Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Seed Factor

I have to admit that I am a seed freak. I am not talking about eating sesame or sunflower seeds. For me it is all about those little things you plant in the ground. I am not discriminating to what seed it is. It could be herb, vegetable, fruit or flower. It never ceases to amaze me how there can be life inside a tiny shell; just plant,water & give light.....and love. Yesterday I got my catalog from The Cooks Garden. It is one of my favorite seed catalogs. Not only are there beautiful vegetable seeds, but they have great gardening tools, books and recipes too. The variety of seeds is unique, and they give a little origin of those that are heirloom. For instance, did you know that purple carrots were the first carrot ever known to man, and it originates in Afghanistan? How about some of our tomatoes? They have come from Russia and Germany. Some lettuces have come from Hungry. It is just amazing! Below is a tiny heirloom strawberry about to shed it's bloom.

A seed website that is a favorite is Renee's Garden Seeds out of Carmel, California. You can often find the beautiful seed packets that have water colors on them at specialty garden centers or sometimes Whole Foods. Ordering off the Internet is a snap though. The variety of alyssum is breath taking, and when you plant them the smell takes you to another place. "Gulf Winds" is my favorite.
One of my favorite books is about seeds. Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris features a character who saves rare seeds, and passes on his love for gardening to a young boy. When he dies the young man inherits his collection, moves to Provence and starts a magical farm filled with long forgotten vegetables. That is my kind of dream!
In 2008 I read a riveting article in the Washington Post about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is an ice cave in Norway where precious seeds from all over the world are being saved in case of a "doomsday" event. There will be wheat, barley, and other essential food seeds to help feed our planet after a global crisis. Sounds like something right out of a Ray Bradbury book. Nevertheless, a very viable argument can be made for saving the world's recourses.
Whatever the case may be, saving the world can be left to the pros. I, on the other hand, still love to collect seeds. Seeds of wonder. Varieties that long to burst from their shells. Seeds that aim to please with taste, smell, or sight. I love them all, and secretly stow a pack or two in my cart as I pass by a stand in the store. Maybe I will use them, or maybe I will just look and wonder, "what would happen if I planted this?"

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