Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 SAGE Production in Review

Summer produce waiting delivery in the SAGE shed
As the 2013 year concludes, we've been busy analyzing and summarizing; how many volunteers, how much produce, number of farm field trips, etc.  The end of the calendar year is a bit arbitrary when we're looking at school programming at SAGE as the school year runs from the fall to spring, between two years.  The end of the calendar year is an alright time though to look back on SAGE production numbers and contemplate changes for the coming season.

This year marked my second growing season at SAGE so I have two seasons worth of values and experiences to compare.  There are actual production yield numbers and then there are all the odd variables that affect those numbers; planting dates, irrigated or dry, pest outbreaks, etc.  I've pulled a couple interesting comparisons out to highlight.

Squash!  This year was the year of squash.  In it's versatility, diversity and shear vigor, there is a lot to make a farmer smile.  Our summer squash production increased 112% while our winter squash production went up 340%!!  The difference is all because of a little bug, the cucumber beetle.  Last year they decimated our freshly transplanted squash, practically overnight.  Learning from experience, this year we planted the squash out and promptly covered them with Reemay (floating row cover) to keep the buggers off them until the plants were big enough they could handle being a little munched.  It was beautiful to see a whole quadrant of the garden blanketed with big, beautiful squash leaves and then when the first frost killed back the leaves, to see all the different kinds of squash scattered among the field.

Harvesting Tomatoes - 2012
Tomatoes.  Last year we harvested nearly 1,500lbs of fresh, ripe tomatoes whereas this year we barely harvested 500lbs.  A few differences: Last year we irrigated and this year we didn't.  This year I waited until the NCCC crew arrived to plant out tomatoes which ended up being about 2 weeks later than last year. That's potentially two weeks of hundred of pounds of tomatoes being harvested before the first frost killed off the plants.  This year we also planted out more cherry tomatoes than large slicing types. Oh, and there was that early September rain....

Weighing Produce
The 2013 season we grew more cooler weather vegetables; collards, cauliflower, lots of onions, herbs, broccoli, mustard greens, etc.  Whereas last year had higher yields of summer vegetables; cucumbers, eggplants, hot peppers, tomatoes, green beans (a deer helped us harvest a good amount of our green beans this year!).  Overall I don't mind the difference.  Looking at the needs of our community, the local hunger relief agencies really appreciate fresh produce during the "off" season whereas our generous community donates a significant amount of homegrown summer produce reducing the amount we need to provide.  Perhaps that's the future of SAGE -- still growing some of those delicious summer veggies, but affording more space to those "shoulder" season crops which are much needed, but weigh a little less...

Cheers,
Deanna    
Garden Manager

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Assessing the Damage

Smelly decaying dinosaur kale
Walking up to SAGE today there was still a stench to the area.  Not as strong as last week when the snow started to melt, but still distinct.   It's the smell of decaying brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, kale, etc).  I'm not sure how many people know that smell, but it is unique and in an odd way I love that I recognize it.  I know what different crops smell like as they're decomposing and I love that fact.  I know that sounds weird, but there's a comfort to being so familiar with the plants I partner with and it's also a solid reminder that there is no hiding from the cycle of life and death in farming.

Looking good!



Right now the biggest causality at SAGE is the dinosaur (lacinato or black) kale.  Big and beautiful just a few weeks ago, it is now drooping, a putrid yellow color and smelly.  Luckily most of the Red Russian kale survived and is now a beautiful deep purple after all the cold.  The choi greens (bok, joi, pak), mustard, leeks and chard (protected under Reemay row cover) all survived the cold relatively well (they're alive).   Beets hidden in the insulating qualities of the soil are beautiful and will soon be harvested for Stone Soup.  I appreciate that some things made it through.

Chard, safe under protective Reemay

There are some major bummers we're facing. We'll miss having so many kale plants to harvest from this winter as that was a staple of the produce we delivered, twice a week, to hunger relief agencies last winter.  Patience, another lesson of farming, will now be our practice as we wait for the plants  that survived to bounce back before we start harvesting again. This is the season when fresh food is in short supply at hunger relief agencies, but when demand is still high.  So we'll continue working, with freezing fingers and bright red noses, to do all we can with what we have as we refine the varieties we grow, contemplate the crop protection we utilize and drum up support and resources for protective structures like hoophouses.

