May 2011

Add to your Garden Toolbox

Check our Gardener's Resources for guides and tips for success with your seeds.  Here's some useful examples:

Sowing and Growing Mesclun  The flavors, textures and colors of these baby salads enjoyed just minutes after they are cut is one of the best rewards of kitchen gardening. Grow in spring through early summer and plant again in early fall. Here's how we grow mesclun in our trial garden.

Renee's 6 Do's and 1 Don't for a Good Garden - keep these important tips in mind when planning and planting.

Planting in May  - with nighttime temperatures consistently in the 50s, it's the perfect time for sowing main season vegetables.

Kitchen Garden Planting Plans - designed to maximize space for a succession of tasty vegetables and herbs throughout the spring, summer and fall. Shows you what to plant, when to plant, and what crop follows another as the seasons change.

Shade Gardening   Want to grow vegetables and herbs, but don't have the required 6 hours of direct sunlight per day that most edible plants need? Want to grow some colorful flowers from seed, but aren't sure which will grow in their partially shady location. You may be surprised at the range of choices you actually have.

NEW: Kitchen Gardeners:
You're Invited to Renee's Free Webinar!
Thurs. May 26, 2011 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT.

Join Renee for her first Horticulture Magazine online workshop,  At this FREE online event, Renee will be showing great photos and speaking online about choosing, growing and enjoying an internationally inspired Rainbow Kitchen Garden.


Butterfly Garden
 20% off thru May

Our Bonus Packets give planting and design info, or choose from our recommended list of butterfly favorite varieties.

Red Salad Mustard - our future selection is the middle one

Spinach, Chard and Scallions

Radishes interplanted with Carrots saves space

May In the Trial Garden
by Lindsay Del Carlo, Trial Garden Manager

This spring, we made our final selection among three varieties of finely cut, dark red salad mustards from different Asian seed producers. We want a beautifully frilly one that also has a nice mild mustardy flavor without being too spicy, does not bolt quickly to seed and has the best overall garden performance. Among the three candidates, one was too finely cut and wilted immediately after picking in warm weather, and the other was much too quick to bolt. The variety we selected has deepest dark red color, mild nutty flavor more substantial leaves and is slow to bolt. It forms beautiful fern-like rosettes of leaves both beautiful in the garden and on your plate. Now we will grow it in our other trial gardens in different climate zones to see how it does and if successful, we will make it a future introduction for Renee's Garden.

Another function of the trial garden is to maintain quality control in our seeds. We grow out many varieties from different seed producers to compare them as sources for our packets. Here is a picture of the ‘Empress of India’ , a nasturtium variety that should have deep vermilion red flowers and distinctly blue/green leaves. This trial selection had too many "off types" with orangey flowers and , as you can see from the picture, the leaves are not a consistent blue-green. These variables means this selection won't be a seed source we want for this packet and we will keep our current seed source for this variety which is more consistently up to our standards for this variety.

 We have also grown out the spring phase of our mild winter Kitchen Garden Design, and are enjoying the bounty of cool season crops. The Broccoli ‘All Seasons Blend’ is just starting to head up, and Snow Pea "Oregon Giant" will be ripe on their vines soon. There are leafy greens like ‘Neon Glow’ Chard, ‘Catalina’ Spinach, ‘Lacinato’ Kale, and Italian Arugula. ‘Merville de Quartre Saisons’ Lettuce will make large, sweet rosettes of red tinged leaves, and "Wine Country" Mesclun has been already harvested a few times by the cut and come again method. ‘Sunshine Mix’ Carrots are beginning to size up and as our ‘Parade’ Scallions and "Jewel Toned" Beets. Earlier in spring we interplanted ‘Pink Punch’ Radish with rows of carrots. This is a great way to grow two crops in one space. Radishes are ready to eat just as the carrots are beginning to need more space.


"Empress of India" Nasturtium, showing the "off types"

Snow Peas and Lacinato Kale

Recipe of the Month

Butterhead Lettuce with
 Fresh Raspberry Merlot Dressing

"Garden Babies" butterhead lettuce

This luxurious, rich-tasting, creamy dressing is especially luscious with the soft leaves of tender butterhead lettuce. The pastel dressing and raspberry and nut garnish make a beautiful presentation.


On Our Blog:
Organic Garden Management

The first in a series on how we garden organically.


Come Visit Often!

Please visit our website to view all of our new 2011 introductions, monthly feature articles and complete online catalog. Ordering is quick, easy and secure. We look forward to hearing from you.

Best Wishes,
Renee Shepherd


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Renee's Garden Seeds, 6060 Graham Hill Rd., Felton, CA 95018