Monday

BOGO Ferry Morse Seeds at Home Depot

Jenn, at Recycling Gardener, informs me that through April 24, 2010 there is a buy one get one free offer on Ferry Morse seeds at Home Depot in honor of Earth Day. Thanks for the tip, Jenn.

Do I need any more seeds?

Maybe...

Tuesday

Sprouting Seeds in Books

Sprouting seeds in books, Manga farmingKoshi Kawachi, an artist in Japan, has a creative way of sprouting seeds. Several manga books are used to sprout seeds, in what the artist calls Manga Farming. See more images here. In case you're wondering: it appears the seeds sprouted in these books are radish seeds.

If you're looking for information on starting seeds for your garden search the Seed Snatcher search engine powered by Google and get the best tips and techniques for starting seeds.

Saturday

Renee's Garden Spring Fling Seed Discount

Did you forget to order any seeds or saw seeds you wanted after you placed your last seed order? Renee's Garden is offering a Spring Fling Discount to entice you to buy those seeds you forgot the first time or try some new ones. Enter DSC410 in the "coupon code" box on the checkout page and get 15% off your next order. The offer is good until May 2, 2010.

Don't forget that spring isn't the only time to sow seeds. You can sow a second season of many herbs and vegetables and extend your harvest season well into the winter.

Tuesday

Seeds in Space


When the shuttle Discover launched on Monday the STS-131 crew was accompanied by willow seeds from a University of New Brunswick experiment. The idea behind the experiment is to observe the effects microgravity have on the density of cell growth and lead to some breakthroughs for the forest industry. This is the second batch of Canadian seeds in the project called Cambium to fly into space in recent months.

A search of the Seed Snatcher search engine reveals this isn't the first time seeds have gone into space for research purposes. In 2002 experiments were conducted with flax seeds to understand how plants know up from down.

In 1983 Park Seed Company partnered with NASA and has provided millions of school children around the world with seeds that had been taken to space and brought back to Earth to conduct experiments with. You can read more about their partnership here.

Seeds, boldly going where few gardeners have gone before.

Monday

Park Seed Company Files for Chapter 11



The Park Seed Company has been providing garden seeds to American gardeners since 1868. So, it is a little bit scary to learn that they filed for Chapter 11 last Friday. Geo. W. Park Seed Company, Inc., Park Seed Wholesale Company, and the Jackson & Perkins Company plan to restructure and don't expect that customers will be affected.

Here's the press release made available to me by Park Seed.

On Friday, April 2, 2010, the Geo. W. Park Seed Company, Inc., Park Seed Wholesale Company, and the Jackson & Perkins Company voluntarily filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the District of South Carolina. Customers should not be affected by the filing. Park Seed/J&P’s Greenwood, SC, business office, Garden Center, Call Center, and websites are open and functioning normally. Shipping and receiving areas are continuing their daily operations, delivering products to gardeners around the country as their hardiness zones open for the Spring.

According to a company spokesperson, “The horticulture industry is challenging and highly seasonal in the best of times. As the general economic situation declined starting in 2008, demand for luxury, non-essential purchases dropped sharply. All of our brands experienced significant decreases in sales for core products, including roses, perennials, and garden-inspired gifts. This created cash-flow issues that worsened with each passing season. Despite deep cost-cutting and numerous attempts to execute supplier payment programs on our own, we simply could not meet our short- and long-term operating cash requirements. Seeking court protection and restructuring is clearly our best option for returning to a position where we can focus on delighting our customers and resuming sound relationships with our supply chain partners.”

The companies are currently functioning as a “debtor in possession,” under the leadership of a court-appointed Trustee. The companies have 120 days following the filing to prepare a plan that contains a new capital structure for the company and that treats all creditors equitably. The Park Seed Company/Jackson and Perkins management team is confident that this experience will ultimately strengthen the business and lead to long-term success.

# # #
The Geo. W. Park Seed Company, Inc. (ParkSeed.com) has been providing innovative, top-quality gardening products to generations of American gardeners since 1868.

Founded in 1872, Jackson & Perkins is America’s premier name in roses and garden-inspired gifts (JacksonandPerkins.com).

Park Seed Wholesale has everything needed to run a small to medium-sized greenhouse, nursery, or growing operation. Since 1870, Park Seed Wholesale (ParkSeedWholesale.com) has been known for delivering world-class products with downhome, friendly service.


I for one am rooting for them because it would be a shame for such an old seed house to go under. Especially when you consider how many new gardeners have taken up gardening in recent years. Although, it isn't surprising to learn that there's a decline in purchase of "luxury" goods when it related to gardening. It isn't just a symptom of the recession but a discernible movement within gardening.

