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Tips On Growing And Supporting Washington Cherry Tomatoes

March 14th, 2014

Cherry Tomato

Peak into a few backyards in the summertime, and you may find gorgeous, cherry tomato’s, ripe on the vine and ready for harvest. You can also grow these gorgeous tomato plants too! Here are some tips to get you started:

Some background:

Our Washington Cherry Tomato’s are organic, will grow all season long, yielding 1 ¼” meaty and flavorful fruits.  They are perfect for appetizers, salads, and snacking. We love to roast our tomato’s at 325 degrees F (until softened) with fresh thyme, salt pepper and olive oil.  After roasting, we pair them with crackers, mozzarella cheese, and basil – it’s a real treat! You can find these seeds in our Veggin’ Out and Producer seed kits.

Surprising Health Benefits:

One serving of fresh cherry tomato’s  will provide Lycopene, Vitamins A, C, K, Potassium as well as Folate.  These nutrients will contribute to strong bones, better skin and vision, a healthy immune system, reduce inflammation, and can even fight cancer. Tomato’s are also low in calories and fat, and are naturally cholesterol and saturated fat free. Even we are amazed that something this tasty can do so much good.

Growing Tips

-You will need a tomato cage or other support system to hold the tomato plants upright – we have a few great ideas below.

-If starting inside, begin 6-9 weeks before the average last spring frost. If sowing outside after the last frost, wait until temps are above 60 degrees. Tomato plants also tend to grow very well in warm summer areas.

-Plant at ¼-1/2” depth and space 1”.

-Washington Cherry Tomato’s require full sun, moderate watering, and perform best when soil is 80-85 degrees F.

-A high yielding plant will produce many 1 ¼” meaty, red cherry tomato’s that can be enjoyed right off the vine!

-Harvest when tomato’s are firm and fully colored.

Two New Ways To Support Tomato’s

Traditionally, gardeners use metal cages or stakes to keep their tomato plants upright. Yet, many are now finding that these methods can be unstable, lead to uneven sunlight exposure, or other nuisances.  Now more than ever, gardeners are trying a new method to grow their tomato plants upright: they are bending and tying the tomato plants’ rubbery stems on a flat plane.  Using a flat plane can offer what stakes and cages cannot: more stability, even sunlight exposure, a decreased likelihood of fungal disease, increased air circulation, less drooping, and an easier time spotting pests.

1. An Arbor or Backyard Archway: a unique and beautiful instrument for growing tomato’s, and can provide plenty of support.

How to:  Much like you would use a trellis, plant the tomato’s at the bottom of the arbor. Gradually train your tomato plant to climb the arbor by weaving the stems in and out of the support bars, and tying and twisting the flexible stems up and over the archway. Be sure to prune or tie loose stems that meander away from the arbor. Trellises and lattices can also make gorgeous arbors during the summer growing season.

2. A Wire Fence: These are already commonly available in many backyards. Using it for a tomato plant is a great way to create a “living wall” for you and your neighbors to admire.

How to:  If you already have a wire fence – you’re set! If you’d like, you can reinforce the fence stability further by attaching “hog wire” or “horse corral panels” commonly found at animal feed stores. To get started, plant the tomato’s at the bottom of the wire fence. As the tomato plant grows, the trick is to weave and tie the branches as wide as possible. This will provide stable support, and even sun exposure. Soft ties, hooks and twine can also help to ensure the tomato plant stays securely on the fence. Feel free to prune or redirect plants up and over the fence if they grow too tall.

Other Flat Plane Ideas:

-Grow tomato’s up a nice lattice or trellis.

-Create a “bridge” by leaning two wire mesh panels against one another (wire the top for stability). Grow tomato’s on the top surface of the “bridge.”

-Weave tomato plants up a gazebo or similar structure for a unique look.

***Friends, will you grow tomatoes this season? What are some tips that have proved successful in your garden?

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed. We’re also proud to say we have taken the Safe Seed Pledge!

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Two Ways To Store A Year Of Fresh Herbs

July 21st, 2013

photo (16)

If your basil’s tall green leaves are drooping over, and your parsley’s becoming bushy and overcrowding the tomatoes – it may be time to think about storing your favorite herbs long term. Freezing herbs, especially basil, cilantro, chives, dill, parsley, and homemade pesto is a brilliant way to enjoy their fresh flavors all year round (besides, who really gets that excited about dried herbs?  Compared with fresh herbs – there is no contest!).

