We're excited to announce that our final Art Pack of the 2009 catalog is now available: it's Mammoth Grey Stripe Sunflower, featuring the art of New Paltz-based Ryan Cronin. We were unable to offer this variety before now, as the seed was on backorder from our supplier and it just recently came in. Mammoth Grey Stripe Sunflower is the traditional giant sunflower; it looms above your garden like a big shaggy orb. It produces a great crop of seeds if you can keep the birds away; paper bags work well for this task. The giant size of Mammoth Grey Stripe matches Cronin's aesthetic well; his art, too, is larger than life, featuring boldly colored iconic designs on large canvases. Click here to learn more or to purchase.
Speaking of sunny things, have you noticed that the days are getting longer? Until late January, the length of each day varies little from its minimal window of about nine hours per day. About this year, that starts to change. Each day lengthens by about three minutes, which means every ten days the daylength increases by half an hour! This process coincides nicely with the beginning of the seed-starting season. In mid-February the first vegetable seeds are started: alliums such as onions, leeks, and scallions; celery and celeriac; certain herbs and flowers; and artichokes. We're not offering any of these crops this year, in part because many home gardeners find that getting started so early is a bother. However, it needn't be. In the coming weeks this blog will document our seed-starting system, one that we find far easier than the indoor light stands that many people traditionally use. Check in, see what we're up to, and see what you think. (But don't panic yet: it's still about six weeks until seed-starting time for many of the greens and herbs.)