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Plant F-ing: Time to Think About Planting Your Seeds

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seed-packets.jpg
Is there better stuff than these out there? Yep. (Photo by tjmwatson via Flickr)


Is there better stuff than these out there? Yep. (Photo by tjmwatson via Flickr)
Two weeks before Christmas and I have no desire to look at Pottery Barn, Abercrombie and Fitch or Williams-Sonoma catalogs. I’m immune. I never actually fall prey to these, anyway, but then again, I don’t do Xmas. Jesus ain’t getting the Dream Act this year, whatever. My point? Have your moment, Santa; I just think, “It’s winter.” New Year's is coming and I DO think about the coming planting season.

We will be in the “heat” of spring in just over two months. The days will be lengthening as we pass the December 21st Solstice; you hippie freaks will undoubtedly be worshiping the Mother, and I’ll be looking at new varieties of available seed to put in her. Here are some of my fave vendors whose catalogs that I have dog-eared and love to support.

Seeds of Change (SoC) has “over 1,200 varieties: many heirloom, native and hard-to-find”. They are all organic and GMO free. SoC is as crusty ass, hippie as they get. You can smell the patchouli on the pages. As their name suggests, they are dedicated to preserving the genetic heritage of, well, the world. When Michael Pollan laments the loss of biodiversity amongst the shiny red apples of the Ralph’s produce section, this is the opposite end of what he’s talking about. For newbie gardeners I highly recommend their collections. You’ll plant things you didn’t know you wanted.

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I’ve planted Renee’s Garden seeds for years. You see, Renee donates her end-of-season overages to the LA County Master Gardener Program. The Master Gardeners are not your typical “old lady plant club”, they are a social justice group. The LA County Master Gardeners exist to help low-income people grow their own food. The borage, the “Rainbow's End Heirloom Mix” tomatoes, “Electric Blue” sweet peas and baby mesclun lettuces have all been divine (now who’s the crusty hippie/garden queen?) in the school and community gardens where the MG’s (Master Gardeners) have planted them. That Renee supports this work with Green Zebra tomatoes should be reason enough for all you to go online and share the love. Yep, online only--gotta love the low-impact footprint too.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri is what happens when Seeds of Change meets Deliverance. If you or Ned Beatty wandered around that porch in my favorite Burt Reynolds film and saw granny’s garden patch you’d probably find Alabama Red Okra or Southern Giant Curled Mustard Greens. Baker Creek, unlike me, defies Missouri stereotypes and has hundreds of Asian and Italian green, heirloom bean and eggplant varieties too. The Kamo Kamo squash from the Maori in New Zealand should satisfy the geekiest ethno-botanist gardener and/or Flight of the Conchords fanatic. Catalogna Puntarelle Dandelion is worth trying. Italian soul food uses whatever is available, so that’s right, a dandelion. Hey, Mario Batali likes his lardo and just like Mr. Batali himself, that’s fat is really, really good. I’m telling you it works with this not-so-common weed. And as a “weed” you should be able to pull this off as the newb’ gardener or MG alike.

Make your garden seed catalog faves known and I’ll proceed to laud/insult them in the next garden column. I could go on about Peaceful Valley, Franchi, Johnny’s or even, gasp, Burpee. But at LAist we have the comment section for you to do just that.

Have a gardening question for our in-house planting pro? Send it to editor@laist.com and, if we can get him to put down the seed p0rn, he might answer it in a post.