In many parts of the world, pollinators like monarch butterflies and bumblebees are in crisis, but there are simple steps you can take, right in your own backyard garden.
Early findings from the latest annual census of western monarch butterflies wintering along the California coast also offers some reason for optimism: thus far in its 2021 Thanksgiving count, which concludes December 5, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has recorded more than 100,000 sightings of western monarchs. It is a significant rebound from last year, when Xerces volunteers counted only about 2,000 of the butterflies in its 2020 census. Still, the number is cause for alarm, given that just a few decades ago western monarchs migrated by the millions.
In 1944, Vice President Henry A. Wallace undertook an expedition to China and the Soviet Union. Coming at a critical time in World War II, with Wallace facing political headwinds at home, the 51-day, 27,000 mile trip was an audacious journey by any measure.
A largely overlooked footnote is that Wallace took seeds with him, including one for a sweet, white honeydew that took root on farms around Lanzhou, in the Chinese province of Gansu. Such an exchange of seeds was natural for Wallace; he lived and breathed a love of plants and a commitment to farmers and agriculture, and he passionately believed that agriculture was a pillar of national stability, security and prosperity, at home and abroad.
“Even in the darkest days of World War II, when he took this trip to China, he was fascinated by what was growing, what was happening in agriculture. He was basically curious a
As we gathered with friends and family this Thanksgiving, we at Baker Creek were feeling especially grateful for the opportunity to be part of the heirloom seed movement. We are also celebrating the publication of our 25th annual catalog this year, a milestone that would not be possible without people like you.
You may not realize it, but your heirloom garden is just a small part of a much bigger, global effort to build healthier, self-sufficient families and communities towards a sustainable future for the planet. All of us at Baker Creek feel truly blessed to be able to pursue our passion for finding, saving and sharing these precious heirloom varieties, and for learning and sharing stories about the people nourished by them.
This season, we are also reflecting on the meaning of abundance, and on what it means to share our harvest with others. As heirloom gardeners,
Southern gardeners who enjoy a mild or no-frost winter can grow a bounty of produce in the cool months, and for many gardeners in the southernmost locations, this is the very best time to grow cool weather-loving crops! If you are a gardener in the upper regions of the South, where you have hard winters and don’t plant to grow through the winter, check out our blog on preparing the garden for winter.
Should Southern Gardeners Amend Soil In the Winter?
By now your summer crops have matured or faded. It is time to harvest and clear out those old plants, dig and cure those sweet potatoes and get your beds cleaned up. After a long summer your soil will be grateful f
As winter's chill approaches, it is time to put the garden to rest for the season. While it can be sad to say goodbye to our glorious summer gardens, this cold period is important. The life cycles of many pests and diseases are disrupted in winter. So perhaps in the midst of the next polar vortex or nor'easter… remember that intense cold is why northern gardeners have fewer insect pests, plant diseases and weed issues than their southern neighbors!
Preparing for winter can look different depending on your goals and gardening style, but you can mainly focus on cleaning up and taking steps to prepare for growing next season. Some gardeners prefer to leave plants in the ground to serve wildlife and reduce soil erosion; others prefer a tidy garden and will provide mulch or cover crop to deal with erosion over the winter.
What’s the Advantage To Lea
Baker Creek's horticulture staff comes from a diverse range of professions, from market farmers to seed producers and nursery and greenhouse growers, and they grow in all kinds of climates, from Maine to Jamaica. There’s one thing on which they all agree: The Number One way to grow a better garden is to understand your specific climate and take lots of notes!
What are the best sources for information?
There are many free resources for regionally specific growing information.
Check out your state's monthly planting calendar, typically published for free online by state universities. Reach out to your local master gardeners association or county cooperative extension agent’s office for free educational lec
Baker Creek offers only heirloom and open-pollinated varieties. They’re distinctly different from commercial hybrids or genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But what does this all mean?
What Is An Open-Pollinated Variety?
“Open pollinated” is a botanical term that tells us that the variety is stable and the seeds will “breed true.” These seeds have an established set of genetic traits, like taste, color and shape, that will remain the same when its seeds are saved and planted the following season. For example, the seeds of an Amish Paste tomato, which is an open-pollinated variety, will express the same characteristics each year, provided that no accidental cross pollination occurs. This term lets us know that the seeds were bred naturally by wind, insects, animals or human hands in a minimally invasive way (like passing pollen between two varie
From formal flower beds to carefree cottage gardens and wildflower fields, adding spring-flowering bulbs to your design can take your landscape to greater heights. Whether you are planning to plant a great swath of scented hyacinth or small smattering of dainty daffodils, here are a few essential gardening tips and tricks to ensure spring bulb success.
When should I start my bulb garden?
If you want a show-stopping spring bulb garden, the time to design and dream up your ideal landscape is late summer into fall! For most climates in the U.S, bulbs like tulips, hyacinth and daffodils should be planted in the mid to late fall, where they stay nestled in the ground all winter, coming to life in the spring, bursting with fabulous color and fragrance!
When is the best time
Should I reap or should I sow carrots in the fall? That depends on where you are growing. Gardeners in the far south can once again begin to sow carrot seeds in fall for a winter harvest. Northern gardeners will have to start their fall carrot planting in midsummer in order to harvest delicious roots in the fall and early winter. The beauty of growing carrots is that there are many planting and harvest windows to keep these nutritious roots on our plate throughout the year!
Check out our comprehensive video guide to growing great carrots, seed to harvest!
Bring a little Baker Creek magic to your next Zoom call or Google Meet! We’ve collected some of our very favorite scenic views of the pastoral gardens, rustic buildings and heritage breed animals that make Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company’s farm and village such a special place.
Perhaps you’ve visited Baker Creek, or simply admired photographer Laura Stilson’s spectacular images that are featured in our catalogs and social media. And since virtual work and socializing is likely to be with us for a long time to come, we invite you to immerse yourself in the serene landscape of the Missouri Ozarks.
Making a virtual background on Zoom is easy. Simply download one of the images on this page by right clicking and selecting 'save as', or better yet, download them all. (You will ne