Category Archives: vegetable garden

Once upon a time. . .

. . .it was summer in the garden. Not today, because we’re having a raw, wet March day with snow still on the ground, but summer will be back around soon. I was going through my photo files to find a particular study of quince and wild apples and found a few images that reminded me of what the weather will bring in the coming months once March with its snowy mornings is out of the way.

Below, a steam canner full of Beta and Somerset grapes ready to put the lid on, turn up the burner, and make juice. The vines look thin and sad in the garden right now because the posts are crooked and some of the wires are down, but I’ll be able to set things right in April. I made almost 5 gallons of grape juice concentrate last year and it was wonderful – rich and sweet. More on the way for 2014 as the vines mature!

steam canner full of grapes

My pallet after painting peaches and geranium blossoms in the hoop house under the summer evening sun – light enough to work until 9 pm.

summer-misc-palette

Setting up to make tomato sauce on the Hoosier cabinet. We put up 5 gallons (in pint jars) in 2012, none in 2011 due to virus, we’ll have to see what 2014 will bring.

summer-misc

Fedco Seed Order for 2013

I finished my 2013 seed order today. I’ve been working on it since Thanksgiving, but with three separate plots projected for this summer I had some special concerns to work out. More on that later – here’s the full list with prices (OMG I spent over $100 on seeds this year!) and the occasional reference paragraph from the Fedco catalog.
seedling trays

204 – Provider Bush Green Bean ( A=2oz) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
285 – Kentucky Wonder Pole Bean ( A=2oz) 1 x $1.40 = $1.40
323 – Jackson Wonder Bush Lima Bean ( A=2oz) 1 x $1.40 = $1.40
658 – Silver Queen White Sweet Corn ( B=8oz) 1 x $7.50 = $7.50

Silver Queen 2012

675 – Dakota Black Popcorn OG ( B=8oz) 1 x $10.00 = $10.00

677 – Pennsylvania Dutch Butter Flavored Popcorn OG ( B=8oz) 1 x $11.50 This open-pollinated popcorn is so good on its own that you won’t need to add any nutritional yeast. Our trialers agreed that it was the best they’d ever tasted: creamy, buttery and delicious. Incredibly green and healthy 8′ plants with very long dark green leaves set two 4–6″ ears per stalk, with 26–28 rows (occasionally 22) of fat creamy white kernels. Thanks to our friends at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange for enabling us to offer this pre-1885 Pennsylvania Dutch heirloom. SESE was the first to bring this variety to commerce, in 1988

818 – Oregon Giant Snow Pea ( B=8oz) 1 x $4.50 = $4.50

896 – Opal Creek Snap Pea OG ( A=2oz) 1 x $2.50 = $2.50
953 – Blacktail Mountain Watermelon ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $2.20 = $2.20
1046 – Athena Muskmelon ( A=1g) 1 x $2.80 = $2.80
1059 – Arava Galia-Type Melon OG ( A=1g) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50
1114 – Petite Yellow Watermelon ( A=1g) 1 x $2.00 = $2.00
1372 – Lemon Slicing Cucumber ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $0.90 = $0.90
1375 – Richmond Green Apple Slicing Cucumber OG ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $1.60 = $1.60
1434 – Cocozelle Zucchini ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $0.80 = $0.80
1719 – New England Pie Pumpkin ( A=1/4oz) 1 x $0.80 = $0.80
2073 – Shin Kuroda 5" Carrot ( B=1/2oz) 1 x $2.50 = $2.50
2093 – Yaya Carrot OG ( A=1g) 1 x $2.00 = $2.00
2099 – Over the Rainbow Carrot Mix ( B=3g) 1 x $6.50 = $6.50
2149 – Touchstone Gold Beet OG ( B=1/2oz) 1 x $6.20 = $6.20 Open-pollinated. The most refined and reliable golden beet. Much more dependable germination and uniformly round roots than others we’ve tried. Resists zoning. Like other golden beets, retains its color when cooked with the sweet flavor prized by aficionadoes. Performed well even when overcrowded in my trial. Takes the guesswork out of growing golden beets, “The first gold beet that’s ever done well for us,” reports Janine Welsby.
2186 – Bulls Blood Beet ( B=1/2oz) 1 x $2.20 = $2.20
2224 – Easter Egg Radish ( B=1/2oz) 1 x $2.10 = $2.10
2310 – Harris Model Parsnip ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $0.80 = $0.80
2425 – Bleu de Solaize Leek ( B=1/8oz) 1 x $2.50 = $2.50
2426 – Siegfried Leek ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $1.70 = $1.70
2766 – Australian Yellow Lettuce OG ( A=1g) 1 x $1.60 = $1.60 (50 days) Open-pollinated. We are hoping this new color in the lettuce palette will catch on. In our 2011 trial the opalescent yellow-green leaves burst out of the gate with rapid growth yet were still holding their quality on July 19 when Waldmann’s had bolted. Glossy yellow in the early stages, seedlings take on more green pigmentation as they mature, with the crinkly quality of a spinach and a sweet taste augmented by the barest hint of bitter. Frank Morton’s strain is the best we have found. Though Australia is more famous for its squashes, this is another worthy émigré from Down Under
2767 – Les Oreilles du Diable Lettuce OG (Devils Ears) ( A=1g) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
2803 – Tom Thumb Lettuce ( A=2g) 1 x $0.80 = $0.80

