Not Beer: Welcome To Seed Catalogue Reading Time


I know I mentioned I am sick of winter but did I mention I am sick of winter? I did? OK. Did I mention that I am already gearing up for spring planting. With any luck, three or four weeks from now I will take out the bag of soil I keep in the basement all winter, dump it on the ground and ram in a bunch of pea seeds. It’s my way of shaking a fist at the lingering frost. Peas like a few other common vegetables survive early frosts quite well. Not hard in these parts to get a few crops in that might start providing some salady bits before mid-May. The first peas are as good as the first tomatoes – except they come two months earlier.

It’s not the only bet I will have at play in the garden. I’ve left parsnips and leeks to overwinter. More than one pot of soup to be made of the sweetened roots. Saison Dupont’s true partner is fresh spring harvested parsnip. I pulled that batch up there out of our suburban front lawn a couple of years ago. Need fresh seed for the 2016 crop. There’s parsley and chives and maybe a few other herbs under the drifts waiting to send out fresh shoots, too. The other great spring crop is bok choi. I only learned this two growing seasons ago when I bought a pack on a whim. It grows like mad in the cool spring air and again in a second season in autumn. Ten bucks gets you 1,000 seeds if you buy the commercial grower size packs. That’s a lot of small shoots, a lot of dinners.

I am convinced one of the best ways to understand beer is to understand all the things you can eat and drink. Better than buying hydroponically fed, commercially produced veg growing food will give you an earthier experience as well as a small but direct appreciation of agriculture and some of the tensions plants face. Beer, after all, is a result of our relationship with edible plants.

One thought on “Not Beer: Welcome To Seed Catalogue Reading Time”

  1. [Original comments…]

    Velky Al – February 19, 2015 9:14 AM
    we’ll be getting started on sowing seeds this weekend, indoors mind, in one of those indoor greenhouse type things. Love reading the seed catalogues, especially the one for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange – – only problem is it gives us too many ideas, and our soil still sucks for root vegetables. Ah well, at least the tomatoes grown like champions.

    Alan – February 20, 2015 8:33 AM
    No root vegetables? Double dig and add sheep manure. My best advice in all things in life, not just gardening.

    Velky Al – February 20, 2015 10:18 AM
    Hoping this year will be better. In the absence of sheep manure, we get a mix of donkey and llama manure from our neighbours, as well as very generous gift of a truck load of well rotted compost/soil mix. Our soil is red Virginia clay (, so we have been growing what we can while amending the soil each year.

    Alan – February 21, 2015 6:36 PM
    Check on speed companies from Canada like Stokes and Vesseys. There may be clay soil suitable seed strains. Commercial growers have strains suited for all sorts of soils.

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