Planting Wildflower Seeds Posted on 22 Apr 15:06 , 1 comment

One of the best things about wildflowers is how easy they are to grow!  In case you missed it, we recently posted an article of EDIBLE FLOWERS at Mary's Heirloom Seeds!



Check for your last frost date and plant after this has passed.

Choose a spot on your property that gets 6 or more hours of direct sun a day.

Prepare your soil be clearing the area of all existing growth. Simply dig up everything that is growing, turn the soil and rake the area flat. If this is an area that has never before been gardened, you may need to till the area up to remove growth.



Mix the seeds with sand for better visibilty and scatter the seeds directly on top of the soil.

We recommend lightly compressing the seeds into the soil, making sure not to bury them. You can either walk on them, use a board or just pat down with you hands.



Water so that the soil is moist, not soaking wet, until the seedlings are about 4-6" tall. After that, the seedlings will survive on natural rains. If you are experiencing very dry weather, we recommend watering occasionally.



Spring, summer and fall are all wildflower planting times, depending on your region, your weather, and the way you want to approach establishing your meadow. No matter when or where you plant, site preparation is roughly the same. But the first consideration is not the season; it's your climate.


For mild-winter areas: If you're planting in a warm place such as California, Florida or southern Texas, with minimal — or no — winter frost, you can plant almost anytime, except during your hottest season. Best time is just before your rainiest season begins, and when you know the weather will not be too hot for young seedlings. In Florida, fall is best. In California, most wildflowers are planted during the winter to take advantage of California's greening in early spring.


For all areas with killing frost: If you have definite killing frost in winter, things are different. In these areas (most of the country) spring and fall are both fine for planting, and each has its advantages.


Wildflowers can re-seed and continue to grow for many years if planted in an area that will allow them to flourish.  Saving seeds from these wildflowers is easy and will ensure flowers for the future.



Companion Planting with Flowers

Companion planting is based around the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted next to, or close to one another.

Companion planting exists to benefit certain plants by giving them pest control, naturally without the need to use chemicals, and in some cases they can give a higher crop yield.

Marigolds: Basil, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, gourds, kale, potatoes, squash and tomatoes.  Often called the "workhorse" of pest deterrents.

Bachelor Button: Attracts pollinators to the garden
Lavender: cabbage, cauliflower and fruit trees
Nasturtium: cucumbers, melon, squash, cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, celery, carrots and radish.  Repels Carrot fly, Japanese beetle, whitefly, aphid and cabbage moth.  

Sunflower: Corn, squash and beans.  Attracts pollinators to the garden.
Lupine: nitrogen rich.  Attracts pollinators.  Traps aphids!

Echinacea and Yarrow:  Attracts pollinators to the garden. *Also reported to have medicinal properties*

More great companions include:







I hope you have enjoyed another educational article. 

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!

Growing Collard Greens from Seed Posted on 29 Jul 14:49 , 5 comments

Collards are a southern favorite and absolutely delicious. Bonus, they are pretty easy to grow and can produce massive yields.

What are Collard Greens?

Collard is a group of certain loose-leafed cultivars of Brassica oleracea. Collards produce dark green leaves and tough stems that can be (often times are) removed before eating. The flavor of collard greens is a cross between cabbage and hearty kale, similar to Swiss chard. Collard greens are a southern staple. 


When to Plant Collard Seeds

Plant collard seeds from early spring to approximately 3 months before expected fall frost. If you live in a very mid climate, you might be able to grow them year round. Although they are a cool weather crop, they can tolerate heat.

Collards thrive in temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (18-24°C) and can withstand frost down to 25°F


Planting Collard Seeds

Sow seed ¼ to ½  inch deep in fertile, well drained soil. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Collard seed should germinate in 5 to 10 days at an optimal temperature of approx 75°F.


Collards can be grown in full sun but can tolerate partial shade.

For indoor planting: Start seeds indoors 6 to 4 weeks before the last frost in spring or 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost in fall.

