The {Farmer} & The Florist Interview: Kori Hargreaves

The {Farmer} & The Florist Interview: Kori Hargreaves

I first happened upon Kori Hargreaves of Dawn Creek Farm and her beautiful flowers through a picture on Instagram of a pale blush-pink zinnia. In all my years growing flowers, I had never seen anyone growing that color in any kind of abundance.

I immediately reached out to her, and if I remember it right, literally begged her to let me grow a few of her seeds the following year. To my delight, she sent me a little wax paper envelope with 25 precious seeds in it, which I carefully sowed and tended that season. The flowers that bloomed were even more beautiful than I had expected—Kori was really onto something.

Over the next few years, we swapped seeds, shared photos, compared notes, and talked over Zoom—cheering each other in our efforts. Breeding is typically a very isolated, solitary endeavor, and finding a kindred spirit was such a gift. 

This past summer, we finally got to meet in person, when Kori and her sweet family came to the farm for a visit. We toured the gardens and showed her all of the magical selections that I’ve been working on from the original seed she shared with me, and we admired the four beautiful Dawn Creek mixes that will be part of the Floret Originals release. Chris captured our time together and you can watch a wonderful little film about our collaboration here.

Kori also sat down for a special interview about her inspiration, her flowers, and her breeding work. Be sure to read all the way to the bottom because we’re hosting a special giveaway for some of her coveted seeds. 

Erin Benzakein and Kori HargreavesKori, I’m so happy you’re here! I’ve been waiting for the day that we could finally meet in person. For those who aren’t familiar with your work, could you tell Floret readers a little more about your background and your path to flowers? I know you also have two degrees in plant biology and studio arts. I’d love to know more. 

I grew up in a small rural community in the Santa Cruz mountains on the central California coast. My parents are lifelong artists and devoted gardeners, and my childhood unfurled in our family garden, which overflowed with flowers and food, amidst the surrounding redwood forest. 

Growing up, my dad taught resident apprentices in small-scale organic farming at the CASFS Farm and Garden, and my sister and I spent countless hours wandering the farm while my dad worked. 

Plants have, for as long as I can remember, called me into a relationship of refuge, protection, and quiet acceptance. When I left home for college, I found immediate comfort and a connection in my new environment through meeting and forming familiar relationships with the plants around campus and the surrounding watershed, and I began putting down roots in the community working at the UC Davis Student Farm (where I eventually met Toby, my partner in everything to come).

My art degree was actually devoted to oil painting, and it was interesting and challenging to attempt to pursue my deep love of plants, horticulture, and creative arts in tandem in the university setting, which in my personal experience at the time maintained a palpable underlying cultural and intellectual divide between the arts and the sciences. 

I followed my creative curiosity into fiber arts and plant-centered color after graduating, in large part because I felt disillusioned by my college experience and was working through a deep longing to rekindle the light of my creative process as connecting me intimately to the living world, which had struggled existentially in the institutional setting.

After college I worked growing vegetables and herbs on a local ranch, and began a textile and natural dye business on the side, spinning, weaving, and growing plants to discover their hidden colors. This evolved into a small online seed company, selling seeds gathered from the wide range of dye plants growing in my garden, along with a blog sharing instructions for growing, harvesting, use, and seed saving. 

At the time there was very little natural dye information available online, and hardly anything at all in regards to growing the plants themselves or saving their seeds. I took what I learned through reading and personal research and shared both my explorations and information on seed saving and dye plant cultivation. I also began my first forays into plant breeding, selecting open-pollinated strains of indigo (Persicaria tinctoria) for increased pigment potential. 

This work and other work I was doing with indigo processing led to collaborations and a scholarship through our local California Fibershed organization to attend classes with renowned cotton breeder Sally Fox in the Capay Valley. I was utterly inspired by Sally’s lifelong devotion to cotton, and it was my first chance seeing how breeding could become a life’s work. 

Toby and I got married in 2014, at which point my mom and I grew all the flowers for the wedding. This was the first time I included a large amount of flowers into a crop plan specifically for cutting, which was quite exciting. Soon after, we had the opportunity to purchase land ourselves in Rio Linda, California (just north of Sacramento). I left my ranch job, and we moved and began Dawn Creek Farm. 

The first growing season in our new home, it wasn’t clear yet what our main markets for supporting the farm would be. I split the crop plan between flowers, veggies, and dye plants and began exploring local channels. That year I taught natural dye classes through several schools while building up the farm infrastructure. It quickly became clear that there was an overwhelmingly unmet demand among local floral designers for locally grown specialty cut flowers, and as an artist, I truly enjoyed working in conversation with these local businesses to supply them with exquisite local blooms. 

With our farm’s small acreage and the incredible production capacity of cut flowers, everything fell into place. From that season onward, we turned the farm production entirely over to flowers and sold every stem directly to local floral designers.

You are located in Santa Cruz, California. What is your growing season like? Can you describe your garden space? 

We have relocated to the Santa Cruz mountains, where I grew up. Like much of coastal California, the growing season here is relatively long. While we occasionally get winter snow at our elevation, for the most part, winter is our rainy season. Spring comes early, and summers here in the mountains tend to be significantly warmer than directly on the coastline, with the weather fluctuating from foggy and cool mornings to more than 90°F summer through fall.

In 2020 in the midst of myriad personal and global challenges, a miraculous opportunity arose for Toby and I to purchase 2 ½ sunny acres just down the road from where I grew up. We left Rio Linda in late 2021 and are currently living and gardening on my parent’s land with our four-year-old while we wait for our permit approval to begin building a home and putting down literal and figurative roots. It’s looking hopeful that 2024 may be our first chance to move my breeding projects to our own beautiful sunny hillside.

Over the past several years you’ve changed your focus from grower to plant breeder. Can you talk about your evolution from strictly growing flowers to wanting to select and breed them?

Working directly with floral designers offered me an inspiring chance to draw on both my artistic and horticultural experience, and our farm thrived as a place where we could trial a wide range of unique plants unfamiliar to the local floral market. My background offered me the eye to recognize colors, shapes, and forms suited to our customers’ needs and translate that into successful crop plans, and I tuned into that early on. 

As it happened, our first season in Sacramento we grew a number of zinnia mixes, and in one of them, the most beautiful fluffy, double peach flower appeared. I was so taken by it and knew unequivocally it would be appreciated by our growing customer base. I had never seen anything like it before and vowed I would save the seeds to grow again the next year. In the hubbub of trying to get the farm up and running while also teaching classes that year, I didn’t get around to labeling the plant before things went to seed in the fall. 

Our zinnia field grew huge and untamed in the valley heat, over 5 ft tall, and at some point, a windstorm knocked everything into a wild tangled mess. By the time I finally got it together to gather the seeds, it was impossible to determine for sure which plant it had been. But I waded through the spent rows anyway and gathered seeds from everything growing around where I remembered it being.

I grew these seeds out the following year, and from these seeds, the parents of our current blush zinnias emerged. I was utterly smitten and spent my evenings after work that summer making selections from these seedlings, as well as a few other flower species we had growing that year. Still, the memory of the magical peach zinnia that had captured my heart the previous season hung in my mind. In the rows of seeds I had saved and planted, nothing resembled it …. I knew there might still be a chance for it to show up in future generations, but I couldn’t help feeling a nagging regret that my chance to confidently gather those seeds had slipped through my fingers. 

In late June, we planted our chrysanthemums in what had been the original zinnia field, and soon after discovered several volunteer zinnia seedlings coming up in the rows. I left them to bloom, hoping maybe, just maybe, something magical would happen … and it did.

Out of the handful of volunteer seedlings that bloomed that fall, a single one unfurled in luminous peach, almost exactly as I had remembered it. I had been gifted another chance, and this time I was so ready! 

In the years that followed I began sharing the beauty unfurling from these seeds with our floral design customers while devoting all the personal time I could to making selections, researching, and implementing more carefully coordinated crosses. It has offered the most fascinating array of opportunities to weave together the many facets of my skills, interests, and life experiences thus far.

Forming multigenerational relationships with the plants that I have been drawn to work with has been a highlight in my personal journey. From indigo to zinnias and many others in between, seed saving and pursuing thoughtful selections has carried me into incredible relationships and community connection, and perhaps most poignantly, through an immense extended personal health crisis in 2020/2021 and the subsequent relocation and necessary dissolving of our farm’s cut-flower production, and into this tender new chapter devoted more fully to breeding, where my heart and my family are finding roots again.

What are you looking for in the flowers you’re selecting? What do you view as desirable traits? 

Flower color, form, and texture, along with plant health, disease resistance, growth habit, productivity, vase life, climate tolerance, and niche in a chosen market, have all offered me a basic framework for making selections. The most essential thing I am looking for though—the thing that underpins everything for me personally—might not be summed up as a trait, but as an experience, or a feeling.

For me the process of selecting flowers and developing seed lines is at its heart a musical one … it is built upon some mysterious resonance. I am not sure I have found a better way of summing up my process and how it feels than this.

When a note is played in tune on a stringed instrument, any open string tuned to (and more subtlety in harmony with) that same note will also audibly resonate. Somehow it feels like this to me when I meet certain plants, and combinations of colors, forms, textures … that something in me responds and resonates with them.

While I can and do determine certain essential objective traits that would make a seed line worth pursuing, my true guiding light is selecting flowers to parent lineages that resonate palpably with something inside me, as their caretaker. I quite literally feel certain flowers and qualities singing inside my body and am drawn deep down to follow those songs. Whenever I have followed this personal inner resonance while selecting seed parents, utterly magical things have unfolded between myself and the plants in the following generations. Practicality and logistics must subsequently go hand in hand with this for me.

