What He Said

New York Times journalist Michael Tortorello takes on the hybrid/heirloom debate in “Heirloom Seeds or Flinty Hybrids?”

The faithful few may have noticed that this is a question that POD plans on exploring this gardening season. If this year’s hybrid experiment works, POD’s taking the Fisker route from here on out.

“AS gardeners stock up on heirloom seeds for spring, Rob Johnston, the chairman of Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Winslow, Me., would like to suggest an accessory. Why not buckle up in a 1936 Oldsmobile coupe? O.K., so it doesn’t have seat belts. But the swoop of the fenders resembles Joan Crawford’s eyebrows. Better yet, the rest of the Oldsmobile’s curves are all Lana Turner…But even with all that a ’36 Olds has going for it, Mr. Johnston, 60, said, ‘I’m not sure how big of a market there would be for 75-year-old cars. It would just be a sentimental business.’

So to return to Mr. Johnston’s own business, vegetable seeds, why is the backyard gardener buying so many 1936-era heirlooms?”

Swag!

One of the strange (and rare) side benefits of blogging about urban container gardening is the occasional delivery of free stuff. Swag! In this case, six darling seed packets were slipped into POD’s mailslot, courtesy of Bartram’s Garden.Bartram's Garden SeedsIt seems only appropriate that on this, Philadelphia’s coldest day to date (or so it seems), a celebration of seeds should appear. With that and a tip of the hat to the Australian Open (go Clijsters!), POD presents:

Latuca sative (Tennis Ball Lettuce and Speckled Lettuce)
Barbarea verna (Winter Cress)
Coriandrum sativum (Coriander)
Pisum sativum (Prussian Blue Pea)
Atriplex hortensis (Red Orach, AKA Mountain Spinach)

While the Red Orach and Winter Cress will likely join the collection of edible Plants Out Front (POF just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?), the others will hit the dirt just as soon possibly possible. Especially exciting are the instructions on the Winter Cress which encourage impatient growers to “Sow in Fall for a crop of spicy greens that will last without protection until spring, or sow very early in the spring…” Already, notes for next year.

Check in for updates once the growing season commences — and by all means, check out Bartram’s collection of volunteer-collected heirloom seeds.