It is a good practice to rotate crops every year or seasons. Avoid planting where cabbage family crops have grown recently.

Space plants 18 to 20 inches apart.

Harvesting Collard Greens

About 2 months after planting, you can start to harvest by clipping individual leaves. Collards are very hardy, and they flavor can improve into the late fall with light frost.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


Growing Tatume Squash from Seed to Harvest Posted on 10 Jun 16:28 , 1 comment

Summer squash is very popular for home gardeners. If you've never heard of Tatume Squash you are in for a treat!


"Tatume is a summer squash popular in Mexico and Texas, round/oval med-dark green to yellow fruits with faint stripes.

This old heirloom is picked small and used like zucchini, but these are so much more unique than regular zucchini!

Excellent resistance to squash vine borer."
Squash vine borers are the most common issue customers ask about. If you struggle to grow healthy squash plants, this is a definitely must-grow.


Planting Tatume Squash Seeds

Plant Tatume squash, as with other squash, after all danger of frost has passed and the ground is warm. Choose a spot with full sun. Mix compost or well-rotted manure into the soil before planting.

Sow seeds 1 inch deep and 8 to 12 inches apart. This variety of squash can climb a trellis if you are looking to optimize your "air space."

Keep soil moist until seeds germinate. Germination usually occurs in 3 to 7 days under optimal conditions.


Tatume Squash is drought and heat tolerance make it a popular choice for growing in Texas and the U.S. Southwest. 

Companion Planting for Squash

Beans, corn, cucumbers, icicle radishes, melon, mint, onions and pumpkin. Helpers: Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavor. Marigolds deters beetle. Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles.

Oregano provides general pest protection. Dill may repel the squash bug that will kill your squash vines. Generously scatter the dill leaves on your squash plants. Keep squash away from potatoes.


Harvesting Tatume Squash

You can start harvesting Tatume Squash when they are the size of a baseball but you might have a more substantial harvest if you wait a few more days.

This was at 51 days from seed to harvest and it weighed over 3 pounds.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!

How to Grow Melons from Seeds Posted on 28 May 15:36 , 2 comments

Heirloom Melons are a summer favorite and with a little planning, you can grow your own delicious melons from seeds.




From seed to harvest, melons are ready in as few as 70 days. This greatly depends on your soil temperature, weather, type of melon and moisture.

Melons like warm temperatures and plenty of sun.

Prior to planting your melon seeds, prepare your soil with a good layer of compost. If your soil needs a boost, add fertilizer 2 weeks prior to planting.


Planting Melon Seeds

Seeds can be sown indoors 4-8 weeks prior to your last frost date or direct sown in the garden after your last frost date.

Plant melon seeds 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep. If you are growing in rows, space several feet apart. If you are growing in hills, plant 4-5 seeds per hill.  If you are growing in raised beds, plant 1 seed per square.

Melon Seeds usually germinate in 3-10 days. This can vary with soil temps and moisture.

Melons plants need 8-10 weeks of good, hot growing weather.

Water deeply and infrequently, one to two inches per week. Use drip hoses, soaker hoses or careful watering of the soil. Keeping the leaves dry with decrease your risk of powdery mildew and other diseases.



Companion Planting for Melons

Squash bugs, vine borers and striped cucumber beetles are common pests for melons.

Companion planting is definitely worth a try, using repellent plants that deter the squash bug.

They include catnip, tansy, radishes, nasturtiums, marigolds, bee balm and mint.

Melons are one of the most compatible plants in the garden and do well when planted with most anything including beans, peas, onions, leeks, chives, and garlic. They also flourish with cabbage, broccoli, carrots, kale, okra, cauliflower, spinach, brussel sprouts, and lettuce


Harvesting Melons

Melon fruit will also develop a sweet, musky aroma when ripe

Harvest melons when small cracks appear in the stem where it joins the fruit. Once the cracks circle the stem and the stem looks shriveled, the melon will break off with a slight twist. If more than light effort is needed to remove from the vine, it is not ripe.



