Harvest Monday, March 4, 2013 – Hudson Valley Seed Library + Starting Chinese Celery & Ping Tung Eggplant

I was the lucky recipient of 3 art pack seeds from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. Click here to learn about the seed library. These delightfully designed art pack seeds were presented to me by my Master Gardener volunteer friend, Ginna. It was a surprise and very much appreciated gift.

Hudson Valley seed library.jpgThe front of the seed packages
dsc04951weblarge.jpgThe back of the seed packages

dsc04953weblarge-copy.jpgThe following is from the seed library’s web site:
“The Seed Library grew out of a germ of an idea at a small town library in the Hudson Valley region of upstate New York. Over the past nine years, the idea has grown and blossomed into an online seed library focused on the Northeast and a full seed catalog for all gardeners. Today, the Seed Library has its own seed farm where open-pollinated seeds are grown, saved, and packed by hand. There are close to one thousand seed library members and thousands more buy our unique Art Packs and heirloom seeds every year. Seed Library gardeners can feel good about thier seeds because we care as much as you do about preserving genetic diversity and saving seed stories.”
Even their book marks (left, front; right, back) are unique (above left photo).

The seed library seed farm is about 1 hour north/west of where I live. Would so love the opportunity to visit the farm.

Every year the seed library commissions contemporary artists to interpret a distinctive selection of the heirloom varieties in their seed catalog. Click here to view the collection of art packs. (Seeds are also available in garden packs.)

The 3 art packs I received are as follows (click on photo to enlarge):

DSC04959weblargeShanghai Baby Bok Choi
Art by: Natalie Merchant

Natalie Merchant has earned the reputation as a songwriter of great quality and a compelling live performer. She calls the fertile Hudson Valley home, where she has been busy gardening and seed saving for 25 years.

dsc04962weblarge.jpgRosa Bianca Eggplant
Art by: Patricia Dominguez

Patricia Dominguez is a visual artist and naturalist. She researches the paradoxes that lie in the environmental systems of comtemporary society, using naturalism to reconnect people to their natural spaces.

DSC04957weblargePanther Edamame
Art by: Jessica Pollak

Jessica Pollak is an illustrator obsessed with food, travel and patterns. She spends her days in her Providence, RI, studio creating art that is cute, funky, fresh and with a sense of humor.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Finally got around to starting some of my seeds on Saturday, March 2. Hoping to start the Rosa Bianca eggplant and other seeds this week.

dsc04935weblarge-copy.jpgSalad scallion, Chinese celery and Ping Tung eggplant

You probably noticed, from the above photo, the 2 different colors of potting mix. The cell packs with red color potting mix are filled with cocoplug, the cell packs with black color potting mix are filled with pro-mix.

DSC04936weblarge copyCouple years ago while walking through a local garden center, I came across 24-pack Jumpstart Cocoplugs on clearance for $1.00. I had wanted to experiment with cocoplugs, so could not pass up the bargain. Bought all that was available and shared with my garden friends.

Completely forgot I had the cocoplugs. Discovered them few days ago while decluttering.

These cocoplugs are amazing. The diameter of each is the size of a US quarter (see above left photo, the shiny round thing is a US quarter) and height is ¾ inches. But when soaked in warm water each expands to completely fill one of the black cells.

I sowed Chinese celery in 2 6-cell packs, one with cocoplug the other with pro-mix. Sowed Ping Tung eggplant in 2 4-cell packs, again, one with cocoplug the other with pro-mix. (The other 6-cell pack is salad scallion.)

Will there be any differences in the germination and the overall health of the seedlings?When I have the results at a later date and I will let you know.

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Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Visit Daphne’s Dandelions http://daphnesdandelions.blogspot.com/ for more Harvest Mondays

About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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77 Responses to Harvest Monday, March 4, 2013 – Hudson Valley Seed Library + Starting Chinese Celery & Ping Tung Eggplant

  1. cocomino says:

    What a colorful package of the seed. I’m looking forward to seeing the vegetables at your garden this year.

  2. Those are the most beautiful seed packs I have seen.
    🙂 Mandy

  3. Dear Norma,

    These artworks are beautiful. I didn’t get the panther edamame until I looked at the back of the packages and realise they are black in colour! How unique!

