Trip to the City--and the Season Begins!

by Doug Muller

Yesterday we spent several hours in Manhattan, selling seeds and talking to folks who were attending the debut of the Fall 2009 line of John Patrick Organic clothing. With all the pouty-lipped models and international paparazzi, it was definitely not our usual scene. But it was great to be there. John Patrick is a Hudson Valley resident whose clothing line is crafted from organic fabrics.

Shiny Happy People--and Bike Flags! Shiny Happy People--and Bike Flags!

Farmer's Row Farmer's Row

John Patrick shows his designs to the press. John Patrick shows his designs to the press.

The sale of his pieces, which are available at many of the higher end department stores, channels money to farmers who are growing fabrics using sustainable methods--which is vitally important.
Patrick's also a great supporter of farm activism; with us was Severine von Tscharner Fleming, director of The Greenhorns, an organization and film-in-progress dedicated to supporting young farmers and promoting farming to young people as a meaningful life path. Severine organized the farm presence at the event, also bringing along Rory from Amazing Real Live Foods, a new Dutchess County-based maker of seriously delicious farmstead cheeses and--soon--kombucha drinks, as well as some folks from a heritage-breed livestock farm in Virginia. It was great to introduce our seeds to Manhattan and to hear of all the great urban gardening projects going on there.

Back on the farm, the season is about to begin. It's mid-February, which means it's time to sow alliums. Many people choose to start alliums from sets or bunched live plants because of the lengthy season required to grow them successfully from seed. This is one reason we chose not to offer any onions, leeks, or scallions in the catalog this year (though we are offering the easier-to-grow chives and garlic chives, which can be direct sown at any time). However, onions are hearty and carefree when young. All they require is a sheltered, sunny spot (a cold frame works great) and some moist, fertile soil. You can start tons of seedlings close together as long as you give them several "haircuts"; they can then be transplanted at the proper spacing for growing to maturity (generally 4-6" apart). Leeks and scallions are treated similarly. We'll be starting our alliums over the next couple days and will post some photos of the process as we go along. It's exciting to think of the many months of growing, eating, and warmer days that are about to begin.

We're a little behind on website work, but the planting instructions and a quick-order page are definitely still coming! Expect both within a week. Thanks for your patience and support.

Stay seedy! --Doug