Our gardens have slowed down for the winter, but the activity never really stops. In our high tunnel, we’ve recently seeded onions and transplanted collards and parsley (photo on the right). In our outdoor gardens (photo on the left) we’re harvesting lettuce, kale, baby spinach, late carrots, salsify, and storage radishes. Our potato onions have sent up the green shoots and are tucked into mulched beds for winter (photo below).
Our growers are still sending the last of this season’s seed lots, so we’ve been busy with germination tests and putting seeds into packets. We’ve had over 150 germination tests underway at once! We’re finishing cleaning seed from crops we grew on our own farm, including a few experimental crops like tansy, clary sage, and papalo (an herb tasting “somewhere between arugula, cilantro and rue” used in the bouquet in the middle photo above).
Artist Jessie Doyle, creator of the gnomes, toads, birds and bugs of Southern Exposure’s catalog covers for the last three years, has started her own artist’s blog – Jessie’s Art. We love reading about the techniques she uses in her gorgeous botanical illustrations and what she’s learning about these crops!
A few of our favorite new illustrations by Jessie are shown below, and to the right is a sneak peak at a detail from next year’s catalog cover!
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange was voted amongst the top 15 vegetable seed companies in the Mother Earth News 2011 Seed Company Survey, with input from hundreds of gardeners. We came in 8th out of more than 100 companies! Here’s what the Mother Earth News article has to say about us:
“Loco for Local Seeds”
“Most gardeners send at least one seed order to a local or regional company, and this practice offers certain benefits. For instance, locally grown seed is more likely to be suited to your climate. In the upper and mid-South, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange has a strong following. “I go here first,” said a Mid-Atlantic gardener. “Southern Exposure provides mostly locally grown seed, heritage and open-pollinated varieties, excellent service and decent prices.” Known for offering unique items, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange was called “a small company with a big heart” by a longtime organic farmer.”