  4. leduesorelle says:

    Wonderful introduction to the Hudson Valley Seed Library, and love the idea of combining sesame oil and winter squash!

  5. kate says:

    I love Hudson Valley Seed Library! I like to buy seeds from them because most of their seeds are grown in New York state, so they are well adapted to our growing conditions in the Northeast. The art packs make such nice gifts too!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Kate,
      The art packs do make nice gifts. Unfortunately the HV Seed Library is not widely known, to help the organization, please feel free to replog this post.

  6. The seed packets are beautiful! I’d did not know that Hudson Valley Seed Library existed….what a cool place, somewhere I’d like to visit if I am up in that area. I look forward to seeing updates on our little seedlings. I love to garden but with my RA, my mobility in the garden is limited unfortunately.


    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Nazneen,
      Yes, they are beautiful, to help the organization, feel free to replog this post.
      Have you considered container gardening? Perhaps this would be your solution. I have “tiny/limited” knowledge about container gardening but would be happy to help if I can.

  7. Barbie says:

    Those panther edamame are very interesting looking. Can’t wait to see what becomes of them!

  8. Annie says:

    I think growing seeds is an art and its just nice to see artistical seed packaging to match it:) Happy gardening season Norma!

  9. My mother sent me a couple of seed packs from the Hudson Valley Seed Library and not only did we love the packets, we really enjoyed the unusual varieties of veg (Dragon Tongue beans and Dpeckled Trout lettuce). I hope you get a chance to visit them and tell us all about it.
    We are using coco plugs this year too. Just got ours last week, so no results yet, but I’m looking forward to comparing notes.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello GC,
      I am sure the HV Seed Library will be very pleased to learn that their seeds found their way all across the ocean to Turkey. I hope I get a chance to visit the farm, checked out their web page but could not find how to contact.
      Looking forward to comparing notes on the coco plugs.

  10. How wonderful are those seed packets?! I love the art! So unique and beautiful! And, who knew Natalie Merchant was a visual artist? I’ve always loved her music 🙂

  11. Shawn Ann says:

    I love to see seed libraries popping up. Can’t wait to see your harvests this summer.

  12. Eva Taylor says:

    What a lovely gift; the illustrations are quite beautiful and whimsical. It’s great that you were able to find those seed plugs so economically. I’ve done that before too, buying something on sale and them forgetting about it. Now I’m off to google Chinese celery; we’re big celery eaters in my house so a different variety would be lovely!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      It was a lovely and totally unexpected gift.
      I am sure you have seen Chinese celery especially if you visit the Asian markets around the Dundas/Spadina area. The leaves resembles regular celery leaves but the stalks are pencil-like and are hollow, much stronger celery aroma also. Can be a bit chewy in texture, always cooked.

  13. Michelle says:

    Those seed pack are so beautiful and whimsical too! Good luck with your seed starting.

  14. The seed packages are so beautiful! I have to get some Chinese celery seeds too.

  15. Such stunning packages my friend, I would buy it just for that 😉


  16. Lisa says:

    How cool is it to have such wonderful artwork on your seed library’s plants? (And Natalie Merchant….wow!) Our local seed library is considerably less fancy.

  17. Kristy says:

    I love your colorful new header Norma! Very happy and springy! We just planted some seeds for the kids that used those plugs. They were great and the plants are thriving (so far!). 🙂

  18. Wow that’s really interesting with a seed library 🙂 Chinese celery what’s that?

  19. I have never seen such beautiful seed packets. It would be tempting not to open them!

  20. kitsapfg says:

    I love the artistic interpretation of the seed names – such talent and beauty – and what fun!

  21. Eha says:

    Methinks these seed packets would be opened here with extrme care and the remaining packet covers be framed and hung in the garden shed ) ! Beautiful!! Yes, used plugs like that aways back; must see whether I san source them again. Good luck with all your babies!!

  22. tokyohamster says:

    The packaging of those seeds are wonderful! So colorful and beautiful. Can’t wait to see how they grow and what you’ll make with them when you harvest!

