As promised we are sharing the the next announcement for 2023! There will be 2 "NEW ARRIVALS" announcements for 2023 because there's only so much awesomeness we can share in a single post.
First is a PSA...PLEASE have patience with us as we work around moving 2022 seed packs to a separate spot in the seed shop to prepare for our school garden donation program and make room for 2023 seeds. This is a huge endeavor and we are a small "mom and pop" shop so we don't have a huge team to help get prepared. Current ship time is posted on our website AND included with your order confirmation email.
We are busily preparing for the 2023 garden season at Mary's Heirloom Seeds. The first of several announcement is our list of Back in Stock varieties. Our seed shop is buzzzzzing with excitement as we set aside our 2022 seeds for our School Garden Donation Program to make way for 2023 seeds.
If you've been waiting for certain heirloom seed varieties to become available, this is for you! If you've been curious about all of the unique varieties of heirloom seeds, stay tuned for more updates.
To view the specific information about each heirloom seed variety listed, click the image or text below.
The announcement is finally here!!! We have all new seed combo packs and starter kits available for 2023 in our new Garden Gift Guide. Some of the kits and combo packs listed below are customer favorites we are highlighting and some are brand new for 2023.
To view the specific information about each kit of combo pack listed, click the image or text below.
In the last few months, many of our friends and customers have asked for a larger seed combo pack. This is a great combo pack to grow a large garden, share with your community or even store for your future garden.
This is the largest, most comprehensive seed collection we have offered to date with 128 seed packs.
January is PLANT FOR POLLINATORS month at Mary's Heirloom Seeds. We chose January because so many gardeners are in the planning phase for the next growing season. We use this month to educate about the benefits of planting for pollinators.
At the end of this tutorial is a video on Seed Storage that will come in handy.
Seed saving is fun and definitely a useful tool.
Before you start saving seeds from squash it is important to understand pollination and cross pollination.
Squash plants are Monoecious, meaning they produce both male and female flowers on the same plant. The flowers are found in the axils of the leaves. The flowers can be easily distinguished from each other as the female flowers have an ovary at their base that looks like a small, immature fruit. In order for fruit set to occur, pollen from the male flower must be transferred to the female flower.
When crosses occur between members of the same species, we do not see the effect of the cross the first year. However, if the seeds are saved and planted, the plants will produce fruit that will be different from either of the parents.
Ready to start saving seeds?
As I mentioned in a previous post, it is best to harvest seeds from overripe "fruit" in this case squash. **If you cut straight through the squash (like I did) then you risk cutting into the seeds**
Instead, cut around the outside of the squash just into the skin/flesh and then pry open with your hands or a spoon.
How can you tell it's overripe?
In this case, the normally green striped squash has gone yellow. It was on the plant like this. The seeds you can see are "plump" and should be viable.
Clean up your seeds.
Wash the seeds to remove any flesh and strings. If you do not remove the pulp/flesh from the seeds, it can cause your seeds to mold. Mold is bad.
Dry your seeds.
Cure the seeds by laying them out in a plate or drying screen to dry. It is not recommended to use a paper towel as the towel can retain moisture. Store them this way in a place that is dry and out of direct sunlight.
Store your seeds.
Allow the seeds to fully dry before storing them. Some sources recommend 3 to 7 days but I tend to use caution and dry for a bit longer. Storing damp seeds can lead to moldy seeds. Mold is bad.
When your seeds are ready to store, use paper envelopes, recycled jars and/or containers and be sure the LABEL your container.
Store seeds in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight.
Don't forget to label your seed packs!
SEED STORAGE is just as important as seed saving. More important even. It would be frustrating to go through all steps to properly harvest your seeds only to have them fail or have lower germination rates because they were not stored properly.
Avoid storing your seeds in open containers were bugs and critters can get to them. Don't store your seeds in hot spots like an outside shed or garage as heat can degrade seed viability.
