Nearly everyday lately our favorite mailman Brett has been dropping off wishes on our doorstep, and we can hardly contain our excitement about all these seeds!
Since our massive terra-forming construction phase last season, we’ve been looking at a whole lot of dirt out there. But like the spark of an idea, that becomes a possibility, then a new vision of reality - these seeds are so small, but entirely full of infinite potential!
The species list for this season is a mix of over 250 perennial and annual cultivars. Some will be sold at market, some will be sold wholesale, and some will be left alone to get comfortable and multiply. Our aim is to encourage a complex diversity of species that functions as a habitat for wildlife, forage for pollinators, food and medicine for humans, and from it eek out enough earning potential for us to be upstanding self reliant citizens. Here at the ground level of all that intention, these seeds look small but hold the future of Fields Without Fences.
Each seed will turn into a plant that will play an important role in our evolving system. Our favorite species tend to be multifunctional perennials for a variety of reasons; less work, deep roots, resiliency, and redundancy. Nature likes a good win win, and as bit part players, we take our cues from the star of the show. Below are a couple plants we are feeling pretty stoked about!
Johann’s excited about... Cardoon & Celtuce!
Dynamic Accumulator: Cardoon has a fairly long maturation period, but while we wait to eat the stalks, the roots are busy reaching down into the soil and mining minerals and nutrients, sharing the resources with other plants.
Tasty Market Crop: Generally, the long celery-like stalks of Cardoon are blanched and steamed to produce a flavor very similar to Artichoke. They are a Mediterranean culinary favorite and gaining popularity with chefs around the world for their reputation as a delicious delicacy.
Easy On The Eyes: Cardoon can get very large and take up a lot of space, which is fine by us because they sure are pretty! For this reason, Cardoon is frequently planted as an ornamental - a plant you might consider as you endeavor upon your edible landscaping.
Centaur: Celtuce looks like it sounds, lettuce on top, celery on the bottom, and likewise tastes like a mild combination of the two. This Asian green is very popular in China where the preferred preparation is in stir fries. Eat the leaves like lettuce, or the stalk like celery, or do some one-stop shopping in the salad department and eat the whole damn thing.
Mystery: We’ve never grown Celtuce before! Will we like it? Will it like us? Will other people like us and it? We hope so! It’s the homecoming dance freshman year and our date is part man, part horse!
Lindsay’s excited about... Comfrey & Stinging Nettle!
Permaculture Favorite: Comfrey possesses amazing versatility and usefulness and therefore is a favored plant amongst organic gardeners, and permaculture enthusiasts alike. Its is a dynamic accumulator and the mature leaves can be chopped and dropped as a green manure and mulch. Planting comfrey underneath trees accomplishes many tasks mining nutrients, shading out grass, and functioning as an in place mulch producer. Oh yeah, and pollinators love it too!
Healer: Topically Comfrey is a strong medicinal healer, great for treating wounds, torn ligaments, strains, bruises, and any injury to the bones or joints.
Compost Activator: When tossed into the compost heap, Comfrey adds a healthy dose of nitrogen to the pile. For similar reasons, the plant can also be made into a tea-fertilizer for other garden species.
Infamy: Stinging Nettle is a rather infamous plant because of its tiny stinging hairs called trichomes which act as little needles zapping and shocking the skin of any animal that touches or brushes against its leaves. Last season I found myself wading through large patches of the of the stuff harvesting the tops and feeling a bit like an walking static sweater at a car convention. Zap! Admittedly an acquired preference, but I happen to enjoy the sensation, and no lie, I felt positively charged for the rest of the day!
Delicious & Nutritious: Nettle tops are the tender most portion of the plant and when steamed or stir-fried taste like a sweet delicate spinach. They are packed with vitamins like iron, calcium, potassium, silicon, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and chromium among others! And rest assured, heat very quickly dissolves the stinging hairs, so don’t be afraid to put it in your mouth.
Medicinal & Life Enhancing: Stinging Nettle has a variety of medicinal uses. Topically it has traditionally been used to treat arthritis, increase blood flow, and treat itchy scalp & dandruff. Internally the tonic plant is great for liver and kidney health, combating seasonal allergies, makes hair shiny and skin clear, and can alleviate symptoms of PMS and menopause. In the garden, the nettle provides an essential habitat to pollinator insects, makes great fertilizer for vegetables, and are beneficial as companion plants.
Now bring on the Sun! Please :)