You are breeding and selecting many varieties of flowers, but your main focus is zinnias. What do you love most about this particular flower?

It’s quite mysterious really. I love that you ask this. I feel as though I stumbled into this soul relationship with zinnias right before I needed their support and guidance the most.

My relationships with all plants have always felt as much a mutual exchange of energy and goodwill as any of my human relationships. That is to say, in my experience of the world, every plant I encounter has its own palpable personality, and there are many, many, many different plants that I will say without hesitation are my dear friends. 

Working alongside zinnias now over these years of my life and so many generations of theirs, I sense they collectively radiate equanimity. They inspire curiosity, generosity, playfulness, and resilience in me. They have a sense of humor and a sparkle about them and feel ready and enthusiastic to be in a mutual relationship with humans. They feel like a very community-oriented flower. Specifically, I have always had a sense that the ones I have been drawn to have their own mysterious evolving plans, and that the magic lies in partnering together for as long as it feels mutually energizing for us all. 

The seed lineages I have been working with have also always very clearly communicated to me when and how they are ready to share their magic with the wider world, and my decisions to share seed from this evolving relationship have always culminated in response to this. When I became critically ill with a soil-borne illness in 2020 and our family and farm were forced to change course and relocate away from the source of my illness, my relationship with these seeds and the process of sharing them with other gardeners and inviting in community support through our first fundraiser carried our small family through the most intense and challenging years and uncertainties of my life, and ultimately allowed me to continue my work with seeds.

I understand that this way of speaking about plants may be strange or unfamiliar, even uncomfortable, for some people to read. I honor that, I am not here to try and change anyone’s perspective or experience. I am putting words the best I can to how I experience my time with plants and know that these words will resonate with some and not as much with others. 

If it helps anyone reading this to hear in more practical terms, here’s another way of explaining how amazing zinnias are: in the climates I have grown them in, zinnias are content to flourish with very little assistance in a wide range of soil types and growing conditions. They flower and set seed in abundance, and propagate quickly from both seeds and cuttings. They are incredible, long-lasting cut flowers perfect for local growers and local flower markets, because despite their stellar vase life they aren’t suited to commercial shipping methods. The genetic diversity they carry is absolutely astounding, and it feels to me as though the potential for exploring color and form combinations through thoughtful breeding is quite possibly limitless. If one were to find themselves drawn to begin their own seed-saving and breeding journey, zinnias are a supportive and encouraging place to begin.

Tell us a bit about your breeding efforts. What’s the process? Technically, how do you do it? 

The answer to this question easily fills an entire book! For anyone reading this who wants to dive into zinnia breeding in particular, my dear friend Tiffany Jones recently published her first book, The Zinnia Breeder’s Handbook. I had the immense honor of consulting and contributing to this treasure trove of information, and highly recommend it as an accessible resource for anyone who feels drawn to begin their own zinnia seed-saving or breeding journey with step-by-step instructions and a wealth of information. 

I will say that there are many ways to approach breeding open-pollinated seed varieties, and some significant variations in approach depending on whether the species you are working with is primarily outcrossing or incrossing in nature. That is, there are plant species (sweet peas, for example) that by design rely primarily on self-pollination, and have no notable issues with inbreeding depression. 

In contrast, outcrossing species such as zinnias thrive in an environment of genetic diversity and rely on cross-pollination via insects and wind to bolster vitality across generations. It is essential in the case of outcrossing species, that breeding be approached with a lens of maintaining as much genetic diversity within a seed line as possible, and extra care is taken to steward the seed population over generations to maintain this diversity (and thus vitality).

There are many species of zinnias, and all rely to a certain extent on outcrossing (some so heavily that individual plants will not produce seed unless pollinated by another individual with sufficient genetic differences). Zinnia elegans, which most gardeners think of first when they hear about zinnias, is generally considered outcrossing, though in my experience falls along a pretty wide spectrum of potential self-compatibility depending on the seed lineage.

I approach developing varieties of outcrossing species from many angles depending on the individuals at hand, from carefully controlled hand-pollinated crosses to larger collective winnowing of traits. I am committed to maintaining as much genetic diversity within a population as possible while honing in on cohesive colors, forms, vigor, and productivity within a population. The exact step-by-step how-to honestly feels like too much for me to distill down in the context of this interview (and again I will point to Tiffany’s book as she has a knack for explaining the essence of things in a very accessible way!), but I think of my own process in terms of three stages:

  1. Gathering of desired phenotypic traits/qualities via careful observation and selection of parent plants, hand crosses, intuition, and guided insect pollination.
  1. Winnowing of the established gene pool to approach a sufficiently homogenous population via five or more generations of progressive seed parent selections, using insect pollination chambers to guide pollination. Again, this stage is a balance between maintaining genetic diversity and reaching a stable and cohesive range of phenotypes and for me involves observing and listening to the seeds themselves each step of the way.
  1. Stewardship/maintenance of seed lines. Once an outcrossing seed line has reached a notably stable and reliable place, it requires care and tending to continue forward for generations to come. This involves growing out large populations (ensuring maximum genetic diversity) for seed production while editing out individual seed parents that exhibit more nuanced undesirable/dominant traits. 

For example, in zinnias, the single flower form is dominant over the fully double form, and it is challenging (and in some cases undesirable) to prevent singles from emerging in populations over time. Because of this, the percentage of singles in a seed line will often increase over successive generations if the population isn’t maintained in a balance that supports the double trait.

What do you hope a person experiences when they look at and hold the flowers that you have bred? What is your hope for their future?

Above anything else, a sense of hope. I have grown intertwined together with these flowers through so much personal difficulty, and they have offered me the most incredible support and curiosity through their beauty, presence, infinite variation, and promise for the future. 

For me, spending time in friendship with them has time and again lifted the heaviness of the world from my heart and allowed me the space I needed to breathe and maintain an ember of hope even in the darkest stretches of my journey. I wish that anyone who is in need of encouragement, a quiet nurturing presence, or some other felt sense of support will find what they need in moments exchanged with these flowers.

My hope is to help our seeds reach the hands of people who will cherish them and enjoy being in a relationship with them. People who will plant them, nurture them, resonate with their beauty, adore them, and save their seeds to plant again and again. In this way, both the plants and the people that love them have hope for the future. 

Can you tell me what you’re excited to be offering for the 2024 growing season?

Well first of all, I am beyond excited that this will be the first year that the first four seed mixes of our zinnias will be introduced by Floret and available to purchase retail. I am also excited to be working on some opportunities to share more of my personal time/experience with those who resonate with my work and my voice. I have been contemplating ways to do this and have some sweet ideas that I’m still feeling out, but anyone who has been drawn to connect with me on a more personal level can sign up for our mailing list to receive upcoming announcements.

Do you have any other exciting projects in the works?

Breeding-wise, I am beyond excited about the direction of our in-progress zinnias …. I also have a number of ongoing seed projects in addition to zinnias that I am dancing with—yarrow, columbine, species gladiolus, Agrostemma, roses, and more that I am hoping to have energy to devote to in coming seasons. I began growing roses from seed in 2021 and am very excited to continue to witness the development of the last few years’ seedlings!

In terms of public-facing projects, there’s not really much more to report at this time. I have been in a pretty private cocoon …. My energy beyond working with plants is currently focused on raising a small human, navigating healing, and hopefully soon, getting the go-ahead from our county to start building a home and having the opportunity to put down roots on the land we purchased in 2020.

What is the best way for someone to place an order? Do you have particular growers that offer your varieties?

Cut flowers: Many cut flower farmers across the U.S. and a handful abroad are growing zinnias, Agrostemma, and Xeranthemum developed on our farm and offering them locally through their flower sales channels. For those looking to purchase cut flowers, I would recommend talking with local farmers and seeing if they are interested in and able to add Dawn Creek varieties to their crop plans. 

In my experience, having customers request specific varieties is a fantastic way to help spread awareness among local farms and increase opportunities for floral designers and farmers market customers alike to access them. With Floret releasing so many new varieties retail this winter, seed will finally be more widely accessible for the coming season.

Seeds: Floret is the only seed company that we have officially partnered with to sell our seeds at this time, and many who have followed our journey will be happy to know that a generous portion of every single sale of these seeds comes directly back to supporting our farm’s continued work. I have gotten inquiries from others who are interested in offering our seeds for sale, and I’m looking forward to making guidelines available for those who are interested in saving and selling our seeds consciously on a smaller scale to do so. 

As you and I have talked about, it feels meaningful to take care to share an example of how to do this in a way that supports breeders devoting themselves to developing and stewarding open-pollinated seed varieties in continuing to realistically fund their work, and that makes the immense time and energy needed to do this possible.

Do you have any upcoming important dates for shop launches, fundraisers, catalogs, or anything else people should know about? Also, where do you ship your seeds? 

In the past, we have opened up our annual fundraiser in February (shipping to the U.S. only) and updated our online seed shop with the seeds we have leftover to share from myriad projects at the same time. 

With Floret’s new introductions, I’m sensing that we will be changing some things up for 2024, though exactly how is still developing as of writing this. I would love to invite anyone interested in updates to join our farm’s mailing list via the form on our website!

Thank you so much, Kori! I am so happy that our paths crossed all those years ago and that I get to play a part in your breeding journey. I am so excited to release your special mixes and continue to support your work. 

To celebrate the upcoming release of the Dawn Creek varieties, we’re giving away 10 seed bundles. Each bundle will contain a packet of each of Kori’s mixes: Dawn Creek Blush, Dawn Creek Honey, Dawn Creek Pastels, and Dawn Creek Peach. 

