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HEIRLOOM TOMATO ANNOUNCEMENT & SALE Posted on 15 Feb 06:55 , 1 comment

We sent this out yesterday to our e-mail list but thought it would be nice to share to our blog as well.  Happy Planting!

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
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A few favorites @MARY'S HEIRLOOM SEEDS
February 14, 2017
We are SUPER excited to announce the addition of several new (to us)
As promised, we're continuing to add heirloom varieties to our already unique selection at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  As an added bonus, the varieties we are announcing today are on Sale thru February 19th!

HEIRLOOM TOMATO SEEDS added today!!!    

Seeds listed in this section are ON SALE thru February 19th.  
We have a $10 order minimum 
with the free shipping option. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*Excellent for HOT climates*
 
 
If you're wondering what to plant, 
check out our
and 
Also ON SALE thru February 19th @ Mary's Heirloom Seeds




If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 

 

Happy Planting,

 

Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065

February Planting Guide for the US-Find Your Region Posted on 07 Feb 04:51 , 0 comments

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
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February 6, 2017
In case you missed it, we offer region specific planting guide for entire year on our blog
Mary's 2017 Planting Guide

I don't know about you but sometimes even I need a reminder of what to plant next month.  Plus, we're always offering new specials and posting new seed varieties.

**Don't forget, we have a 50% Off Sale going on thru February 10th**

FEBRUARY SEED PLANTING GUIDE FOR THE US  

**Please keep in mind that this is a general recommendation for each region listed.  If your area is experiencing unusually extreme changes in weather you'll need to adjust and plant accordingly**

 


Sow Indoors:  Swiss Chard, Eggplant, Fennel, Peppers, Bunching Onions (Scallions), Tomatoes, Basil and Chives.
Sow Outdoors: Arugula, Artichoke, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Bulbing Onion, Bunching Onion, Peas- Snow & Snap, Potatoes, Radish, Rutabaga,  Spinach and Turnips
Indoor  HERBS: Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Sorrel, Tarragon and Thyme.
CONTINUE READING


Sow indoors in early February. Sow Outdoors in late February: Arugula, Asparagus, Basil, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Cilantro, Chives, Endive, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard, Parsley, Peas, Radish
CONTINUE READING


Arugula, Bush & Pole Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Melon, Okra, Onion, Rutabaga, Pea, Pepper, Pumpkin, Radish, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomato and Watermelon
CONTINUE READING


*Plant indoors if February is before your last frost date*
Arugula, Artichoke, Asparagus, Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Swiss Chard, Eggplant, Endive, Fennel, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Melons, Mustard, Onions, Peas- English & Garden, Radish, Radicchio, Scallions, Sorrel and Spinach. For warmer parts of the gulf coast: Peppers, Squash, Tomatoes and Watermelon.
CONTINUE READING 


FLORIDA has been split in 3 regions 
  

Arugula, Bush & Pole Beans, Lima Beans, Cantaloupes, Carrots, celery, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Okra, Bunching Onions, Peas-Snow or English, Southern Peas, Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Radish, Spinach, Summer Squash & Winter Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes and Watermelon   
Pretty much EVERY  Herb!! Don't forget the  Wildflowers!   
CONTINUE READING


Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cantaloupes, Carrots, Cauliflower, celery, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Okra, Bunching Onions, Peas-Snow or English, Southern Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Radish, Spinach, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon
Pretty much EVERY   Herb!! Don't forget the  Wildflowers!   
CONTINUE READING


Amaranth, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cantaloupes, Carrots, Cauliflower, celery, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Bunching Onions, Peas-Snow or English, Peppers, Potatoes, Radish, Spinach, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon
Pretty much EVERY   Herb!! Don't forget the  Wildflowers!   
CONTINUE READING


Basil, Arugula, Beets, Pak Choy, Carrots, Swiss Chard, Collard greens, Corn, Cucumbers, Melon, Mustard Greens, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Radishes, Spinach, Summer Squash, Sunflower, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon
Plant Herbs and Wildflowers
Transplant: Artichoke, Swiss Chard, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Peppers and Tomatoes


INDOOR planting for cooler areas

Sow Indoors: Artichoke, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Fava Bean, Kale, Leek, Lettuce, Onion, Pak Choy, Peas, Radicchio, Rhubarb, Spinach and HERBS!
CONTINUE READING


