I'm daughter to Lissie, sister to Jess, wife to Brien, mom to Hannah, Lily and Eleanor. I am a stay at home mom to my girls, and my free time is dedicated to gardening (I confess I'm still a novice and look to Lissie and Jess for advice), baking and cooking, and card making. I'm doing my part to make the earth a bit greener, trying hard to avoid processed foods and HFCS, and find the "slow food" movement intriguing and inspiring. I love visits to my local farmers' market, fresh produce, reading, getting out in nature, and spending time with my family.


Catholic, homeschooler, lover of books and great wine and an amateur gardening addict.


I'm Melissa aka "Lissie", mother of Rachael and Jessica, and grandmother to a passel of the sweetest children on the planet. I'm a semi-retired public educator and professor who works from home for a small publisher. I am a lover of all things beautiful ... flowers, the mountains, nature scenes, the innocent faces of children, and my rock and fossil collection, to name a few. I enjoy shopping at the farmers' market for fresh foods and then experimenting with new recipes. Good food and good wine delight me. I love to travel so my suitcase is always packed. Like my daughters, I take pleasure in simple things ... clothes drying on the line, tomatoes so fresh they are still hot from the sun, good books, and interesting movies. I'd like to know everything before I die.

It is that time of year again, time for the seed catalogs to arrive in my mailbox and for me to get planning and dreaming. I still have lots of seeds left over from last year due to our mid-year move and not being able to plant a summer garden but I am definitely in need of cool weather seeds like lettuces, arugula, radishes and whatnot.

Here are the catalogs I am anxiously waiting to arrive:

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds - I purchase most of my seeds from them.

Territorial Seed Company - Great selection, on the expensive side though.

D. Landreth Seed Company - Apparently the oldest seed company in the USA, though under new ownership. Not sure what their seed sources are, so I am reserving judgment until I get the catalog and see what they've got.

Seed Savers Exchange - The old standby.


Renee's Garden Seeds - online ordering only, but boy her seeds really germinate well for me and she has a nice selection of hard to find heirloom flowers.




Rach said...

My Baker Creek catalog was waiting for me when I got back into town on Tuesday. :o)

Lissie said...

I need suggestions for which varieties of tomatoes to grow. I'm starting small this year ... and also I plan to grow herbs in pots on my deck. How do I learn how to create a raised bed like you and Rachael have done?


seedman said...

You can find free online seed saving instructions on the website of this 20 year-old non-profit:

You can find Basic Seed Saving book for $5.95 here at the site of another great heirloom seed company:

Jess said...


I try to avoid any Monsanto ties with my seeds so that excludes me from purchasing from most big name seed companies (Burpees especially). I know it seems silly to avoid Monsanto seeds when I eat cereal and all other sorts of grocery store products that most likely have strong ties and GMOs but this is just a line I am choosing not to cross right now. The easiest way to do that with seeds is to go to trusted heirloom sources and grow from seed and not buy transplants from nurseries. I have been surprised by the varieties that are available, really neat and unusual types.

I loved Green Zebras. Not sure how they will do in VA but they were such a prolific producer in KS I am betting they will be fine here too since it is slightly warmer here. I also really like Dad's Sunsets. I may give Brandywines a go again but they didn't do well for me in KS - they seem to be the big heirloom variety that everyone raves about so I would like to see what all the fuss is about.

Bob and I followed the Square Foot Gardening method for building our beds and creating our soil mix. After 1.5 years of using the beds I personally do not think that the method allows for enough spacing, despite what the author and proponents claim. I think tomatoes just need more space and soil depth. Bob and I will use 4x4 boxes again because they are really easy to navigate with weeding and caring and organizing the space.

A couple books that we are using currently while planning the yard at the new house are:

Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman

Vegetable Gardener's Bible by Edward Smith


Great Garden Companions by Sally Jean Cunningham

I will be much more aggressive at mixing in edibles with the general landscaping around the house. I will keep plants that need caging/support in the raised beds but probably be bold and plant some cukes and melons in the beds along the side and maybe even in the front. As long as it looks maintained I doubt most people will even know what they are looking at as they drive by!

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