Thanks for your support through the winter and please don't shy away from visiting SAGE simply because of the aroma...it's something to be experienced and brings a better understanding of the reality of growing food (at least that's what I tell myself!).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Help the CEC simply by shopping Amazon!

SAGE under a blanket of snow!
With winter weather blanketing Corvallis and the holiday shopping season under way, there is an easy way to help support the Corvallis Environmental Center.  If you ever use Amazon to make online purchases, you can go through this portal and for every dollar you spend, the CEC receives a percentage!

A frosty Hen and Chick succelent in the shed planter boxes
My first preference for shopping is to purchase local products from local stores as that keeps our money circulating in our community. When that doesn't happen though please think about clicking on this link, click the box that is in the lower left hand side of the page (it says "Click here to begin shopping!...") and then continue on shopping. There are no additional costs to you, no logins, and no strings attached and to help the CEC!

Thanks!



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanks and Thanksgiving at SAGE

Thanksgiving -- a time to give thanks.  As we reflect on the year, SAGE has much to be thankful for during this season.  In no particular order, here are some things we give thanks for at SAGE.

Carrie:
volunteer extraordinaire!
1) Our Amazing Volunteers (and Interns)!!!:  We couldn't grow 3 - 4 tons of food without the help of  the 500 - 600 community members who contribute their time and hard work each year.

2) Our Community Sponsors and Donors: Thanks Samaritan Health Services for supporting financially supporting the education programs out at SAGE.  Thank you to all the individuals who have contributed to the work we do at SAGE, every bit makes a difference and is appreciated!

Sam Health and CH2MHill
employees during Day of Caring
3) Our In-Kind Donors: Nectar Bee Supply provides bee hives, care and expertise, Republic Services provides yards and yards of compost to the garden, Dunn & Co. Tree Service graciously donates wood chips all year long, Gathering Together Farm, Persephone Farm and Peoria Gardens all donate plant starts, Shonnard's Nursery provides seeds,  and the Benton County Habitat for Humanity ReStore provides deep discounts on reused building material.

Stone Soup Sue
4) Our Donation Sites: There are volunteers at hunger relief agencies across our community who help distribute SAGE produce.  We're so glad to have such willing and caring partners as we work to help those in need in our community.  A special thanks to Sue at Stone Soup for transforming our produce into meals every week and to the South Corvallis Food Bank for working to educate their clients when we bring in more unique items like purple mustard greens and bok choy.

5) Our Host: The Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department partners with the Corvallis Environmental Center to let us use the growing space at SAGE.  Thanks city staff for being open to a more alternative way to use park space.


6) Our Community:  This really is a community project.  Thank you to our community.

Note: There are many more things to be thankful for than I could list.  That fact alone makes me thankful and so appreciative of every size, shape and form of community contribution SAGE receives.

With much gratitude, we give thanks!

Cheers,
SAGE Staff




Sunday, November 17, 2013

Turn Trash to Treasure: An Easy Way to Help SAGE and the Corvallis Environmental Center!

Clear clutter and unwanted items from your home and you can help raise funds for the Corvallis Environmental Center--all year long!  Just take your unwanted items to an ARC Thrift Store where they sell them and donate the proceeds to the CEC.  It easy!  Here's how:

1. Collect Items in Good Condition

Not all donate-able items are eligible, so check out the list of items that will raise money for the CEC:
www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org/turn-trash-to-treasure

2. Put a sticker on each eligible item
Stickers are located in a big envelope on the window outside of the CEC office at 214 SW Monroe Ave., Corvallis

3. Drop-off Items at The ARC!
Items can be dropped off anytime during store hours at either location.

The ARC Thrift Stores:
928 NW Beca Street, Corvallis (541) 754-9011
936 Main Street, Philomath (541) 929-3946

Hours:
Monday-Saturday: 10am-5:30pm
Sunday: 12pm-5:30pm

Thanks so much for helping support SAGE and the other programs of the Corvallis Environmental Center!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Transition Time

"Leaves are falling all around, it was time I was on my way.  To you I'm much obliged, for such a pleasant stay. " - Led Zeppelin's Ramble On

SAGE sure is in a state of seasonal transition.  Summer bounty enjoyed a pleasant stay and now it's moved on its way.  As the leaves have been falling (and delivered in huge piles!), the garden has taken the last month to transition from a space flagrantly bursting with fresh foods to one still full of produce, but more subtle in its glory.  Replacing the showing colors of eggplants, tomatoes and peppers, now there are the bright colors of radishes and beets who's hue only peeks through the soil surface.  Squash and cucumber vines no longer sprawl, now we have bok choy and mustard greens blanketing the soil.   The greens that were a bit lackluster all summer long have now come into their full glory.  Kids are eating the kale raw again, chard is glowing and the broccoli is actually producing delicious side shoots rather than bolting straight away.  This time of year, the greens reign supreme.