Sow Indoors: Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Celery, Kale, Leek, Lettuce, Onion, Radicchio, Chives, Fennel, Parsley, Oregano, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme
CONTINUE READING


Sow Indoors: Arugula, Artichoke, Asparagus, Cabbage, Celery, Endive, Kale, Leek, Lettuce, Onion, Radicchio, Scallion, Sorrel and Spinach.
CONTINUE READING


Sow Indoors: Arugula, Broccoli, Celery, Swiss Chard, Eggplant, Endive, Fennel, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Onions, Pak Choy, Peppers, Radicchio, Rhubarb Scallions, Tomatoes, Basil and Chives.
CONTINUE READING


Sow Indoors: Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Broccoli, Cabbage, Celery, Swiss Chard, Eggplant, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Lettuce, Onions, Peppers, Radicchio, Sorrel, Spinach and Turnips.
CONTINUE READING


Helpful Links to
Get you Started    
NEW SEEDS!!   
If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 

 

Happy Planting,

 

Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065

SOIL Recipes for Raised Bed Gardens Posted on 31 Jan 14:33 , 4 comments

I love our raised bed gardens!!!  There are so many benefits such as less water usage, almost zero weeding and best of all, LOTS of food produced in a small space.

I've had so many questions about what to use for Garden Soil.  The thing is, you can ask all of the "experts" and there is no absolute "right" way.  No one way works for everyone so below you will find some of the recommended recipes for gardens beds.  You'll also find my own recommendations based on what has worked for me.

Vegetable plants need loose, free-draining soil with readily available nutrients to produce abundantly. Each year's crop takes a bit of the nutrient base of the soil with it, so this must be returned on an annual basis to keep the garden productive.  This means adding amendments every year to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients.

First, a caution for the thrifty.  Be wary of advertisements for cheap or free bulk topsoil, as this material is generally scraped from construction sites and may be full of roots and rocks, making it unsuitable planting vegetables. Go to the landscape supply yard and look at the options to make sure you are getting a loose, clean, lightweight material that has compost already mixed in.

If you are building and filling  multiple beds, buying bagged soil isn't economical.  Call around your area and ask for bulk organic topsoil.  You might not be able to find "organic" soil so you can always ask for untreated soil.

1 - 4 foot by 4 foot raised bed takes 16 cubic feet of soil or approx 1/2 a cubic yard of soil

I saw one recipe that called for 1/3 Peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite and 1/3 compost.

This is not a recipe I use.  First, peat moss is on the acidic side.  Coconut Coir is neutral and a more sustainable addition to your garden.  Next, too much vermiculite will keep your soil from retaining moisture and nutrients.

Here's another recipe I found:
  • 3 parts compost
  • 1 part peat moss 
  • 1 part vermiculite

Here's my all time favorite from Rodales:
You want the kind that’s dark, rich, and loaded with microorganisms. Fill your beds with a mix of 50 to 60 percent good-quality topsoil and 40 to 50 percent well-aged compost. Before each new growing season, test your soil for pH and nutrient content. You can buy a kit at most home-improvement stores. If your test shows a need for additional nutrients like nitrogen and potassium, raise levels by working in amendments such as bone meal and kelp. Dress beds with an additional ½ inch of compost later in the growing season to increase organic matter and boost soil health. 

I use my own version of the above recipe.  I add coconut coir to each bed.  Depending on what I'm planting, if it needs lighter soil I'll add a bit of vermiculite.  Most of our beds are fed with our own DIY Organic Liquid Fertilizer Mix

We've been building up our own compost and amending the topsoil we purchased by the truckload several years ago.  If you are just getting started, you might have to shop around for a healthy option.


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Build Your Own Raised Beds and GROW! Posted on 31 Jan 13:22 , 3 comments

We're finally updating our Build Your Own Raised Bed tutorial!  Our first post was in 2015 when we moved to our new homestead and built a bunch of 8 foot by 4 foot beds.

We are STILL using these beds but we ended up putting gopher wire on the bottom to keep the gophers out.  We've also adapted this tutorial to make a few 4 foot by 4 foot beds for different projects or just because they were easier to handle.

Many of you have seen our updates on facebook.  We have expanded our growing area over the last week.  This place is HUGE!  We wanted to get growing fast but with the rocky ground (and gophers) at our new homestead, we decided to build raised beds.  Here's how we built...


