Coast to coast seed exchange - And a seed search tool

Friday, March 07, 2008

This week I received a much anticipated delivery in the mail: Seeds sent to me by Christina from A Thinking Stomach in Pasadena, California. Christina contacted me about trading seeds, and I was more than happy to oblige. She offered to share some of the wonderful and intriguing seeds from her collection. I chose: Nigella flowers (for their fabulous seed pods), Red Ruffled pimiento, Black Krim tomatoes, Lebanese Cousa summer squash, 3-Root Grex Beet, Blue Coco pole beans, and Aurora orach.

The last one on the list, orach, was something I'd never heard of before. If you're scratching your head too, orach is said to be similar in many ways to spinach. In The Washington Post, Barbara Damrosch wrote about her experience discovering orach (Spinach's Brilliant Cousin). Not only is the plant edible, she wrote, but it is also beautiful in flower arrangements. Perfect.

Another attractive attribute of orach is that it, supposedly, is a little more bolt-resistant than regular spinach. I decided not to plant spinach this spring specifically for that reason; it always bolts on me before I really get anything out of it.

So, I thought I would plant my new orach seeds out in the garden next to the strawberries. What I failed to do initially, though, was read the fine print about this plant. Some descriptions of orach say it can grow as high as 6 feet tall! Oops! That's not going to work next to the strawberries, which are right in the center of our garden bed. I'll need to re-think this and find another location that would be more suitable. More planning is in the works.

On a related note about seeds, I found a Custom Seed Search over at Mother Earth News. Type in any variety of plant you're looking for and their search engine will scour the catalogs of over 150 seed companies. It's a seed shopper's dream! Type in "aurora orach" and you will find sources that offer the very seeds of which I speak. Pretty cool, eh?

Of course, finding seeds from a fellow garden blogger is even more fun. Thanks, Christina!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great post. Thanks for sharing your seed bounty with us.~~Dee

11:23 PM  
Blogger Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Some one visiting my blog has a cool tomatoe she is going to share. This bloggin thing is going to pay off.

11:26 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

You are more than welcome. I can't wait to see how everything grows in my garden. I'll have to post photos (or at least send you photos) of the orach seedlings in my garden. They're such beautiful colors and have a lovely, jewelled texture.

12:07 AM  
Blogger Connie said...

Thanks for sharing the link. You can search for seeds on GardenWeb and find a trader who has what you want....a great feature I use often.
I love adds so much color to a salad!

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I attempted Black Krim tomatoes last year- and had a less than awesome crop. Then again- I had a pretty awful year for tomatoes last year, for a variety of reasons.

I'm intrigued by this orach plant. Do you know if grows well on our coast (I'm in PA, zone 6)? I'm often wary of seed-trading cross-country since things don't always like such a variety of climates.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Christa, the good news about orach is, you don't have to let it get that big. Just harvest the leaves for salads while it's young, then off to the compost pile. It's also good for color in the garden.

4:08 PM  
Blogger kate smudges said...

I had not heard of Orach before. I went off to see photographs of it - it looks as if it will be beautiful.

Seeds from a fellow blogger is a definite treat! It will be fun to follow their progress.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Loribelle said...


Thank you for mentioning us on your Web site. We’re glad you enjoy Mother Earth News.

Great post on seed exchange! Happy our custom seed search was helpful.

Laura Evers
Mother Earth News

1:25 PM  
Blogger Muum said...

The seed search tool looks like just what I"ve been looking for! thanks!

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I regularly grow Crimean Black tomatoes, and they're fabulous. Best tasting tomato ever.

7:25 AM  
Blogger ThymeSense ~ A Sense of Thyme said...

Stumbled on your blog when I was looking up Calendula! -- Any one seen a red one? I hear there's one out there somewhere.

Great blog! Thanks for sharing your links. I've grown a red orach that was really good. Will have to give Black Krim a try!

9:18 PM  

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