Seedy Business

California’s drought drags on. To that end, I’ve planned my seedy business judiciously. About two weeks ago, this sweet little box of seeds arrived in the mail, my modest order from Botanical Interests. They even included “thank you lettuce.” You don’t see that ever day.

Botanical Interests Box of Seeds

Botanical Interests Box of Seeds

When I first starting buying seeds, I didn’t pay much attention to the source. Now that I’m better educated, I prefer buying organic where possible, while supporting small, independent companies.

Cover Crop:

Once the unidentified behemoth, aka the pumpkin/zucchini mystery plant, dies back, I’ll plant both vegetable boxes with a cover crop. Purchased online from Botanical Interests,

This hardworking combination of field peas and hulled oats is a legume and grass cover crop that quickly benefits the soil with nutrients and green matter, while helping suppress weeds. A great cover crop for established gardens, the mix is also perfect for improving areas being turned into gardens such as lawns and vacant lots.

Pea plants fix nitrogen and condition the topsoil while the pea flowers attract bees and other beneficial insects. As an added benefit the young pea shoots and tendrils are edible and can be used in salads or as a soup topping. Oats hold nitrogen, provide green matter and provide support for the pea vines.

cover crop seeds

Cover Crop Seeds

When planted in the fall, the oats and peas benefit from the cool weather but are killed by the cold temperatures of winter and won’t regrow in the spring. The dead plant material provides a wonderful winter mulch that helps prevent soil erosion and is ready to be tilled into the garden as soon as soil can be worked in the spring

Not bad for $2.99 a packet! I bought three.

Broccoli:

This is my only cool-season crop. I’ve grown it before and it got by on very little watering. I’m hoping for the same success to keep my water usage low.

Butterfly Flower:

After reading earlier this year about the decline in butterfly populations, I learned that one of the problems is the reduction in Milkweed. I’ve never seen it offered in our nursery centers, but found the seeds online.  It’s a perennial, and will replace the seasonal flowers I’ve grown for the past two years in the triangle near our front sidewalk.  The plant prefers swampy conditions, but they say it will do okay with ‘regular’ garden watering.

Butterfly Flower and Broccoli

Butterfly Flower and Broccoli

I’m trying not to get my hopes up, since San Jose is anything but swampy. I’ll be thrilled, though, if I can plant a healthy shrub that attracts Monarch’s and helps them on their way south.

Cat Grass Oats:

My sister’s indoor kitty, KT loves his greens. He prefers home-grown to what’s available at the market and I can grow it for a song year round. Pretty cool, eh?  So I plant a pot every few weeks and place it near the kitchen window. My sister brings me the empty pot, and I start a new batch so we always have them in rotation.

I tried to get Mr. Personality to pose for these pictures, but we wasn’t having any of it. He eventually nibbled on the corner of the envelope, before jumping down and moving on.

cat with grass seeds

“Clever” Photo attempt Number One

cat with seeds

“Clever” Photo attempt Number Two

Here is the lovely KT moving in for a nibble. Isn’t he the sweetest? KT started out as a foster cat, but she couldn’t let him go.

KT Loves his Greens

KT Loves his Greens

So, that’s my seedy business this fall. How about you? Are you dropping a seed or two into the earth, a greenhouse, or the time-honored pot in the windowsill?

13 thoughts on “Seedy Business

  1. I am covering my ears and singing “I can’t HEAR you” loudly Ms Alys. I have SO many seeds that I need to get started and I need to figure out how, where, why, what and when. We just finished our quarter acre fencing marathon and next, seed planting. I have a big pile of aged horse manure, an even bigger pile of dead oak leaves and a large pile of hay from the chook coop ready to be transported up to the back of Sanctuary to let it rot down and compost for next years soil amelioration and this years worm fodder (got to keep those worms happy!). I am in the process of coercing Stevie-boy to take me to a local source of seaweed, not too far from here, in order to get at least one trailer load to add to the mix/biota. I need soil but buying it isn’t an option so it’s creation all of the way. Wish me luck. I can see a week of me, a wheelbarrow and some seriously hard slog coming up…I think I just found the secret to losing winter weight 😉

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  2. I will check them out online. It’s a bit late for anything here. I pulled up so much of what I call devil grass because the roots invade everything that I almost couldn’t sit easily…anywhere. I’ve been after the weeds but this yard is going to take a rototiller and some serious amendments. It’s pure clay. They added nothing to the plant materials. Have lots of cardboard for a barrier in the raised beds I want to build. Next spring I may get that done. Right now. it’s RAINING again. Nice soft rain. I’m so sorry but I do keep trying to blow some south. I’m looking for milkweed too. Love your kitty pics. One’s being uncooperative and the other just wants dessert. 🙂

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  3. A post with Mouse is so fun, just what I needed tonight. He’s kissable looking and aloof at the same time. If that’s possible. I’ve climbed into bed to rest, obviously I’m out of wack today. I still can’t believe I missed Skype, scheduled for a month with a reminder to boot. I can’t even imagine where my head is at. I bet it was a riot. I’m so sorry to have missed it.

    I’m loving the illustrations on the seed packets.Very pretty and inviting. Even the delivery box seems like a treasure. What a great thing to receive in the mail. I see all kinds of things I’d love to order on the net, but when the shipping is calculated to Canada it’s dreadful. I think on-line shopping is so great in America.

    I’m interested to see your Milkweed grow. We have something called Milkweed here, it’s short and white and somewhat invasive. It doesn’t resemble your illustration at all. I’m rather worried about butterflies too. I used to see scads of them at the lake. Probably because of my garden beds. I think I saw two all summer this year. I need to plant some food for them too. Everything needs a little TLC doesn’t it? Birds, Butterflies, earth….so much to do. Thanks for doing more than your share Alys. I know how hard it must be to garden with such water restrictions. xoxoxo

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  4. I should love to try milkweed too, but I also want to keep watering to a minimum. I have already got some seed for flowers for next spring, but will probably be tempted by all the special offers over winter and have far too much again! Good luck with the broccoli. Oh and Kitty is so sweet!

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  5. Coincidently I’m just off to the greenhouse to sow some winter salad leaves and flowers for next year. Broccoli is a great winter crop as once you’ve eaten the large main head it carries on producing crops of smaller heads, just right for risotto etc. It usually goes all through the winter for me.

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    • Thanks for the tips. I’ve grown it twice with mixed success. The first year we had an early spring and it bolted. The second time it did okay but not great. I think I had a problem with pests.

      Since we eat broccoli several days a week, it would be wonderful to have our own crop. We shall see.

      Thanks for cheering me on. Best of luck with your green house plantings.

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