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Mary's Heirloom Tomato Garden Challenge Posted on 10 Dec 18:09 , 7 comments

Hello and thank you for joining our challenge!  This is going to be so much fun!

If you like to grow heirloom tomatoes and you like a good challenge then you're definitely in the right place!

 

Mary's Heirloom Tomato Garden Challenge will start on January 1, 2020 and end on September 30, 2020

Seeds should be started on January 1st or later.

You can start as many seeds as you would like

There are 2 ways to win:

-largest harvest of tomatoes by weight & by variety of the 4 varieties mentioned below

-most varieties of heirloom tomatoes grown & harvested

(That's 5 different winners) Prizes will be announced on January 1, 2020

When you post to social media, please use

#marysheirloomseeds

#marystomatochallenge

#heirloomtomatoes

Feel free to use your own as well!

In order to claim your prize you must reside in the US or Canada.  We welcome gardeners to join us around the world but we are unable to ship everywhere at this time.

Here's the video we posted for this challenge:

 

HEIRLOOM TOMATO VARIETIES FOR THIS CHALLENGE

Cherokee Purple: Indeterminate. 90 days to maturity. thought to have been passed down from Native Americans of the Cherokee tribe. Vigorous vines benefit from strong staking or caging.

San Marzano Tall Vine: Indeterminate. 90 days to maturity. AMAZING for sauce. Grows VERY well here in California.  We made the most delicious sauce last year.  San Marzano is the premier canning tomato with heavy walls, very few seeds and little juice

Mortgage Lifter: Indeterminate. 90 days to maturity.  Kentucky family heirloom grown since the 1930s.  Exceptionally meaty and typically crack-free.

Green Zebra: Indeterminate. 75 to 90 days to maturity. Flesh is bright green and very rich tasting, sweet with a sharp bite to it (just too good to describe!). A favorite tomato of many high class chefs, specialty markets, and home gardeners. Around 3 ounces each and Yield is excellent.

COMPANION PLANTING

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 came mean a higher crop yield

Companion planting for tomatoes includes: Borage, Basil and Marigold (and more).  For a complete list, check out our companion planting guide.

Ready? 

You'll find over 70 varieties of Heirloom Tomato seeds at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  We continue to grow and help people grow more and more every year.  if you're looking for seeds, You're in the right place!


If you have additional questions please give us a call or email
MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM 

Happy Planting!


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Top 10 Homestead Crops Posted on 4 Dec 13:26 , 21 comments

I am often asked about my favorite crops to grow so I thought I'd share.  This is the print version from my video Top 10 Homestead Crops

Choosing my favorites is no easy task but I've included a few specific varieties throughout this article that might help you choose.  If you have additional questions I'm happy to help!

 

  1. Cabbage, Collards and Kale

Cold hardiness and nutrient-rich qualities are why cabbage makes this list. It can stay in the garden late into fall and store in a root cellar or cold greenhouse. Sauerkraut, a fermented food rich in vitamins and probiotics, is a traditional means of preserving cabbage, and your kraut can keep in a crock for months.

Pictured is Pak Choy Cabbage (also called bok choy and pok choy).  This is a fantastic, fast-growing variety of Chinese cabbage.

Kale is a superfood that keeps on giving!  When growing Kale, you harvest the outer leaves instead of pulling up the whole plant.  This allows for multiple harvests of nutrient-dense food.

Lacinato Kale is a good heat-tolerant variety if you live in warmer climates

Collards are cool weather crops but some do very well in warmer climates.  Morris Heading and Georgia Green both do well in warmer growing areas.

Greens don't last very long once harvested so you'll need to use them up or preserve them. 2 simple ways to preserve greens are freezing and dehydrating.

 

  1. Winter Squash

 

 

 

 

Winter squash, rich in fiber and vitamins A and C.  Grow ‘Waltham Butternut’ for a pest-resistant, HUGE performer in the garden. Pumpkin and Acorn squash are also homestead favorites and they store very well.

HUBBARB BLUE reaches 16 to 20 pounds.  It is also a "trap crop" for companion planting so Hubbard Blue is a must-have in our garden

If stored properly, winter squash and pumpkin can last a few months after harvest making this an excellent homestead crop.

 

  1. Staples Crops: Dry Beans & Green Beans

Beans are most definitely a homestead favorite.  From our article Feeding a Family from the garden, it is recommended to plant 10-20 plants per person to feed for a year. If you're just looking to add to your food preps, 5 plants or more per person would work

Dry beans, or legumes, are a homestead favorite as they store very well without needed to can them.

