Archives for May 2014

Old Seed Catalogs



I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, because I might be encouraging competition–but I can’t stand it. I’ve got to share one of my new, favorite things to do: looking for antique seed catalogs on eBay. Long before digital photography (and before film photography was widespread) , artists were sketching and painting beautiful pictures of fruits, flowers, and vegetables for seed sellers across the U.S.

A lot of these old seed catalogs survive, but many are in pretty bad shape. Who would’ve guessed they’d be valuable one day for their artwork?

This is the cover of one catalog I found for less than $20, but be prepared to pay more if the one you’re coveting is bigger, older, and/or in better condition. I bought this one, which was created prior to modern day copyright laws, so my publisher could reproduce some of the images for my book, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds.

Want to use old images for your projects, too? Just make sure you don’t violate any copyright restrictions. You can learn more about copyright laws here.

Then start looking around. You may find a stash at a grandparent’s house, in your attic, or somebody’s garden shed. Then it’s easy to scan the images in and use them on your website or print them out (again, be sure you’re allowed to do that under current copyright restrictions).

I’d love to see what you find! Share your image here, if you have one!

Fresh Strawberries


Too bad you can’t scratch-and-sniff this picture! I wish you could smell the sweet fragrance of these ripe strawberries. I hit the jackpot at my local farmer’s market when they put these beauties on sale, and I have more strawberries blooming in my garden that should be ready soon.

It’s sooooo easy to turn these into jams and pies, but I also like to freeze a bunch.  Then I can pop them out anytime to use as a topping on ice cream, cake, or cheesecake. They’re also great for whipping into smoothies and stirring into yogurt.

All you have to do is rinse the berries quickly in cool water, then let them drain and dry thoroughly. Don’t leave them in the water, because if they absorb too much, it will dilute the flavor.

I remove the stems and slice my berries, but you can leave them whole. Then arrange them on a cookie sheet in a single layer. I used a Silpat non-stick mat underneath, but you could use wax paper or freezer paper. (Paper towels tend to stick.)

Put the cookie sheet into the freezer until the berries are firm, then remove them and store them in freezer bags or containers. Use them in a few months, and enjoy!