Happy Holidays!

wreath1Today I woke up to a white Christmas. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve seen snow on Christmas day. Not a lot,  but a few inches is great! What a great time to make a fire, curl up with some book you’ve been meaning to read or dig in to your new seed catalogs arriving daily and dream of your future garden you’ll be planting this spring. I love doing research either with books or on the internet during the winter months when I actually have time to absorb some of it. I think my brain started out the size of a melon and has now shrunk to probably the size of an orange if retaining info is the guide! So I better enjoy this cold weather because soon enough the growing season will be upon us.

 

Seed Catalogs/2017

catalogs-2017

My top two seed catalog picks

Even though it’s not 2017 yet, many of you are now getting your seed catalogs in for 2017 season. I just updated for 2017 my favorite seed and garden catalogs. I have many favorites besides the two above. Here they are:

GOOD SEED LIST:

THESE SEED CATALOGS/COMPANIES ARE GREAT. THEY DO NOT BUY ANY SEEDS FROM SEMINIS, A SUBSIDIARY OF MONSANTO AND ARE MY FAVORITES.

Seed Saver Exchange—As a SSE member I want to support this non-profit organization who is dedicated to CONSERVING and promoting heirloom varieties of veggies, flowers, fruits and herbs. It’s catalog is wonderful with many varieties of seeds that are hard to find or have been kept in families for generations. http://www.seedsavers.org

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds—It features beautiful pictures of many varieties of heirloom vegetables, flowers and fruits, some of which are very unusual and rare. It gives wonderful descriptions and history of where each variety originated. Check them out. www.rareseeds.com

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange– recommended by Baker Heirlooms as another good source for heirlooms. Has many hard to find vegetable seeds. http://www.southernexposure.com/

Wild Boar Farmsspecialize in fantastic OP varieties of tomatoes. wildboarfarms.com
No catalog-go online to order.

Baia Nicchia Farm—specialize in more fantastic OP varieties of tomatoes. Created the Artisan Seed Series of tomatoes in Johnny’s Seeds catalog. Support their company for certain select seeds not available anywhere else and go to Johnny’s for the rest of their Artisan tomato seeds. Support their breeding work by buying directly from them. https://store.growartisan.com/
No catalog-go online to order.

Secret Seed Cartel—specialize in unique, unusual or rare seeds of peppers and tomatoes from Europesecretseedcartel.com
No catalog-go online to order.

Wild Garden Seeds—My new go to catalog for wonderful greens and lettuce www.wildgardenseed.com/ (I use to think they sold in bulk only,  but they sell smaller quantities as well. The packet price listed on top of catalog pages)

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds—Sells many wonderful hard to find heirloom seeds like Argentata chard and French gray shallots. http://www.kitchengardenseeds.com/

Kitazawa Seed CompanyOldest seed company in America specializing in Asian vegetable seeds. http://www.kitazawaseed.com/

Irish Eyes Garden SeedsGet your different types of potatoes here. http://irisheyesgardenseeds.com/

Native Seed/SEARCHfabulous seeds by native people in the southwest. www.nativeseeds.org/

Hudson Valley SeedThe Hudson Valley Seed Library is an amazing source for heirloom and open-pollinated garden seeds and beautiful garden-themed contemporary art. http://hudsonvalleyseed.com/

Peaceful Valley (Grow Organic)—I get all my row cover and most of my growing supplies from here.www.groworganic.com

Johnny’s Selected Seeds—provides hybrid, heirloom and OP seeds, tools, information, and service. A general all-purpose catalog packed with more than just seeds. www.johnnyseeds.com

There are many other good seed companies that do not buy their seed stock from Seminis.  To see more good seed companies that may be among your favorites, go here. If your favorite seed company is not listed, call them if you are interested.

My favorite tomato for 2016!

lucky-cross1

I always plant several new varieties of tomatoes each year and the winner hands down for 2016 was:

LUCKY CROSS

lucky-cross-insideIt is a fantastic yellowish tomato with pink blush outside and inside as well. Sometimes they were more yellowish with pink overtones and sometimes more pinkish with some yellow overtones. No matter the color, it has an exceptional sweet flavor like a Brandywine. It never cracked or got diseases and was very prolific. It is a potato leaf variety. I haven’t been this excited about a tomato for a long time. It now beats my beloved Virginia Sweet tomatoes which are prone to cracks and diseases.