Tools:
Drill (required)
Circular saw (optional)  
Staple Gun (optional) 

Lumber & Supplies:
We purchased 2"x12"x16' untreated boards
untreated 4"x4" posts-Buy it 8 feet long and have it cut in 1 foot long posts
48" landscaping cloth (optional)
 3" deck screws from a local hardware shop.
It takes 1 and a 1/2 boards to make these 4X8 beds.  
That means 12 boards will make 8 beds.


A few thing I've learned:
Landscaping cloth works to keep the weeds out but NOT gophers.

If you have gophers or other burrowing pests, I highly recommend gopher wire or hardware cloth (it's not actually cloth).  Affix the wire to the bottom of the bed after you build the bed but before you fill with dirt

The 3 inch deck screws can be expensive but they are well worth it

I was told that the 4" post at each corner was overkill but I feel it is worth it.  Our raised beds are in great shape so far!

If you choose to build 4 foot by 4 foot beds, you can purchase pre-cut boards OR buy 1- 2X12X16 and have it cut into 4 foot boards.

If you prefer to make smaller beds then you will need to re-adjust length/quantity of boards. 

Screws: 32 
3 inch "Star Drive" deck screws
*These include a drill bit* 
The 2"x12" board were cut in 4' and 8' pieces.   
The 4"x4" posts were cut in 12" pieces.
If you don't have a circular saw (or want to make the boards easier to handle) I suggest having the people at the shop cut your boards. 
The 12" pieces of 4x4 post were attached  
to the ends of the 2x12x8 pieces with the  
3" deck screws: *4 screws per board per corner* 
32 screws total


After taking the 4' and 8' boards to the garden the 4' and 8' boards were assembled so that the 4' boards covered the ends of the 8' boards with their attached posts. 


This gave the assembled bed a 4'x8' OUTSIDE dimension gopher wire was attached to the bottom

Now, we have pictures of our 4 foot by 4 foot beds!


4 ft by 4 ft bed


4 ft by 4 ft bed with gopher wire


We used a staple gun to attach the gopher wire to each bed
The assembled bed was then placed gopher-wire side down and filled with good, organic soil with plenty of Organic Nutrients added to the beds.

4 X 4 growing Organic Radish


For 4 beds @ 4ft X 8ft we used about
5 cubic yards of soil.
Water the bed once it's filled with dirt and organic plant food.  We added more dirt once the soil compacted a bit.
TIME TO PLANT HEIRLOOM SEEDS!

If you have additional questions about getting started or would like more info please feel free to ask.  As always, I am happy to help.

If you'd like to check out some of our gardening tips, check out our fb page. 

Stay tuned for info on FILLING and maintaining these beds!


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Pollinator Garden Challenge Posted on 26 Jan 20:28 , 0 comments

We recently shared a new report Bumble Bee Put on Endangered Species list.  Every day we encourage people to grow without the use of harmful pesticides and work with pollinators in the garden.

JOIN US in the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge!  Have you heard of the challenge?  

Mary's Heirloom Seeds is joining National Pollinator Garden Network CHALLENGE.  NPGN collectively represents approximately 800,000 gardeners, 10,000 schoolyard gardens and bring a baseline of a 250,000 registered pollinator gardens nationwide from across its five main founding organizations.

The Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC) is a nationwide call to action to preserve and create gardens and landscapes that help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across America. We will move millions of individuals, kids and families outdoors and make a connection between pollinators and the healthy food people eat.

The focus of the NPGN is: to inspire individuals and community groups, institutions and the garden industry to create more pollinator habitat through sustainable gardening practices, habitat conservation and provide these groups the tools to be successful.

So how are we getting involved?  We already offer a SUPER unique election of Wildflower Seeds and Herb Seeds that are bee-friendly.  We grow organic and plant for the bees in our own gardens.

FIRST, we are adding more Bee-Friendly SEEDS at Mary's Heirloom Seeds!  **Listed below**

Next, we are offering 50% OFF every single variety listed under FLOWERS.  Yes, you read that right.

50% off Flower Seeds now thru February 10th when you use code  BEES50  at checkout in the appropriate box.

How does it work?

CLICK HERE for our huge selection of flower seeds.  At checkout, find the box marked "discount"

Type in BEES50

in the box and click "apply" to automatically calculate your saving.  If you have trouble using our discount code, please send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com and we can help you locate the appropriate box.