Ducks help HP employees mulch!
Phi Sigma Rho sisters help clean onions


To help with this transition into the winter months, we've had 18 work parties in a one month period of time!  The outpouring of community support has been immense and I'm so grateful for all the hard work that has been completed.  The garden is in a better state than I could have imagined.  Thank you to all the groups who have contributed to the clean-up and wheeled hundreds of loads of leaf mulch!  The garden looks amazing and will be protected and nourished throughout the winter so we can continue growing quality produce for those in need throughout our community!





Thanks to the different community volunteer groups: Corvallis Rotary Club, HP Employees, OSU Soils Students, OSU GEO 300 Students, OSU Food for the World Students, Phi Sigma Rho Sorority, Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity, Chemeketa Community College Biology Students, Crescent Valley HS National Honors Society, Crescent Valley HS SEA Club, Leadership Corvallis, and our Tuesday evening regulars!
Colors from the fall/winter garden!

Delicious greens!








Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Day Full of Caring!

Morning Day of Caring teams with harvested SAGE produce for Stone Soup!
Friday, September 20th was the United Way Day of Caring.  Across Corvallis teams full of caring individuals dispersed to volunteer at different agencies needing a helping hand.  SAGE was fortunate to receive both morning and afternoon teams who helped us accomplish a huge load of work! 


Weighing produce

Many hands make mulching much lighter work and volunteers learned how to get rid of a whole patch of nasty weeds to make a new garden bed.  Cardboard was laid and many, many loads of leaves thrown on top will decompose over the winter to create a beautiful new garden space for next year.  This will help us increase the amount of produce we can grow for local hunger relief agencies.  While some folks were mulching, others helped weed the bed of overwintering crops....all tasks that were much needed!   

Tomato Taste Testing!

One of my favorite things about having people out at SAGE is the opportunity for tastings!  Taking a break from all the hard work, we fine tuned our palettes as we explored the different tastes and textures of the five varieties of cherry tomatoes growing.  We even had some brave souls who claimed to not like tomatoes but who tried them all!   

Of course, this time of year is great for not only tastings, but also for harvesting.  168 pounds of fresh produce was harvested for the Stone Soup meal site and the South Corvallis Food Bank. I always enjoy wrapping up with a big harvest as it gives volunteers a more concrete sense of how other abstract garden tasks add up!
     
Thanks CH2MHill team!

Thanks Samaritan Health teams!
(sorry afternoon team, we didn't
get a picture because it was raining!)

Thanks to the employees of Samaritan Health and CH2MHill who took the time to volunteer at SAGE!  The success of SAGE hinges on community support and volunteers and we so appreciate everything you contributed! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Couple Simple Recipes to Enjoy the Summer Bounty

This time of year there is a bounty of delicious produce.  Talking with folks I've discovered that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming to find a use for all the tomatoes or giant zucchini flowing from our gardens.  Here are a couple easy suggestions of how to enjoy all that goodness:

Summer Squash Galore!
- Zucchini Latkes:  This is a great way to use GIANT zucchini.  In fact, you'll get a number of meals from one big one....For latkes, all you do is grate up some zucchini, mix with an egg and a little binder (flour or flax meal) and then fry up like a pancake!  You can make these as fancy or as simple as you'd like.  I love adding fresh pesto to my mix for a savory treat while other folks enjoy just the basics and then top them with maple syrup.  Latkes are great for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner!

- Summer Ratatouille: A volunteer gave me this simple French recipe last year and it utilizes many of the delicious summer veggies we have at SAGE right now!

