Archive for the ‘Growing Stuff’ Category


Got Weeds? Use Vinegar.



I wish I could make this bigger for ya’ll. I think you can still make out the basics.

[via Afristar Foundation ]



From Eat Local Grown, this is a list of 91 NO GMO, Monsanto-Free Seed Companies

Go here to read all the background info about The Safe Seed Pledge vs Monsanto.

No GMO Seed Companies

*Adaptive Seeds
All Good Things Organic (SW)
*Amishland Seeds
Annie’s Heirloom Seeds
*The Ark Institute
Backyard Beans and Grains Project

*Baker Creek Seed Co. (MW)
Beauty Beyond Belief (BBB Seeds)
*Botanical Interests
Bountiful Gardens
Crispy Farms
Diane’s Flower Seeds (she has veggies now, too)
*Family Farmer’s Seed Co-op
Farm Direct Seed (Hobb’s Family Farm)
*Fedco Seed Co.
Garden City Seeds
Gourmet Seed
*Grow Organic
Heirlooms Evermore Seeds
*Heirloom Seeds
Heirloom Solutions

High Mowing Seeds
*Horizon Herbs
Hudson Valley Seed Library
Growing Crazy Acres
Ed Hume Seeds
J.L Hudson 
Kitchen Garden Seeds
Knapp’s Fresh Vegies
 Kusa Seed Society
Lake Valley Seeds
*Landreth Seeds
Larner Seeds
*The Living Seed Company

*Livingston Seeds
Local Harvest
Moonlight Micro Farm
Mountain Rose Herbs
*My Patriot Supply

Native Seeds  for the Arid Southwest
Natural Gardening Company
New Hope Seed Company
Nichol’s Garden Nursery
*Organica Seed
Organic Sanctuary (SE)

Peace Seeds
Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
Prairie Road Garden

Renee’s Garden
Restoration Seeds
Sand Hill Preservation Center
Sage Thymes
*Seed for Security

Seeds Trust
*Select Seeds
Siskiyou Seeds (NW)

*Southern Exposure
*Sow True (SE)
*Sustainable Seed Co
Tiny Seeds
Tomato Fest
Trees of Antiquity
Turtle Tree Seed
*Underwood Garden Seeds
*Uprising Seeds
*Victory Seeds
Vermont Wildflower Farm
White Harvest Seed

*Wild Garden Seeds
Wildseed Farms

*Wood Prairie Farm (NE)

Canadian Seed Companies:
Annapolis Valley Heritage Seed Company
Brother Nature
Cubit’s Organics

Full Circle Seeds
Greta’s Organic Garden
Heritage Harvest Seeds (ships to Canada only)
Hope Seeds
Incredible Seeds
Richters Herbs
Salt Spring Seeds
Seeds of Victoria
Solana Seeds
Stellar Seeds
Terra Edibles
The Cottage Gardener

Garden Organic (UK)
Seed Site (Italy)
The Real Seed Catalogue (UK)

Another tool you can use to check up on a seed supplier is supplied by Monsanto’s Seminis themselves:

Monsanto and Seminis heirloom seed varieties to watch out for

First of all, Monsanto or anyone else can’t actually OWN these varieties of seed, but as developers of some of these varieties and as suppliers of them under many different companies it can be hard to tell who owns what.  It does not stand to reason that any crop of these varieties growing today or anytime in the future will be genetically modified in any way.  Some of these varieties can be found without any continuing connection to Monsanto or Seminis but it is important to be a little more cautious with these.

If you are the type of gardener who purchases vegetable seeds or seedlings, including tomato plants from a local garden center, be mindful the varieties you choose. Conversely, you might be placing money into the hands of Monsanto Corporation. Below is the list of Seminis/Monsanto home-garden vegetable variations.  It’s usually best to buy directly from seed farmers and companies that you can trust, but here’s the list just in case.