If you haven't read our article Plant for Pollinators and Increase Crop Yields then NOW is the time.  Not only are you helping the precious bee population by planting bee-friendly varieties, you can boost your crops!!!

NEW Seed varieties added today:

MIDNIGHT RED AMARANTH

 

RUSSIAN RIVER MERLOT AMARANTH

 

AUTUMN BEAUTY SUNFLOWER MIX

 

BLACK OIL SUNFLOWER

 

MAMMOTH GREY STRIPE SUNFLOWER

VELVET QUEEN SUNFLOWER



HAPPY PLANTING! 

 
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Bumble Bee Put on Endangered Species List Posted on 26 Jan 18:59 , 0 comments

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
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NEW for 2017 @MARY'S HEIRLOOM SEEDS
January 12, 2017
This popped up in my email yesterday and it's SO important that we decided to break from our regular scheduled email to share with you

If you have additional question, please ask

U.S. Puts Bumblebee On The Endangered Species List for the First Time    
This has been reported in multiple news outlets and scientific journals as of yesterday and even more this morning.

From NPR,
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species - the first such designation for a bumblebee and for a bee species in the continental U.S.
The protected status, which goes into effect on Feb. 10, includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.
"Today's Endangered Species listing is the best-and probably last-hope for the recovery of the rusty patched bumble bee," NRDC Senior Attorney Rebecca Riley said in a statement from the Xerces Society, which advocates for invertebrates. "Bumble bees are dying off, vanishing from our farms, gardens, and parks, where they were once found in great numbers."
Large parts of the Eastern and Midwestern United States were once crawling with these bees, Bombus affinis, but the bees have suffered a dramatic decline in the last two decades due to habitat loss and degradation, along with pathogens and pesticides.
Indeed, the bee was found in 31 states and Canadian provinces before the mid- to late-1990s, according to the final rule published in the Federal Register. But since 2000, it has been reported in only 13 states and Ontario, Canada. It has seen an 88 percent decline in the number of populations and an 87 percent loss in the amount of territory it inhabits.
This means the species is vulnerable to extinction, the rule says, even without further habitat loss or insecticide exposure. Canada designated the species as endangered in 2012.
The bees live in large colonies that can be made up of 1,000 individual workers. All types of the species have black heads, the rule states, "but only workers and males have a rusty reddish patch centrally located on the abdomen."
Habitat degradation may be particularly harmful to these bees because of their feeding habits, as described in the rule:
"The rusty patched bumble bee is one of the first bumble bees to emerge early in the spring and the last to go into hibernation, so to meet its nutritional needs, the species requires a constant and diverse supply of blooming flowers."
Last October, the Fish and Wildlife Service gave endangered status to seven species of yellow-faced bees native to Hawaii, the first time any U.S. bees received this kind of protection.

Pollinator decline is a global trend. A recent major global assessment sponsored by the U.N. suggested that about 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species are facing extinction. Since some 75 percent of food crops rely at least partially on pollinators, that raises serious concerns about the future of the global food supply.
We can ALL try to do our part!     

How can we help?
1.  STOP spraying synthetic pesticides and even organic bee-killing pesticides around your yard and help your neighbors do the same

2.  Plant more flowers for hungry pollinators. 
****Please be aware that most of the "big box" nurseries sell chemically treated plants that will kill bees and other pollinators

3.  Leave the weeds!  Dandelions are beneficial flowers for bees and other pollinators

4.  Look for local honey!  Yum!  This supports beekeeping in your area.

5.  Bees get thirsty so we leave out a small dish in our beds for them to drink


Going organic is great but growing your own organic is even better!  In our own gardens, we take extra measures to ensure a thriving bee population.  Without bees, our gardens are pathetic!

To help YOU grow a healthy garden and help the bees, we've added 2 NEW varieties to our SEED SALE!

 
CORNFLOWER 
 
 
AFRICAN DAISY MIX 
 
Check out our selection of
WILDFLOWER SEEDS

These are just some of the bee-friendly plants
NEW for 2017  
If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 

 

Happy Planting,

 

Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065

NEW for 2017 & 99 Cent Seed Pack SALE @ Mary's Heirloom Seeds Posted on 20 Jan 15:42 , 0 comments

   
Mary's Heirloom Seeds 
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January 20, 2017

Are you already planning your 2017 garden?