What you'll need: Onion, garlic, eggplant, summer squash, peppers, tomatoes, oil, thyme

Ratatouille is a great way to utilize peppers and eggplant 
What to do:
1) Heat oil in a large pot over medium to low heat and add onions and garlic until soft.
2) In a large skillet add some oil and saute veggies up *except the tomatoes* (one at a time...first the eggplant, then peppers, etc)
3) Once each batch is sauteed, add them to the large pot
4) Season pot mix with salt and pepper, add thyme.  Cover and cook at medium heat for 15 - 20 mins.
5) Add tomatoes to pot and cook another 10 - 15 minutes.
6) Stir occasionally.
7) Enjoy all your delicious garden produce!

If you find you have too much produce to use right now, think about storing it for the winter (freezing, dehydrating, canning, etc) or sharing with your neighbors!  Happy Eating!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Special Thanks to a Special Crew!

HP employees harvesting beans for Stone Soup, our local soup kitchen
Community volunteers are the heart of the SAGE garden; over 500 people a year come help us farm this one-acre plot of city land.  There are numerous ways to be involved; Tuesday night work parties, SAGE garden docents and numerous community groups who organize work parties.  

HP employees
harvesting broccoli (above)
& harvesting beans (below)
For the past couple of years employees of HP have been been working in the garden on a monthly basis.  As a garden manager, it is a big help for me to know that I will have a constant crew of hard workers.   Last year HP employees contributed 160 hours of service and that is a large chunk of help!  While each month the crew changes, there's always a familiar face (or two or three or four...) and of course, there is Shawn Collins, the amazing person who promotes these work parties at HP.   After our latest work party last Friday, I just wanted to tell the world "Thank You HP Employees!!!"

I'm also excited to note that not only do HP employees help us out in the garden, they've also inspired their neighbors at the engineering firm, CH2MHill, to schedule regular work parties!  Thanks CH for making that commitment, you're help is so appreciated! 

If you're interested in scheduling a work party for your work place or community group, please send me an email at:   SAGE@CorvallisEnvironmentalCenter.org   We work with diverse groups and tailor each work party to the needs of that particular group.  Now that we're coming into fall, we're going to be needing a lot of harvesting help!  
Shawn and Dave loading up mulch for pathways

Thanks to ALL the amazing volunteers who help make SAGE a great place to learn and grow! 

Cheers,


Deanna
Garden Manager

Monday, July 29, 2013

Save your own seed for sustainability, savings and security!

"Calico" popcorn seed saved from 2012 harvest
Seeds are something I can go on a tangent about.  I mean a big tangent....or rant if the situation calls for it!.  The great thing is that I don't need to do that for you as there are whole books who do a great job summing up the amazing things that occur when gardeners save their own seed.  Most recently I read The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food by Janisse Ray.  An entertaining read for both beginner gardens and those with years of experience and plenty of knowledge to back their own seed tangents and rants. Ray includes wonderful stories about saving seed and all the folks who do and WHY we should do it.  A few reasons why we should save seeds:

1) saves money
2) decreases resource use (no packaging, shipping, etc)
3) seed crops typically get a large dose of nasty pesticide and herbicides since they have to stay in the ground longer than if the veggie was getting picked for fresh consumption.  That means you want to buy only organic seed OR you can save your own to ensure it isn't covered with toxins.
4) increases food security for a number of reasons that I won't rant about right now!  Read the book above for more info on that point OR attend the upcoming seed saving workshop at SAGE to learn more!

Edamame seed saved in 2012
Out at SAGE we save seed from some of the "easy" seed saving crops.  Beans, lettuce, tomatoes....  There are reasons we save certain seed and purchase (or have donated from Shonnard's Nursery or in the form of starts from Gathering Together Farm or Persephone Farm) other types of seeds.  You can learn about how and why to save seed by attending the upcoming "Seed Saving" workshop THIS Wednesday, July 31st from 5:30 - 7pm.  Lyle will be leading the workshop and he's currently doing research at OSU breeding tomato and snap beans for certain flavor qualities.  He knows his stuff and is ready to share it with folks!

If you're interested in attending, please pre-register by visiting: http://www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org/edible-corvallis-initiative/garden-workshops/seedsavingworkshop/

Folks can also show up the day of the workshop, no one will be turned away!


Friday, June 28, 2013

"Buzz About Benton" Hive Tour Happening THIS Sunday!

Heard the buzz?  
The "Buzz About Benton" Self-guided Backyard Bee Hive Tour 
is THIS Sunday, June 30th, 12 - 4pm

Learn about why pollinators are so pivotal and how you can raise some at your own home (or at least make your own home safe for pollinators).  Nine different sites will be featured from backyard set ups, hives on farms, commercial operations and a learning center.  Tour headquarters will be at SAGE where you can buy a ticket, pick up the tour map and peruse bee related merchandise OR save a couple bucks by buying tickets early HERE.

