Tag Archives: heritage

Hardy Perennials Add Color to Your Winter

If winter finds you longing for those riotous colors of spring and summer, cheer up. You can enjoy a colorful winter that rivals spring blooms and fall foliage for sheer variety and color. There are lots of colorful plants that love the cold, and some even bloom in the snow! Here are just a few to consider.

There are also quite a few hardy vegetables that produce in winter.

Hybrid Witch Hazel

(Hamamelis × intermedia)

Hybrid Witch Hazel

 

USDA Zone 5

Blooms January to March.

Hybrid Witch Hazel reaches 10 to 20 feet, with some reaching nearly the same width. They offer a riot of color in the fall when their foliage turns brightly colored hues that depend on the variety grown. Long, glorious blossoms abound along the branches from deep winter until early spring. The Chicago Botanic Garden has over 20 different cultivars of Witch Hazel hybrids growing side by side in Zone 5. If you’re in the Chicago area, you shouldn’t pass up the chance to see so many different types bloom at once in February.

American Witch Hazel

American Witch Hazel, (Hamamelis virginiana) would make a great complementary planting. Native to the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and Missouri, it’s hardy down to Zone 3. The roots and bark are the sources of witch hazel extract found in drug stores. Its foliage turns rich yellow in the late fall and it blooms deep purple at that time, instead of in the deep winter.

Oriental Hybrid Hellebore

(Helleborus orientalis)

USDA Zone 5a to 8b

Flowers January to early March.

Hybrid Double White Spotted Hellebore

The perennial hellebore is remarkable for its characteristic ability to bloom in the snow. Even in the depths of winter, the hellebore adds colorful life to a monotonous winter landscape. This might just be the star of your winter show once you see how many colors, details and shapes are available. The hellebore comes in about as many colors as you can dream up. Pink, purple, peach, green and even black, actually a very dark purple. They come with picotee edging, some have contrasting veins and a few have dark or spotted flower centers.

Blooms are profuse, coming in star shapes with singles, doubles and anemones to choose from. There are few garden sights as stunning as a black hellebore blooming against a backdrop of snow.

Helleborus Orientalis

English Primrose

(Primula vulgaris)

USDA Zone 5-9

Blossoms February until April.

This historic favorite is available in a dazzling array of colors, blooms profusely and can take a variety of sunlight conditions. English Primrose averages about a foot tall with clusters of flowers averaging 8-10 inches across.

English Primrose

Winter Honeysuckle

(Lonicera fragrantissima)

USDA Zone: 3-8

Bloom time is February-March.

Winter Honeysuckle

The Winter Honeysuckle shrub offers a profusion of 3/4″ long yellow and white cascading flowers, closely followed by bright red berries in early springtime.

No More Drab Winters

Planting these choices strategically throughout your landscape and garden will keep the sunshine bright colors around all through those long winter months. Garden strolls will be a great attraction for children and holiday visitors. Back inside, you can impress them just a little more with fresh veggies from your indoor winter garden. Gardening doesn’t have to be limited to one particular stretch of the year. You can have bright, cheery color no matter what the season!

The Hillbilly’s Back in Town

Look What Wandered In

After an absence of two weeks from the catalog, we’ve got enough seeds out of the field to put the Hillbilly Beefsteak back on the roster. One of the choicest varieties available for summer heat, drought-worthiness, and just plumb great eatin’, whether on that Fourth of July burger or those zesty summer evening salads. We’ve also got live starts for local pickup, in 4-inch, six packs and a limited selection of half-gallon sizes.

Cut ‘Em Open for a Visual Feast

These big, beefy bi-color tomatoes are famous for warm flavor, for excellent taste, and as the perfect burger slicer. Undeniably delicious, these enormous, 1-2 pound fruit have gorgeous golden-orange, red streaked flesh and skin. Indeterminate plants produce sweet, juicy beefsteak type tomatoes that are low in acid and exceptionally tasty in sandwiches and salads.