For a chance to win, please leave a comment below answering one of the following questions. Winners will be announced on February 15. Please note: Because we can’t yet send the breeding varieties internationally, this giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Update: A huge congratulations to our winners Rhonda Martin, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Geri Olson, Craig, Jennifer Hockett,  Amy DeCastro, Amanda Reynolds, Amanda Chalkley, Sueze and Sara M.

  1. When life is hardest, are there plants in your garden/ecosystem that you find yourself turning towards to help steady or buoy your spirits? What plants, if any, are your allies in hard times? 
  2. If seed catalogs were to disappear tomorrow, what seeds would you save from your garden this year? What plants do you want to grow alongside forever? 

To learn more and connect with Kori, be sure to visit her website and follow her on Instagram.


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Meet the Floret Originals – Floret Flowers

Meet the Floret Originals - Floret Flowers

It’s hard to believe that after 7 long years of work, we’re just 2 short weeks away from finally releasing the Floret Original seed varieties out into the world! I feel like I’ve been waiting for this moment for an eternity and can’t wait to see them all growing in your gardens and on your farms this coming season. The official release date is Tuesday, February 6. 

I thought now would be a great time to introduce you to these magical little plant souls and share a bit more about what makes them so special. Each variety has a unique personality and while at first glance some might look a bit similar, they are all quite different when you get to know them. 

I’ve organized this post into three main sections. First, we’ll explore the 12 celosia varieties that we’re offering, then deep dive into zinnias (we have 10 beautiful mixes!), and end with dahlias which I know so many people are excited about.

But before we dive into this introduction, if you don’t already know the backstory about this project, be sure to read Floret Originals: An Update on our Breeding Program.

The first group of plants that I want to share with you is celosia. The reason I’ve chosen to highlight them first is because I feel like they are always passed over in favor of fancier, showier blooms!

However, if you’re growing flowers to arrange with, these heat lovers are an indispensable addition to your cutting garden and have your back when it comes to churning out bouquet ingredients. 

These hardworking plants are vigorous, free-flowering, and easy to grow. Their fuzzy, velvet-like flowers come in a distinct range of shapes, including fans, plumes, and brains that are a wonderful accent for arrangements, plus they can be dried and used any time of the year. 

Autumn Blaze’ is a riot of rich fall tones, including coral, copper, bronze, cherry, rose gold, rhubarb, and amber. The iridescent shimmering plumes come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, including dense candelabras, long, wispy spires, and textural spiky quills. 

Stocky, heavily branching plants have a unique range of stem and foliage colors. From a distance, the plants look as if they are about to burst into flames!

Glowing Embers’ is a selection that was made from ‘Autumn Blaze’ and features a narrower range of colors including copper, bronze, coral, smoky rose, muted tangerine, and gold. The velvety plumes come in various shapes and sizes, including dense textural clusters, feather-like wands, and long, slender wisps. 

Stocky, heavily branching plants have green foliage with a bronze cast that complements the unusual muted coloring found in the flowers. 

Rose Gold’ is another special color range that was discovered in ‘Autumn Blaze’ a few years back. The color palette is much more narrow and includes rose gold, blush, and champagne plumes that look as if they have been dusted with iridescent glitter. 

The stocky, heavily branching plants have dark ruby-red stems with cranberry-veined leaves that perfectly offset the antique-looking metallic flower heads. They are a flower arranger’s dream! 

If you’re only looking at the plumes cut from the plant, one might think that ‘Vintage Rose’ is the same as ‘Rose Gold’, but the two, while similarly colored, are actually quite different. 

‘Vintage Rose’ is twice the height of ‘Rose Gold’ and much more feathery. The flowers are a heartbreakingly beautiful blend of blush, pewter, and sunbleached velvet that looks like it’s from another era. It’s the perfect color range for wedding work.

Next up is ‘Summer Sherbet’. This beautiful, free-flowering mix produces giant velvety plumes in rose-pink, blush, coral, and the softest peach. The heat-loving plants have light apple-green foliage and long, slender stems that are perfect for arranging. 

The color palette is super useful for many different types of bouquets because it mixes so well with other ingredients. 

A few years back, Eric (our seed specialist) started experimenting with trying to isolate the most textural, feathery plumes in the ‘Summer Sherbet’ mix, and create a narrower, more vivid color range, and that’s how ‘Spun Sugar’ was born. 

This beautiful warm, glowing mix produces giant shimmering, textural plumes in a range of peachy tangerine, soft coral, pinky apricot, and smoky rose. These productive plants have long, slender stems, giant spaghetti-like flower heads, and light green foliage. 

In the early days, ‘Summer Sherbet’ was a much broader range of colors which included some yellows and greens. I had always wanted to tease the fresh, clean green out of this variety and finally succeeded with ‘Limonata’. 

It is a beautiful pale creamy lime blend that looks more like a foliage than a flower. Plants have a vigorous branching habit and produce an abundance of long, wispy chartreuse spires that add a freshness to arrangements. The colors mix well with almost everything. ‘Limonata’ is similar to a hybrid variety of celosia called ‘Sylphid’, but the great thing about this beauty is that you can easily save the seed from it. 

Raspberry Lemonade’ also originated from ‘Summer Sherbet’, but has a much more saturated color range not often found in the celosia family. What makes it so unique is the dusty, smoky coloring that has a sun-faded quality. 

Plants have a vigorous branching habit and produce dense, textural spires in shades of smoky raspberry, sangria, watermelon, and the occasional lemon yellow. 

While I tend to be most often drawn to soft pastel colors, there’s always a place for richer, more vibrant tones, too. Sangria Mix is composed of towering deep grape-purple and vivid magenta plumes that draw a lot of attention.

Plants have a vigorous branching habit, deep maroon stems, and emerald-green foliage with a striking purple cast. This blend is the perfect addition to a jewel-toned color palette. 

The early-flowering variety ‘Dusty Rose’ (previously named ‘Fruit Punch’) has changed quite a bit over time. Through the refinement process I’ve been able to nearly eliminate the magenta and burgundy fans that used to be part of the mix, so the original name no longer fit. 

Fan-shaped blooms are soft blush with a rose wash and a subtle silvery-green undertone. Plants have rich garnet-red stems and long, slender green leaves with beautiful cranberry veining. 

This variety originated from an unexpected cross between ‘Vintage Rose’ and Supercrest mix. What resulted were plants that possessed the Supercrest flower form, but Vintage Rose’s unique pastel coloring and tall dark stems.

One of my favorite celosias to grow here in the Pacific Northwest is the Supercrest mix because it flowers incredibly early, does well in cooler climates, and has a somewhat compact plant habit. For the last few years I’ve been working on narrowing down the mix into a very soft pastel color range and that is how ‘Pink Chenille’ was born.

This mix includes soft pink, pale peach, and champagne. Long, slender stems are topped with a range of wavy, fan-shaped, and spiky textural flower heads. Blooms add a unique, velvety quality to arrangements. Plants have light green foliage and a vigorous branching habit. These colors are perfect for wedding work. 

Coral Reef’ is a special selection that was made from the Supercrest mix that includes a more vivid color range including orange, salmon, peach, raspberry, and marigold. The vigorous plants have a branching habit and are one of the earliest celosias to flower. 

This mix is filled with the most unique coral-like blooms—they look as if they belong in the sea. 

The second group I want to highlight from our breeding program are zinnias. What I love most about these flowers is that they are incredibly easy to grow, are the perfect first crop for beginning gardeners, and are reliable, prolific producers no matter where you garden. 

In addition to churning out buckets and buckets of beautiful, long-stemmed blooms that are perfect for cutting, they are well-loved by pollinators. 

Zinnias are the flowers that kicked off my flower breeding journey and it all started with the discovery of ‘Golden Hour’ back in 2016. This variety is named for the most beautiful time of day—the hour before the sun sets on the horizon. 

Large flowers come in a range of warm honey and cantaloupe shades that look as if they are glowing. As flowers age, the lower petals take on the faintest cranberry edging that beautifully complements their red eyes. This is the first variety bred on the farm and is still my very favorite. 

Another really special large-flowered variety is ‘Alpenglow’, which I discovered many years ago in a long row of ‘Golden Hour’ plants as an off type. I’ve been working to refine its enchanting color range of creamy linen, pale peach, and dusty rose flowers. 

The large pastel blooms sit atop long, strong stems and have an unusual iridescent lavender ring around their striking purple eyes. As flowers age, their petal tips turn a muted rosy pink. This rare color combination gives the blooms an almost opalescent quality. 

They pair perfectly with ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas in September. You have to grow it to believe the color!

Of all the zinnias that have been born here on the farm, ‘Precious Metals’ might be the most magical. This giant-flowered mix includes shades of linen, icy lavender, pale pink, soft peach, and palomino. As flowers age, the lower petals often fade to turquoise dusted with lavender, giving blooms an icy metallic quality. 

The flower heads are dense and leathery and the backs of the petals have apple-green veining. To experience their full range of coloring, don’t cut too soon and allow flowers to mature on the plant. 

We offered Unicorn Mix for just one season a number of years ago and people still write in asking when it will be back because they loved it so much. I’m thrilled it’s finally returning! 

Medium-sized, domed blooms come in an enchanting range of colors, including raspberry, tangerine, magenta, lemon, apricot, dusty lilac, and blush—all with striking lavender centers. 

What makes these flowers so unique is that they have a multitoned ombre effect and many of the blooms possess a rainbow-like quality. 

Out of the more than 130 zinnia varieties growing here on the farm, when asked to vote, the team picked Unicorn as their collective favorite, hands down.

To experience their full range of coloring, don’t pick them too soon and allow flowers to mature on the plant. 