Update: Carri brings up a good point below. On my Facebook page the conversation on this post took an interesting turn. I brought up last year's USA TODAY article about the increase in seed sales due to all the new gardeners and the recession. Carri pointed out that in that article Park Seed reported a 20% increase in seed sales compared to 2008. So, indeed: why is Park seed in trouble?

Update #2: In bad times, seed sales grow. hat tip: Carri via Facebook.

Update #3: I signed up with Google's Affiliate program through the MrBrownThumb blog. Moments ago I received an Email from them informing me the Jackson & Perkins affiliate program was being terminated effective tomorrow, April 7 "due to bankruptcy." It informs me that all links and banners belonging to Jackson & Perks have to be removed. If you're a blogger who has signed up for an affiliate program through sites other than Google you should check the status of the Jackson & Perkins and Park Seed programs you are part of.



Sunday

The BBC's "Dig In" Veggie Seed Giveaway

The BBC has this really neat vegetable seed giveaway promotion in the UK called "Dig In." They're giving away French Beans, lettuce, carrots, basil and courgettes seeds. What? Oh, that's what they call zucchini! There's a really nicely designed website with a newsletter, recipes, seed starting and garden planning information for windowsills, balconies, backyards and patches. Too bad those of us outside the UK can't see the videos.

I wish an American television network would copy this idea. Instead all we get are bad remakes of perfectly good British television shows. Too bad I can't mail away for these free seeds. But if you're in the UK, why not DIG IN?

Saturday

Petaluma Seed Bank

The Petaluma Seed Bank isn't a seed bank in the traditional sense, it is a seed store in what was once a bank. The store is part of Baker Creek Seeds which specializes in rare and heirloom seeds. Take a tour of the Petaluma Seed Bank on YouTube.


Friday

Vintage Seed Catalogs in Smithsonian Libraries Blog

Ratekin Seed House seed catalogVintage seed catalogs are highly collectible items among gardeners, but also collected by people who collect advertising & catalog memorabilia.

During the winter while searching for seed catalogs to request I came across the Smithsonian Libraries blog that periodically posts images of the covers of seed catalogs.

The cover for this Ratekin's Seed House catalog was posted on the Smithsonian Libraries blog for the 4th of July. That is a very patriotic cover but the placement of the ear of corn gave me a chuckle when I first saw it.

I haven't found any information on what happened to the Ratekin's Seed House, except for this mention of a lawsuit over the quality of their corn.

You can view the collection of seed catalogs posted at the Smithsonian Libraries blog here.

Seed Stuff in Popular Science Archives

Recently, Popular Science teamed up with Google to digitize their archives. Here are some interesting seed related articles I found in Popular Science's archive on Google Books.

My favorite of the bunch is Growing Garden Seeds Now Industry Giant. It takes you on a behind the scenes look at a seedman's nursery and shows how several seeds are harvested processed and stored before landing in home gardener packets.


May 1933, page 28
Seeds stored in bags are apt to become infested with bugs and so ... Collected in trays, the ripe seeds are washed in screen-bottomed containers.

May 1897, page 106
SEEDS that remain in keeping without losing the faculty of germination are ... Van Tieghem and Bonnier proves that seeds may retain their vitality for a ...

January 1940, page 108
Spurred on by this success, he tried his flotation system on other seeds. ... At first, he thought it was because fertile seeds were heavier. ...

October 1921, page 66
The seeds are placed on the covering and then protected from the outside ... The percentage of seeds that eventually sprout is the evidence upon which the

October 1920, page 48
Separating Seeds by Their Shape A NOVEL seed-separator divides round ... It consists of two series of spiral channels through which the seeds are passed.

More results here.

D. Landreth Seed Company: Barbara Melera

At the Chicago Flower & Garden Show I had the pleasure of meeting Barbara Melera of the D. Landreth Seed Company, America's oldest seed house. I found her to be a very nice person who really has a passion for seeds and the seed business. I attended a lecture by her that had lost of interesting seed company history, but unfortunately my tape recorder was acting up. I took notes, but it will take some time for me to decipher my own handwriting and pull out the most interesting information.

Barbara was a test subject of sorts as she's the first seed company owner whose autograph I collected for SeedSnatcher.com.

Thursday

Botanic Gardens Series by Botanical Interests

The Botanic Gardens Series by the seed company Botanical Interests turns the average gardener into a conservationist. The idea behind this series of seeds is to team up with botanic gardens to highlight native plants and flowers that are at risk of being lost and sell those to the average gardener to make sure these plants are preserved.

Like the Doomsday vault, except instead of being frozen and stored the seeds are alive and can be saved and shared assuring their survival.