Newsletter: June 2013 Gardening Tips


June 2013 Edition

“The summer world is the insect world. Like it or not, that is how it is. There are new insects that never find the day too hot.”

~Donald Culross Peattie, botanist 1898-1954

In This Issue-

  • Farmer + Chef Connection
  • Chard of Many Colors
  • The Poppy and Its Seeds
  • Organizations and Programs We’ve Supported in 2013
  • Heirloom Tomato Growing Tips
  • Growing Vegetables With A Smile

Hello Subscriber!



Doce Fire

Welcome to the late June 2013 and wildfire edition of our Gardening Tips! This was originally planned to be in your inbox early last week, but we’ve been involved with the Doce Fire that started around noon last Tuesday just north and west of Prescott, AZ, June 18 and has burned around 6,700 acres and forced the evacuation of almost 500 homes.

We are not in danger, nor is our property nor Terroir Seeds as we are in a grassland area north and east of the fire. We did help evacuate family friends and their animals, and spent the night with Allan and Eileen – Cindy’s parents – who live in the fire zone. We weren’t sure if there would be an evacuation of their area and couldn’t get back into help if we weren’t already there. As of this past weekend, no homes have burned and no-one, resident or fire-fighter, have been injured. We are fortunate! There are a number of other fires that are creating devastation around the West; Colorado Springs, CO, Silver City, NM and several others in southern California. This is one of the driest years on record for the intermountain West, and we have had only 2.25 inches of moisture this year!

Thank you so much for the thoughts and wishes from so many of you that have joined us on Facebook, we really appreciate it! If you haven’t joined us there yet, please do; as we are having daily conversations that won’t be able to make it into the Newsletter.

We want to try something new starting with the next edition. We have been answering your questions individually, and have seen several of the same or very similar ones being asked by different people, so we realized that we could provide better information to everyone by sharing the questions and answers in the Newsletter. Please, send us your gardening questions for us to answer in July’s Newsletter!

There is a lot of great information this edition and we’re already late, so let’s jump in!


Farmer + Chef Connection


Arizona Farmer + Chef ConnectionWe had a great time at the 4th Farmer + Chef Connection at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. It was held on June 10th and featured an atmosphere of networking and forging relationships between food producers and buyers built upon trust and the mutual commitment to good, clean and fair food that is grown locally.

There were about 300 people attending who enjoyed the keynote presentation by Richard McCarthy, the new Executive Director of Slow Food USA, as well as a short film titled, “Rise of the Grains” that highlighted some Arizona producers.

That was followed by breakout sessions to help educate on different aspects of the local food production challenges. Afterward the vendors had a few minutes to set up and the networking exploded! We were impressed at the number of passionate people who are working in all aspects of food that stopped by, said hello and got to know us a bit better. We wanted to get some photos and video, but all we had time to do was a couple of short video clips, so we put them together into a fun little video short for you. Click on the photo and enjoy!


Chard of Many Colors


Swiss chardThere are a couple of recipes for you this edition, starting with Swiss chard. Surprisingly, most people aren’t aware that chard is tolerant of hot weather, much more heat resistant than spinach, which will be bolting soon if it hasn’t already. You can plant Swiss chard in the garden right now and in a month enjoy some crunchy, tasty chard in salads, sandwiches and this recipe we’ve shared with you – Swiss chard Italian Style – from Farm Fresh Now!

Chard’s long, thick stalks have wide, glossy green leaves that may be smooth or curly, depending on the variety. The stalk comes in many colors, from white to green to brilliant red, yellow, and pink. At many farmers markets you’ll see the flashy Ruby Red and Bright Lights varieties. They are glamorous and hard to resist, but the old-fashioned varieties with white stems and green leaves are even tastier. They will produce all season, well into the first frosts when they become a bit sweeter.


