Of Huntresses, Holiness, and Laurel Wreaths

Bay Laurel leaves

Wednesday was a momentous day; I finally received my long awaited Bay Laurel seeds!
The pea sized seeds needed planting right away, and I was without pots, so I made some makeshift flats with some strawberry containers. I don’t know if it was that the seeds had been pre-treated for germination that smelled so aromatic, but my senses were certainly peaked all the day. I planted about a good 2 dozen, but only have hopes for a few to germinate. 3-6 weeks, and up to 6 months, who could wait that long!!! The seeds either grow or turn to mush, and it’s better if you pick out the mushy ones as you go.

bay laurel seed

Bay Laurel seed above a staked makeshift bed made out of strawberry container. The toothpick stakes are to keep a check on the seeds long germination and locate them easier. As the seeds like warmth I thought it might be too drafty for them and plugged up some of the many air holes with strips of plastic.

Now that I have put them all to bed in their cozy and very soft and airy potting mix, a new organic one which I am very pleased with containing coco-nut husk fibers,  I am looking up how to take care of them

laurel wreath

Seems it was considered holy by the Greeks, who wore it as a head wreath, and the wreaths were awarded as a prize in Olympic games  Hmmm…, I wonder what it is like to wear one of those.

An interesting Greek myth about bay laurel, and a huntress named Daphne, who didn’t wish to marry God Apollo, and was turned into a bay tree by her father as a means of escape. So,  Apollo made a wreath and wore it in her memory. So much for another myth that is assumed by the bulk of society:  that all women wish to marry.  At least Daphne was comfortable enough to express how she honestly felt. I can hear it now…”Marriage,,, dad,…it’s just not me!…I want to hunt!” I think dad over-reacted, what do you think? Although the legend portrays that he successfully protected her, she was stuck with roots when all she wanted to do was the opposite-be on the move and hunt!  Did he ever change her back I wonder?

I love to learn a few tid-bits about plants.

According to the instructions that came with the seeds, Bay Laurel can also be shaped how you like, as a shrub if you take leaves from the tips, or a tree, if you take leaves from the main stem, and it  does well in containers.  Well, all I know it tastes great in stews, and it’s a flavor that, true to the myth, never leaves your memory.

Review – Hawthorn Farm

I received my seed packets from Hawthorn Farm in very timely fashion.  Included, were some plug packs due to having ordered a bit late in the season, and a surprise addition, a tomato variety called Druzba. As I have never received “live plants” or plugs before in the mail, I was very curious about how they were shipped, and here it is.

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I found Hawthorn Farm doing an online search for seeds, and they were one of the first to come up for my area.  Here is their link:

http://www.hawthornfarm.ca/

Ever wonder what a certified organic seal looks like? Well, here is one:

Certified organic seal.

Certified organic seal.

These symbols are supposed to mean that seeds are truly organic and not genetically modified.

Aside from the review,  I just wanted to say a bit about organic certification. I can not understand why GMO foods are not required to have certification to identify that a seed is GMO.  You would think the public has a right to know that a seed has been genetically modified more than they would a natural heritage seed which has withstood the test of time.  When I shop seeds and pick up a packet that has no GMO certification or Heritage either, to identify its origins, it is coming from a source “unknown” and I simply do not buy it.  I do not know if its blossoms will carry GMO pollen, or other unknown adversaries missed by tests that may inadvertently contaminate my pure varieties. No GMO certification means “unknown origin”, which in turn means I am shopping stupid, and personally that’s not a label I wish to carry.

So.., back to Hawthorn.

Here is what absolutely sold me on shopping from them:  a clear picture of the almost “mystical” process of pollination from their website.

pollinating squash

Hawthorn Farm- pollinating squash. Copyright Hawthorn Farm.

For the website experience, I found it easy to navigate, no more than one or two clicks to the next seed. The photos were actual photos, often including what the inside of a cut vegetable looked like.  When you wanted more detail of how a plant looked, you clicked on the small picture and got a large near life size, full quality resolution photo, to help you decide if that’s what you wanted.  I enjoyed seeing photos of the whole process of the vegetables from seed sprouts, to drying, and preserving, from harvest to table. Yes, it’s a real place! These were the types of experiences in life I wanted; growing was only part of the experience. Preparing and preserving for the table were the other. They also carried some particular varieties I was interested in.

The most notable, about my experience with Hawthorne Farm is the information on the packets themselves, which for the small space available are quite loaded with UN-generic, custom tips. The practical information for each plant spoke of their actual growing experience with the plant. A far cry from any info I could find on the internet. When dealing with larger companies, information on the seed packs is often too brief to be of any use. It’s funny (but not!) that the bigger a company gets, the less product you get.  Contrarily, Hawthorne was a real and rewarding experience.  I look forward to exploring some of their other varieties. I will post my progress with the seeds, and hopefully let you know how biting into a fully grown fresh Druzba tomato is like.

tomato_druzba

Tomato_Druzba. Copyright Hawthorn Farm

Hawthorn seed packs.

Hawthorn Farm seed packs experience.

Garden Log – May 24, 2012

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Heritage yellow wax bean blossoms under LED light.

Sorry folks, about falling behind, my health took a nose dive, and I am still trying to stabilize. I am better enough to get around a bit though and have had a few wonderful, rather peaceful and rewarding days with “The Indoor Garden” .  Seems I  made the grade! I have officially grown my first edible from seed, making me a “gardener”. I haven’t a clue how to pluck my first edible bean though!

Baby beannie! Yellow wax bean underway.

Baby beannie! Yellow wax bean underway.

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The first full edible yellow wax bean grown from seed indoors under LED and window light. This was taken today.

I am working on some new LED lights also, which are taking longer than I had hoped. With a couple of half articles prepared, it may be that I will tidy them up and post them in a bunch…quite like the bean sprouts!  More and more in the evenings, there is a a wonderfully gentle whiff, of a rather intoxicating aroma of English lavender making it’s presence felt.

Opps! Almost forgot about the carrots growing in water bottles.

Carrot in a bottle.

And the plants below I consider a bit of a cheat as they were picked up a the farmer’s market, and not grown from seed. I am not sure how they will acclimatize  indoors.  I have placed a bit of food grade plastic covering to help keep the top of the earth from drying out too quickly.

Cucumbers, strawberry plants from farmers market.

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