Green Beans are easy to grow and can or freeze.  If you have a smaller garden space, planting pole beans are an excellent option as they grow UP. 

 

  1. Heirloom Corn

Providing homegrown food for your table is such an amazing thing.  Heirloom Corn can be used fresh or dried for future use.  Animals can be fed from stored corn making Heirloom Corn one of our top 10.

As we mentioned in our video Heirloom Corn varieties at Mary's Heirloom Seeds, there are 6  types of corn: Sweet, Popcorn, flint, flour, dent and waxy.

Flint corn is suited to cooler, wetter climates and is the most difficult to grind.

Flour corn, grown by American Indians in the Southwest, is the easiest to grind.

Dent corn is characterized by the dent in the top of each kernel.

Common field corn is dent corn.

Popcorn is exactly as the name implies.  It is used dried for popping.

Sweet corn does not store as well so it should be consumed or preserved after harvest.

 

  1. ROOT CROPS: Garlic & Potatoes

I know I mention a few different root crops for homesteading but Garlic and Potatoes are in a category together as they store very well if properly cured.  "Seed potatoes" and "seed garlic" is available from most seed companies only seasonally.  You can use store bought but you might be exposing your garden to soil born diseases.

We have 2 videos about garlic planting:

PLANTING GARLIC

PLANTING GARLIC IN CONTAINERS

 

  1. TOMATOES

Tomatoes can be dried, frozen or canned.  They can be made into soups, sauces, pastes and more. They then become the base ingredient in hundreds of kitchen recipes.  Tomatoes are one of the easiest veggies to can because they are a high acid veggie and as such, they can be water bath canned instead of needing a pressure canner.

Yellow Pear tomato is a sweet and juicy snack I like to eat right out in the garden.  San Marzano tomato has been a hearty producer for making sauce. Cherokee Purple Tomato is still my all time favorite for slicers but Emerald Green is a close second!

 

  1. RADISH

Fast growing, fast maturing and a double duty crop because you eat the root and greens.  Easy to pickle and delicious raw.  Radish can also be roasted just like mini potatoes.  French Breakfast Radish is a more mild variety.  German Giant Radish can be eaten small or large.  Japanese Daikon is a nice, spicy variety but it takes a couple weeks longer to mature.

 

  1. BEETS

Fast growing, fast maturing and a double duty crop because you eat the root and greens of beets.  Depending on your growing region, some gardeners can grow beets year-round.

Detroit Dark Red is definitely a favorite because it's so pest resistant. Red Mammoth Mangel deserves a mention because it can grow 20 POUNDS, making it great to feed livestock

 

  1. Wheat for those of you not gluten sensitive. Wheat is used to make so many food items such as bread, pasta and pastries.

We carry Einkorn Wheat berries, which is an ancient grain.  Some people with gluten sensitivity have had success using Einkorn instead.

BUT...I would say SUNFLOWERS instead on our homestead.  We avoid wheat.  Sunflowers produce seeds to feed us and our chickens.  They also produce A LOT of seeds to grow more.  Sunflowers also attract pollinators to our garden to help us grow the BEST garden ever!

 

  1. HERBS

Pretty much grow your own pharmacy if you know what to grow and how to dry it.  We offer a few seed combo packs like the "In the Kitchen" Herb Garden Kit to help you grow a small herb garden.  For your own home apothecary, we have quite a few options.  CLICK HERE to see our herb seed combo packs

 

If I had to pick 3 specific varieties to grow?

TOP 3 Varieties:

Blue Lake Bush Beans, Hubbard Blue Squash and Cherokee Purple Tomato


If you have additional questions please give us a call or email
MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM 

Happy Planting!


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Small Business Saturday Specials 2019 Posted on 27 Nov 15:36 , 0 comments

We're celebrating Small Business Saturday a bit early this year.

Our special code is:  SBSMARY19

And you can use it Nov 28th through Sunday, December 1, 2019 at midnight
to take 15% off orders of $19 or more.
There are also freebies and other deals available. See Below for complete details
First, the code...
You must enter the code in the appropriate box at checkout to take 15% off your order.  Unfortunately, we cannot apply the discount after your order has processed.