Our two favorite ways to store herbs are 1) as an ice cube, and 2) as an herb log. Learn the easy processes below, and you too can make summer soups, pastas and sauces full of garden fresh flavor all year round. When you get a chance, don’t forget to check out this post on re-growing chives and celery.

How To Freeze Fresh Herbs

Herb Ice Cube Instructions:

After washing the herbs, place 2-3 individual leaves, or a spoonful of chopped herbs into ice cube trays. Fill the tray half full of water, gently ensuring that the leaves stay down. If a few leaves give you trouble, the next step should alleviate the problem.

Once frozen or mostly frozen, fill the remaining cubes with water, and freeze once more. When completely frozen, place the individual blocks of ice into a zip blog baggie, or a lidded glass container. When ready to use, remove from the freezer and drop the entire ice cube into soups, stews or sauces.

Herb Log Instructions:

Remove the leaflets off of the stem, rinse the leaves, and dry them well. Place the herbs in a freezer bag, and begin compressing and rolling the bag into a log, ensuring the air has escaped. Tie with a rubber band, and freeze. When it’s frozen, remove the herbs at any time and slice as much or little as you need.

Herb harvesting tip: Always harvest the thickest stems first, leaving the thin midsummer stems time to grow stronger and more flavorful.

***Fellow gardeners: Have you tried freezing your herbs as an ice cube or log? What is your favorite way to use frozen herbs and pesto? 

 

About Us:

Humble Seed specializes in premium garden seed kits that are packaged and themed for convenience and ease. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to those who choose to start from seed.

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Saving Heirloom Seeds 101

May 9th, 2013

winebox

For many, preserving an heirloom seed in its original genetic makeup is important.

Why?

When we think of the word “extinction,” a head of lettuce normally doesn’t pop up in our minds. It’s also obvious that our grocery stores aren’t full of endangered fruits and vegetables either. But think about the prize-winning heirloom beets you boasted last spring, or your grandfather’s special heirloom tomatoes you remember eating every summer. If these heirloom seeds are not saved, the legacy of these plants will eventually die out.

Furthermore, preserving heirlooms creates diversity, making some gardeners feel it’s their responsibly to save these seeds so that genetic variation doesn’t become extinct. If you decide to save your heirloom seeds this year, there are some important ideas to learn and put into practice to ensure success.

How To Preserve The Genetic Makeup

Ensuring an heirloom variety doesn’t accidently change its genetic makeup is a top priority. Luckily, there are some simple practices that can help limit genetic loss. One is to ensure heirloom plants do not cross-pollinate with other varieties. The easiest way to avoid this is to separate varieties a fair distance away from one another. It’s a good idea to research each plant to ensure the distance is far enough away. For example, lettuce may only require separating it 25 feet, while some pepper varieties are considered a safe distance when distancing them at least 500 feet.

Other gardeners prefer time isolation, caging, bagging, and even individually hand pollinating – these are all techniques that can help avoid accidental cross-pollination. Keep in mind that while these practices take time and thought, if two varieties cross – their genes are permanently mixed.

How To Harvest Heirloom Seeds

When you’re ready to harvest, specifically select seeds from the plants that grew quickly and with vigor.  A common mistake is to choose seeds randomly, and from mediocre plants. One major rule of thumb? Never save seeds from malformed fruit, or a fruit that has been damaged by insects, mold, or disease. Plants should be strong, healthy and not exposed to stressful conditions when early seed formation begins.

Removing any diseased plants away from potential seed saving plants will increase the viability of the plant and its seed. Diseased plants can also spread pathogens to otherwise healthy plants, and can affect the success of succeeding generations as well. During seed formation, be sure to provide the plant with sufficient moisture at flower time – this will promote pollen development and flower set.

Furthermore, learning how to properly harvest seeds from a variety of plants can ensure you’re getting the most from each plant. We look forward to sharing how to properly clean, dry, and preserve your heirloom seeds in a future post.

Friends, which heirloom varieties are you growing this year?

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Why Invest In Non-GMO and Organic Seeds?

October 8th, 2012

The word, “organic” commonly refers to the way farmers grow and process agricultural products. But with all of the focus on organic food – sometimes we forget the importance of investing in non-gmo seeds. With large biotech corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta controlling 40 percent of the U.S. vegetable seed market, it’s now more important than ever to seek out and store “safe seeds.”

Doing so can offer support to natural farmers, improve the environment and our health while making it easier to grow seeds in safe conditions.

It Offers Support

It’s simple: buying “safe seeds” supports the companies and farms that are committed to producing healthy food. When you make the choice to purchase non-gmo over modified seed, it sends a message that you support a more positive trend towards improving agriculture, without genetic engineering. It also promotes more research for finding new ways to grow seeds specifically using natural conditions.