This is going to be a LOOOOONG post.  Why?  Because we've added over 50 Heirloom seed varieties for 2017 @ Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  We are so excited to announce that we now offer over 440 varieties of heirloom seeds.  Woohoo!!!
 
99 CENT SEED PACKS

We're doing it once again...NEW heirloom seeds added today @ Mary's Heirloom Seeds and they're ON SALE for only 99 cents per pack thru January 23rd

SPARKLER WHITE TOP RADISH


WATERMELON RADISH


**NOT NEW but also on sale thru January 23rd**


HEIRLOOM SEEDS picture ABOVE are all on sale thru Monday, January 23rd @ midnight EST.
ALL NEW for 2017! 

Our official collection of NEW additions at 
Mary's Heirloom Seeds for 2017




















RED OF FLORENCE ONION


Hollow Crown Parsnip


Big Red Ripper Southern Pea


Lady Finger Cowpea


Mammoth Melting Sugar Pea


CORBACI PEPPER


Lemon Drop Pepper


Miniature Yellow Bell Pepper


Sweet Banana Pepper


Easter Egg Radish


Burgess Buttercup Squash


Ebony Acorn Squash


Fordhook Acorn Squash


Hubbard Blue Squash


Ronde De Nice Squash


WHITE SCALLOP SQUASH
**Also called Patty Pan squash**












Stay tuned for more information about planting and growing seeds!

If you have additional questions please feel free to ask.  

Happy Planting,

Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065

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BEST VEGGIES FOR HOMESTEAD GARDENS Posted on 05 Jan 16:31 , 2 comments

I've shared previous "best of" articles from Mary's Heirloom Seeds such as Mary's Top 10 with Companions and Heat Tolerant Veggies.
 
But how about homesteaders?  Some of you, myself included, are growing to become more self-sufficient.  We're also working on a soil-prep article so stay tuned for that
 
What are the Best Veggies for Homestead Gardens?
 
I'm starting with Radish because it's one of the first crops to mature in our garden.  As long as your soil has balanced organic matter, Radish is an easy crop to grow and usually pest resistant.  The Early Scarlet Globe Radish is heat tolerant and matures in as little as 22 days. The German Giant Radish matures in as little as 29 days and can be harvested small and early or let them grow as large as a tennis ball (no joke.  I've done it)
 
For a mild flavor, the French Breakfast Radish is an excellent variety.  For a longer growing, spicy option, the Japanese Minowase Daikon Radish
 
 
If you're looking for a good dual-purpose crop, Beans are your go-to homestead crop.  Some varieties can be picked early as a snap bean or left on the plant to mature for a nice dry bean (for soups, etc).
 
An excellent Dry Bean options is the Blue Speckled Tepary Bean, which can be traced all the way back to the Mayans and was a staple for Native Americans.  Additional and delicious dry bean options include Cannellini, Jacob's Cattle and Red Striped Greasy Snap Bean
 
Th Scarlet Runner Beans make a great fresh bean or soup bean.
 
 
 
Greens are arguable one of the easiest varieties to grow.  Depending on the variety, they can give very successful yields for several months.  Most popular with our customers are Little Gem, Tom Thumb, Rouge D'Hiver and Parris Island Cos Lettuce.
 
 
 
While it's listed as a GREEN on our site, we're separating Swiss Chard from lettuce because it's a MUST on our homestead. 
-We use Swiss Chard fresh in our salads
-We give some away for my sister's goats and chickens
-We sautee swiss chard with garlic and onions as a meal or snack AND use sauteed swiss chard in crustless quiche. YUM!!!
ALL of the Swiss Chards are delicious but the Ruby Red and Rainbow Chard are our favorites.
 
 
 
Here's another dual purpose for your homestead.  Glass Gem corn for example is a great popping corn and can also be ground to make cornmeal.  Floriani Red Flint Corn is a very unique, strong variety for cornmeal.  Blue Clarage Dent Corn can be picked and eaten in the earlier stages or grown longer to use as a cornmeal OR chicken treat. Sweet Corn varieties can be used right away, frozen or canned.  So many possibilities!
 
 
 
Even the pickiest of eaters might enjoy a nice beet green salad.  We grow beets almost year round here on our homestead.  The tops make a great salad.  Beets can be eaten fresh, roasted or canned.  Most Beets mature in 50-60 days, and are somewhat pest resistant.  Even if bugs eat the tops, the bulb usually survives.  Detroit Dark Red, Chioggio and Golden Beets have been our best producers so far.  The Early Wonder is a great early maturing variety.
 
