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From my Seed collection:  Okra, Marigold and  Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)

What are the best seeds you can possibly have?

Answer:  Seeds from healthy plants that you have grown because  you know they will thrive in your garden.  In terms of risk management for your crop yields, seeds from your own garden should be at the top of the list for next year's planting.

Here is an example of the Tropical Milkweed that I grew in my urban garden last year.  It bloomed from mid July until the end of October.  I made sure to save as many of the fluffy seeds of this annual as I could.  Not only do butterflies like it, bees adore it.  And, the blooms are lovely as  you can see from the photo below:

 

Still and yet. . . there are other good sources for seed as well

Native Seeds/S.E.A.R.C.H.

This nonprofit organization aims to preserve native plant varieties from more tha 50 southwestern tribes.  I am particularly interested in the indigenous vegetables featured in their catalog.  Here is the PDF for their seed catalog.  http://www.nativeseeds.org/pdf/seedlistingcatalog.pdf   I plan to order some seeds from this in a few weeks.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Johnny's Selected Seeds are two other standbys for seeds--both of whom I've ordered seeds from before.  I can only personally recommend Johnny's as I've ordered buckwheat from them that grew like weeds last year.  Even you don't want to harvest the seed from the buckwheat, it still makes a great over-winter crop to turn under as it is high in nitrogen.  And, many people don't realize that the leaves of buckwheat are quite tasty and nutritious. They produce dainty little white flowers that are highly fragrant and loved by bees.  From August through September of 2013 I put buckwheat leaves and flowers in my salads.  Not only did the salads look prettier, they were more tasty with the addition of the nutty flavors of the buckwheat.   Many people think that buckwheat is a cereal grain, but it is actually a fruit seed that has been linked with all sorts of good things such as lowering blood pressure.  Its flavonoids protect against disease by extending the action of vitamin C.  It is also said to lower the risk of diabetes and other diseases.

As for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, I didn't have much luck with their seeds.  However, in their defense, I am an amateur gardener and I ordered heirloom tomato seeds which are difficult even for an experienced gardener to grow.

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Now is the time for deciding what you are going to put in your Spring 2014 Urban Garden.  Planting time is almost upon us.  Already the garden stores have in their onion sets.  I bought a few yesterday along with some kale and Swiss Chard seed--all of which I'll put into a plot in Urban Garden One the first week of February.

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