These are grown for hamburger and sandwich slices, dicing for salad, tacos and the like, and for an occasional decadent, juicy snack, with flavorful juices running off our chins as we smack our lips… uh, sorry, lost it for a moment just thinking about these awesome beauties.

Get some seeds and grow yer own.

Hillbilly Beefsteak

Certified Veteran Grown

Farmer Veteran Coalition

 

A Flair For Flavor

Next up on the January Hit Parade will be our Sonoran Flair beefsteak tomato, a medium-sized sandwich slicer, smaller than some beefsteaks, maybe tennis-ball-sized. This variety is selected from F8 Solar Flair seeds(nowadays spelled “Flare” instead of “Flair”), which were selected and provided by grower and originator Brad Gates at Wild Boar Farms. We will be selecting for flavor, size and for drought and heat resistance. In the near future, we plan to select for cold hardiness as well, at high altitude gardens in Northern Arizona. At the same time, we will be carefully preserving any unusually colorful or otherwise noteworthy mutations for further investigation.

Visually, the primary distinguishing feature of these tomatoes is the presence of metallic gold stripes over a deep red appearance. The overall effect is most appetizing. Those who act on the impulse to bite into one will be rewarded with warm yet sweet flavor, a high degree of juiciness and a savory complexity that goes just as well on a bacon cheeseburger as it does with avocado and bell peppers in your salad.

Sonoran Flair Tomato

Use ground cover such as melon or squash to cool the ground and preserve moisture through the hottest part of the summer. Then you can cut the ground vines away as fall approaches, and the mature plants will produce heavily until frost.

The selection criteria for Sonoran Flair are:

  • Heat resistance. We are looking to sell a tomato seed that will set fruit well above 100 degrees. These plants have survived 120-degree summers in Southern Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, and set fruit in spite of spending weeks at or above 110-115 degrees.
  • Currently being adapted for short seasons and cooler summers in our Painted Desert location at 6700 feet on top of a mesa in Pine and Juniper forest
  • Drought tolerance. A scarcity of water goes with the territory when the temperatures are well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the late afternoon.
  • Size. This doesn’t mean we select for the biggest monsters we can produce. We seek to select a variety that serves as the RIGHT SIZE rather than the largest size. We’re looking for the perfect burger and sandwich slicers here.
  • As always, even if all the above criteria are met, taste is the deal-breaker. These tomatoes must taste GREAT or they just don’t make the team, simple as that.
  • Unusual colors, cherry sizes or noteworthy mutations will of course be preserved for exploration as fixed phenotypes, going into the future.
Sonoran Flair Tomato

 

The pictures show these beauties nearing ripeness in our January gardens. Over the next couple of weeks, these large berries will change color, with the lighter color deepening into red, and the dark colored stripes richening to a deep gold color.

Sonoran Flair Tomato

These are very hardy plants, having survived a brutal 2016 summer in Phoenix, and several freezes in December and January this winter. Hardy and beautiful in a single fruit. Drought tolerance is great with this variety, too. A permanent addition to our catalog.

 

Blue Gold Berries in Harvest, Seeds Available Soon!

The Blue Gold Berries cherry tomatoes have been coming ripe over the last couple of weeks, and we are now in full seed-harvesting mode on these babies, with several pints per plant developing. Once dried, cured and tested, these seeds will be listed both on our Facebook Shop page at https://www.facebook.com/PaintedDesertSeedCo and here on our Painted Desert Seed Company website store, beginning in late January or early February.

We’ll be turning around and planting about 150 starts from these plants, just in time for Southern Arizona, in the first week of February.
We’ll have these starts available for spring, beginning around Valentine’s Day and continuing until sold, at $5.00 apiece. Phoenix area only. These tomatoes are very juicy, savory without being sweet, and with a powerful, tangy zing to them. They would be absolutely perfect for salsa, relish and on tacos or pizza.