The Poppy and Its Seeds


Blue Seed Opium PoppyThe book “The Culture of Vegetables and Flowers from Seeds and Roots” by Suttons and Sons printed in 1910 had this to say about the poppy-

“The recent developments of this flower have brought it into great and deserved popularity, and it may be safely affirmed that no other subject in our gardens affords a more imposing display of brilliant colouring during the blooming period. All the varieties are eminently adapted for enlivening shrubbery borders and the sides of carriage-drives. Large clumps of some of the bolder colours should be sown in spots that are visible from a distance, and they will present glowing masses of flowers.”

We present a few gardening tips and a delicious Poppy Seed Dressing in the article The Poppy and Its Seeds.


Organizations and Programs We’ve Supported in 2013


This year has been a tremendous one for us here at Terroir Seeds. One of the ways in which we measure our success is by the number of Members we retain and the new ones we attract, as well as the diversity and number of different programs we are able to help across the country. This year shows very strong growth in all areas of our Membership program, with many new folks joining up to help our returning Members and us work with and improve some truly remarkable gardening and food related programs.

We are a bit late this year, but our 2013 listing of the organizations and programs that our Members help us support is online. This year we’ve added the website of the programs where we could so that you can see for yourself what good comes from a vast and diverse people who are committed to making our food and communities better with their work. Click on Organizations and Programs We’ve Supported in 2013 to see the listing!


Heirloom Tomato Growing Tips


Heirloom TomatoesThere have been a number of questions regarding heirloom tomatoes and how to care for them lately. We have brought back an article from earlier last year that answers just these questions to share with you.

Tomatoes are complex creatures, needing rich and well mineralized soil that is well drained and not over-watered. The simple, ruinous yet well intentioned act of giving tomatoes too much water most likely accounts for fully 75% of all of the problems with them; from soil borne fungi and other micro-organisms attacking the roots to fruit splitting, cracking and blossom end rot and ultimately the worst- flavor wash-out. Ideally, tomatoes like a lightly moist soil. The best way to judge when to water is by getting to know your plants and paying attention to the leaves. When the leaves just start to curl at the very edges or tips is when the plant is telling you it’s thirsty. Different varieties of tomatoes will have naturally curling leaves, thus the need to get to know your specific plants. Give them a drink, but don’t drown them. There has been multiple studies done that have clearly shown that tomatoes do much better with a little less water than a little more. Production, taste and disease resistance all increase when the plant is watered a full 25% less than what is commonly believed to be the “right” amount.

Read the rest of the article at Heirloom Tomato Growing Tips!


Growing Vegetables With A Smile


Growing Vegetables With A Smile BookThere is a book that has come to our attention that has had such an impact on us that we decided to carry it in our store and highly recommend it to you, our customer. It is called Growing Vegetables With a Smile, and is like no other “gardening” book out there. We’ve really enjoyed reading it, and can’t quite decide if it is a gardening philosophy book or a book about philosophical gardening! There are so many things that we really connected with, from the success portion and how we are responsible for our own success and no one else’s, to the historical and proven soil fertility section and our addiction to working our garden and ourselves to death.

Dr. Leonid Sharaskin is the editor of this English translation from its native Russian. He is also the source for my article on Russian Dacha Gardening that has drawn so much attention. If you want to see many of the techniques that have made these tiny gardens so productive for so long, here are the resources in one book. This can be as easy and enjoyable of a read as a fiction book, but there are many points of historical agricultural wisdom that has been tested and proven in Russia for the past several hundred years for those that want to “dig deeper”.


We believe in a world of healthy soil, seed, food and people. Everyone has a fundamental need for vibrant food and health, which are closely linked.

We work to achieve this by challenging and changing conventional gardening thinking, providing successful and unique methods and techniques while inspiring the power of choice and action for the individual.

Our customers are friends that we have not yet met, as you share our interest and passion for growing incredibly delicious foods, preserving heirloom seed traditions and biological diversity for the future through our own home gardens. Sharing this is possibly the most important work, as it helps all of us make a definite, positive impact in our lives and in those that we share.

Thanks for your time this edition, we hope you have enjoyed it! Please let us know your thoughts and suggestions, as we are always working to improve.


Stephen and Cindy Scott
Terroir Seeds | Underwood Gardens



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