Lettuce beds 20122918 – Pablo Lettuce ( A=1g) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
2988 – Winter Lettuce Mix ( A=1g) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
3209 – Maruba Santoh ( B=1/8oz) 1 x $2.00 = $2.00
3218 – Senposai ( B=1/8oz) 1 x $2.20 = $2.20
3220 – Tatsoi ( B=1/8oz) 1 x $2.00 = $2.00
3378 – Melissa Savoy Cabbage ( A=0.5g) 1 x $2.40 = $2.40
3467 – Nero di Tuscana or Lacinato Kale ( A=2g) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
4053 – Black Prince Tomato OG ( A=0.2g) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
4056 – Green Zebra Tomato OG ( A=0.2g) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
4123 – Mr. Fumarole Paste Tomato OG ( A=0.2g) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
4134 – Opalka Paste Tomato ( A=0.2g) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
4218 – Bobcat Tomato ( A=0.1g) 1 x $2.50 = $2.50 (65 days) F-1 hybrid. Det. This cat is a perfect replacement for Seminis/Monsanto’s Big Beef. Has the same impeccable looks, disease resistance, slightly flattened round shape, 6–10 oz. maincrop size, thin skins, midseason maturity and excellent taste. Flavor mild with a spicy sweet accent and slightly acidic complexity, color medium red. A massive plant with huge leaves, thick strong stems and big fruit set. From an Apr. 4 start and Jun. 11 transplanting, our trialer harvested her first ripe fruit on Aug. 15. Resists F1, F2, GLS and N.
4266 – Honey Bunch Red Grape Tomato ( A=0.1g) 1 x $3.80 = $3.80
4418 – Genovese Basil ( A=2g) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
4422 – Mammoth Basil ( A=1g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
4449 – Sweet Dani Lemon Basil ( A=0.5g) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50
4467 – Sacred Basil OG ( A=0.1g) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
4522 – Cumin ( A=0.5g) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
4530 – Bouquet Dill ( A=4g) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
4680 – Red Shiso ( A=1g) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
4684 – Stevia ( B=0.04g) 1 x $5.50 = $5.50
4831 – Love-Lies-Bleeding ( A=1g) 1 x $0.90 = $0.90
5282 – Empress of India Nasturtium ( A=3g) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
5351 – Ziar Breadseed Poppy OG ( A=0.1g) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
5545 – Summer Sensation Sunflower ( A=2g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
5611 – Perennial Sweet Pea ( A=1g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
5614 – America Sweet Pea ( A=2g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
5731 – State Fair Mix Zinnia ( A=0.5g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
5913 – Madder ( A=0.25g) 1 x $2.30 = $2.30

pots over the fire

Adventures in ketchup

Summer 2012 was a tomato year for the garden. Hot and dry, hot and steamy, hot and drenching rain, and hot again for another week – and we have oodles of tomatoes. All the varieties I planted did well: cherry, plum, modern and vintage beefsteaks. The only heartbreak will be all the fruit still green on the vine as we approach the inevitable frosty nights of October.

green tomatoesMaking ketchup requires a lot of tomatoes and a long cooking time. I had bushels of tomatoes ready to go but I don’t like keeping steaming pots brewing on the stove for long periods of time. Our small house heats up easily, especially when the weather turns hot and humid, so I decided to haul out my big cast iron pots and cook a batch over a wood fire in the yard.

