April 2014 Highlights

April 2014 Highlights

“This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal.”

~ Joel Salatin from “Folks, This Ain’t Normal”

In This Issue-

  • What to Plant Now – All Things Plants Calendar
  • Peas: Sugar, Snap and Snow
  • Thoughts on Selected Wendell Berry Quotes

Hello Friends!

Wild Galapagos TomatoesGreetings from mid-April! This has got to be one of the wackiest years for gardening! We have customers in Tennessee getting snow where our Illinois folks had warm weather followed soon after by a sprinkling of snow. Almost everyone we’ve talked to has gotten a late start to their garden this year, and by the look of things, this may be for the best. Here in central Arizona, our pepper and tomato seedlings are up and doing well, so we are hopeful to get some desperately needed moisture from the upcoming spring monsoons.

We’re trying a little different format with this edition. Lately we’ve stuffed a lot of information, recipes and education into each newsletter and have seen folks putting off opening and reading it because they wanted to have the time to get some good out of it. We understand, life is busy and it sometimes seems that there isn’t enough time in a week, let alone a day! This edition is shorter and hopefully quicker to read and get something out of. We are looking at one bigger newsletter each month, with a couple shorter ones one each end. This should make it easier and better for you, and a bit easier on us as well. As always, please let us know what you think – we value your input!

 


What to Plant Now – All Things Plants Calendar

Seedlings startedKelly was in a conundrum. She was trying to grow as much as her family and farm animals needed to eat year round, but was having difficulty in finding good, reliable resources on what to plant when, both for spring and for the fall seasons. Part of her challenge was to find what grew well for her climate at different times of the year so she could order seed in time to get everything started correctly.

She was looking for a resource that showed a large variety of plants and when to start the seeds, whether it was indoors as transplants, when to transplant them and when to direct seed in the garden. Our article “Planning and Planting Your Spring Garden” and “How to Plan for Fall and Winter Gardening” helped, but she needed a little bit more.

After she contacted us, we looked at a number of resources and found exactly what she had described. Zone based guides were very general, at best. Other tools and resources had a free trial period, but then had paid subscriptions and were built primarily as design tools, which she didn’t feel she had time for. We had heard of the All Things Plants Calendar that was built by the founder of Dave’s Garden and took a look at it. Based on ZIP codes, it expands on historical weather data and breaks common garden crops down by spring and fall plantings. It also has a very useful, chart based guide for sowing seeds indoors, when to transplant them and when to direct sow seeds in your garden.

While it isn’t perfect, it is a very good step in the right direction of a resource that shows what needs to be known about planting seeds for a specific area. The only caveat we have is the hotter areas of the country, like Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas and south Texas. The information is based on a spring and fall season, which is very different in the hot season areas where gardening from September through mid-May is very successful. They advocate starting seeds in December or January and planting cold season crops in January, so if you are in one of these areas, take this into account and it can be a very useful tool for you as well!

 


Peas: Sugar, Snap and Snow

Fresh young peasThere is nothing quite as graceful as trellised pea plants in full swing. And nothing quite as tasty as a crunchy sugar snap pea eaten straight off the vine. And nothing that so captures the essence of spring as peas—all kinds of peas.

Peas love cool, wet weather, and so are often only in season for a few weeks, when you will find local farmers bringing in the irresistible sugar snap pea, the Chinese or snow pea, and the good old fashioned shell (or English) peas.

As with all legumes, peas host beneficial bacteria in their root nodules, which make nitrogen in the air available as a fertilizer in the soil for themselves and whatever crop is planted there next. They are one of the true heroes of our fields and tables—so enjoy!

We bring you Snow Peas with Lemon Herb Butter to get your gardening season off to a great start!

 


Thoughts on Selected Wendell Berry Quotes

Wendell BerryOur latest article is the culmination of several recent conversations about regaining our knowledge of agriculture, learning what it takes to grow our own food and how gardening re-connects us with the world that we have become separate from.

Wendell Berry is one of our heroes and we’ve talked about him off and on for some time now, and he has so clearly stated how and why one person can make a difference and why a single garden can be one of the keys to saving ourselves. Read my “Thoughts on Selected Wendell Berry Quotes” for more!

 


We believe in a world of healthy soil, seed, food and people. Everyone has a fundamental need for vibrant food and health, which are closely linked.

We work to achieve this by challenging and changing conventional gardening thinking, providing successful and unique methods and techniques while inspiring the power of choice and action for the individual.

Our customers are friends that we have not yet met, as you share our interest and passion for growing incredibly delicious foods, preserving heirloom seed traditions and biological diversity for the future through our own home gardens. Sharing this is possibly the most important work, as it helps all of us make a definite, positive impact in our lives and in those that we share.

Thanks for your time this edition, we hope you have enjoyed it! Please let us know your thoughts and suggestions, as we are always working to improve.

 

Stephen and Cindy Scott

Terroir Seeds | Underwood Gardens

 

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