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Freeze! Before You Plant Check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

September 28th, 2010


If you’re new to gardening and not sure where to begin one of the most important things to take into consideration is frost/freeze dates. Plants need to be placed in an environment that meets their basic needs, and each of the following is important in determining whether or not plants will flourish: day length, frost, heat, pH, radiation, rainfall, and temperature.

Lower temperatures will trigger a large number of cold hardy plants to go into dormancy. These plants hibernate/sleep through the winter then wake up in the spring. There are, however, many plants that cannot survive lower temperatures.

A great tool to help you determine the best times throughout the year to begin growing plants in your region is the Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which was developed with horticultural and meteorological information in mind, including: changes in weather, classification, interactions with cultural factors (how plants are planted, the size of plants, the way plants are placed in the landscape, etc.), interactions with other environmental factors (humidity, wind, soil type, etc.), introduction of new forms of traditional plants, scope, winter hardiness, and zones.

While there are microclimates within each region and area (areas that may or may not allow you to plant more than gardening books say you can) The Plant Hardiness Zone Map is a great place to begin when planning your garden.

Here is the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map via The United States National Arboretum.

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Seed and Feed-Surprise and Goodyear, AZ

September 23rd, 2010

Please join Jim & Kristen Mitchell, Owners of Humble Seed  in a lively discussion and networking event about all things “Seed to Your plate!” at the fabulous Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen ( in Surprise and Goodyear this Saturday, September 25, 2010. Humble Seed will be at the Surprise store from 11am-12 noon and at the Goodyear store from 4pm-5pm. There will be delicious FREE Appetizers! Also enter to win a Uncle Herb’s Culinary Herb Seed Kit and our garden tote. See you there!

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Growing Debt and Growing a Victory Garden

September 20th, 2010


Humble Seed will often point out reasons why growing your own food is important, from the freshest foods possible to a sense of personal accomplishment, but there’s another necessary reason why so many families today are turning to gardening: debt.

Today’s economy has forced many families into picking and choosing where they will spend their hard earned money, and sometimes, it can come down to what bills will be paid versus what types of meals will be put on the table. There are families feeling the pressure to buy more processed foods, because they are less expensive. Sadly, processed foods can be very unhealthy. There are also families choosing to grow their own foods, because starting from seed is inexpensive, and the yields can be high—with enough vegetables to feed your family and more for an entire growing season. Aside from the expenses of getting your garden ready and maintaining it, growing your own foods can be very economical.

If you do not have the space or yard for your own garden why not partner with a family member, friend or neighbor and create a joint victory garden? Victory gardens were first created during World War I and World War II in order to minimize the pressure on the public food supply that was caused by the wars. They were herb, fruit and vegetable gardens that were planted at families’ residences and public parks. Today, with the slowly recovering economy and continuing frustrations with the way our foods are being produced and processed, the word ‘victory’ can be an inspiration for a better and more sustainable world. With the popularity of victory gardens growing, it’s clear that people are making informed choices about where they will spend their money, how they will manage to stay afloat during the bad economy, and what foods they will feed their families.

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Seed and Feed-Tempe, AZ

September 14th, 2010

Please join Jim & Kristen Mitchell, Owners of Humble Seed  in a lively discussion about all things Seed to Your plate at the fabulous Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen ( in Tempe this Saturday, September 18, 2010 from 11:00am-12:00pm. The Tempe store is located at 440 W. Warner Rd. Suite 101, Tempe, AZ 85284. There will be delicious FREE Appetizers! Also enter to win a Uncle Herb’s Culinary Herb Seed Kit and our garden tote. We hope to see you there!

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Brighten Up Your Garden and Turn Up the Heat in the Kitchen with Sassy Peppers

September 8th, 2010


From mild to richly flavored to fiery hot, peppers offer unique flavors and varying degrees of heat. If you’re a pepper aficionado, you know what these sassy garden plants are capable of doing when it comes to flavor and versatility.

In the garden, peppers add eye-popping appeal. With their deep, rich colors and distinctive shapes, peppers are like Christmas ornaments in the garden. If you cannot imagine that thought without presents then think of ripe and ready peppers as presents to use in the kitchen. In many dishes from around the world, the distinct taste and texture of a pepper makes the dish, such as Mexico’s Chile Rellenos. Another popular pepper dish that is easy to make is Stuffed Jalapenos, Southwest-Style. They’re great for casual get-togethers and fun to make and eat.

If you’ve never handled peppers in the kitchen before there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Peppers contain a natural oil called capsaicin, which is what provides the heat in peppers. If you’re not careful and you accidentally rub your skin after handling peppers the capsaicin on your fingers can burn your skin. Many people people wear gloves when working with dried or fresh chiles, just to be safe. If you want to temper a pepper’s heat as much as possible, remove the membranes and seeds from peppers before using them in your food dishes. Also, if you’ve eaten a dish that contains peppers and your taste buds are on fire, drink milk, as it tames the heat.

If you’re ready to give peppers a whirl—trust us, you will not regret it—then check out our Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles Seed Lists and Details. We have ten different varieties of non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds, including certified organic and heirloom seeds, packaged in re-sealable Mylar® bags. Our Mylar® packaging makes planting now or later a great convenience.

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We Did It!

September 1st, 2010

Humble Seed hit 1,000 fans on August 31, 2010, and we want to thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts. We’re looking forward to picking the winner of our “1,000 Fans Contest” on Friday, September 3, 2010. We will be announcing the winner on our Facebook page, so keep an eye out for this special post.

If you end up not being the lucky winner of our “1,000 Fans Contest” don’t despair. We will be doing more fun things and having more contests in the future. Also, for great savings on Humble Seed products go to our Facebook pages, click on ‘Our Products’ tab and then scroll down for a coupon code that will save you big money.

Thanks again everyone! We’re honored to have each of you as a Humble Seed fan. Keep up the ‘good food’ work.

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Egg Recall, Salmonella, and the Foods We Eat

September 1st, 2010


As if factory farming does not already have many consumers concerned over the foods they eat, the recent egg recall is another stark reality into the price we pay when we put our faith in large, industrial-scale farms and feedlots. Foods produced and/or raised on many industrial-scale farms are exposed to chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or extremely unhealthy conditions, as we’re finding out from the egg recall.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek’s August 30, 2010 story ‘FDA Finds Rodents, Manure Piles at Farms in Egg Recall,’ violations at two Iowa farms included the presence of manure pits, rodents and dead flies, as well as other disturbing observances. The story also notes that at least 550 million eggs have been recalled so far. It’s beyond awful and enough to prompt more and more people to consider local farmers markets and/or grow their own, for the mere fact that they can get to know their local farmers and their farm practices and have more control over knowing how the foods they eat are being produced, cared for and handled. If you’re concerned or wondering if your eggs are safe, here is a list of what numbered designations are included in the egg recall from the Food and Drug Administration.

Salmonella germs, named after an American veterinarian named Daniel E. Salmon (1850-1914), are microscopic living creatures that are transmitted from the feces of animals or people to other animals or people. In humans, Salmonella are generally transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces. Contaminated foods can include beef, eggs, milk, poultry and vegetables. Vegetables can be contaminated with Salmonella because many vegetables are fertilized with animal manure. If the manure is contaminated with Salmonella it can spread to vegetables.

Abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever are symptoms of Salmonella and can develop 12 to 72 hours after infection. Salmonella generally lasts 4 to 7 days. Click here to learn more information about Salmonella from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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