 
 
Onions take about 5 – 8 months to mature from the time the seeds are planted, so you’ll want to begin them early in January or February.  If you are in an area that gets frost in winter, plant them indoors in pots or in a greenhouse to give them protection. Bunching onions are a faster maturing option.
 
 
For an early harvest, the Thessaloniki and German Lunchbox Tomatoes are fantastic producers.
 
Determinate VS. Indeterminate Tomatoes
Determinate varieties of tomatoes, also called "bush" tomatoes, are varieties that are bred to grow to a compact height (approx. 4 feet). They stop growing when fruit sets on the terminal or top bud, ripen all their crop at or near the same time (usually over a 2 week period).
 
Indeterminate varieties of tomatoes are also called "vining" tomatoes. They will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost and can reach heights of up to 10 feet although 6 feet is considered the norm. They will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit all at the same time throughout the growing season.
 
Our all-time favorite, heavy producing tomatoes are Amana's Orange, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra and San Marzano
 
 
 
Sweet, Spicy, Stuffing, Frying, Pickling and so much more!!!  Peppers are a great crop for homesteaders.  Our favorite for an all-purpose pepper is the Cal Wonder Bell Pepper.  For a sweet (big) pepper, we like the Quadrato D'Asti Giallo Pepper.
HOT peppers are tougher to pick.  We grow as much as possible for hot sauce, pickling and our Organic bug spray.
 
Jalapeno is a great mild hot pepper
Serrano is a great hot pepper
Corbaci is a new, mild-hot pepper that we're growing this year.
Habanero is a great HOT pepper
Ghost Peppers are the hottest pepper we carry and they are not to be taken lightly.  They can cause severe reactions/discomfort if you're not careful.
 
 
Summer squash are usually a faster maturing option.  Summer Squash take longer to mature but usually store for longer than summer varieties.  Squash is a great addition to your homestead garden since they are heavy-producers and make seed saving a bit easier IF you are mindful of cross-pollination.  Black Beauty Zucchini and Golden Crookneck are our homestead favorites.  Spaghetti Squash and Butternut Squash are Winter Squash favorites.
 
For Pumpkins, the Small Sugar Pumpkin is a must.  This is a great pumpkin pie variety.  
 
 
 
Give Peas a chance!  But first, decide what type of pea you'd like.  Southern Peas, also called Crowder Peas are not your garden variety peas.  Southern Peas are used like you would a dry bean.  Our homestead favorite is the Whippoorwill Southern Pea.  Then you have Garden Peas, also called Shelling Peas, and these are great for canning and soups.  Sugar, Snow and Snap Peas are useful for homesteaders as well.
 
 
There are so many unique veggies available, too many to list in a single article.  We've gone over a few of our favorites.  We'd love to hear from YOU about your favorite homestead crops.

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OUR FOOD CHOICES MATTER Posted on 20 Dec 07:10 , 2 comments

FOOD.  Without food, we would not survive.  Whether you are aware or not, our food choices make an impact every single day.
 
From Ecocentric
"Simply put, food is at the juncture of some of the most important issues facing our society (and world!): conservation, climate change, animal welfare, corporate control and consolidation, public health, fair labor and immigration, to name a few."

Now more than ever, the food choices we make are critical to our body and the planet.  It seems that every month, there is a new herbicide or pesticide approved for use on food.  More genetically modified or engineered "phood" are being approved and planted.  Commercial farming and factory farming are heavy pollution producers.

-It has been estimated that produce travels an average distance of 1500 miles before it is consumed

-Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are used in the United State (US) each year and approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide source

-Pesticides kill
"The World Health Organization estimates that there are 3 million cases of pesticide poisoning each year and up to 220,000 deaths, primarily in developing countries. The application of pesticides is often not very precise, and unintended exposures occur to other organisms in the general area where pesticides are applied."

The stats above don't even take into account the cancer rates associated to pesticide use and consumption.

-We are losing seed & food varieties
"Using the metaphor of a tree, it charts the loss of U.S. seed variety from 1903 to 1983. And what you see is that we’ve lost about 93% of our unique seed strands behind some of the most popular produce"
HEIRLOOM SEEDS

-Global Corporations Control Commercial Seeds & Food production
" Today, three corporations control 53 percent of the global commercial seed market."
 
