to maintain them right down to aging a too-new-looking terra cotta pot.

     Displays and designs for mixing herbs in both window boxes and hanging baskets are given the full treatment. Indoor herbs are discussed too. Sue includes easy projects for growing herbs in pots with culinary, personal beauty and home keeping recipes in mind. You can cook, cream and clean with a variety of easy to grow herbs. Fun!

Cool Springs Press, 192 p., $26.99