It’s Better For The Environment

When crops are grown for seed, they require an entire life cycle for seeds to mature. This results in a greater length of time in which pests and diseases can destroy the seed crop, and may explain why in conventional farming, plants are doused with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. These chemicals are poisonous and should not be allowed to run-off into our water supply, as they can be hazardous to our health and our children’s future. They also carry heavy toxic load for the environment, and the surrounding natural farms. Yet, with the focus on the bottom line, companies allow these devastating effects.

Buying non-gmo seed that is certified organic provides the assurance that no synthetic chemicals were used while the seed was growing and maturing. In this video, a seed geneticist discusses how organic crops are “babied,” while being able to withstand the common problems farmers face.

It Makes It Easier To Grow Organically

Non-GMO seed that grows in organic conditions are more likely to thrive using natural gardening practices. When seeds grow in organic conditions, they become more adapted to compost and milder applications of pesticides, and develop stronger roots to seek out scattered nutrients in the soil. On the other hand, when seeds are modified and then developed with conventional farming practicing in mind, seeds become more reliant on fertilizers and pesticides to survive.

Studies show that when life gets a little tougher for organic plants, often times, it forces the crop to withstand drought, bad weather, and other common gardening problems. It’s also important to remember that high quality seeds have already proven their viability in organic growing conditions.

It’s Better For Our Health, Says Recent Studies

Over the last decade, plants and seeds have become increasingly engineered and treated with chemical fertilizers, synthetic insecticides and herbicides, as well as synthetic fungicides. A French study recently published their findings after rats were fed a lifetime of Monsantos’s genetically modified corn, as well as water tainted with American permitted “safe” levels of Round-Up.

While controversial, their findings were shocking.

The animals fed GM corn developed mammary tumors, as well as significant kidney and liver damage. In fact, up to 70% of the rats fed the GM diet died prematurely, compared with just 30% from the control group. Furthermore, the animals exposed to the “safe” levels of Round Up (remember that GM seed varieties are more tolerant to increased applications of this herbicide), had a lower life expectancy than the control group. Based on this study’s conclusions, Russia rushed to ban imports of Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, while France and a growing number of European countries continue to uphold their bans, not wanting to risk the health of their country.

Another reason to invest in “safe seeds?” Researchers at Stanford University published a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that showed organically-grown food being more nutritious than conventionally grown. While this study has sparked controversy since, it’s important to keep in mind as we make choices about food.

**Do you use “safe seeds” in your garden? What are the reasons you personally choose to grow them? 

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Get Crafty With Your Container Garden

April 16th, 2012

 

If you love quirky art projects, or inventive ways to display your gorgeous garden, then perhaps simple terra pots will seem a little “wah-wah” once you read these makeshift garden alternatives. A makeshift garden uses untraditional containers to display flowers, herbs, vegetables and peppers. The possibilities are endless! Which makeshift garden ideas are your favorite?

1. Decorative Chair – use a decorative dining room or patio chair and refurbish it to display your garden! To make your own garden chair, you’ll need to remove the seat and create a space to display your plants. Plant your favorite herbs, flowers or even small vegetables. (See a full tutorial with pictures here)

2. Vintage Bicycle – Give a vintage bicycle new life and make great use out of the front and back end baskets.  You may also add smaller baskets to the seat or pedals.  Fill each basket with coconut fiber and potting soil.  Plant your favorite herbs, flowers and small vegetables.

3. Picnic Basket – How often do you really use a picnic basket, perhaps twice a year? Give yours a full time job and allow your plants to be beautifully displayed from its openings.  Any sized picnic basket will work just fine, and remember to fill it with a good quality potting soil.  Plant a variety of herbs, flowers, small vegetables or even chilies for larger baskets — how creative is this basket?

4. Bird Bath – Old or unused ceramic birdbaths make wonderful displays for gorgeous herbs and flowers. Be sure to carefully drain holes at the bottom for proper drainage.

5. Dresser Drawers and Crates –  Distressed wood drawers and wine crates can create a unique, vintage feel in your garden or home. Be sure to drill holes at the bottom for proper drainage, and see this example.

6. Wheelbarrow – If you no longer use a wheelbarrow, don’t give it away! They create a quirky, rustic look when flowers, herbs and vegetables are displayed from them. Plant your favorite herbs, flowers or small vegetables. (See this tutorial)

7.  Toolbox – Using toolboxes to display your garden can create a fun conversation piece next time you have guests over.  Remember to drill in drainage holes, and fill the toolbox with potting soil.  This is a great idea for a small herb garden.