Please make sure your shipping info is correct before you complete your order.
If you have questions, please email mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

FREEBIES!
Yes, we also have freebies.
When you purchase any coconut coir items, we will include a free pack of Genovese Basil seeds
When you purchase any seed combo pack we will include a free pack of Butterfly Garden mix seeds

If you're looking for ideas, check out Mary's Garden Gift Guide

BONUS specials this weekend include

MOUNTAIN FLOWER ROOT BOOST

 

GLASS GEM CORN SEEDS

 Small Business Saturday orders will ship on or after December 4th

As mentioned above, if you have additional questions, please email

mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

 


About Orach Posted on 12 Nov 13:28 , 0 comments

We've added a few new arrivals for 2020
Purple Orach is a new one and it's such an exciting variety!!!

 

Atriplex hortensis

45 days from seed
 
Also known as Mountain spinach, French spinach, Giant Lambs quarters. Touted as a warm-season alternative to spinach, orach is actually a cool-season plant that just doesn't go to seed (bolt) as quickly as spinach. Harvest leaves that are less-bitter than spinach into the summer. Purple varieties in particular make good ornamental plants, though can reach 4 to 6 feet tall.
Reseeds easily.
For those of you in warmer climates, From U of F
Orach is a cool season vegetable and should be grown much like garden spinach. It is quick to bolt in summer. In South and Central Florida, plant in October through January. From Orlando northward, plant seeds mid-September through February. Sow seeds ½- to 1-inch deep in rows spaced 2-feet apart. Thin seedlings to stand 6-12 inches in the row. Seedlings may be transplanted.

If you have additional questions please give us a call or email
MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM 

Happy Planting!


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Mary's Garden Gift Guide Posted on 8 Nov 07:55 , 0 comments

Garden Gifts are my favorite!  Audrey Hepburn said, "To plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow."  Sharing the gift of gardening is amazing! (that's my own quote)

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we offer quite a few starter kits and seed combo packs.  In this guide, you'll find a few of Mary's favorites as well as our customer favorites.

We have moved our "garden necklaces" to a new Etsy shop Sunshine Homestead. There are a few "lorax" and Bee items available

 

One of our customer favorites is the Butterfly Garden Starter Kit

This kit includes:
Seeds: Butterfly Weed, Plains Coreopsis, Echinacea Purpurea, Marigold and Lacy Phacelia
20 coconut Coir Pellets
Plant Markers
Sowing and Growing Tips included

 

The GARDEN STARTER Seed Combo pack is a new seed combo pack and it's fantastic!

Easy to grow and wonderful to eat.  This pack contains a large variety of easy to grow seeds at a great value This combo pack includes one pack of each:

Little Gem Lettuce, White Egg Turnip, Detroit Dark Red Beet, Extra Dwarf Pak Choy Cabbage, Boston Pickling Cucumber, Kentucky Wonder "Old Homestead" Bean, Dynamite Popcorn, Sugar Ann Snap Pea, Black Cherry Tomato, Ruby Red Swiss Chard, Genovese Basil, Dill Bouquet, Lemon Queen Sunflower, Butterfly Garden Mix

As well as 14 Plant Markers

 

Our Rainbow Garden Pack will certainly add LOTS color to your garden!

Looking for a unique and exciting way to add COLOR to your garden and your plate? 

Mary's Heirloom Seeds has got just what you need!  This combo pack includes individually packaged seed varieties listed below  **20 seed packs in all**

 

Herb gardens make great gifts for beginner gardeners, "seasoned" gardeners and pretty much anyone that enjoys fresh herbs.  Our "In the Kitchen" Herb Garden Kit is great for an indoor or outdoor garden.

This is a great starter kit for your Kitchen Herb Garden.  Includes a full-pack of the following varieties: Genovese Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Oregano, Parsley, Tarragon, Thyme

Choose from seeds only or the starter pack.

STARTER PACK option includes 24 coconut coir pellets, 7 plant markers and Garden Tools set

 

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we have a few smaller packs that also make great gifts.  Mary's favorite is the LUFFA STARTER KIT and we've just added more pellets to the kit for 2020!!!

UPDATED for 2020

Looking to start a garden but not sure where to start?  Looking for a fun gift idea for just about any age? Each starter kit includes:

-Luffa Seeds

-10 Coconut Coir Pellets

-Mountain Flower Root Boost sample pack

-Re-Usable seed starter container

 

Our Basic Starter Kit allows your to pick from several different varieties

Our GARDEN GIFT BOX is also a new option and one of Mary's favorites.

Mary's Garden Gift Box includes: SEEDS, Coconut Coir Pellets, Plant Markers and Liquid fertilizer packs.