As you’re looking at all of the new varieties that we’ll be making available, it could be easy to pass over the ‘Victorian Wedding’ mix because it’s not nearly as showy as some of the others at first glance. 

But when it comes to flower production and the total number of blooms per plant, these babies are absolute workhorses! The stocky plants are so smothered in flowers during the summer months that you can barely see the foliage.

The petite, mostly double blooms come in a highly sought-after color range of buff, pale peach, rose-pink, blush, and the occasional soft orange that is a floral designer’s dream. They remind me of little French macarons and have a very long vase life.

Little Flower Girl’ was my nickname growing up and I knew that I wanted to pass along the title to a special variety someday. This adorable early-flowering pastel mix features darling miniature flowers in shades of blush, soft pink, pale peach, and champagne. 

Tall, strong, slender stems carry single, semi-double, and the occasional double blooms that are perfect for arranging, especially when it comes to weddings. They are especially well-loved by pollinators. 

One of the things that I’m most excited about sharing as part of this special seed release is four beautiful mixes that were created in collaboration with my flower breeding friend Kori at Dawn Creek Farm. You can read a wonderful interview with her here.

Kori is a flower farmer and plant breeder who has made incredible progress in developing new varieties for the marketplace. We have been working together for the past couple of years on refining these mixes with the intention of helping to get her magical varieties out into the world in a bigger way. 

I’m thrilled to have the Dawn Creek beauties as part of our collection!

Dawn Creek Blush is a beautiful large-flowered pastel mix that produces towering plants that are a sight to behold. Blooms come in a range of soft pink, the palest lavender, and blush, with the occasional ivory and soft peach making an appearance. 

Plants have long, strong stems and are incredibly productive. Many of the blooms have a notable cactus-like form and petals are displayed in varying levels of fullness. 

Dawn Creek Peach is a warm, dreamy mix that includes buff, peach, apricot, and faded coral, with the occasional blush. Plants have long, strong stems and are incredibly productive. 

Many of the flowers have a cactus-like form in a wide range of shapes and sizes, including some with tufted centers. There are so many fun treasures in this collection to be discovered.

Dawn Creek Honey is a warm, buttery mix that includes a beautiful range of buff, peach, honey, and cream with a subtle gold wash, as well as the occasional dandelion yellow that loves to make an appearance. 

The large flowers are carried on long, strong stems and many have a cactus-like form, with varying degrees of fullness. 

Here on the farm, there are dozens of different varieties in the works that have come from Kori’s original seeds and the Dawn Creek Pastels mix is a blend of all the different selections that we’ve got cooking. 

Large flowers come in a muted rainbow of colors, including coral, peach, apricot, strawberry, pink, blush, buff, and gold, plus a few other surprises. 

Many of the blooms will have a cactus-like form with varying degrees of fullness, while others may exhibit tufted or domed centers. This mix has so many unique treasures to discover.  

The last group of plants that we’ve been working on as part of this special breeding variety release are dahlia seed mixes. We’ve been able to create four unique mixes that produce flowers in a relatively distinct range of flower forms by collecting seed from separate fields.   

One of the most exciting and surprising discoveries I made early on my dahlia-growing journey was learning how new varieties were created. Unlike tubers or cuttings, which produce an exact clone of the plant they come from, dahlias grown from seed offer a treasure trove of new possibilities, each one something that’s never existed before. If you discover a variety you love, tubers can be saved and planted out the following year—and you even get to name them!  

In my experience, anemone-flowered dahlias are stingy seed producers so every one of the seeds in this mix is a tiny treasure. We collected these ‘Cancan Girls’ seeds from a breeding field of anemone types and so far about 70% of the plants grown from this seed produce anemone-flowered blooms. 

This dahlia seed mix is filled with a dazzling rainbow of tufted blooms in all shapes and sizes. The rich color range includes reds, maroons, pinks, purples, and many bicolors—no two plants will be the same! If you love this form, ‘Cancan Girls’ is a must grow. We probably won’t offer it again in the future because it is so labor-intensive to produce, so be sure to get the seeds while you can. 

‘Floret’ (what started as C33) is one of the first dahlias I bred here on the farm. The flowers are a strange fusion between collarette and anemone forms. Blooms start out candy pink and fade to warm peach with an iridescent lavender wash as they age. 

But what I love most about ‘Floret’ is that of all the dahlia varieties I’ve ever collected seed from, nearly all her offspring possess similar characteristics to their mother, including her unique form and soft, unusual coloring. I’ve never grown seed from a dahlia variety with such a high percentage of “keepers.”

Seed from the ‘Petite Florets’ mix was collected from ‘Floret’ and is a range of pastel tones, including peach, apricot, dusty rose, lavender, sunbleached raspberry, and buttercream, all with a hauntingly beautiful iridescent wash. 

A large percentage of the blooms are either collaretes or anemones, many of which have snipped petal tips, long feathery ruffles, and twizzly eyelashes encircling their fuzzy centers. Every one of them is pure magic!

Another beautiful new mix is ‘Shooting Stars’, which was collected from an entire field of collarettes and features an incredible range of star-shaped flowers, including singles, collarettes, orchettes, orchids, and other fun surprises—no two plants will be the same! 

You’ll find flowers with snipped edges, rolled petals, stripes, streaks, and speckles in every color of the rainbow. The bees love this mix and it’d be worth planting just for the pollinators.

Last but not least is ‘Bee’s Choice’—one of the most popular seed mixes we’ve ever offered. This year’s mix was collected from all of our different dahlia breeding patches on the farm and includes a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors! 

Most of the flowers will have open centers, which will attract lots of pollinators to your garden but you should also get some fun surprises in the mix including some balls, informal decoratives, and maybe an anemone or two.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, a huge thank you for taking the time to meet all of the Floret Originals and letting me share my overwhelming excitement about them with you. 

To celebrate the release of these special seeds we’re hosting a giveaway of 10 deluxe seed collections. Each collection includes all of the new varieties (26 packets!) and a beautiful growing guide. For a chance to win, please leave a comment below sharing what breeding varieties you’re most excited to add to your garden this season. Winners will be announced on February 5. Please note: Because we can’t yet send the breeding varieties internationally, this giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Update: A huge congratulations to our winners: Angela, Katelyn Lacey, Tai Quirke, Chris, Leah, Stephanie Peoples, Autumn Mulverhill, Andrea K., Anne-Sophie and Ruth Goethals.


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Floret Originals: Your Questions Answered

Floret Originals: Your Questions Answered

Ever since we announced that we would be releasing the breeding varieties into the world, we’ve been overwhelmed with so many excited emails, messages, and questions. Below you’ll find answers to some of the most common ones. 

If you have a question that is not answered here, be sure to leave it in the comments section below. 

I’m confused. What exactly is a Floret Original? How are they different from the varieties you’ve carried in the past?

One thing I didn’t realize until we started making this big transition was how many people thought that every variety of flower seed that we’ve carried in our shop was bred here on the farm. While I love that you have that much faith in us, the vast majority of varieties we’ve offered through our shop were already in existence and collected from a network of specialty growers or were produced here in our fields. The difference with the Floret Original varieties is that they were either developed through many seasons of careful selection on the farm or were actually born here!

Over the last 7 years, we have been working on developing these new varieties to help give local growers an advantage in the marketplace and open up a whole new world of possibilities for the seasonal flower movement. 

We’ve focused our efforts on flowers that are easy to grow, thrive in a wide range of climates (especially those that are hot or humid), and are both vigorous and healthy so that even beginning gardeners will have success with them. Potential candidates are measured against a set of strict criteria, including long stems for cutting, beautiful coloring, and a unique form that will lend itself to flower arranging. 

To ensure that local growers have the advantage over imported blooms, we’ve been focusing on breeding flowers that don’t ship well (dahlias, celosia, and zinnias) so if floral designers or wholesale flower sellers want to get their hands on them, they will have to buy them locally or learn how to grow their own.

Erin Benzakein in the back of the Floret truck surrounded by buckets of breeding varietiesAre you going to offer any other seed besides the Floret Originals in the future? Where can I find cress or sweet peas? Help!

It has long been a dream of mine to have our little seed company transition to specializing in farm-bred varieties. After many years of diligent work, we have finally reached that point!

Moving forward we will only be offering Floret Original varieties or special flowers that need our help to be preserved. It is a bittersweet moment because I love all of the flowers that we’ve had the pleasure of sharing with you in the past, but in order to give the breeding varieties the time and attention they need, it’s important that we focus our efforts. 

We have created a series of special resources to help you find new and wonderful sources for seed. I’m excited to introduce you to my very favorite companies (many of which are still family-owned) and help play matchmaker between you and them. Be sure to read Floret’s Favorite Specialty Seed Sources

A huge thank you to everyone who has ordered seeds from us over the years. Your support has allowed our family farm to grow and thrive and I’m excited to share this next chapter with you. 

My farm is small and every square foot counts. What percentage of the plants will come back true to the photos on your site? 

These special varieties have been grown in isolation, either through distance or inside of covered hoop houses, and refined through a process of rouging for the past 6 to 7 years. 

We have grown out and trialed all of the seeds that we’re offering to ensure that each one is of the highest quality and what we’d consider a stable variety, meaning that at least 90% (or more) of the plants will produce flowers that are true to type. 

Please note that there will be some slight variations of flower size, form, or color and you will occasionally find some off types (a few brightly colored flowers are the most common surprise) but for the most part, the vast majority of the plants that come from each packet of seed will resemble their photos and descriptions.

If you have become accustomed to growing hybrid flowers (like the Zowie or Uproar series zinnias, Pro Cut sunflowers, etc.) that are 100% uniform, you may be surprised or a little frustrated by the diversity found in our seeds. If you need every single plant to perform in an identical manner then these varieties are probably not for you. 