Beans: Aliconte, Brio, Bronco, Cadillac, Ebro, Etna, Eureka, Festina, Gina, Goldmine, Goldenchild, Labrador, Lynx, Magnum, Matador, Spartacus, Storm, Strike, Stringless Blue Lake 7, Tapia, Tema

Broccoli: Coronado Crown, Major, Packman

Cabbage: Atlantis, Golden Acre, Headstart, Platinum Dynasty, Red Dynasty

Carrot: Bilbo, Envy, Forto, Juliana, Karina, Koroda PS, Royal Chantenay, Sweetness III

Cauliflower: Cheddar, Minuteman

Cucumber: Babylon, Cool Breeze Imp., Dasher II, Emporator, Eureka, Fanfare HG, Marketmore 76, Mathilde, Moctezuma, Orient Express II, Peal, Poinsett 76, Salad Bush, Sweet Slice, Sweet Success PS, Talladega

Eggplant: Black Beauty, Fairytale, Gretel, Hansel, Lavender Touch, Twinkle, White Lightening

Hot Pepper: Anaheim TMR 23, Ancho Saint Martin, Big Bomb, Big Chile brand of Sahuaro, Caribbean Red, Cayenne Large Red Thick, Chichen Itza, Chichimeca, Corcel, Garden Salsa SG, Habanero, Holy Mole brand of Salvatierro, Hungarian Yellow Wax Hot, Ixtapa X3R, Lapid, Mariachi brand of Rio de Oro, Mesilla, Milta, Mucho Nacho brand of Grande, Nainari, Serrano del Sol brand of Tuxtlas, Super Chile, Tam Vera Cruz

Lettuce: Braveheart, Conquistador

Melon: Early Dew, Sante Fe, Saturno

Onion: Candy, Cannonball, Century, Red Zeppelin, Savannah Sweet, Sierra Blanca, Sterling, Vision

Pumpkin: Applachian, Harvest Moon, Jamboree HG, Orange Smoothie, Phantom, Prize Winner, Rumbo, Snackface, Spirit, Spooktacular, Trickster

Spinach: Hellcat

Squash: Ambassador, Canesi, Clarita, Commander, Dixie, Early Butternut, Gold Rush, Grey Zucchini, Greyzini, Lolita, Papaya Pear, Peter Pan, Portofino, President, Richgreen Hybrid Zucchini, Storr’s Green, Sungreen, Sunny Delight, Taybelle PM

Sweet Corn: Devotion, Fantasia, Merit, Obession, Passion, Temptation

Sweet Pepper: Baron, Bell Boy, Big Bertha PS, Biscayne, Blushing Beauty, Bounty, California Wonder 300, Camelot, Capistrano, Cherry Pick, Chocolate Beauty, Corno Verde, Cubanelle W, Dumpling brand of Pritavit, Early Sunsation, Flexum, Fooled You brand of Dulce, Giant Marconi, Gypsy, Jumper, Key West, King Arthur, North Star, Orange Blaze, Pimiento Elite, Red Knight, Satsuma, Socrates, Super Heavyweight, Sweet Spot

Tomato: Amsterdam, Beefmaster, Betterboy, Big Beef, Burpee’s Big Boy, Caramba, Celebrity, Cupid, Early Girl, Granny Smith, Health Kick, Husky Cherry Red, Jetsetter brand of Jack, Lemon Boy, Margharita, Margo, Marmande VF PS, Marmara, Patio, Phoenix, Poseidon 43, Roma VF, Royesta, Sun Sugar, Super Marzano, Sweet Baby Girl, Tiffany, Tye-Dye, Viva Italia, Yaqui

Watermelon: Apollo, Charleston Grey, Crimson Glory, Crimson Sweet, Eureka, Jade Star, Mickylee, Olympia

Note: Not all of the veggie varieties in the above list are Monsanto/Seminis exclusives. Consequently if you spot some of these varieties in the catalog of an heirloom seed-seller,  just check with the seller to make sure the seeds were not purchased from  Seminis/Monsanto. But if you find these seeds on a rack at a big-box garden center, you have every right to suspect they were purchased from the evil empire.





This is a handy quick reference guide to the basic of checking seed viability from Let This Mind Be In You. You can find more on seed viability here.

It’s a good thing to know ot just for your own home gardening but if you ever plan on exchanging seeds with others. I had a swap worked out with a friend…my Thai hot pepper seeds for some garlic. I’m glad I checked for seed viability first. The seeds weren’t viable. I would have felt terrible for my friend.




