Roll Up Your Sleeves…It’s Time to Start Seeds!

Spring has (kinda) sprung…and that means it’s time to start seeds and plan your garden! I spoke to Laurel, our Produce Manager, and she says the time is NOW if you’re starting your seeds in a greenhouse or indoors. If you’re starting in the ground in May, you can procrastinate a little bit…but every day you wait, more seed packets fly off our shelves! It’s also a great time to start putting together garden plans and diagrams so you know what you’ll be eating all summer (and fall, and winter if you’re into canning like we are). We have seeds from High Mowing and Seed Savers Exchange; each has a very particular point-of-view but they both strive to bring you the very best in seeds. Plus, there’s potting mix and compost from VT Compost Co. and even a seed starter kit from Grow for all the newbies out there (myself included). So read on and learn how to brighten up your summer with food and flowers, right in your very own backyard (or window planter, or community plot, or wherever else your garden grows)!

First up is High Mowing, an all-organic seed company based in Wolcott, VT. It was started in 1996 by an organic farmer, Tom Stearns, who decided on a lark to package and sell some seeds from his property. What he quickly discovered was that demand for top-notch organic seeds was high; within five years, he was renting local land and contracting with other farmers to bring people the seeds they desired. As the business continued to grow, High Mowing stayed true to its roots and expanded consciously so it could continue to guarantee that every seed it sells is not only organic but optimal for growth in an organic environment. High Mowing’s dedicated team of former, current, and future farmers bring you an extraordinary selection of seeds designed to grow easily and beautifully for you and your family. Click here to see what High Mowing has to say about itself and what it does.

Some fabulous spinach and tomato options from High Mowing

And then we have Seed Savers Exchange! It’s way more than a seed company- it’s a nonprofit designed to promote biodiversity by keeping, propagating, and distributing heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. These guys are truly fighting the good fight; on their 600-acre farm in Iowa, they grow oodles of organics and produce heirloom seeds that keep biodiversity in the US on the up-and-up. Their farm offers tours, workshops, and educational sessions designed to impart the importance of biodiversity and give people ways to use their amazing product; they also go on tour around the country giving lectures and sharing the good news with the people. What this means for us is that these guys are SERIOUSLY DEDICATED to preserving America’s agricultural heritage and they bring us seeds we can feel good about planting. Check out their website for a  rundown of all their amazing programs and see for yourself the holy work these folks are doing.

Heirloom peppers, cukes, kales, and lettuces from Seed Savers Exchange

So you have your seeds and you’ve freed your garden tools from their shed. Now you need some dirt! But not just any dirt…how about some fabulous organic compost from a trusted local supplier? Vermont Compost Company has a great option that’s appropriate for just about any starts you may have- the Fort Vee potting mix. This proprietary blend starts with manure compost and has all sorts of beneficial additions, including granite for deep roots and good drainage, kelp for tons of trace minerals, gypsum for soil aggregation…the list goes on. And if you’re concerned about the sustainability of their mix, they even use a consciously harvested Canadian peat that’s been scientifically proven to regrow. Guilt-free gardening at its best!

Or, if you’re like me and don’t really know where to begin, turn to Grow Compost of Vermont’s awesome seed starter kit. It comes with an open flat, a propagation dome, fifty peat cells, and a bag of Grow Seed Potting Mix. Grow says it’s everything you need except the seeds so it’s a foolproof way to make sure you’re getting off to the right start (pun very much intended). Like Vermont Compost, Grow is a local company (Moretown) with a dedication to providing Vermont’s gardeners with a viable organic option that works beautifully and integrates into your environment. Leftover food from local farms, fine restaurants, schools, and local residents form the backbone of the compostables they use to create their wonderful mixes; the mixes are then used by the people who gave their leftover food in the first place. It’s a beautiful, closed cycle that promotes a healthy and happy Vermont- what’s not to love?

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Bags of Fort Vee and Grow Compost in our entryway; seed start kits and more Fort Vee in our Produce Department

So grab a handful of seed packets from High Mowing or Seed Savers and some compost from Vermont Compost or Grow to see the bounty of a Vermont summer come to life before your very eyes. It’s just like magic…only tastier.