Tag Archive | "Heronswood seed catalog"


Spring Geek Fest: For the Love of Seed Catalogs

by Carina Langstraat, Landscape Designer

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It’s time for an uprising, and that means ordering spring seeds.

The writers of seed catalogs are, I think, quite often undiscovered wordsmiths. Back when Dan Hinckley was writing the Hersonswood catalog, folks thought he was crazy not to include photos. But once you pulled the catalog from your mailbox and began reading his descriptions of rare euphorbias, you found that a photo would, in some way, take away from the picture he was painting. And, if you were me, you found yourself standing next to your mailbox twenty minutes later, still stuck in the E section and knowing you’d already mentally tallied more than you could afford to buy.bok choy

The Uprising Seed Catalog has that same appeal. It stops you in your tracks, makes you laugh out loud, and gets you turning back to the first page so you can be sure you read it from cover to cover. In their description of Prize Bok Choy you are reminded of the sheer wonder of the plant world: “From a tiny mustard seed to 1.5 pounds of food in a month and a half? Come on.”


Uprising’s testing fields are located in Bellingham, and their seeds are geared toward our moderate maritime climate. They carry a large selection of the things most of us know about: shell beans, bush beans, pole beans, squash, and cucumber, but they push the margins on things the faint of heart may have given up on. Their Blacktail Mountain watermelon performed during the rainy summer of 2007: “such conditions are the true test of what we can get away with, and even that year we were flush with sweet juicy red Blacktail melons.” Ever wanted to take a swing at eggplant?  Try Uprising’s Diamond eggplant. It comes from seeds collected form the Ukraine, and the people at Uprising have successfully grown it not in their greenhouses but in their fields—even in the summer of 2010, no less: “It was cold. And wet. And then cold. Yet we were still awash in these beauties. Even if you think you despise eggplant, grow these and give them away to your friends. They will be in awe of your mad skills.” Looking for a sweet pepper? Try Uprising’s “Little Bells,” which are purported to be great for northern climates with short seasons.uprising seeds

A cube-shaped cardboard box sits on my shelf (admittedly in my hot office—hardly the perfect condition to keep seed, but the little packages make be smile so I try to keep them close by), recently arrived from Territorial Seeds. I’m loyal to Territorial because of their history of producing seeds that are proven to perform in cooler climates. Still, their testing grounds are in the Willamette Valley, which has hotter summers and cooler winters than the Puget Sound region. We share the Salish Sea with Uprising’s test grounds, and our slightly warmer winters give us somewhat of an advantage.  How often can a Puget Sound gardener claim the upper climate hand?

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Photos courtesy of Charles Smith, Jamonnation, Jim Capaldi, and Carina Langstraat.

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