They make for great snacking all by themselves, and our harvest has been in danger a couple of times because these berries always seem to disappear within a few feet of the bush and never make it into the house! 😀

They have already survived at least three freezes before harvesting, so these berries are also a lot hardier than the average tomato, especially considering they also survived a 120-degree spell for nearly a week in June. You won’t find a tougher, more beautiful or more intensely flavorful cherry tomato anywhere.

They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Who wouldn’t love the chance to drive something like this thing for some kind of routine chore on the property? It would be great to use this ancient J.I. Case tractor for staging hay or water to another working area on a regular basis…

Ancient J.I. Case Tractor

Video – Seed Saving Tips and Organizing Your Seed Collection with Marjory Wildcraft

A few great tips from Marjory Wildcraft on organizing your seed collection…

Home Gardens to Go – How to Harvest Heirloom Seeds- Video with Belinda

Belinda with http://homegardenstogo.com is back showing us how to harvest heirloom seeds for gardening!

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AFfzchtwbc[/embedyt]

Welcome to Painted Desert Seed Company

We grow and stock Heritage Quality, Heirloom, Open-Pollinated seeds ONLY.

Our goal is to do our part in securing regional food supplies, through diversity, hardiness, and selection for desired traits, such as flavor, color, drought tolerance and productivity. We want to provide seeds that grow beautiful, tasty and productive plants, that also happen to be tough as nails when it comes to surviving harsh conditions.

Arizona’s unique geography allows for two separate climates in which to grow: the Southern and Western Deserts (Mohave, Yucca and Sonoran) with three full seasons, and the Northern/Eastern, Alpine Life Zone at 6000+ feet of elevation, which lies alongside the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest of about 5000 feet elevation.

In both cases, drought and poor soil conditions are just the toppers to the harsh weather all over the West. Our location also provides us with access to some of the most ancient seed lines in North America, through the native people who were among the first to domesticate and develop some of today’s most productive foods, including corn, sunflower, beans, peppers and tomatoes.

Michael and Bettie Bailey, our son and a few local friends benefit from the fact that seed farming, for us, is a much-smaller scale operation than traditional row cropping on huge acreage. It only takes a few people to operate a layout which we designed as interlocking permaculture-based gardens, rather than vast fields of commercial cropland.

Victory Garden Poster

We sell only Open-Pollinated, Non-Hybrid seeds, that are grown only with natural input, both for nutrients and pest control. Extensive use of compost and soil building with mulch and crop remains are standard practice.

If we have the need to import either soil or amendments, such as worm castings or potting soil, we insist that it be sterile before it comes through our gates. It will be inoculated with the soil organisms in our operation ONLY. We are determined that nothing that comes through our gates will contaminate our natural local conditions.

This is what our children eat. The cleaner, the healthier our children’s food, the better for the world as a whole. Well-nourished and healthy leaders make better decisions, all else being equal, and the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Clean, healthy food is, therefore, a solid investment in the future that all of us share.

We constantly select for traits that thrive in our bio-region. Since our operation is located in Arizona, we emphasize ancient and adapted Heirloom Seed varieties for the Southwest Desert US, Southwest mountains, the West Coast, the Intermountain West and the Big Sky Redoubt.

We select for family subsistence, based on landrace traits when possible, for easier regional adaptation. We also undertake ongoing trials to determine the suitability of heirloom varieties from around the globe that might take well to our regional conditions.

For instance, we have found a Russian melon that thrives in the poor soil, 120-degree heat and drought of a Southern Arizona summer. Who would have thought any plant from Russia could survive, let alone prosper in such conditions? And its Northern European heritage means this same melon also does well in the standard, four-season Intermountain West.

We come from farming families, and we are life-long residents of our State. We are well aware of the needs of the people who grow heirloom seeds in our part of the world. We ARE those people, and they are our neighbors.

– mike