Dream Gardens of January: Seeds to Plant

By Linda Wiggen Kraft

The dream gardening season starts in January. It is full of perfect, abundant, beautiful acres and acres of plants we want to grow. It begins when the holiday rush is over and there is time to sit down with the garden seed catalogs. There are so many plants that we can grow from seeds that are never available as growing plants at the garden centers.
This dreaming of plants is the first phase of the upcoming garden season. The first seeds to plant are not the ones in the catalog. They are seeds of awe, wonder and love that we plant into our hearts and add to the garden seeds we later plant. January is a perfect time to sit by a fire looking through catalogs. Luxuriate in the bounty of all the plants that can be grown. Be with that joy for days or weeks. Then let the reality of physical space and abilities slowly come into focus. This is the time to decide what seeds to get.

Think of all the plants you will start from seed with three things in mind. Food for the soul, body and for other creatures of the garden. Food for the soul are plants whose beauty you cannot live without. Food for the body are the nutritious and beautiful edibles you like. Food for the other creatures are the pollinator plants and those that feed the birds. Try for plants that fulfill at least two, if not three of these criteria. A case in point: grape tomatoes. The individual stems of small cherry and grape tomatoes are as lovely as a dance. Unripe ones are used in bouquets. The ripe fruit is a sweet taste for humans. Tomatoes provide pollen and nectar foods for bumblebees. One of the most beautiful tomatoes to grow is Brad’s Atomic Grape tomato. Its purple, red, green and orange streaks look like a Van Gogh painting.

When deciding on seeds also consider where the seeds are from. The Safe Seed Pledge is made by companies who “do not knowingly buy, sell or trade genetically engineered seeds.” Here are a few seed companies who have signed the Safe Seed Pledge, have great seeds and are helping ensure the biodiversity of plants we all need.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds – our famous Missouri seed catalog with over 1900 heirloom seeds. A fun place to visit, in Mansfield with its old time village. Seeds to try: Brad’s Atomic Grape tomato and Mexican Sunflower Tithonia, which attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Catalog and online.

Seed Geeks – Our own local St. Louis heirloom seed growers and sellers with nearby 50 acre farm. Seeds to try: super healthy Atomic Red Carrot and Borage, a beautiful edible blue flower that honeybees love. Online, local farmer markets and events.

High Mowing Seeds – Organic seeds. Seeds to try: Garlic Chives, edible stems and flowers with garlic taste. All bees love the long blooms. Online.

Pinetree Seeds – Small packages with enough seeds for home gardeners, some organic. Seeds to try: Small Stuff sweet small red peppers. Catalog and online.

Select Seeds –
Mostly flowers, mainly heirloom, some organic. Seeds to try: Butterfly Zinnia mix with lots of nectar and pollen. Catalog and online.

Turtle Tree Seeds – Organic and Biodynamic, grown by a community of special needs individuals. Plants grown under principles of Rudolph Steiner, with emphasis on the rhythms of nature and life energies. Seeds to try: Azure Star Kohlrabi. Online.

Linda Wiggen Kraft is a landscape designer who creates holistic and organic gardens. She is also a mandala artist and workshop leader. Visit her blog: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com/blog or her website: www.CreativityForTheSoul.com. 314 504-4266.