Finger Lakes Seeds
By Christine Dionese
If you’re reading this from under a cozy blanket right now, you might be glancing out the window at your snow-covered gardens wondering if spring will ever surface. Rest assured, it’s on its way and now is the perfect time to break out your seed and growing notes from last year to get planning for the warmer weather ahead. Along with the trusty staple vegetables, herbs and fruit you grow each year, go for something new this time around–you might be surprised that the upstate New York soil is a rich, nutrient-dense canvas ready for a variety of seed-sowing.
And there’s no need to look too far for your seeds this year. My favorite local seed companies, Bejo Seeds in Geneva, Fruition Seeds in Naples and Harris Seeds in Rochester, offer a plethora of non-GMO, organic and heirloom seeds to support your growing needs. Your greatest advantage of purchasing seeds locally is the ability to pop in anytime for advice on companion planting, sowing techniques and pest control. These local seed producers absolutely love forming relationships with their community of gardeners.
As we loyal locavores all know, there are vast advantages to supporting local businesses. Purchasing from local seed sellers significantly maintains the special biodiversity the Finger Lakes region is known for—just ask Fruition: they specialize in heritage seeds produced to thrive in the Northeast region. Simply put, when a community focuses on biodiversity, the entire food chain collectively cooperates to enhance and protect from species to species.
New to gardening and not sure where to start? Make a list of your most expensive produce purchases and aim to grow most of these from seed. Next, add three-to-five vegetables or herbs completely new to you that are known to thrive in the upstate climate (you can always trade with neighbors). And, just for fun, try edible flowers–they’ll add an effortless color splash aesthetic to your garden. Here’s a breakdown of what these local seed producers offer:
Bejo Seeds: large organic assortment
Fruition Seeds: all seeds are certified organic, open-pollinated and non-patentable
Harris Seeds: organic and untreated seeds, organic plugs & liners, and OMRI listed supplies for organic growing
New seeds we’re trying in the Garden Eats gardens this year:
French Breakfast radish
Blush Tiger tomato
Nigella Black Cumin
Flashy Troutback lettuce
Christine Dionese, integrative health specialist, medical journalist and food writer, is the co-founder of Garden Eats, an organic modern lifestyle blog and business.
Photo by Jan Regan