I suggest using the Blue Book recipe for ketchup. I started with two gallons of thick tomato puree and doubled the recommended amount of spices. In the two cheesecloth bags below are whole spices including: coriander, celery seed, cloves, stick cinnamon, yellow and black mustard, bay leaf and dried Chipotle peppers from the Fruit Basket in Grand Junction, CO. (These peppers are incredibly fragrant – thanks, CherieBeyond! You’re also my proof that we’re not actually stuck on this island because you made it to Colorado – and back.) The recipe also includes good cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt and anything else you feel like throwing in to make it distinctly your own. Why yes, I did add a cup of bourbon, funny you should ask.

spice bagsThis was my first experience using cast iron over a wood fire and wow, that’s a lot of energy. I loaded a gallon of puree, the additional recipe ingredients, and the spice bags into the pots and the mixture came to a rolling boil almost immediately. I could have started with a lot less fuel and ended up adding much less wood to keep it going than I thought I’d need. It took a little over two hours (stirring occasionally) for enough water to steam off and leave a nice, thick batch of ketchup with a distinctive smoky taste. This is how I’ll make my end of season tomato sauces from now on.

pots over the fire

 

2012 garden winners

Autumn is here. I can tell because I’m spending more time stacking firewood than picking tomatoes. It’s time to cull the seed order for 2013 by picking winners to repeat, and losers (not many of those, really) to drop. Descriptions are from the Fedco Seed catalog, online 2012 version.

Winners include: Minutina

minutina Minutina (50 days) Open-pollinated. Also called Buckshorn Plantain. “Good in a buttered frying pan with fresh snipped chives and a fresh duck egg cracked on top,” informs Jan Sonstrom. Morse Pitts of Windfall Farm brought this spiky green to our attention. As it comes up it looks like little blades of grass. As it matures, it resembles mizuna leaves, only much narrower, less leafy and more succulent. Crunchy with a mild nutty flavor. Slow grower, will regenerate from cutting, but we recommend succession planting. Extremely cold hardy

I love this green – it provides texture, flavor and a lovely bright green accent to salads and stir fry and grew beautifully all summer through drought and torrential rain. I found it energetic enough to “cut and come again” with no problem.

Aromato Basil

aromatoAromato Basil OG Dramatic bicolor ornamental. Broad bushes of mottled purple and green grow to 2-1/2′, providing a focal point. Starts purple and takes on a greener coloration. Pleasing anisey flavor and scent intensify when it is dried. Makes a great herbal vinegar. AGRIOR-certified.

I don’t normally dry basil, preferring to freeze small containers of pesto to retrieve as a fabulous quick dinner on dark February days, but Aromato has convinced me to dry at least part of the harvest. This basil has such a spicy floral scent that I’m tempted to use it in the closets as a sachet. Oh, and it also makes wonderful dark and mysterious pesto.

Dakota black popcornDakota Black Popcorn OG (100 days) Open-pollinated. Outstanding in our observation plots two years in a row. Compact plants with one ear each. Our tasters rated the popcorn “Oh, so scrumptious.” In addition to their popping qualities, Dakota Black’s 4-1/2″ dark maroon-black ears with 15 rows are extremely decorative, a must for the fall roadside stand. 4′ stalks. ICS-certified.

The ears are still drying on the stalks so I can’t tell you how it tastes. It’s so beautiful that I don’t even care if we never pop any.

Blue Gold

Blue Gold or Peter Wilcox This goldie was our best seller at the Portland Farmer’s market, and an easy one to wholesale, too. The twin sister to Red Gold, and practically an early-season potato. Trialing it last year, we had great germination, a high yield, and delicious hash browns. You could dig it later too, as it stores durably. Sets tubers in a wide hill.
Wonderful taste, great texture, easy to dig and perfect skins – my new favorite potato. Harsh drought and high heat with no watering does not seem to have impacted the yield.
Dakota Black Popcorn OG (100 days) Open-pollinated. Outstanding in our observation plots two years in a row. Compact plants with one ear each. Our tasters rated the popcorn “Oh, so scrumptious.” In addition to their popping qualities, Dakota Black’s 4-1/2″ dark maroon-black ears with 15 rows are extremely decorative, a must for the fall roadside stand. 4′ stalks. ICS-certified.

