I joined the Seed Savers Exchange this year, both the Vegetable and the Flower and Herb Memberships. And wowee – am I glad that I did. If little things like heirloom seeds and vast selection and varieties that have been passed down for generations are important to you and your garden, head over there and get crackin’ on your own membership. All of the seeds are offered up by normal people like you and me who save their own seeds. You select what you want, throw a few bucks in an envelope and mail the person directly. And then you sit back and wait for the goodness to flood your mailbox.
I got so much more than I bargained for – instructions carefully written and printed out, words of encouragement. When was the last time I received a whole handwritten page in the mail?!? A silly thing to get excited about, but the generosity poured forth in written form was touching. And much appreciated – I’ve chosen a few especially-tricky seeds. But the investment up front is minimal, so if all else fails, I’ve got some good experience under my belt for plunging forward next year.
I ordered some medicinal herbs, some flowers, (like dinner-plate-size hibiscus!) and the foundation for a dyer’s garden: french (spry) marigold, madder, woad, weld. It would be handy to be able to dye my own wool with plants from my own garden. (This just in: the sheep fence has arrived and is awaiting setup!)
I’ve resurrected a flowerbed led astray by neglect and claimed dominion over it. I thought that using the wood embroidery hoops will help focus my weeding attempts and indicate where my seedlings should be sprouting up. Seemed a great idea, until the chickens invaded the bed and scratched up the newly-sown areas, scattering loads of carefully-placed seeds. Here’s a hot tip for you chicken owners out there: It’s NOT smart to set about cultivating a flower bed, pull out worms and caterpillars and big bugs, call over the chickens who free-range your yard, feed them the goodies, (with much satisfaction for all) and then expect them NOT to invade the said bed, hunting for more of the same on their own. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I’m currently exploring Chicken Deterrent Devices for my flower beds – the rinky-dink 18″ tall fence is not cutting it. Pinwheels, maybe? Any other thoughts?
In case you missed the mention above, the sheep fence is here and ready to be put into action. Just saying.