When I did some research on this tomato, the variety originally came from Craig LeHoullier (author of Epic Tomatoes). He stated it came from a Brandywine and an unknown bee-produced cross and had the luck to grow it out with these great attributes.  You can read the story of it from him here. No wonder I thought it tasted like a Brandywine! It is now a stable open-pollinated (OP) tomato and will grow out the same each generation. I saved some of the seeds from this beauty and will definitely grow it next season.

Cold Weather Continues in Santa Fe

This past weekend was pretty decent weather wise but is due to change again midweek with a big cold front coming in. Yeow! The nights will be colder with temps dropping in the teens again. This winterlike weather has caught me off guard although I don’t know why! It’s certainly time for colder weather here but I guess I was lulled by the wonderful, warm days we had in November until a few days ago.

My garden does not look like this. This was last year's pic after it was cleaned up!

My garden does not look like this—it is a mess this year! This was last year’s pic after it was cleaned up!

So knowing this, I rushed out to the garden last week and started pulling up all the dead tomato plants. I have to pull them before the soil freezes or I won’t be able to remove them until spring. Last Thursday, I yanked the last of them out—37 dead tomato plants in their cages, sprawled everywhere. Not a pretty site! But at least the roots are pulled out of the ground. I still have to take the plants out of the cages and clean up the ground and add compost. Ay, caramba!

It is best to clean up our gardens in the fall earlier (listen to your own words, Jannine) and remove any dead plants and debris so they don’t harbor bad bugs for the winter. I am really late this year but it will get done.

I also harvested the last of the carrots, beets, kale and leeks last week so the garden is officially kaput although clean up will continue next week.

After the garden is cleaned up, I will tuck myself inside with the new catalogs coming in and dream about next season’s garden!

A must see movie!! SEED-THE UNTOLD STORY

seed-the-untold-story

Seed-THE UNTOLD STORY
Jean Cocteau Theater
Nov 16-24
7 pm

SEED THE UNTOLD STORY movie is coming to Jean Cocteau on Nov 16-24 . We should all go see this award-winning movie while it is here for a few days. This is right up our alley with building a sustainable, healthy community. Their goal is for SEED to inspire audiences to take action and become a champion of seeds.

SEED: The Untold Story is an eye-opening environmental documentary about the dramatic loss of seed diversity and the movement to restore the future of our food, from the creators of The Real Dirt on Farmer John & Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?

Visit seedthemovie.com/santafe for more info on movie times and movie guests.

From their site: http://www.seedthemovie.com/
‘Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds — worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. This documentary follows passionate seed keepers who are protecting a 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94 seed varieties have disappeared. A cadre of 10 agrichemical companies, including Syngenta, Bayer, and Monsanto, controls over two-thirds of the global seed market, reaping unprecedented profits. Farmers and others battle to defend the future of our food.’

Hope to see you there!

Growing Season for 2016/Fall Harvest

fall-harvest-crop_nov-2

Fall harvest in 2016-tomatoes, beets, carrots and kale are just a few of the vegetables still being harvested here on my micro-farm

This has been a most remarkable growing season this year. In fact, I can’t remember in all my 21 years here of weather like this. After two months of unseasonably hot summer weather at the beginning (when the tomato blossoms dropped because it was too hot) and then two months of very cool summer weather (when the tomatoes didn’t want to ripen because they need heat to ripen once they are set) we now have been in an unbelievably wonderful fall. Nice and warm in the 70’s in the day and cool but not freezing nights.

But all this is going to change very quickly now that we are in November. Weather prediction is for it to change to colder weather. Like duh, it’s NOVEMBER dude! Of course it will get colder! My fruit is done-apples (we made hard cider!), apricots, grapes, strawberries and raspberries are done here. Most of my warm season crops are gone (cucumbers, squash, peppers, eggplants, pumpkins, corn, etc. except the tomatoes, my favorite crop!)

Meanwhile the fall harvest continues with tomatoes still ripening (at least this week) and all the cool season crops are kicking it and should be for quite some time if I cover them with winter weight row cover. The kale is going gangbusters, cabbage is ready, onions and potatoes are ready to harvest, carrots and beets are ready to be dug out too and chard is busting out all over.  My broccoli and escarole I planted in August at my fall garden class are almost ready too. Then pantry is bursting and the refrigerators and freezers are overflowing too! Enjoy what we still have left of this season!

Chickens enjoy some lettuce

lettuce-bowl-w-chickens

In August a made a lettuce/mesclun bowl. I should have thinned it out so I could have cut and come again the greens but didn’t. If I had thinned it out, I would have gotten some great greens. So I gave the lettuce bowl to the chickens this morning. They gobbled it up! Glad to share.