By signing up online, you can register for a free get up close and personal demo of a working hive (don't worry an expert from Nectar Bee Supply will be guiding this part of the day) and we'll have bee veils/hats available for folks to wear.

With the weather looking to be warm, come beat the heat with the after party at down on the waterfront at Downward Dog.  They'll be featuring drinks made from Nectar Bee Supply honey or enjoy some local Nectar Creek Honey Wine!  Yum!

For more information visit: http://www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org/edible-corvallis-initiativebuzzaboutbenton/
Sign up for a hive demonstration by visiting:
http://www.corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org/edible-corvallis-initiativebuzzaboutbenton/
Buzz About Benton is a collaborative project between the Edible Corvallis Initiative and Nectar Bee Supply and raises funds for SAGE.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New Feathery Friends at SAGE!

The two new SAGE residents
This season we were lucky enough to be blessed with a couple of black Australorp hens to occupy the the gorgeous SAGE coop.  These ladies are learning to be more bold when children throw in food for them and are enjoying romping around eating the tall growing weeds, examining piles of picked weeds and of course, scratching the amazing soil in search of critters!  They've provided some delicious brown eggs for volunteers and they provided some delightful experiences for visiting children.  If you're interested in meeting the ladies, come on out to a Tuesday evening work party (all welcome every Tuesday from 4 - 6:30) or attend the upcoming "Chicken Health" Workshop this Sunday at SAGE with Dr. Vickstrom of West Hills Animal Hospital.

Community members checking out the hens and the coop
during the 5th Annual "Cooped Up in Corvallis Tour" that
took place May 19th.

Thanks Karessa (our amazing beekeeper) for the hens and thank you again to WillyDWonka Coops  out of Sweet Home for the amazing coop!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Workshop Season!

Workshop participants learning about
mushroom cultivation
Our community is full of people willing to share their knowledge and expertise about all sorts of different topics and we're lucky to have these people lead workshops out at SAGE!  Click HERE to see (and register for) our full list of workshops.  Keep checking back with us as more workshops will be added throughout the season!

Creating an oyster
mushroom bed!
Just this weekend we had Ryan, from the local company Soul 2 Grow, lead a "Mushroom Cultivation" workshop. Participants got first hand experience putting in an Elm Oyster Mushroom bed at SAGE.  After putting in the bed, learning mushroom facts and how to care for mushrooms, participants received their own elm oyster mushroom spawn to take home and get started.  Apparently elm oyster mushrooms can get to be the size of dinner plates...excited to see how they grow!


Learn about beekeeping with Karessa and the SAGE hives!


Next up on our work shop list is a Beginning Beekeeping Workshop on Saturday, May 18th. Karessa, our amazing beekeeper and one of the owners of Nectar Bee Supply, will be leading the course and is an amazing educator who will get participants hands-on experience with the bees at SAGE.  To register for this workshop, click HERE.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Soil Student Blogs Feature SAGE!

OSU Students sorting and packaging kale for the
South Corvallis Food Bank 
We love having OSU Soil students help out at the garden.  Each term we usually get a couple of groups of students who put in 4 hours of service helping at SAGE, learning about soil hands-on!  At the end of each term, students meld their new soil knowledge with their SAGE experience and share it on-line.  Interested in seeing SAGE with a slant toward soil?  Then take a look at the student created blogs from this term...

soilssage.blogspot.com

http://soil205sagegarden.blogspot.com

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Complete Organic Gardening Course!


The COMPLETE ORGANIC GARDENING COURSE offered by Edible Corvallis Initiative in collaboration with OSU Extension and Oregon Tilth will take place throughout the month of April.  Learn how to grow your own food using organic methods by participating in hands-on garden activities, in-depth discussions and engaging educational exercises.  There will be a lead instructor with visits by specialist guest instructors from all three organizations.  In April, we'll meet every Wednesday evening from 5:30 - 7:30pm for interactive discussions with our hands-on gardening days being every Saturday from 9am - 1pm. 