Over time, these varieties will be refined even further as we work to select fuller flowers and a more uniform color presentation, but I am excited to have you try them in their current, not-quite-perfect state and see what you think.

If you are planning to save seed (for your own personal use) and discover an off type in the mix, be sure to remove (rogue) it out of the patch so that all of the flowers that you’re growing and saving are the ones you desire.   

Can I grow out and resell the seed from Floret Originals or Dawn Creek seed varieties?

One question that we get very often is “Can I grow and sell the seed from your Floret Original varieties?” I’ve also seen a number of small farmers growing out the seed they purchased from Dawn Creek and offering it as their own without permission. I understand the excitement about these new beauties, and because the seed is limited, people see an opportunity for their businesses. 

But we have poured a tremendous amount of time, effort, and resources into developing these varieties and ask that you do not reproduce their seed, for sale, without permission. With that said, I would love for you to grow and save seed from these varieties for your own personal use (including breeding work) and to share with your family and friends. You are more than welcome (and highly encouraged) to grow and sell the fresh flowers and potted plants from these magical varieties as well! 

An important thing to note is that before we ever started growing out the Dawn Creek zinnia varieties for seed, we reached out to Kori, expressed our interest, and asked for permission. Once permission was granted, we came to an agreement on a royalty structure so that she would receive a percentage of sales from any variety that was derived from her original seed.

In order for independent plant breeding to become a more viable occupation, it is extremely important that plant breeders are both acknowledged for their incredible contributions and fairly compensated for their work. 

To summarize, the unauthorized production of seeds with the intent to sell, renaming of varieties, or reselling of packets purchased from Floret without permission is prohibited.

At this time, we are the only source for these seeds, but if you are interested in potentially becoming a licensed seed grower in the future, please fill out this form.

 

Are the Floret Originals varieties available wholesale? I’d love to offer them in my catalog or shop!

Currently, we do not have enough seed to offer Floret Original varieties in volume to other seed companies or retailers. However, if you would like to join our waiting list, please complete this form.

Eric Budzynski checking on seeds pods laid out to dryWhy do the Floret Original varieties cost more than other seeds?

A tremendous amount of time and effort has gone into breeding these special new varieties and we’ve done it on our own, right here on our farm. We have spent the last 7 years working to figure out how to breed new varieties, get them to come back true to type, and master the art of seed saving. 

This is a very uncommon approach in the flower seed industry. Typically all of the new varieties that are brought to market come from large corporations with breeding facilities located near the equator, where they can grow year-round and have access to very affordable labor. Their seeds are produced on a massive scale and distributed through a global network of dealers, brokers, and seed companies. The end consumer (the farmer or home gardener) is the last person in the chain and is many steps removed from the original source, not knowing how their seeds were produced and who grew them.

What makes this project so special is that we’re doing the work right here on our farm and can share the process and journey with you. We have been working to create what the flower community felt was missing from the marketplace—I like to think of these seeds as “created by the people, for the people.” And now that some of the Floret Original varieties are ready to go into the world, we can deliver them directly to you and bypass all of the middlemen along the way. 

When it comes to pricing, we’ve tried to strike a balance between recouping the investment that has gone into this self-funded project, while also making these seeds as affordable as possible for gardeners and farmers. While the higher cost (when compared to standard varieties) might mean that you are only able to get one packet of the seeds you desire versus multiples, I do hope that it doesn’t prevent you from being able to grow them at all. 

One of the ways we plan to help offset the higher cost of these seeds is by teaching you how to save your own later this summer. We’ve been busy writing and filming a new Seed-Saving Mini Course that I can’t wait to share more about soon.

Erin Benzakein and other members of Team Floret threshing seedsI’m trying to find information about flower seed saving, and I can’t find anything. Can you point me in the right direction?

I know how frustrating it can be when it comes to trying to find information on flower seed saving and breeding because so few resources currently exist. If you haven’t already read Tiffany Jones’ book, The Zinnia Breeder’s Handbook, or Kristine Albrecht’s Dahlia Breeding for the Farmer-Florist and the Home Gardener both are wonderful resources. 

For the last few years, we have been working on documenting the process that we go through to save flower seeds here on the farm. It is an incredibly complex topic and there is so much to learn and know. It’ll be a while before I can share this massive project, but the thought of all of this information becoming publicly available sometime in the future is very exciting! 

In the meantime, we’ve been working on a special new Seed-Saving Mini Course that will do a deep dive into saving celosia, dahlia, and zinnia seeds which will be available later this summer.  It will cover information about the differences between open-pollinated and hybrid varieties, isolation distances required to ensure that varieties come back true to type, and step-by-step instructions on how to go about harvesting and cleaning seeds on a home scale.

How many seeds come in each packet?

The number of seeds per packet will vary based on the specific variety.

Celosia will have a minimum of 100 seeds per packet, dahlias will have at least 25 seeds, and zinnias will include a minimum of 50, enough to grow a nice big patch of each one. 

You can also find the seed quantities listed near the bottom of each product description if you’re ever curious in the future. 

Are your seeds certified organic?

Here on the farm we use organic growing practices but are no longer certified (although we were for more than a decade). All of the seeds that we offer are non-GMO, open-pollinated, and untreated. 

If you need a letter stating this for your certifier please email (email protected) and we can send one along. 

Do you have any tips for growing the new breeding varieties? Each seed is so precious and I want to make sure I do everything right!

We’ve created some wonderful resources to help you have success growing the Floret Original varieties this season.

Every seed order leaving the farm will come with a beautiful printed growing guide that includes a step-by-step seed-starting tutorial, flower-growing advice, and detailed growing instructions for celosia, zinnias, and dahlias (from seed). We had so much fun putting together this photo-filled booklet to accompany these special varieties! 

The same growing instructions that are in the booklet can also be found in the Resources section of our website. Be sure to check out How to Grow Celosia, How to Grow Zinnias, and How to Grow Dahlias from Seed. 

And in mid-February, we’ll be releasing our Winter Mini Course Seed-Starting 101. In this video series, I will show you how to start seeds even if you don’t have a greenhouse, how to care for young seedlings until planting time, and how to avoid common mistakes. The course is free, all you need to do is sign up. 

Floret Originals blooms arranged in vessels on shelvesCan I grow celosia, dahlias, and zinnias in pots?

If you have a small space or don’t have any actual ground to grow in, you can plant in pots. Be sure to choose the largest container possible, at least 3 gallons (11 L). It’s important to keep in mind that when you grow any plant in a container, it will require a lot more care than a plant growing directly in the ground. In addition to needing regular deep watering, especially during the height of summer, container-grown plants need to be fertilized monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer.

If you’re looking for varieties that have a more compact growth habit, some great options are Celosia Coral Reef, Dusty Rose, and Pink Chenille, Dahlia Cancan Girls and Petite Florets, and Zinnia Little Flower Girl and Victorian Wedding.

However, you can experiment with any of the varieties and see which ones do best in containers and raised beds.

If things sell out, will you be restocking? What does it mean when a variety says “Sold Out” or “Coming Soon”? 

To know if we will be restocking a variety, there will be a little flag in the upper right-hand corner that either says “Coming Soon” or “Sold Out.” If it says “Coming Soon” the variety will be restocked later this spring. 

To be notified when the variety you’re interested in comes back in stock, be sure to use the “Email When Available” feature within the product’s description. When seed is restocked you will receive an email.

Can you send seed for the Floret Original varieties internationally? 

We have been looking into the logistics of shipping seeds internationally, but it’s proving to be no small feat. Thank you so much for your patience! If you live outside of the U.S. or Canada and are interested in getting your hands on these special new varieties, please complete this form. We hope to have an update for you in the next 4 to 6 weeks.

One thing that we’ve seen done quite successfully is to have your order shipped to a friend in the States and then they find a way to get it to you. 

Will items in my cart be held for me? 

This is a tricky one because we have no control over the system that processes orders and inventory once the products are live on the site. Items are removed from inventory as purchases are completed and because of this, the items in your cart will unfortunately not be held. For the best experience, we recommend having your list ready and checking out as soon as possible. 

Can I change my order?

Once your order has been placed, it is printed and put into our order packing queue. Unfortunately, because of our small team and the volume of orders we will be filling, we are unable to combine separately placed orders or modify an order once it’s been submitted.

When will my order ship?

We will be shipping out orders as quickly as we can, but with the small size of our team, orders could take up to 4 to 6 weeks to process. Once your order leaves the farm you will receive an email with tracking information.

How should I store my seeds if I don’t want to plant them all right away?

If stored properly seeds can remain viable for many, many years. Be sure to keep them in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. A plastic tub or jar with a lid tucked in the garage or basement works great. 

Rodents can be an issue, so be sure that your seeds are stored in a critter-proof container to protect them.

If you have questions that haven’t been answered above, please leave a comment below. 


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نحوه رشد زینیا – گلهای گلدار

نحوه رشد زینیا - گلهای گلدار

زینیا یکی از ساده ترین گل های شاخه بریده برای رشد است. آنها اولین محصول عالی برای باغبانان تازه کار هستند و بدون توجه به اینکه در کجا باغ می کنید، تولیدکنندگان قابل اعتماد و پربار هستند.

علاوه بر این که سطل‌ها و سطل‌هایی از شکوفه‌های زیبا و ساقه بلند که برای برش مناسب هستند، مورد علاقه گرده‌افشان‌ها هستند.

زینیاها از هوای سرد رنجیده اند و ترجیح می دهند پس از کمی گرم شدن آنها کاشته شوند.