Pretty cool infographic from Preparedness Mama.

The only one I don’t quite agree with would be tomato. Tomatoes are greedy little sonsabitches…space & soil needy.




How fresh are leftover seeds? Viability & Vigor.



Northwest Edible Life has a fantastic post about using pee in the garden.  Like the post says, if you can get over the ewwww factor, recycling pee in your garden makes a lot of sense. It’s high in nitrogen, moderate in phosphorus and low in potassium and can act as an excellent high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer or as a compost accelerator.  The post covers all the things you need to know…the nutrient benefits, the safety factors, and how exactly to use it.

There’s one thing the article doesn’t mention and that’s the fact that human pee can also be used in the garden as an animal deterrent.  I haven’t tried this out thoroughly myself, so I’m not sure if it matters if you’re male or female. In this video, actor David Tennant talks about peeing in his garden to deter foxes and mentions that it’s specific to male human urine . David’s a smart guy ,so he could be right.


If you haven’t left yet, you must not be the squeamish sort or maybe you’re just feeling like this is a train wreck you can’t help craning your neck to gawk at. Either way, since you’re  here, we might as well get all the bodily fluid upcycling talk done right now.

If you’re female and use reusable menstrual products like a cup or cloth pads, you can also recycle your blood in the garden. It works exactly the same way blood meal does, providing a nutrient rich fertilizer and as an animal deterrent.

I know,I know.  I’ve had enough conversations about reusable menstrual products to know that there are certain people who are freaking out just about that in the first place.  Those people may want to exit right now.

Women who practice  earth spirituality & midwifery have done this for ages, so it’s not some new hippy dippy thing. If I may take a moment to sound a little hippy-dippy, putting your own blood back into the earth to feed to soil that will grow food to nourish your body can feel like an incredibly spiritual  act.

I have no idea where all of this fits into vegetarian ethics but if a vegetarian women would like to offer thoughts on that, it would be cool to hear some.

I would also like to point out that in a zombie apocalypse, you may want to avoid this method. There is nothing worse for a garden than zombies trampling through it because they thought dinner could be had.


If you use a menstrual cup, it’s fairly obvious how you would go about collecting blood . Instead  of  emptying the blood into the toilet, you’d just empty it into a bucket, dilute with water and that’s pretty much it OR empty into a container (maybe an empty yogurt container?) for making the human version of blood meal (I’ll tell you how in a sec)

For cloth pad users, you could fill a large bucket with cold water, place all your used pads in it and just let them soak. Instead of dumping the soak water, you’ll use that in the garden.

Making Your Own Blood Meal

This method works with any animal blood, so this is good to know ,even if the menstrual blood idea skeeves you out. Instead of your own blood, you would just drain blood from whatever you’re having for dinner instead. Unless you’re a vegetarian because last I knew, kale doesn’t bleed.

Pour the blood onto a metal baking sheet. Pop into an oven set at 375° . Keep in oven until all the blood is completely dry. Let cool and scrape off the sheet into a container. You can use a pestle to ground to a powdery consistency or pulse in a food processor.

Personally, I would probably pick up thrifted supplies to use exclusively for blood baking. I’m betting if I did this using my normal kitchen stuff, my family wouldn’t eat anything I cooked ever again.

If you’re concerned about blood borne pathogens, this method will kill any that may be present.

Using It

The easiest way to use would be to just simply take the pink soak water and pour it on the soil around your plants.If your main concern is not so much to give your plants a fertilizer and you need a good animal deterrent , use the blood around the perimeter of your garden spaces.

Instead of putting it directly in the garden, it’s also really beneficial to add to your compost heap. It adds nutrients to your finished compost  but it also eliminates any health concerns that might be had. Composting will kill any blood pathogens. I’ve also heard composters talk about using blood to speed up the composting process. Because it’s high in nitrogen , it adds energy and heats up a compost heap.

If you’ve made blood meal, you can dilute in water to make a fertilizer for your plants. Don’t use it too frequently . Too much nitrogen can “burn” plants and cause issues with bearing flowers & coming to fruition. If you’re using it as a pest repellent , sprinkle the powder undiluted where you need to.

So, there’s that!