You can register HERE 
or email me for more details!  
sage@corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org





Friday, February 22, 2013

Dandelion Heralds Spring

First dandelion flower of the season, spring is on its way!
Being blessed with our climate, this time of the year still allows us an opportunity to grow a lot of food. I've covered some of the purposeful plants we're growing, but what about all the goodies we're growing but not necessarily meaning to grow?  This includes things frequently termed "weeds."  Now technically a weed is just a plant that is growing somewhere you don't want it to grow, but many plants are known as rather notorious "weeds."  Dandelions, for example, inspire a lot of people to head out into their yard with death and destruction on their minds, but dandelions are stellar little plants with a change of perspective.  For one, they're quite tasty in a variety of ways.  For those of you who know me, you know I love most things (especially wild things) that are edible.  Well with dandelions, you can eat the root, shoot and flowers.  Dry and roast the roots for a tasty tea.  Eat the young leaves in salad or stir fry (a great bitter, excellent for digestion).  Dandelion flower fritters or flower petal jelly or wine anyone?  Ok, so most people know dandelions are edible, but did you know that nice long taproot is great at pulling up minerals from the soil depths?  Chopping the green tops off your dandelions and letting them decompose in place helps release those nutrients back into your soil, right at the surface where most garden annuals (being short rooted) need it.

Two weeks ago I saw my first dandelion flower out at the garden.  Lovely. It was a great reminder that spring is coming and the full on garden season is on its way.  Until that point though, there are plenty of "volunteer" edibles growing at the garden right now.  You just need a little change of perspective to see many of those "weeds" as wonderful food and free labor in your garden.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winter Disbelief

People wandering by SAGE this time of year are always curious, "what are you doing?"  Despite having my boots on, harvesting tool in hand and a big tub filling with greens, people seem to want verbal confirmation that I'm doing what they're observations suggest; harvesting.  I can have rows and rows of kale around me and still people say "kale can last in the winter?"  Yes, it does and it is so easy to grow, you can do it too!

I've been pondering this phenomenon (because it happens to me multiple times a week) and I think, perhaps, people need verbal confirmation of my actions because it is winter and they don't associate that season with gardening.  Yes, we can grow food year round here and I consider us Willamette Valley folks pretty lucky for that.  If you need to see it with your own eyes though, here's some recent photos of the bounty (some, but not all the goodies) we're growing right now.  If still you'd like to see this in person, head on out to SAGE and wander around, you're more than welcome.
                        






Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Call for Coops!


SAGE's coop, where Coop Tour HQ will be once again this year.  Our beautiful coop was donated by a young man from Sweet Home.  Check out his handiwork or contact him for more information at: http://willydwonkacoops.com/


We're on the search for chicken and duck coops for this year's Cooped Up in Corvallis event -- a tour of backyard chicken and duck coops.  This year's coop tour will be on Sunday May 19th (save the date!).  If you or someone you know has a coop they are interested in featuring during this fun and educational event, please contact sage@corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org or 541-753-9211.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

'Tis the Season....for Seed Catalogs!

Some of our saved dry beans next to their seed catalog descriptions

Seed catalogs, how I love thee.  When the weather outside is frightful, your pages are so delightful.  Colorful photos, mouth watering descriptions, the promise of another warm growing season.....major fuel for day dreams galore!

At SAGE we're lucky enough to have many of our seeds donated.  Shonnard's Nursery has always been a wonderful supporter; last year we received a box of surprise seeds from Seed Savers Exchange; and of course, Gathering Together Farm is generous enough to donate the majority of our starts.  The root crop seeds (beets, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, radishes, etc) are always in high demand being that they produce delicious, popular crops and have to be direct seeded rather than transplanted from a start.  We've had wonderful community members in the past who've donated seed packs of these popular root crops...thank you!  But I'm getting off on a tangent with all this giving of thanks...

Back to the seed catalogs.  They float around my house this time of year and I love it.  If you need to bring some brightness into your day, flip through anyone of the amazing catalogs available.  Most can be ordered from seed company websites.  And smaller, more local companies such as Adaptive Seeds, Wild Garden Seed, and Uprising Seeds who don't necessarily have shiny photos, do have inspiring prose; "Unquestionably the brightest burst of rainbow brilliance in the garden!"  Any guesses what Uprising Seeds is describing?....Rainbow Chard!  How can that descriptive sentence not bring hope and inspiration to someone on a cold winter day?

Happy Winter Day Dreaming!
Deanna
(Garden Manager)