بسیاری از باغبانان در مناطق گرم‌تر جهان می‌توانند با موفقیت دانه‌های زینیا را مستقیماً به باغ هدایت کنند، اما در اینجا در واشنگتن خنک، ما گیاهان خود را در اوایل گلخانه، 4 تا 6 هفته قبل از آخرین یخبندان بهاری خود شروع می‌کنیم.

پس از اینکه هوا به اندازه کافی گرم شد و تمام خطر یخبندان از بین رفت، گیاهان را در مزرعه قرار می دهند.

مانند هر گلی که در مزرعه ما رشد می کند، ما سعی می کنیم بهترین شروع ممکن را به آنها بدهیم و بستر کاشت خود را با دوز سخاوتمندانه کمپوست و کود آلی آماده کنیم. در اینجا درباره آماده سازی خاک بیشتر بدانید.

پس از آماده شدن بسترهای کاشت، خطوط آبیاری قطره ای را می گذاریم و سپس با لایه ای از پارچه منظره از پیش سوخته روی تخت ها را می پوشانیم. استفاده از پارچه برای موفقیت لازم نیست، اما در اینجا در مزرعه از آن برای افزایش حرارت و سرکوب علف های هرز استفاده می کنیم.

گیاهان به فاصله 9 تا 12 اینچ (23 تا 30 سانتی متر) از هم قرار می گیرند و بسته به آب و هوا یک تا دو بار در هفته به صورت عمیق آبیاری می شوند. اگر خاک خوب و منبع ثابت آب داده شود، گیاهان می توانند بزرگ شوند و به نوعی حمایت نیاز دارند.

اگر در ردیف‌های بلند رشد کنید، می‌توان گیاهان را با کوبیدن پایه‌های سنگین یا تیرهای T در اطراف محیط بستر و با استفاده از ریسمان نگهدارنده برای ایجاد جعبه‌ای با رشته‌های رشته‌ای برای نگه داشتن گیاهان در حالت قائم جمع کرد. اگر زینیا را در تخت باغچه خود پرورش می دهید، گیاهان جداگانه را می توان با ریسمان به ستون ها گره زد.

راز بدست آوردن فراوان ترین گل و طولانی ترین ساقه ها از زینیاها نیشگون گرفتن آنها در جوانی است. زمانی که گیاهان 8 تا 12 اینچ (20 تا 30 سانتی‌متر) ارتفاع دارند، هرس‌های تیز بردارید و قسمت بالایی آن را به اندازه 3 تا 4 اینچ (7 تا 10 سانتی‌متر) از روی گیاه، درست بالای مجموعه‌ای از برگ‌ها جدا کنید. این به گیاه سیگنال می دهد که چندین ساقه را از زیر جایی که برش ایجاد شده است بفرستد.

در طول دوره های هوای گرم و خشک، زینیا مستعد ابتلا به کپک پودری است. ایجاد جریان هوای خوب در اطراف گیاهان و اطمینان از اینکه آنها تحت هیچ گونه تنش خشکی قرار نمی گیرند، به به حداقل رساندن فشار بیماری کمک می کند.

ما دریافتیم که اسپری پیشگیرانه مخلوطی از Cease و MilStop (هر دو قارچ کش ارگانیک) هر 7 تا 10 روز آن را دور نگه می دارد.

اگر به طور منظم زینیا خود را برداشت نمی‌کنید، حتماً شکوفه‌های مصرف‌شده را از بین ببرید تا انرژی گیاه را روی تولید گل‌های جدید متمرکز کنید و بذر نبرید.

زینیاها باید زمانی چیده شوند که کاملا رسیده باشند وگرنه در گلدان ماندگار نمی شوند. برای اینکه بفهمید یک زنیا برای برداشت آماده است یا خیر، از “تست تکان دادن” استفاده کنید. به سادگی ساقه را حدود 8 اینچ (20 سانتی متر) از سر گل به سمت پایین بگیرید و به آرامی آن را تکان دهید. اگر ساقه آویزان یا خم شده باشد، آماده بریدن نیست. اگر ساقه سفت باشد و صاف بماند، آماده برداشت است.

زینیا یک گل “کثیف” در نظر گرفته می شود و از یک یا دو قطره سفید کننده در آب آن سود می برد. گل ها به سرما بسیار حساس هستند، بنابراین آنها را در خنک کننده قرار ندهید. اگر مواد نگهدارنده گل به آب اضافه شود، زینیا باید حدود یک هفته در گلدان بماند.

من از همان ابتدا گیاه زینیا را پرورش داده ام و هر سال بیشتر و بیشتر عاشق آنها می شوم. اگر می خواهید همه گونه های مورد علاقه من را ببینید، آن را بررسی کنید بخش زینیا از کتابخانه فلورت

من دوست دارم در مورد تجربه شما در مورد این گروه شگفت انگیز از گیاهان بشنوم. آیا زینیا را پرورش می دهید یا قصد دارید در فصل آینده آنها را به باغ خود اضافه کنید؟ اگر چنین است، انواع مورد علاقه شما چیست، یا چه گنجینه های جدیدی را به لیست آرزوهای خود اضافه می کنید؟


لطفاً توجه داشته باشید: اگر نظر شما فوراً نمایش داده نشد، محکم بنشینید. ما یک فیلتر هرزنامه داریم که از ما می‌خواهد نظرات را قبل از انتشار تأیید کنیم.

منبع

چگونه گل محمدی را از بذر پرورش دهیم

چگونه گل محمدی را از بذر پرورش دهیم

یکی از هیجان‌انگیزترین و غافلگیرکننده‌ترین اکتشافاتی که در سفر پرورش کوکب انجام دادم، یادگیری چگونگی ایجاد انواع جدید بود.

بر خلاف غده‌ها یا قلمه‌ها، که کلون دقیق گیاهی را تولید می‌کنند، گل محمدی که از دانه رشد می‌کند گنجینه‌ای از امکانات جدید را ارائه می‌کند، هر کدام چیزی که قبلاً وجود نداشته است.

فرصت‌ها بی‌پایان هستند، و اگر یکی را پیدا کنید که دوستش دارید، می‌توانید آن را نام ببرید!

نهال های کوکب به شدت به سرما حساس هستند، بنابراین تا زمانی که هوا به اندازه کافی گرم نشده است آنها را در بیرون از خانه نکارید. ما معمولاً آنها را 3 تا 4 هفته پس از آخرین یخبندان بهاری خود پیوند می زنیم.

بذرها را باید حداقل 4 تا 8 هفته قبل از کاشت در داخل خانه شروع کنید. دانه های کوکب به طور پراکنده جوانه می زنند، بنابراین صبور باشید – آنها ظاهر می شوند اما ممکن است تا دو هفته طول بکشد. کاشت مستقیم در باغ توصیه نمی شود.

گل کوکب در خاک غنی و به شدت اصلاح شده بهترین عملکرد را دارد. ما بسترهای کاشت را با دوز سخاوتمندانه کمپوست و کود آلی آماده می کنیم و سپس آبیاری قطره ای را نصب می کنیم. در اینجا درباره آماده سازی خاک بیشتر بدانید.

اگرچه آنها می توانند گرمای تابستان را تحمل کنند، توصیه می کنیم در آب و هوای بسیار گرم، کمی سایه بعد از ظهر تهیه کنید.

گیاهان را به فاصله 12 اینچ (30 سانتی متر) از هم قرار دهید و هفته ای دو بار به عمق آب دهید. (نهال کوکب را می توان بسیار نزدیکتر به هم رشد داد، با فاصله بین بوته ها به اندازه 4 اینچ (10 سانتی متر). این روش جنگلی از ساقه های بلند را تولید می کند و به این ترتیب است که اغلب پرورش دهندگان حرفه ای تعداد نهال هایی را که می توانند در یک فصل رشد دهند، افزایش می دهند. )

راب ها و حلزون ها عاشق نهال های گل محمدی هستند. ما Sluggo را بلافاصله پس از نشاء به کار می بریم تا از آنها در حین استقرار محافظت کنیم.

گیاهان به ناچار بلند و سنگین می شوند و نیاز به چنگ زدن محکم دارند که باید قبل از بزرگ شدن بیش از حد و از بین رفتن وزن شکوفه های خودنمایی کنند.

اگر گل محمدی را در بسترهای باغچه پرورش می دهید، می توانید در زمان کاشت هر نهال را در کنار هر نهال بکوبید و در حین رشد آنها را ببندید.

اگر در ردیف‌های بلند کاشت می‌کنید، می‌توان با کوبیدن ستون‌های سنگین یا تیرهای T در اطراف محیط بستر و ایجاد جعبه‌ای با خط ریسمان با استفاده از ریسمان قیچی، گیاهان را جمع کرد و در حالت ایستاده نگه داشت.

برای افزایش تعداد کلی گل ها و تشویق ساقه های بلند و قوی، باید آنها را نیشگون بگیرید. هنگامی که گیاهان 8 تا 12 اینچ (20 تا 30 سانتی متر) بلند شدند، از هرس های تیز برای جدا کردن 3 تا 4 اینچ (7 تا 10 سانتی متر) بالای مجموعه ای از برگ ها استفاده کنید. این باعث می شود که گیاه چندین ساقه را به زیر شاخه بفرستد.

مگر اینکه غلاف های بذر را برای اهداف اصلاحی به بلوغ می گذارید، اغلب شکوفه های صرف شده را حذف کنید تا گیاهان انرژی خود را به جای تولید بذر در تولید گل صرف کنند.

اگر انواعی را که دوست دارید کشف کردید، می توانید آنها را در پایان فصل برای کاشت مجدد در سال بعد بیابید.