-Some of the imported food that the USDA deems edible are grown in toxic conditions!
"Garlic can be whitened by using chlorine or with a mixture of sulphur and wood ash. Whitening garlic helps to make it look healthier and more attractive to consumers. In fact this obsession with white foods has lead to the bleaching of many food products (flour, salt, sugar) using chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide."
"Nearly 200 million farmers in China, India, Vietnam, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America harvest grains and vegetables from fields that use untreated human waste."
HOMEGROWN GARLIC
Your choices make a huge impact on food and you are not alone.  There is a growing movement in this country to make better, healthier food choices.  More people are choosing to grow their own food and not just veggies and herbs.  Humanely raising meat is one of many ways to make a positive change.  Some call it homesteading and for some it's just a way of life.


What steps can we make to create a positive change?

-Grow your own food and grow it without synthetic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers

-Plant for the BEES to ensure continued success in the garden

-Eat less meat and "better meat" (humanely raised and locally raised)

-Support companies making a positive change

-Boycott companies who support biotech seeds and polluters

Since food is daily decision, each day brings a new opportunity to create a positive impact.  We're all in this together.  2017 will be our largest garden ever and a chance to continue making great things happen.  Mary's Heirloom Seeds will continue our efforts to protect seed diversity.  We will continue to volunteer at schools and other organizations.
 
Will you join us?
 
 
I hope you have enjoyed another educational article from Mary's Heirloom Seeds!


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About SWISS CHARD Posted on 19 Dec 07:54 , 0 comments

How did you like All About KALE?  Many of you gardeners have your gardens already put to bed.  If you're in a warmer climate, you might be able to grow year round.  Swiss Chard is an excellent addition to any garden and grows well in warmer and cooler conditions.

I love growing SWISS CHARD in my garden.  Chard is one of the easiest and fastest growing greens in my garden and even grows well in containers!

From WHF, "Chard is a tall leafy green vegetable commonly referred to as Swiss chard and scientifically known as Beta vulgaris. Chard belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile with a flavor that is bitter, pungent, and slightly salty. Swiss chard is truly one of the vegetable valedictorians with its exceptionally impressive list of health-promoting nutrients. Although Swiss chard is available throughout the year, its peak season runs from June through August when it is at its best and in the greatest abundance at your local supermarket" 

Also from WHF,
"As a rule, the phytonutrient antioxidants in chard also act as anti-inflammatory agents. Sometimes they lower risk of chronic, unwanted inflammation by altering the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes"

"With its very good supply of calcium and its excellent supply of magnesium and vitamin K, chard provides standout bone support."

"Multiple studies on animals have shown that chard has unique benefits for blood sugar regulation. In addition, chard may provide special benefits in the diets of individuals diagnosed with diabetes"

"Also unique among the health benefits from this chenopod vegetable has been its ability to help pancreatic cells regenerate."

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds we offer several varieties of Swiss Chard.


 50-60 days. (Beta vulgaris) This chard originated in Australia. A beautiful chard; its colors are brilliant 
(pink, yellow, orange, red and white).  Very mild ornamental. Pretty enough to plant in the flower garden;  so delicious!


60 days. Succulent celery-like stalks support large, dark green, very savoyed, fleshy leaves.
Trim outer leaves or cut the entire head.  Great for salads, casseroles or sauteed.


ORIOLE ORANGE SWISS CHARD
 60 days. Named after the beautiful golden Oriole bird, this is a lovely orange chard that will add fantastic color your garden.
Use the young leaves in salads or the mature leaves stir fried or as steamed greens.
This chard is heat and cold tolerance and has a sweet mild taste.
 
 
RUBY RED SWISS CHARD
 60 days. An outstanding chard that has magnificent red stems that extend into bright green leaves forming one of nature's amazing works of art.
This tasty, low in oxalic acid heirloom chard will add color to any dish.  Grows 18-24" tall.  Yields all summer and into the fall.


60 days.  Very attractive and uniform red chard. A wonderful, prolific and hardy variety, this chard has great flavor and is perfect for marketing.  Trim outer leaves or cut the entire head.  Great for salads, casseroles or sauteed.

For growing information, read my article Growing Salad Greens from Seed

Thanks for stopping by my little spot on the web...Stay tuned for more organic gardening and health related topics.  If you have questions or suggestions please feel free to ask. 


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