As promised, here's a live chat video about seed storage.
Stay tuned for more specific seed saving techniques and seed varieties. -Mary
If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Garlicis another easy crop that can be grown in just about any type of garden. It takes a little bit of planning ahead but it's pretty low maintenance.
At the bottom of this tutorial, you'll find a few videos about planting and growing garlic.
Instead of growing garlic from seeds, it is easier and more economical to grow from "seed garlic" which is actually cloves.
What is "seed garlic" you ask?
Seed Garlic differs from culinary garlic as it is usually larger and often times certified disease free. A Bulb is the entire head of garlic but the individual cloves are planted to form (grow) a completely new bulb.
Clove (left), Bulb (right)
Fall is the time to plant for best yields and highest quality bulbs. Generally plant in September–January. In very cold areas, plant by mid-October, and protect your crop with a thick layer of mulch such as straw. Expect to harvest it in June–July. One lb of garlic seed equals approx. a 25' row with 4" spacing between plants. For most garlic, expect up to 10 lb yield for every lb planted under optimal conditions.
HARDNECK Rocambole garlic has wrappers that are can be in color, such as German Red. However, color is not the only requirement for this category, as some varieties may be white or purple colored. Rocambole scapes are more tightly curled than other varieties. Most rocambole varieties produce 8 to 10 cloves per head.
Softneck garlic, also called artichoke garlic due to their numerous cloves that give them an appearance similar to the “petals” of an artichoke head, is the most common garlic due to its excellent storage characteristics. This is the kind you will find in grocery stores. Softnecks are the most heat tolerant of garlic, and have a sweeter, milder flavor than hardnecks. If you’re looking to make garlic braids, this is the type to grow.
Garlic is usually ignored by wildlife (pests) such as squirrels and rabbits as they do not like the scent.
Preparing your Garden for Garlic
I have grown garlic in-ground, in raised beds and containers. While I prefer raised beds, it is possible to grow in just about any type of garden.
Before you get started, find a spot that will go undisturbed for for 6 months. October is a favorite month to plant garlic and we do not harvest until late June to July. It is best to rotate your planting area so this spot should not have had garlic growing there in the last 3 years. If that's not possible, be sure to amend the soil.
If you prepare in advance, it is recommended to amend the soil with aged compost and/or aged manure during the summer. Worm castings are another popular soil amendment.
Planting Your Garlic
Planting at the right time is definitely a bonus with garlic. If you wait until Spring, you might have smaller, immature bulbs if you harvest in July.
October and November are common times to plant garlic. If you live in a colder region, you might be planting in September.
As a general rule, plant your seed garlic 1-6 weeks before your first frost. Garlic is pretty forgiving and will tolerate frost and snow if properly cared for and mulched.
I found that I have harvested larger, healthier bulbs when grown in raised beds.
-Break apart cloves from bulb a few days before planting, but keep the papery husk on each individual clove.
-Ensure soil is well-drained with plenty of organic matter. Select a sunny spot.
-Place cloves 4 inches apart and 2 inches deep, in their upright position (the wide root side facing down and pointed end facing up).
Optional: soak cloves in kelp tea or worm tea 2 hours prior to planting
Caring for Garlic
In areas with heavy snow, mulch heavily with straw for overwintering. Mulch should be removed in the spring after the threat of frost has passed. (Young shoots can't survive in temps below 20°F on their own. Keep them under cover.)
Cut off any flower shoots that emerge in spring. These may decrease bulb size.
Weeds should not be a problem until the spring. Weed as needed.
Garlic requires adequate levels of nitrogen. Fertilize accordingly, especially if you see yellowing leaves.
Water every 3 to 5 days during bulbing (mid-May through June).
A note on garlic scapes: Some folks love cooking the scapes (the tops of hardneck garlic). Whether you trim the scapes or let them keep growing is your preference.
I love to cook up scapes with eggs or make garlic scape pesto. Yum!