گل محمدی که از دانه رشد می‌کند، توده‌های مینیاتوری غده‌هایی تولید می‌کند که اغلب به اندازه کافی بزرگ نیستند تا تقسیم شوند، بنابراین کل بسته را در یک کیسه Ziploc پر از پیت ماس ​​یا ورمیکولیت در مکانی خنک که یخ نمی‌زند، بین 40 درجه فارنهایت تا 50 نگهداری می‌کنیم. درجه فارنهایت (4-10 درجه سانتیگراد).

گل های کوکب چندان بادوام نیستند، اما می توانید با چیدن در مرحله مناسب و استفاده از نگهدارنده گل، حدود 5 روز به طول انجامید. گل کوکب بعد از برداشت زیاد باز نمی شود، بنابراین زمانی که تقریباً برای شکوفه های بزرگ و کامل باز است، انتخاب کنید.

برای تک‌ها و دیگر گونه‌های با مرکز باز، درست زمانی که گلبرگ‌ها در حال باز شدن هستند و قبل از اینکه زنبورها به آن‌ها برسند، انتخاب کنید.

اگر گل محمدی را از دانه پرورش نداده اید، به شدت به شما توصیه می کنم آن را امتحان کنید – این بهترین شکار گنج است.

من دوست دارم در مورد تجربه شما در مورد گل محمدی که از دانه رشد می کند و برخی از اکتشافاتی که در باغ خود انجام داده اید بشنوم.


لطفاً توجه داشته باشید: اگر نظر شما فوراً نمایش داده نشد، محکم بنشینید. ما یک فیلتر هرزنامه داریم که از ما می‌خواهد نظرات را قبل از انتشار تأیید کنیم.

منبع

چگونه سلوزیا را رشد دهیم – گلهای گلدار

چگونه سلوزیا را رشد دهیم - گلهای گلدار

سلوزیا گروهی سخت‌کوش از گیاهان است که برای گل‌های مخملی‌مانند و تیره خود رشد می‌کنند که در طیف‌های متفاوتی از اشکال، از جمله بادبزن، پر و مغز وجود دارند. آنها قوی، بدون گل هستند و به راحتی رشد می کنند.

آنها هوای گرم و خشک را دوست دارند و به مراقبت بسیار کمی نیاز دارند. علاوه بر تولید ساقه‌های بسیار زیبا و بافتی که لهجه فوق‌العاده‌ای برای چیدمان دارند، می‌توان آن‌ها را در هر زمان از سال خشک کرد و استفاده کرد.

از آنجایی که سلوزیا بسیار به سرما حساس است، حتی کوچکترین یخبندان نیز پایان آنها خواهد بود، بنابراین بذر را خیلی زود شروع نکنید. ما تا حدود 6 هفته قبل از آخرین یخبندان بهاره خود صبر می کنیم تا آنها را در سینی های گلخانه بکاریم و تا زمانی که هوا به اندازه کافی گرم شود، کاشت را متوقف می کنیم.

هنگامی که دمای بیرون از 60 درجه فارنهایت (16 درجه سانتیگراد) بیشتر است، سلوزیا را می توان مستقیماً در باغ کاشت. بذرها بسیار ریز هستند، بنابراین در هنگام کاشت آن را خیلی عمیق دفن نکنید.

در آب و هوای خنک دریایی ما، سلوزیا باید در زیر پوشش کاشته شود تا بتواند رشد کند، اما در مناطق گرمتر جهان، آنها در خارج از خانه عالی عمل می کنند.

مانند هر گلی که در مزرعه ما رشد می کند، ما سعی می کنیم بهترین شروع ممکن را به آنها بدهیم و بستر کاشت خود را با دوز سخاوتمندانه کمپوست و کود آلی آماده کنیم. در اینجا درباره آماده سازی خاک بیشتر بدانید.

پس از آماده شدن بسترهای کاشت، خطوط آبیاری قطره ای را می گذاریم و سپس با لایه ای از پارچه منظره از پیش سوخته روی تخت ها را می پوشانیم. پارچه منظره گرما را می افزاید و علف های هرز را سرکوب می کند، اما برای موفقیت لازم نیست.

گیاهان بین 9 تا 12 اینچ (23 تا 30 سانتی متر) از هم فاصله دارند و هفته ای دو بار آبیاری عمیق می شوند، گاهی اوقات در هوای گرم بیشتر.

زمانی که گیاهان حدود 6 تا 8 اینچ (15 تا 20 سانتی متر) قد دارند، با بریدن 3 تا 4 اینچ (7 تا 10 سانتی متر) بالای ساقه مرکزی، به آن ها خرج می کنیم. این امر باعث انشعاب فراوان از پایه می شود و در نتیجه ده ها ساقه با اندازه کامل از هر گیاه ایجاد می شود.

برای واریته های بلندتر، حتماً گیاهان را به صورت مرجانی یا چوبی قرار دهید تا از رشد سرسبز آنها حمایت کرده و از واژگون شدن گیاهان جلوگیری کنید.

اگر سلوزیا خود را در ردیف‌های بلند بکارید، می‌توان آنها را با کوبیدن پایه‌های سنگین یا تیرهای T در اطراف محیط بستر و با استفاده از ریسمان مهارکننده برای ایجاد جعبه‌ای با خط ریسمان برای ایستادن گیاهان جمع کرد. اگر آنها در چشم انداز رشد می کنند، گیاهان جداگانه را می توان با استفاده از ریسمان به چوب گره زد.

سر گل ها با بالغ شدن بزرگتر می شوند، بنابراین زمانی که به اندازه دلخواه شما هستند اما قبل از اینکه به دانه بروند، آنها را بچینید. 80 درصد از شاخ و برگ را در طول برداشت جدا کنید، زیرا مدت ها قبل از محو شدن سر گل در گلدان پژمرده می شود.

سلوزیا یک گل شاخه بریده با ماندگاری دیوانه کننده است و اغلب تا 2 هفته بدون مواد نگهدارنده باقی می ماند.

همچنین می توان گل ها را برای استفاده بعدی خشک کرد. برای خشک شدن، ساقه های تازه بریده شده را به مدت 2 تا 3 هفته یا تا زمانی که در تماس سفت شوند، به صورت وارونه در مکانی گرم و تاریک آویزان کنید.

سلوزیاها اغلب نادیده گرفته می شوند و بیشتر به عنوان یک شاخ و برگ یا پرکننده در نظر گرفته می شوند. با این حال، هنگامی که تمام اشکال، اندازه‌ها و رنگ‌های موجود و تطبیق پذیری آن‌ها را برای چیدمان کشف کردید، قلاب خواهید شد. بعلاوه، آنها یکی از ساده ترین گل ها برای نجات دانه ها هستند.

من صدها گونه سلوزیا را در طول سالها رشد داده و ثبت کرده ام. اگر می خواهید ببینید کدام یک از آنها بسیار مورد علاقه من هستند، به سایت مراجعه کنید بخش سلوزیا از کتابخانه فلورت

من دوست دارم در مورد تجربه شما در مورد این گروه شگفت انگیز از گیاهان بشنوم. آیا سلوسیا را پرورش می دهید یا قصد دارید آنها را در فصل آینده به باغ خود اضافه کنید؟ اگر چنین است، انواع مورد علاقه شما کدامند؟


لطفاً توجه داشته باشید: اگر نظر شما فوراً نمایش داده نشد، محکم بنشینید. ما یک فیلتر هرزنامه داریم که از ما می‌خواهد نظرات را قبل از انتشار تأیید کنیم.

منبع

The {Farmer} & The Florist Interview: Peace Seedlings

The {Farmer} & The Florist Interview: Peace Seedlings

I heard about Peace Seedlings, a delightful and obscure little seed company down in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, from Eric who heads up our seed program. He remembers Dylana Kapuler and Mario DiBenedetto selling their seeds in handwritten manila envelopes at the Corvallis Farmers Market when he lived there. 

When I first visited their blog (which also functions as their main catalog) I was a little bit skeptical, since there was nowhere to place an order. But I quickly learned that they are still doing things the old-fashioned way and you have to mail them a list of what you want, plus a few dollars for shipping and payment (either cash or check). A few weeks later your order will appear in the mailbox.

Last season I trialed all of their pea varieties that are part of their breeding program. I was incredibly impressed—they were all beautiful and delicious, and like nothing I’d ever grown before. If you’re looking for some fun and tasty additions to your garden, be sure to check them out!

While their whole offering is very interesting, their zinnia collections are especially worth pointing out. They’ve been working to breed some very diverse mixes that are incredibly unique and very different from anything on the market.

While I’m typically drawn to softer pastel shades, the bright, wild, boldly colored bicolor flowers from their mixes were both eye-catching and bizarrely beautiful. If you’re looking for some one-of-a-kind flowers to add to your garden, fields, or bouquets I especially loved the Day Glow Mix and ‘Rainbow Eyes’.

Peace Seedlings specializes in breeding for diversity rather than uniformity, so if you’re on the hunt for some unusual and unique new treasures, look no further. 

Dylana, I’m so happy I found out about your operation, and I’m really excited to introduce you to Floret readers. Can you share a little bit about the evolution of your seed company? From what I’ve read, the original Peace Seeds was founded in the 1970s by your parents, but more recently, you’ve renamed it Peace Seedlings. Can you talk about this transition and what you’re focusing on now?

We started helping with Peace Seeds, which was run by my parents “Mushroom” (Alan Kapuler) and Linda Kapuler, in 2007. My partner Mario DiBenedetto and I were inspired by the staggering legacy that they had created. Mushroom and Linda would talk about maybe “retiring,” but our involvement seemed to keep them inspired to keep truckin’ on.  