8. Used Tires – Some prefer using 1 – 2 tires for smaller gardens, while others stack several to create a tower of plants for display. Leave the tires as is for a recycled feel, or spray paint each for a decorative edge. Some studies show that used tires have the potential to release harmful chemicals in warm temperatures.  Therefore, inedible plants are recommended, and never display them in an enclosed area or in-doors. (A beautiful photo here)

9.  Tree stump – Tree stumps can be unsightly and difficult to mask. Why not make lemonade out of a lemon?  They can be quite beautiful with a variety of flowers and herbs rising out. Creating a makeshift garden out of a tree stump is a little more challenging – but well worth the effort.  This how-to gives thorough step-by-step instructions.

10.  Picture Frames – Picture frames filled with small plants can make a boring fence instantly adorable and functional! Window box frames work best, or use any frame with additional width to fit small pots with herbs or flowers. (A gorgeous example here)

 

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Plant the Garden of Your Dreams with a Customized Humble Seed Kit

April 3rd, 2012

Spring is officially in full swing, and many of us are eager to get back into our gardens and harvest the delicious benefits.  Selecting the seed varieties that work best for your own growing conditions, environment and dinner plates is all part of the fun – and can produce very positive results in your garden.  With this in mind, Humble Seed is pleased to offer a popular demanded option to take advantage of: the opportunity to customize your own seed kit! We are thrilled to partner with Very Jane once again to bring gardeners this much requested option for a limited time.  We also look forward to featuring a permanent customized seed kit option in the near future on our own website.  Review the details below so you can begin your seed selecting right away!

How To Customize Your Seed Kit

To get started, simply review the 28 varieties of premium seeds that are offered exclusively for this promotion. Select 10 different seed packs of your choice. Due to inventory demand, we will not be able to fulfill multiple packs of the same seed type within a single order. Each customized seed kit is priced at $32.00, a 20% discount from the retail price ($40.00) and offered exclusively for this promotion! We are offering the following premium seeds for each customized kit:

 

Vegetables:

Scarlet Nantes Carrot

White Bunching Onion Scallion

Crimson Sweet Watermelon

Amazing Cauliflower

Tavera Green Bean (organic)

Red Express Cabbage (organic)

Green Romaine (organic)

Rosa Bianca Eggplant (organic / heirloom)

Washington Cherry tomato (organic)

Rose Tomato (heirloom / organic)

Black Seeded Simpson (heirloom)

Marketmore Cucumber (organic)

DeCicco Broccoli (organic /heirloom)

Peppers:

Yankee Bell Pepper

Antohi Romanian Specialty Frying Pepper (organic)

Padron Pepper (heirloom)

Joe’s Long Cayenne (organic)

Conchos Jalapeno

 Herbs:

Superbo Basil

Purly Chives

Banquet Dill

Bronze and Green Fennel (organic)

Greek Oregano

Cumin

German Winter Thyme

Titan Parsley

Common Sage

Santo Cilantro (coriander)

As always, Humble Seed offers non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds with heirloom and certified organic options at an exceptional value. You can also trust that our premium seeds have one of the highest germination rates when compared with other seed companies, and we ship them directly to you in a re-sealable and airtight Mylar® bag; guaranteed for long-term storage and effective seed saving.  At Humble Seed, you can trust that “ex-seeding expectations” is an affirmation we take seriously.

Click here to start building your seed kit!

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Humble Seed’s “1,000 Fans Contest”

July 20th, 2010

Humble Seed knows everyone loves a great contest, and we certainly know there are people who are passionate about the environment and the foods they consume, so we’ve launched our “1,000 Fans Contest” and made it even easier to enter!

With the world being in the current state it is in, where people crave ‘back to basics,’ Humble Seed strives to promote the earth-friendly, positive sustainable lifestyle, via our Facebook page, premium products and informative blog posts.

At Humble Seed, we’re dedicated to providing individuals and families with the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties. Become a Humble Seed Facebook fan, and spread the love, and you can win a great prize (contest rules below). Our goal is to reach 1,000 followers!