If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


How to Grow Thai Roselle from Seed to Harvest Posted on 18 May 05:25 , 1 comment

Thai Roselle is pretty easy to grow. It makes a beautiful, delicious tea and can be harvested then dried to enjoy year round.

What is Thai Roselle?

Also called Jamaican Sorrel or Florida Cranberry.
Thai Roselle was called "Florida Cranberry) as early as the 1890s. The flowers and young leaves are edible and have a citrus tang.
Roselle, part of the hibiscus family, is a tropical plant. Started indoors, it can be grown successfully in more northern climates. You can start Thai Roselle seeds around the same time you would plant pepper, tomato and eggplant seeds indoors.
Since this is a heat loving plant, you want to give is a good head start!

Planting Thai Roselle Seeds
Roselle germinates at soil temperatures between 75°- 85°F, and does well directly sown in the garden.
Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep and about 3 feet apart.

Roselle prefers well-draining fertile soil. Overly rich soil or extra fertilization leads to a very large plant with fewer calyxes. A sunny spot is best for growing roselle successfully.
Roselle hibiscus prefers humid, warm conditions and does not tolerate frost.

Roselle is day-length sensitive
When a plant is "day-length sensitive", the light cycle affects when the plant will bloom. The stunning blooms (similar to okra blooms) are triggered as the days get shorter in the fall.

Harvesting Thai Roselle
It is time to harvest when the pointy red calyx around the seed pod is just over an inch wide. The seed pod is fully grown but still tender. Harvesting the calyxes early will promote greater yields throughout the season. You can also pick the edible young leaves and shoots at any time starting about 6 weeks from planting or transplanting.
Fresh calyxes are usually dried or dehydrated prior to storage. You can keep them fresh in the fridge for 4–7 days while collecting enough to dry a bigger bunch at once. Leaves and stem tips can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Juice can be frozen for later use.


If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


How to Plant and Grow Zinnia Flowers Posted on 25 Jan 04:35 , 2 comments

These beauties are a favorite in our Pollinator Gardens.

Zinnia flowers are an annual, so they’ll grow for one season and produce seeds, but the original plant will not come back in subsequent years.


Zinnia flowers (Zinnia elegans) are a colorful and long lasting addition to the flower garden. They're also great as a cut flower!

I found that our Zinnia flowers really attracted Bumble Bees and Butterflies. There were so many butterflies this year!


Growing Zinnia Flower from Seed

Zinnia Flowers are possibly one of the easiest to grow from seed.

Zinnias grow and flower best in full sun. They can flower in part shade, especially in warmer climates with afternoon shade, but they may be more susceptible to disease and have fewer flowers.

Plant zinnia seeds 6-8 inches apart in rows or clumps. Sow seeds approx 1/4 inch deep in the ground or container. Direct sow seeds after your last frost date.

If you'd like to start seeds indoors to get a head start, sow seeds in germination trays/seed starter pots 4-6 weeks before your last frost date. Transplant after danger of frost has passed.

Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Zinnia seeds usually germinate in 4 to 7 days.

Zinnia plants do not always transplant well and sometimes become stunted or do not thrive. If you choose to transplant, it is recommended that you do so early and with care.

After zinnias flower, cut off the old flowers (a process called “deadheading”) to encourage more flowers to form.

Under optimal conditions, Zinnias generally take 60 to 70 days from seed to flower.

Ready to plant Zinnia Flower seeds? We offer a few different varieties at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.


If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


Growing Borage from Seed to Harvest Posted on 13 Jan 04:01 , 9 comments

January is Plant for Pollinators month at Mary's Heirloom Seeds so this how-to article is just in time! Borage (Borago officinalis) is an amazing plant to grow in your garden to attract pollinators.

Borage plants can grow up to three feet tall, producing gorgeous blooms.