Neglect as a gardening technique

I went away for a week and evidently the garden enjoys a bit of “alone time”. Almost everything in this picture is edible (except the giant spruce tree).

the view

The oregano hedge (like everything) has enjoyed the alternating rain and sun and nearly doubled in size in seven days.

oregano

Celery (which I use only for delicious celery seed because I never get around to blanching it), rose campion, and valerian; tall plants growing rampant at the back of the garden.

celery and rose campion

Briarseed bread poppies, each blossom opening and falling apart in a day but leaving plenty of seeds behind.

poppy seeds

Golden marguerite, mallow, Joe Pye weed, in a garden row for the bees.

golden marguerite

And finally, at the edge of the garden, a wall of angelica.

angelica

In the gloaming

I have a post nearly finished about Sunday’s hive inspection, but I was out in the garden tonight and it was so beautiful that I took dozens of photos. The combination of a wet spring (groundwater tables are finally above drought levels) and my 2012 resolution not to mow or weed-whack where it wasn’t absolutely necessary has produced a really lush environment, especially for Maine.

The valerian jungle hasn’t quite spread to the entire yard, but it’s a near thing.

valarian fields forever

This is a very photogenic patch of Fedco’s “Freedom” lettuce mix.

Freedom!

The view down the south hill, with newly clipped withy and a row of elecampne in front of the bog garden.

withy in the gloaming

Red oakleaf lettuce growing through garlic and chives.

garlic forest

The view out back, into the alpine garden.

alpines

New work

This summer I’m trying out new techniques and a change of vision, inspired by looking at the Masters up close and personal in Paris a few months back. There are matters of scale and structure that never translated very well for me from textbooks. Now I have a laundry list of issues and a garden full of still life material and just need a few more hours in the day.

Zinnias and Cherry Tomatoes

Zinnias and Cherry Tomatoes, 20″ x 16″, pastel on board

Seedling inventory

under the lights

Started under lights down cellar so far: broccoli rapa, regular stem broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage mix, 2 varieties of zinnia, Lavatera (mallow), rice, 4 tomato varieties, “Minutia” salad greens, chard, kale, 2 lettuce varieties, sunflowers (1 of 3 varieties), 2 varieties peppers

Started in raised beds outside: Oregon Giant snow peas, winter spinach, kale, chard, winter lettuce. The fall-planted garlic is almost 3″ tall in the same beds.

My seedling FAQ

  • Those are regular, if eco-friendly, shop lights. I get the brand with the safest disposal protocols, but grow lights are only useful if you like to show off your African violet collection to its best advantage.
  • I use a peat-based growing medium that I recycle year to year with very little loss. I allow the used cells to weather the Maine winter in the hoop house and so far haven’t had any disease or pest transmission. For those in milder climes I’d suggest baking or freezing the loose soil to specs that you can find at your Co-op Ext office.
  • The average temperature in my unheated 20′ x 30′ cellar during Feb/March is 44 degrees F. It’s probably a tiny bit warmer directly under the lights – I should probably check that some day. The tomato and pepper seedlings take a while to get started, but the cooler temperature keeps the moisture levels constant and discourages rot. Tonight the temperature down there is closer to 39 because I didn’t notice that the north casement window had fallen open. I’ve closed it up and should be able to tell by tomorrow if anything was badly afflicted by the drop.
  • The most important thing I’ve learned about starting seeds is to limit how many I plant (with a few exceptions). I’m terrible at editing healthy little green sprouts and that means I have too many to plant in the space available – maybe even too many to care for properly. It’s much easier to plant fewer seeds at the start. The exception would be a crop that needs the whole season to grow (cannot be planted in succession) and should be harvested all at the same time, such as rice.

First garden update of 2012

The thermometer in the woodbin – under cover and without any influence from the spring sunshine – read 54 today. The Eagle Aboriculture crew dropped off three yards of bio-soil at the head of the driveway yesterday in the cold March rain, but it was warm and full of insect life this morning. I picked out red worms, pill bugs, and one large black beetle as big as my thumb in the first few shovel-loads.

D as in dirt

The raised beds directly in front of the house were planted with tomatoes last year. Then Hurricane Irene rolled through mid-season and soon every garden on the island had Fusarium wilt and the plants turned black and died. I won’t be able to plant tomatoes there for a few years so today I put in Giant Winter spinach, Green Meat radishes, and salad greens. The garlic I planted last fall is sprouting and will come up between the seedlings as the weather warms. Had to go rooting around in the boat shed to find the hoses to water everything in and then find the Agribon floating row cover.