  23. Liz says:

    I’ll be interested in the results of your experiments. I love the idea of the seed library and those packets are fabulous aren’t they. A lovely way to become aware of local artists. I always enjoyed 10,000 Maniac’s music.

  24. Sophie33 says:

    This is a lovely post! I started my seedlings on ferbruary the 17th! Because there is a lot of sunshine in my garden at the moment & we have a microclimat in our garden too, it is + 10°C more then on the streets. It is today: 22°C! So, my 2 pumpkin plants are growing every day & my 2 green courgette plants too. My salad leaves are not succeeding very well but my radishes are growing bigger every day! Yeah! I love growing things from seeds too! 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Sophie,
      Thanks. How lovely that you now have plenty of sunshine in your garden and a microclimate favorable to plants. I have to wait to start anymore seedlings as they will get leggy before the weather is warm enough for them to go outdoors.

  25. hotlyspiced says:

    Well…those seed packages are nothing like the ones you typically see in nurseries. these are beautiful and more like art than a packet. I’ll look forward to seeing what sprouts from these seeds xx

  26. ChgoJohn says:

    What a great gift and the packets are good enough to collect. They are striking! I’ve yet to start any seeds yet but have to take some time to sort things out. Despite today’s blizzard, Spring is on its way. 🙂

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      Yes, the packets are striking, each is by a different artist and it is obvious each gave their work lots of thoughts.
      How much snow are you expecting? Sounds like the wet heavy kind, take care with the shovelling.

      • ChgoJohn says:

        We’ve got 5 – 6 inches already and they say we may get another 3 or 4. I’ve got a small snowblower and will be heading out in a few minutes. I’ll be back out there tonight/tomorrow, for sure. 🙂

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello John,
        That’s a lot of wet heavy snow. Saturn is visiting sometime late today/tonight staying until tomorrow and may be Friday, not a welcome visit.

  27. Baby bok choy is my youngest teenagers favorite vegetable simply stir fried with lots of garlic of course. happy planting!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      And you are in the right city to get the freshest baby bok choy. Wish I was planting outdoor, but still winter here and expecting another winter storm tomorrow night.

  28. Karen says:

    I love the beautiful art on the seed packages. I’m really interested in your experiment on the seeds in starting in different planting mediums…I’m looking forward to how they do.

  29. Purely.. Kay says:

    Those seed packs are designed wonderfully. And just look at that bok choy. LOVE bok choy. I wish I could grow them

  30. Wow, those are some seed packets to live up to! They’re the prettiest I’ve seen and would be really cool framed. I remember Natalie from 10,000 Maniacs but had no idea she was such an accomplished visual artist and a seed saver, so interesting. I see you are off to a great start for your spring garden, Norma.

  31. Daphne says:

    Beautiful art on the packets. I’m going to have to start some of my seeds soon. I should have done it today, but got another project done instead.

  32. shuhan says:

    oh the seed packets are so gorgeous. so pretty and what a wonderful start for your spring garden! x

  33. pooks says:

    What gorgeous seed packs!
    I bought a small block of coir or whatever they call that shredded coconut shell. It was at Home Depot, I think — very cheap. Added it to a buck with two gallons of water (I think–just followed the directions) and it swelled up and make the most beautiful, soft potting mixture. I have started some seeds in it (way too late for Dallas but I did it anyway).

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Pooks,
      Thanks for the shredded coconut shell info. It may be the same thing I have, my package says “natural 100% coconut fiber”.
      Why is your seeds starting at this time of year too late for Dallas?

      • pooks says:

        The instructions all say to start X number of weeks before last frost, and I just didn’t do it in time. We don’t have a bright enough space indoors but I finally did buy a gro light so maybe next year I’ll do better. I can buy bedding plants that are already nice-sized and plant straight into the ground while my seedlings are still… seedlings! I’ll plant both.

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Pooks,
        You can compare the purchased bedding plants with your late start seedlings. Since you have a much longer growing season than I have, perhaps it will not matter that you started your seedlings a bit late.

  34. Oh I love the artwork on those packets. The seed library is such a wonderful idea. More places should do this.

  35. What lovely packaging for some lovely to-be veggies!!

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