The flavor of Borage is similar to a cucumber.  Borage has bright blue, star-shaped flowers that explode in a blue profusion all summer attracting honey bees.  The flowers and young leaves may be used to garnish salads, dips and cucumber soups.

Borage is also a companion plant for Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash, Strawberries and more.


Growing Borage from Seed

Borage is a hardy annual, which means that the plant will die in a frost . A word of caution, if you let Borage mature to produce seeds, you will have LOTS of borage next year.

Borage plants produce the most flowers in full sun, but they can also tolerate partial shade. Choose a planting area that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day for best results.

Sow seeds 1/2 in deep in moist, well draining soil. Water regularly so the area does not dry out.

If you have a container garden, Borage should be planted in a container that is 12 inches deep or more.

This hardy plant can thrive in hot and cool weather so it's prefect for just about every garden zone.


Companion Planting with Borage

Companion plant. Companion planting borage next to strawberries and tomatoes can increase their fruit yield, while also fending off tomato hornworms. Borage attracts beneficial insects, pollinators like honeybees, bumblebees, and butterflies, while also serving as a deterrent to cabbage moths.



Harvesting Borage

As we mentioned early, Borage can easily go to seed and "pop up" next year in your garden. Remove flower heads towards the end of their lifecycle to prevent self-seeding. 

Both the flowers and the leaves are edible. Smaller leaves are my favorite as the larger leaves can be prickly.

The gorgeous flowers make an excellent garnish for baked good and savory dishes.

If you end up with LOTS of Borage, you can feed some to livestock or even make a fertilizer tea. Yes, that's a 5 gallon bucket of borage leaves! Our chickens love it!

I use scissors to clip off flowers and leaves. It's easy to collect them in a bowl or bucket. The larger leaves can be prickly so it would be a good idea to wear gloves when working with Borage.

Borage is a hardy annual, which means that the plant will die in a frost, but the seeds can survive in the frozen ground.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Borage Seed Growing – How To Plant

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


A Growing List of Herb Seeds to Stratify Posted on 30 Dec 14:18 , 5 comments

In our article The Wonder of Seeds and Germination we discussed the different environmental needs of some seeds. In this article, we will share a more in depth look at Cold Stratification as well as specific varieties that should be stratified for optimal germination.

In nature, seeds require certain conditions in order to germinate. Seed stratification is the process where seed dormancy is broken in order to germinate. In order for the stratification of seeds to be successful, we create an environment to mimic the natural cycle. For cold stratification, we use coconut coir or sand, water and refrigerate.

Winter Sowing is the natural germination process. For this article, we are re-creating that environment in 4-6 weeks instead of several months.

At the bottom of the list, we've copied the instructions we originally shared in The Wonder of Seeds and Germination.



Anise Hyssop



Bergamot / Beebalm


Butterfly Weed





Echinacea (purple coneflower)


Larkspur / Delphinium


Lemon Balm



Mountain Mint (L)







Saint John's Wort

Self Heal


Stinging Nettles




Wild Strawberry



Cold stratification is an extremely easy process and once you’ve done it once, you’ll no doubt get the hang of it. The time you need to keep your seeds in the refrigerator depends on the variety, but 4-5 weeks should be a sufficient amount of time for most seed varieties.

Once there’s no more chance of frost in your area, take your seeds out of the fridge and plant as normal. The simple, quick process of cold stratification helps the seed germinate quicker and grow more readily in your garden bed.


DIY Cold Stratification

Coconut Coir or Sand & Water

  1. Place a 1/4 cup of coconut coir sand (or more) in a mixing bowl. Slowly add water until you can form a ball with the sand/water mixture.
  2. Add your desired seed amount to the sand. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Place sand/seed mixture in a ziploc bag or container and seal.
  4. Label the variety and date clearly on the bag.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks before planting. If seedlings start to sprout in the bag in the refrigerator, remove immediately and either plant in the ground or in pots until it’s time to plant outdoors.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


Growing Rosemary from Seed to Harvest Posted on 18 Dec 05:53 , 1 comment

Rosemary is one of my favorite culinary herbs. Growing Rosemary from seed can be a bit tricky but it's definitely a worthwhile endeavor.