Soon, radishes

The heather is in full bloom and full of tiny native pollinators, but sadly, not my honeybees. Mice attacked one hive, and when I dislodged them they evidently invaded the other boxes as well. No old colonies this year but I have two new ones on the way from Bee Weaver in Navasota, TX this spring. I’ll buy some metal hive entrance guards too.

Heath

Sorrel is my first real harvest in any year, maybe just two weeks away if this mild weather holds.

Sorrel

The alpine poppies are coming right along too. They bloom early, perhaps the first pollen for the new bees in late April. I remember buying these from Thompson and Morgan. The catalog described them as “rare but hardy, shy and difficult to grow”. A decade later they have seeded themselves in every stony nook and cranny of the yard – I have to regularly coax them out of the driveway and the cheery orange blooms are under foot in every path. Hardy they may be, but not so rare around here.

alpine poppies

 

Fedco Seed Order 2012

Just finished my order over at Fedco Seeds, Maine’s agricultural co-op seed house specializing in cold hardy varieties for the unforgiving climate of the New England growing season. Fedco has five orders: Seeds, Moose Tubers, Organic Growers Supply, Trees, and Bulbs, and sends out three catalogs. The seed division alone does about $3mm annually.

Completing the seed order is the way I mark my own personal start of the new year. Yes, the canning cupboard is full of glass jars of produce, the Rubbermaid boxes of potatoes and carrots sit ready to eat on the cold cellar floor, the garden is still holding parsnips, kale, and leeks, but all of that is just so 2011. Selecting seed varieties is my first foray into the new year and a snapshot of Garden 2012.  Here’s the list (in no particular order) and some highlights of my favorites from the catalog:

225 – Royal Burgundy Bush Bean OG ( A=2oz) 1 x $1.90 = $1.90
297 – Multicolored Pole Bean Mix ( A=1/2oz) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50
338 – Marfax Bean ( A=2oz) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50
658 – Silver Queen White Sweet Corn ( B=8oz) 1 x $7.50 = $7.50
678 – Dakota Black Popcorn OG ( A=2oz) 1 x $2.60 = $2.60
818 – Oregon Giant Snow Pea ( A=2oz) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50
842 – Mammoth Melting Sugar Snow Pea ( A=2oz) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50
1035 – Halona Muskmelon ( A=1g) 1 x $1.90 = $1.90
1311 – Boothbys Blonde Slicing Cucumber OG ( A=0.5g) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
1409 – Raven Zucchini ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $1.90 = $1.90
1457 – Costata Romanesca Zucchini OG ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $1.40 = $1.40
1635 – Sunshine Winter Squash ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $2.50 = $2.50
1718 – Winter Luxury Pumpkin OG ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $1.60 = $1.60
2058 – Red Cored Chantenay Carrot ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $0.80 = $0.80
2068 – Atomic Red Carrot OG ( A=1g) 1 x $1.80 = $1.80
2073 – Shin Kuroda 5" Carrot ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $0.80 = $0.80
2099 – Over the Rainbow Carrot Mix ( A=1g) 1 x $2.40 = $2.40
2186 – Bulls Blood Beet ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
2267 – Green Meat Radish ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50
2306 – Andover Parsnip OG ( A=1/8oz) 1 x $1.60 = $1.60
2376 – Gold Ball Turnip ( B=1/2oz) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50
2425 – Bleu de Solaize Leek ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $1.70 = $1.70
2504 – Bordeaux Spinach ( A=1/4oz) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
2555 – Giant Winter Spinach ( A=1/4oz) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
2738 – Antares Lettuce OG ( A=1g) 1 x $1.50 = $1.50
2983 – DeLuxe Lettuce Mix OG ( A=1g) 1 x $1.60 = $1.60
2984 – Freedom Lettuce Mix OG ( A=1g) 1 x $2.20 = $2.20
2992 – Mesclun ( A=1g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
2993 – Greens Mix OG ( A=1g) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
3034 – Perpetual Spinach or Leaf Beet ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $0.90 = $0.90
3075 – Speckled Friz Chickendive OG ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $2.30 = $2.30
3122 – Minutina ( A=1/16oz) 1 x $1.30 = $1.30
3740 – Sweet Pimiento Sweet Pepper ECO ( A=0.2g) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
5210 – Tanagra Lavatera ( A=1g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
5263 – Mignonette ( A=1g) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
5280 – Alaska Nasturtium Mix ( A=2g) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
5320 – Ziar Breadseed Poppy OG ( B=0.3g) 1 x $3.00 = $3.00
5331 – Flemish Antique Poppy OG ( A=0.2g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
5421 – Selma Suns Mix Sunflower OG ( A=1g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
5441 – April in Paris Sweet Pea OG ( A=2g) 1 x $1.20 = $1.20
5455 – Mrs. Collier Sweet Pea ( A=2g) 1 x $1.00 = $1.00
5506 – Hopi Dye Sunflower OG ( A=1g) 1 x $1.10 = $1.10
5960 – Purple Majesty Millet ( A=0.05g) 1 x $2.30 = $2.30
5970 – Duborskian Rice OG ( A=1g) 1 x $1.60 = $1.60
6333 – Beneficials Mix ( B=7g) 1 x $7.50 = $7.50