To enter Humble Seed’s “1,000 Fans Contest,” you must do the following:

  1. Quickly enter our sweepstakes via our Facebook entry form here –http://bit.ly/WinHumbleSeed
  2. Afterwards we ask that you invite your friends to enter too and the sooner you may win!
  3. Once Humble Seed reaches 1,000 fans, Humble Seed will arbitrarily select a fan, and we ask that the winner post photos of their plants and foods as they grow. We want to see how everything’s going and growing!
  4. The winner of Humble Seed’s “1,000 Fans Contest” will win the Humble Seed Trio, which includes the following products: Uncle Herb’s Favorites, Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles, and Veggin’ Out, as well as a garden tool tote. Total retail value: $110.00. Offer limited to U.S. residents only. (Due to export restrictions on seeds)

Good luck, and good living!

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The Five Ws of Humble Seed

May 7th, 2010

Since the launch of Humble Seed, we’ve met some great folks who are passionate about seeds, and we’re honored to be a part of such a wonderful community. If you’re a new follower to the Humble Seed Blog, here is one of our press releases, to give you some insight into who we are.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jim Mitchell, co-owner/operator

877-956-SEED (7333)

jmitchell@humbleseed.com

Feed Your Inner Gardener with ‘Humble Seed’

Scottsdale, Ariz. (April 14, 2010) – Humble Seed cultivates the gardener within all of us with irresistible “seed that feeds” kits. Each kit features premium seed packets for an array of edible plants. First-time entrepreneurs Jim and Kristen Mitchell, who launched the online business today, aim to inspire would-be growers by making seed selection easier while enhancing variety, flavor, and nutritional value.

Instead of sifting through piles of paper envelopes vulnerable to heat and humidity, www.HumbleSeed.com customers pick from themed gardens in a kit: Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles; The Producer; Uncle Herb’s Favorites; and Veggin’ Out.

Every kit contains at least 10 premium packets of seeds for environmentally conscious growers offering higher seed counts than similar products. Seeds are packaged in re-sealable Mylar bags for ultimate protection, allowing growers to plant now or later. For those seeking a survival seed bank, The Producer is a bulk fruit-and-vegetable kit that is packaged within an FDA-approved container for long-term food storage.

Humble Seed is a labor of love. After relocating to the Valley from the Midwest one year ago, Jim left his career as an energy trader to follow his heart. He poured his energy and savings into Humble Seed, an entirely self-funded venture.

“My whole life I’ve been trying to find one calling, one passion that would help people,” Jim says. “I really connected to growing my own food. There are so many health, financial and environmental benefits and creating a stable, healthy food supply reduces our reliance on other economies.”

The Scottsdale husband-and-wife team share a passion for making a difference. We are extremely excited that we’re helping empower people in a down economy,” says Kristen. “Families can now get fresh food at a fraction of the cost found at your local produce section.”

Humble Seed is dedicated to providing the highest quality heirloom, non-GMO, non-hybrid, and organic seed varieties to conscientious gardeners who choose to start from seed. Hobbyists, retirement communities, survival gardeners, schools and restaurants can buy the kits at www.HumbleSeed.com. The website also features books, recipes and seed-growing tips.  Kits start at $21.95.

More information and interviews: 877-956-7333; jmitchell@humbleseed.com; www.humbleseed.com. Become a friend of Humble Seed on Facebook.

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Celebrate Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary with New Green Practices

April 22nd, 2010

Have you thought about how you will honor Earth Day? There’s no better time than the present to consider new green practices to make life better, for yourself, your family, and the planet. And, today, there are more eco-friendly options than ever to help you green your lifestyle, including: purchasing clothes made from sustainable fabrics, contacting your local power utility company to ask about their Green Power or Green Energy Options, updating your home with recyclable materials, bringing back the clothesline to dry your clothes (according to Planet Green, the dryer is number two on the list of household energy hogs), and, the list goes on and on.

Another great way to incorporate more green into your life is by growing your own foods, and one great convenience with growing your own foods is that you can start out as small or as big as you are able. Whether you are limited to container or greenhouse gardening, or even if you have a section of your yard suitable for Hot Mama’s Peppers and Chiles and Uncle Herb’s Favorites, growing your own foods is more doable and easier than you may believe, and it’s therapeutic. Once you begin growing from seed and reaping the many benefits of your very own ‘local’ foods, the satisfaction you’ll receive is a powerful motivator to continue living a sustainable food lifestyle.

Having your own garden is like having your own small healthy ecosystem. From nurturing chemical-free soil to growing heirloom, organic, non-GMO, and non-hybrid seeds, and feeding your family the freshest foods sourced from your yard to composting kitchen leftovers to enrich your garden soil, each of these steps help make a healthy difference in your life and the planet.

Keep it real, and go green!

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Humble Seed – “Life As A Seed”

April 19th, 2010

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