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region. The leaf and its oil are commonly used in food and also to make medicine.

This herb can be grown outdoors as a perennial shrub in Zones 7 and warmer. In colder areas, it should be kept in a pot and brought indoors for the winter.


Growing Rosemary from Seed

Like many herbs and flowers, rosemary seeds benefit from cold stratification. You can read more in our article The Wonder of Seeds and Germination.

Cold Stratification simulates a brief winter dormancy that the seeds would otherwise experience if they had been grown in the wild.

Sow seeds indoors in mid-February to April and transplant or direct sow into the garden in May. When planting seeds, barely cover them with a seed starting mix and apply bottom heat.

Germination is notoriously low, so plant more seeds than needed.

Rosemary should be grown in a pot that can be brought indoors during the winter if winters are harsh in your zone (or in an area that can be covered and protected). Outdoors, rosemary can tolerate temperatures as low as 15 degrees.

If growing rosemary in containers, provide monthly feedings of liquid fertilizer. Keep watered in hot weather.

Plant Rosemary in full sun. For optimal growth, plant in well drained soil as Rosemary does not tolerate consistently wet/soggy soil.

Choose a garden spot with plenty of room to grow. Once established, Rosemary can grow 5 feet tall and even 4 feet wide. This is a gorgeous perennial that will continue to produce for many years with adequate care

Companion Planting

Rosemary is a good companion for beans, Brassicas, and carrots.

Harvesting Rosemary

To harvest rosemary, pull individual leaves off the plant or cut entire stems. Use a sharp knife to harvest the rosemary, as scissors may damage plant tissues. Rosemary is also often used dried. To dry rosemary, hang bunches of the plant upside down on a rack. Strip the leaves from the stems once the stems are dry. Prune the rosemary heavily in the early spring before new growth begins.

Store fully dry Rosemary in a labelled container.


If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


Why Start Herbs from Seed? Posted on 14 Dec 15:27 , 1 comment

In case you're wondering about the benefits of starting your own herbs from seeds, this might help you decide.

Sure, you can go to the local nursery and pick out a few herbs for your garden, but do you know how they were grown and if the label is actually correct?

Growing your own herbs from seed means knowing exactly how they are cared for from seed to harvest. You can decide to grow them organically, which is a healthier option for you and your garden.

Have you ever noticed the selection at most garden centers is mostly the same every year? Growing your own herbs from seed means a larger selection to choose from and grow in your own garden. If you like Basil, we currently carry 15 different varieties!

Growing your own herbs from seed can be much less expensive than buying starts. Depending on the seed pack, you can expect to spend $1-4 per pack for 20-250 seeds. That's a lot of plants per pack! At a nursery, you can usually expect to pay between $1 and $10 per plant. As an added bonus, if you don't use all of the seeds in each pack the first year, you can always use the leftovers next year is you store your seeds properly. You can do the math but that adds up to a huge savings if you grow your own herbs from seed.

Medicinal Herbs are very popular with our customers. We offer quite a few unique varieties that you probably won't find in a nursery. Toothache plant for example is a fantastic, easy to grow from seed variety. Toothache plant is not only a medicinal plant but it's a beautiful addition to any garden. German Chamomile is another great medicinal herb that can be easy to grow under the right conditions.

Growing Herbs from Seed takes a little more effort and timing but the benefits are awesome!

Herb and vegetable gardens begin with healthy soil and receive 6 to 8 hours of sun daily. Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Some herbs do better when they are sown directly into the garden. These include borage, chervil, coriander, dill, and fennel. Other varieties do well when started indoors 4 to 6 weeks before your last frost. This can give them a head start especially if you have a shorter growing season.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!