Art Packs on Display, and Winter Survivors

by Doug Muller

Yesterday we held an opening at the Gardiner Library for the traveling exhibit of the original artwork that graces the front of each of our Art Packs. Ken is a great docent, and he gave a fun tour of the exhibit to about 40 people. He told the story of each Art Pack variety, each piece of art, and the vintage seed catalog image that is displayed alongside each Art Pack. The art will be up and on public view at the library throughout the month of March. (For details on the Gardiner Library--including directions--click here.) In April, the exhibit moves to the Catskill Mountain Foundation gallery at the base of Hunter Mountain. Prints of the original artwork on archival-quality paper are available; these items will be added to the website soon, but if you'd like to get a print in a hurry, contact us and we'll see what we can do.

Vegetable-enabled Conehead-inspired dress-up. My favorite kind! Vegetable-enabled Conehead-inspired dress-up. My favorite kind!

It seems that winter has finally broken. Over the past couple of days the Hudson Valley has thawed out and muddied up. Tomorrow I'll be discussing the seed-sowing work that can be undertaken this early in the season, but before moving forward, I figured I'd reflect on some of the stalwart vegetables that have made it through this winter intact. As the snow melted this weekend, an entire universe of survivors emerged in the garden. There seems to be plenty of spinach, collards, tendergreen, and mache; all should be ready to harvest within a few a weeks if the weather doesn't nosedive (to hasten their availability, I'll throw on some row cover). A number of herbs hung on just fine; there's lots of parsley ready to arch upward, oregano that's slowly creeping out in all directions, and some bushy thyme plants that I swear are now twice as big--and healthy looking--as they were last fall. Lots of crops have held on through indoor storage, as well. We've still got a full bin of onions under the kitchen counter, along with a box of sweet potatoes and a garbage pail full of potatoes in our neighbor's basement. We've also still got about ten winter squashes, including some a Blue Hubbard, some Butternuts, and several Long Island Cheese Pumpkins. All are somewhat less sweet this late in the season, but they still make great soups and curries. We did have a wacky Banana Squash-type-volunteer that we let grow among some tomatoes, too, but, as the photo to the left illustrates, we sacrificed it for playtime. (Actually, we did try to cook it, too, but like many volunteer squash--the seeds of which are almost never from properly isolated crops--the taste was pretty unappealing.)

Seed-starting tips beginning tomorrow!

Stay seedy! --Doug