Spring Gardening

A quick survey of topics you might find pertinent to spring gardening, including gardening newsletters, seed companies, and culinary flowers.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
May/June 1980
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Always check your wild food identifications, even with day lilies! 
PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF


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It's spring in all its splendor, and the Earth comes alive! Time for spring gardening. Drink in the petalled fragrance of the apple blossoms, smell the richness of the soil, roll up your sleeves, and—to the tune of the honeybee's symphony—finish up planting your tomatoes. Then as you laze on the porch swing in the perfumed twilight of a long, warm evening, listen to the katydids sing as you dream of the rich harvests to come.

Gardening Newsletters

It seems there are two things most gardeners just can't get enough of: fresh, homegrown tomatoes and good green-thumb advice. Well, here's the scoop on several newsletters that can make your growing activities more rewarding.

Probably the best known garden journal is Thomas and Betty Powell's The Avant Gardener. This fact-and address-packed compendium of vegetable, fruit, and flower gardening information is published every two weeks ... and you can pretty well count on seeing the latest in horticultural news here first. (The recent three-part discussion of solar greenhouses was excellent!) Tom and Betty have a special discount subscription rate for MOTHER EARTH NEWS-readers: $10 a year (24 issues) . . . instead of the normal $15.

The National Gardening Association publishes a substantial 20-page tabloid newspaper—titled Gardens for All News —four times a year. This organization pays special attention to gardening as a social phenomenon: community gardening, children's programs, and horticultural therapy in prisons are all subjects of recent articles. The publication doesn't ignore the practical, dirt-under-the-fingernails matters, though . . . and with Dick and Jan Raymond handling the growing and preserving information, you're sure of good, down-to-earth advice. When you join the association, you'll automatically receive a subscription to Gardens forAll News.

The good folks at Shades of Green publish a quarterly newsletter that's full of fine information... and subscribers get some special benefits, too. For $4.00 a year you'll receive the right to place free classified ads, have access to reduced-rate seed specials, and help test new varieties of vegetables and flowers.

Sallie Ballantine's TheHerb Quarterly is more than a newsletter. The nicely produced 48-page magazine contains herbal lore, cultural information, photo essays, recipes, and access information.   

Time to Re-Seed?

Whether it's as a result of under-buying your early seed order, or because of a late decision to put in a fall crop of cauliflower and brussels sprouts, you will sometimes have occasion to purchase a few packets of plantables after the early spring rush.

This year, why not give your "late" business to some of the small home-based seed companies? You'd do well to check out the offerings of such folks as Gene and Dee Milstein of Applewood Seeds , who sell a variety of wildflower seeds along with their more conventional products ... John and Mary Beedle of Shades of Green, who—for 25¢—will send you their catalog, and a copy of the 50%off sale list, and a full-sized packet of basil seed . . . the Sinophiles at Sunrise Enterprises, who offer what is probably the largest selection of Oriental vegetable seeds in this country... our friends at Epicure Seeds, who comb the European catalogs to bring the finest continental vegetables to American gardens ... and the good people at Pine Tree Seeds, who specialize in small packets at greatly reduced prices (12 hybrid tomato seeds will cost you between 25¢ and 40¢) .

If it's hot stuff you're after, you might want to send 25¢ to Horticultural Enterprises for its catalog of 31 types of peppers ... hot, sweet, and in-between. And, finally, here are two outfits that cater to green-thumb gourmets: J.A. Demonchaux and Le Jardin du Gourmet. The latter firm will send MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers eight packets of herb seeds and a catalog for only $1.00 ... or 12 packets of herbs plus a quarter pound of French shallots for $2.95.

Culinary Flowers

Did you ever stop to think just how many flowers are edible? I'm not talking about exotic treats like candied violets, but everyday goodies such as spicy nasturtium blossoms (which add color and tang to summer salads)... calendula, marigold, and safflower petals (all of which can be used to color rice a vibrant yellow)... and crunchy, unopened day lily buds (and the delicious fritters that the opened blossoms make when dipped in batter and fried). Why, you can even top off a meal of dandelion bud fritters with a tasty glass of dandelion wine that's also made from the yellow flowers. Of course, many of our more traditional vegetables—such as artichokes, broccoli, and cauliflower—are actually blossoms, too... so please do eat these "daisies"!


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