Subtotal: = $80.20
Maine Sales Tax: + $4.01
Adjusted Total: = $84.21
Shipping: + $0.00
Grand Total: = $84.21

I did not include the prices last year and had to field a lot of budget questions later. My biggest costs in the garden are seeds and trees, and the seed portion averages right around $80.00. Trees/shrubs/perennials go about twice as much (in a good year when I can afford that), and equipment costs are another $50.00. This year I have to replace my 20 year-old shovel for instance, and in 2010 I replaced my sprayer.

Two items that I think will be fascinating additions to Garden 2012:

3075CO Speckled Friz Chickendive OG (70-90 days) Open-pollinated. Chicorium intybus x C. endivia Unique, chic greens from master breeder Frank Morton who crossed Wild Garden chicories with frisée, curly endive and escarole to develop this colorful flock of individuals, more tender than chicory, more cold hardy and ornamental than endive, with a mixture and flavor range that goes well beyond either and the sweet bitterness of a good endive. This gene-pool has variation, some plants open, others semi-headed, others with full heads. Has overwintered and been permutating at the MOFGA garden for the past six years.

2984FO Freedom Lettuce Mix OG An inspiring mix with plenty of surprises, this gene pool was created by Morton in what he called the “Hell’s Half-Acre lettuce trial” identifying those varieties most disease resistant and crossing them with his best-tasting varieties to select and recombine for excellent traits. Contains exceptional material including some experimental forms that would stand on their own as named varieties. Morton invites growers and breeders to work with this mix to create new varieties for their farms or for the general public, while stipulating that nothing derived from it may be patented or protected from others’ use in any way. This strategy, originated by software developers, is now known as copyleft (as opposed to traditional copyright). Morton has adopted it to keep his varieties and their derivatives in the public domain as a protected commons. Seeds as nature’s software! See wwwgnu.org/philosophy/philosophy.html. for more information on copyleft. These days freedom is a rather slippery concept and many things are being done in its name that I don’t approve, but copyleft has the potential to return to free use such shared resources as our plant heritage that rightfully belong to all of us. As Morton proclaims, “Adaptive breeding cannot occur under a system of restrictive ownership.” Open-pollinated.

And finally, today’s garden photo: Fedco Harris Model parsnips still green on January second.

 

2984FO Freedom Lettuce Mix OG An inspiring mix with plenty of surprises, this gene pool was created by Morton in what he called the “Hell’s Half-Acre lettuce trial” identifying those varieties most disease resistant and crossing them with his best-tasting varieties to select and recombine for excellent traits. Contains exceptional material including some experimental forms that would stand on their own as named varieties. Morton invites growers and breeders to work with this mix to create new varieties for their farms or for the general public, while stipulating that nothing derived from it may be patented or protected from others’ use in any way. This strategy, originated by software developers, is now known as copyleft (as opposed to traditional copyright). Morton has adopted it to keep his varieties and their derivatives in the public domain as a protected commons. Seeds as nature’s software! See wwwgnu.org/philosophy/philosophy.html. for more information on copyleft. These days freedom is a rather slippery concept and many things are being done in its name that I don’t approve, but copyleft has the potential to return to free use such shared resources as our plant heritage that rightfully belong to all of us. As Morton proclaims, “Adaptive breeding cannot occur under a system of restrictive ownership.” Open-pollinated.