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Sowing winter hardy greens brings hope to lengthening days

Winter Greens for your cold frame or hoop house–these cold-hardy gems can be sown throughout the winter for late winter and early spring harvests!

 

NY Hardy Corn Salad
NY Hardy Corn Salad

Sowing Greens like NY Hardy Cornsalad, Miner’s lettuce (aka: Claytonia), Arugula, Asian greens, North Pole Lettuce, beet greens and spinach can happen throughout the winter. Fall sown crops are coming to maturity now, and it’s time to think of your late winter and early spring salads! If you have a cold frame, hoop house, sunny windowsill, or greenhouse, you can start sowing in the next few weeks. Most greens are happy to be direct seeded, and with a little love will begin to sprout slowly over a few weeks in a sheltered environment, even in fairly cold weather. To get the best out of your North Pole butterhead lettuce, it may be good to sow it and then transplant it into the growing area, since the heads will get to be a good 8-10 inches across.Cilantro is also especially cold hardy, and can be sown along with your winter greens.

For adventurous folks with good, sunny windows that catch the southern sun, some interesting winter houseplants are: carrots in deep pots, (these need thinning to size up but are very fun for kids!), radishes, snap or snow peas (peas need some creative support, we put a very branching stick or two into the pot so they can grow up the stick), beans –try bush beans like Black Valentine— planted in the next few days they’ll be up as a valentine greeting, bringing summer love into your wintertime. And last but definitely not least, cucumbers–try Shintokiwa for this– usually we’d plant two seeds per gallon pot and then count on tying up the plants along the window frame as they grow. The surprise with cucumbers is that the lovely yellow flowers are also vanilla scented!

Cucumbers growing in a southwest facing window in February-- these were sown in early December. If you sow in February, they should be at this stage at the middle of April.
Cucumbers growing in a southwest facing window in February– these were sown in early December. If you sow in February, they should be at this stage at the middle of April.
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6th Annual Seedy Saturday

Margaret Roach’s wonderful 6th annual Seedy Saturday is coming up in March! Check it out, and stop by to learn from experts in the morning seed starting workshop, in the afternoon on garden-to-table strategies,  and to see us and buy seeds, books, etc. It’s always a great event, with inspiration, fantastic nibbles, and lots of great gardening folks!

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Onion Seed Time!

It’s time to place your onion seed orders. Our onion seeds are cleaned, tested, and on the shelf waiting for your order!

 

 

Clear Dawn
Clear Dawn

 

Onions and leeks need plenty of time to get to a nice, pencil-sized plant ready to go outside in early spring. Here in Hudson Valley, NY in zone 5 with a latest frost date of May 15th, we usually start our onions in the early part of February and plant them out in late April. While it’s great to start your onions with a little bottom heat just to get the seeds germinated, once they’re up the seedlings are fairly hardy. We heat our hoop house with a small wood stove to try to keep it above 25 degrees F at night, and the warmer your growing area, the faster the seedlings will grow. Keep in mind that you want plenty of light so that the seedlings don’t get too leggy. If your seedlings look leggy despite your best efforts, just give them a little “haircut” by trimming off some of the top of each seedling, leaving about 2 inches. These delicious trimmings can be used like chives!

The next seeds we’ll start to sow after the onions and leeks are long-growing warm-loving seedlings like eggplant and peppers, and also the first crops out in the garden–spinach, lettuces, peas, radishes, arugula, cilantro, beets, and other cool-weather crops that can take a light frost.

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The 2016 Catalog is Coming

Check out our new paper catalog, coming next week! We are excited to offer a number of new varieties (available now on this website!) such as the rare and delicious heirloom Eastham Turnip–a huge, sweet white turnip-rutabaga cross with luscious leaves that taste like kale; Three Root Grex Beets–a sweet, tender rainbow of beets, beautiful and outstandingly flavorful; Sweet, tart, citrus-y, guava-y Schoenbrunn Physalis cape gooseberries; and the huge fairy-tale pumpkin Musque de Provence, and so many others!

Our New 2016 Print catalog is coming out next week!
Our New 2016 Print catalog is coming out next week!