Spring Gardening

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PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
Always check your wild food identifications, even with day lilies! 

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”!