CLICK HERE for complete details

 

Our BACK TO BASICS HOMESTEAD PACK is loaded with seeds! Seriously, this one is Amazing!

This combo pack includes thousands of seeds, planting instructions and an option to add coconut coir pellets.  Our Back to Basics Homestead Pack has been updated with more seeds!!!

 

There are so many Seed Combo Packs and Starter Kits, it's hard to choose.  But it's not like you have to pick just one.  Try a few!

COMPANION PLANTING COMBO

Companion planting is based around the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted next to, or close to one another.
EACH kit includes one packet of Borage, Marigold, Genovese Basil and Nasturtium as well as your choice of the following Vegetable: Brandywine tomato, Black Beauty Zucchini, Cal Wonder Bell Pepper or Black Beauty Zucchini

Includes 6 varieties of individually packed EDIBLE Flower varieties!

A unique mix of medicinal herbs and companion plant!

It is an amazing experience to learn new things!  Each kit includes

-Seeds: Black Beauty Zucchini, Golden Crookneck Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Delicata Squash and Small Sugar Pumpkin

-20 coconut Coir Pellets

-Plant Markers

-Sowing and Growing Tips included

Each kit includes:

-Seeds: Amana's Orange, Cherokee Purple, Homestead, Green Zebra and Yellow Pear tomatoes

-20 coconut Coir Pellets

-Plant Markers

-Sowing and Growing Tips included

 

POULTRY GARDEN COMBO PACK

 

We even have DIY kits that are great for homesteaders, gardeners and the DIYer in your life (especially if that's you)

 

DIY CALENDULA INFUSION KIT

This "Calendula Infusion Kit" includes the following items:
Organic Calendula flowers: 1 or 2 ounces
1 Glass Jar, quart size with lid
1 ounce organic Candelilla wax
and detailed instructions
**All you need to add is the carrier oil**

 

Looking for a gift for the cat lover in your life?  We have a CATNIP STARTER KIT!

Each starter kit includes: 50 Catnip Seeds, Coconut Coir Pellets and a Re-Usable seed starter container.


If you have additional questions please give us a call or email
MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM 

Happy Planting!


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Seed Germination Posted on 1 Nov 12:13 , 0 comments

If you read our online reviews on our website and social media, you'll see that customers report very successful germination rates with Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  Growing from seed can be tricky so here's a bit of information to help you get started.

 

What is Seed Germination?

Germination is the process of seeds developing into plants.  Environmental conditions need to be right in order for seeds to germinate.  Several factors are involved if/when a seed germinates.

Water is a crucial factor in seed germination.  Too much water or not enough water can affect seed germination and growth.

Temperature is also an important factor is seed germination.  Some seeds prefer cool weather or even "overwintering."  Most seeds germinate when soil temperature is between 68 and 86 degrees fahrenheit.

 

 

Cold Stratification

Cold stratification is the process of subjecting seeds to both cold and moist conditions. Seeds of many trees, shrubs and perennials require these conditions before germination will ensue

Quite a few herb and flower varieties require cold stratification.  Some of these include: Butterfly bush, Comfrey, English Lavender, perennial sweet pea, Verbena, Lupine, St. John's Wort, Larkspur, Coneflower and more

 

Scarification

Seed Scarification involves weakening, altering or weakening the coat if a seed to encourage germination. 

Nasturtium seeds kind of look like small brains.  When I volunteer at local schools I say they look like monkey brains and the kids usually laugh or say "gross."  Nasturtium seeds can benefit from scarification prior to planting.

 

 Watch our video on Seed Germination for more info.

If you have additional questions please give us a call or email
MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM 

Happy Planting!


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Baked Acorn Squash Recipe Posted on 30 Oct 14:36 , 0 comments

With Fall here and cooler temperatures we're thrilled to be baking!



Acorn Squash is one of the varieties of Winter Squash that I mentioned in my video Heirloom Squash with Mary




Baked Acorn Squash can be made for vegetarians and omnivores.  Below I'm sharing 2 options and you can "tweak" them to your tastes.


Baked Acorn Squash - vegetarian



Ingredients:
Acorn Squash
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper

Directions:

Cut Acorn Squash in half.  Optional: slice into 4.  Drizzle with Olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Optional: add crushed garlic
Bake at 400 for 55 minutes



Baked, Stuffed Acorn Squash - omnivore



Ingredients:
Acorn Squash
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
Ground beef, cooked and drained
green onions, chopped
San Marzano tomato, chopped 
cheese, shredded or grated


Directions:

Cut Acorn Squash in half.  Optional: slice into 4.  Drizzle with Olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Optional: add crushed garlic

Mix ground beef, green onions, san marzano tomato and cheese in a bowl.

Stuff Acorn Squash with ground beef mixture

Bake at 400 for 55 minutes 




If you have additional questions please give us a call or email
MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM 

Happy Planting!


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Chicken Garden Giveaway! Posted on 26 Oct 06:06 , 29 comments

We LOVE Giveaways!!!!


Here are the prizes: 
Gardening with Chickens by Lisa Steele
Chicken Garden Seed Collection from Mary's Heirloom Seeds 
Sprouting Kit with Hard Red Winter Wheat for Sprouting from Mary's Heirloom Seeds
Seeds in the Chicken Garden Selection... 
Black Oil Sunflower
 Golden Millet 
Reid’s Yellow Dent Corn 
Field Pumpkins 
Swiss Chard 
Zucchini 
Cayenne Pepper 
Black Cherry Tomato 
Pickling Cucumbers 
Paris Island Cos Lettuce
Collards



From Mary,
Mary's Heirloom Seeds is a "mom and pop" small business created out of a desire to help people become more sustainable and self-sufficient. Our customers know that we are a simple phone call or email away
We currently offer over 650 varieties of Heirloom, open-pollinated, non-gmo & non-hybrid garden Seeds. Mary has signed the Safe Seed Pledge AND the Declaration of Seed Freedom.
Are you ready to enter the giveaway?


Giveaway is open to US Residents.
Chicken Giveaway starts Saturday, Oct 26th at 8 am Central time and goes through Sunday, Nov 3rd at 11:59 pm.

Baker's Dozen GIVEAWAY Posted on 11 Oct 09:47 , 35 comments

We LOVE Giveaways!!!!
This giveaway is sponsored by
Mary's Heirloom Seeds


This Giveaway will run from NOW thru Sunday, October 13th at midnight and is open to residents of the US and Canada
We will pick One Lucky Winner on Sunday, June 9th

Prizes include our BAKER'S DOZEN
and 5 packs of Mountain Flower Compost Tea

5 packets of

ABOUT US

From Mary,
Mary's Heirloom Seeds is a "mom and pop" small business created out of a desire to help people become more sustainable and self-sufficient. Our customers know that we are a simple phone call or email away
We currently offer over 650 varieties of Heirloom, open-pollinated, non-gmo & non-hybrid garden Seeds. Mary has signed the Safe Seed Pledge AND the Declaration of Seed Freedom.
Are you ready to enter the giveaway?


Giveaway is open to all Residents of the US and Canada.
Giveaway opens 10/11/2019 and ends 10/1319 at Midnight.
All giveaway entrants will be added to Mary's Heirloom Seeds mailing list.
Your information is never sold and we never send spam emails.
There is no purchase required to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Arrivals for 2020 at Mary's Heirloom Seeds Posted on 19 Sep 10:20 , 1 comment

We're SUPER excited to announce a few more varieties of heirloom seeds now available at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  This puts us at well over 650 varieties of heirloom seeds in our current collection.

If you're not sure what or when to plant, check out our two free planting guides:

Mary's 2018 Planting Guide for the US

USDA Zone Planting Guide

 

Ready for New Arrivals?

DWARF GREEK BASIL

 

 

LICORICE BASIL

 

 

SIAM QUEEN THAI BASIL

 

 

STRAWBERRY SPINACH

(Chenopodium capitatum) (aka Strawberry Blite)

 

 

CALIFORNIA BLACK EYE PEA

 

BLUE PODDED PEA

 

 

DOUBLE RED SWEET CORN

 

 

RIO GRANDE PUEBLOS BLUE FLOUR CORN

 

 

MENNONITE SORGHUM

 

JACK BE LITTLE PUMPKIN

 

 

LADY SLIPPER RADISH

 

 

RED CHERRY SWEET PEPPER

 

 

BABY BELL MIX

 

 

RED SCOTCH BONNET

 

 

GARDEN SORREL

 

 

CIMARRON ROMAINE

 

 

 KULLI CORN, MAIZE MORADO

 

Along with our New Arrivals, we also have a few varieties that are Back in Stock for 2020!

If you have additional questions please give us a call or email
MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM

Happy Planting!


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