By 2009, Mushroom encouraged us to start our own seed company so we could get credit for our own work. So that fall, we launched Peace Seedlings. We wanted to keep some continuity of the legacy they had created and we figured we were the next generation of Peace Seeds, and thus we were the “Seedlings.” 

We were too young to think through how much we would confuse people who thought we sold seedlings, or why two different seed companies worked together on the same 3-acre piece of land that Mushroom and Linda had been leasing since the early ‘90s. 

The focus has always been on the preservation and dissemination of biodiversity,  growing organic food that keeps ourselves and the community nourished, and breeding new varieties for the public domain that make a valuable contribution to increased nutrition, architectural advances, and unique beauty.

You offer one of the most interesting and diverse ranges of seeds I’ve come across, and so many of the varieties in your catalog were bred on your farm. Can you share more about your breeding efforts and what you’re specializing in?

Thank you, it means a lot to hear that. Like I said, the legacy of my parents is staggering, so we have tried our best to honor their work and all of the amazing varieties that we have had access to. We have tried to see and grow as many different types of plants as we can so we can have deeper insight and more appreciation of the natural world. 

That leads to the next step, which is saving the seeds so you can be part of the whole cycle. Then once you grow those seeds, you might see a unique trait that you want to follow, and then you are doing your own level of adaptation and selection.

It is hard not to do this with everything we grow so after enough time, the hope is that we made a valuable contribution to as many varieties as possible.   

We’ve generally tried to be more diversified than specialized, but we have ended up being more attracted to certain plants for various reasons. We have done most of our breeding efforts in peas, corn, tomatoes, peppers, beans, marigolds, zinnias, sunflowers, and asters.

We have done some specializing in South American (Andean) crops. The Andean people are some of the oldest plant breeders and have made a lot of underutilized crops.

Many of them are very unknown for how much potential they have in gardens globally. One of which is Yacon (pictured above), which makes an edible tuber that is sweet and crunchy eaten raw or cooked, and is an amazing and adaptable plant in many climates.

This past season we trialed all of your zinnia mixes and were amazed by the uniqueness and diversity found in each collection. I’ve never seen anything like them before! Would you be willing to share a little more about how these varieties came to be, especially the Day Glow Mix?

We have both been artists our whole lives with many different mediums. Zinnias were one of the earliest breeding projects we started. So as artists, we decided to grow a huge spiral of two different species of zinnias that normally didn’t cross and see if growing them like that would encourage more intercrossing from all the pollinators.

We grew out as many seeds as we could from the zinnia spiral and ended up noticing one plant that had a unique color trait that we knew was a cross.

That is the start of many of our zinnias that have the “multi-tone”(multiple colors) trait. For the next decade, we would grow as many plants as we could manage and every year pick our favorites and save each one separately to see what happened. 

Simultaneously we grew out as many zinnias as we could find in the commercial market that had unique colors or morphology and were tall enough for cut flowers. 

Growing so many different types of zinnias and having a very diverse amount of pollinators created the possibility of anomalies to happen. A few years ago we noticed one plant that had a unique color trait that we named “multi-play.” We had never seen anything like it. The colors on the petals morphed over time so the old petals would be different from the newly emerging petals, which would create a glowing effect that we then named “Day Glow” (pictured above).

In addition to trialing your zinnias, I also grew all of your snow and snap pea varieties, including ‘Ruby Beauty’, ‘Blushing Beauty’, ‘Amethyst Beauty’ (pictured above), ‘Opal Beauty’, ‘Spring Rose’, ‘Magnolia Blossom’, and ‘Spring Blush’. I was blown away by the range of unique colors and exaggerated tendrils on many of the varieties. They were all incredibly delicious, too. Can you share a little bit more about your pea breeding efforts and a few of your favorites or new varieties that you’d recommend trying? 

It all started with the seed of inspiration to breed a rainbow of peas … My parents spent more than a decade trying to make the first edible purple pea pod. After some bitter failures and following many paths, some that led to other wonderful peas like ‘Green Beauty’, ‘Magnolia Blossom’, and ‘Spring Blush’, they succeeded and offered ‘Sugar Magnolia’, the first purple snap pea of its kind, which also had been selected for hyper-tendrils, a trait that was not readily available. A decade before that they bred ‘Opal Creek’, the first yellow snap pea. 

So, at the beginning of working in collaboration with my parents, it was natural to be inspired by all they had done and see the potential for what was now possible with all these new varieties they had bred.

The first pea we bred came from being enchanted by a pink-flowered New Zealand pea that a friend was growing and we knew we needed to use that as a parent. Using that pink-flowered pea crossed with ‘Green Beauty’ we made ‘Spring Rose’ (pictured above), which had the unique pink flower trait we were looking for. We hoped crossing yellow peas with purple peas would open up the possibilities of color and hopefully make a “red” pea. 

But first, we crossed ‘Green Beauty’ to ‘Opal Creek’, so we could make a golden snow. 

We then crossed the golden snow with ‘Sugar Magnolia’, hoping it would open up endless potentials since we crossed so many traits together. This work opened up Pandora’s box and it would take us about a decade to select almost a dozen new varieties of different colored snow and snap peas. 

New Peace Seedlings peas include ‘Opal Beauty’ (a golden snow vine pea; pictured above, top left), ‘Amethyst Beauty’ (a purple snow vine pea), and ‘Blushing Beauty’ (a purple splash over green snow pea); two beautiful magenta-colored varieties named ‘Ruby Beauty’ (a snow vine pea; pictured above, top right) and ‘Ruby Crescent’ (a snap vine pea); plus, ‘Opal Crescent’ (a yellow snap pea; pictured above, bottom left), ‘Purple Beauty’ (a dark purple snow pea; pictured above, bottom right), and ‘Sweet Rain’ (an XL green snap pea).

We’d recommend trying any of the ones we offer now—they create an awesome addition to any garden or market booth.

All of the varieties that you offer are open-pollinated and public domain. Can you explain a little more about what it means for a variety to be in the public domain, and why it’s important to you to offer these varieties?

We are inspired by my genius father who was raised in the science world and saw too much progress get stymied by privatization and ownership, which led him to dedicate his life to working for the public domain. Public domain is like “open source” software,  so it is free for the public to use. 

When a variety is offered in the public domain through a published format it cannot be patented since there is a precedent of it existing, so it is protected from control by a corporation. When a public domain variety is passed from one generation to the next, it becomes a heirloom variety, so we like to think we are creating our generation of heirlooms.

This is important because access to food is a human right, seeds are the foundation of our food system, and the more it is controlled the more we slowly lose the freedom to save seeds.

While you breed new varieties, you also focus on the preservation of heirloom varieties, which is wonderful to see. How did you become interested in preservation?

We have access to an amazing seed collection that my parents have been curating since the ‘70s. They had trialed many varieties over the decades, so when we started helping out there were many heirloom varieties we grew because they were just outstanding in terms of flavor and how they grew in our garden.

Varieties like ‘Palestinian Tomato’ (from Palestine, Ohio), ‘Aci Sivri Cayenne’ (from Turkey), and ‘Red Milan Onion’ (from Italy) have become staples in our food system at home. This is what gave us an initial appreciation for the preservation of many old varieties, but we have also gained a broader respect for the work our ancestors put in and want to honor them. 

With so many varieties disappearing in the last 50 years, it seems like we owe it to past and future generations to preserve what we can.

I have to say, I love that you’re still doing business in the old-school way with a simple listing of your offerings and requiring people to mail in a handwritten order along with their payment. It’s such a refreshing change from the fast-paced digital world that I’m used to. For readers who haven’t ordered from you before, can you walk us through the process of ordering your seeds?

Thanks, we are old-school and mostly have kept our presence simple on the internet because we do not want to spend too much of our life in front of a screen. We would rather be in the garden and spending time with family and friends. We are also multi-faceted people and one of our other passions is willow weaving, making baskets, hats, and furniture. We hope to offer some of the many varieties of willow that we grow soon, too.

We have been making a simple written seed list since 2009. We send the new seed list out every year in January to the people who ordered the year before. We also have a “blog website”, which is basically the written seed list with a few pictures.   

To order from either the internet or our written seed list, write or type your requests and send them with a check or money order for the cost of the seeds plus $7 USD for shipping to Peace Seedlings, 2385 SE Thompson St., Corvallis, OR 97333.

What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming growing season, and what’s the best way for our readers to learn about your 2024 offerings?

We are always looking forward to a new growing season. We have many new zinnias to grow out, some new red peas with pink flowers, and new bush peas we are working on, as well as an Aji pepper breeding project we are excited about, and also many others. Most of all, we are excited to watch our daughter Calypsa grow up in the garden and evolve; she will turn two on March 6.

The best way to find our offerings is to either go to our blog or you can request our paper seed list by emailing (email protected).

Thank you, Dylana. I’m really looking forward to growing more of your zinnias this year. I appreciate you taking the time to share your story and more about your breeding work with Floret readers. 

To accompany this interview, we’re giving away five special seed bundles. Each bundle will contain Peace Seedlings special Day Glow Mix zinnias, ‘Spring Blush’ snap peas, and ‘Ruby Beauty’ snow peas.  

For a chance to win, simply post a comment below telling us about someone who has been influential to you as a gardener. Winners will be announced on January 16. Please note: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. 

A huge congratulations to our winners: Emma, Elan Irving, Amber Harrison, Mel and Jessica Toloczko

To learn more and connect with Peace Seedlings, be sure to visit their blog


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The {Farmer} & The Florist Interview: Grand Prismatic Seed

The {Farmer} & The Florist Interview: Grand Prismatic Seed

I first learned about Grand Prismatic Seed when researching dye plants to add to our garden. I have always been fascinated by the art of natural dyeing and was on the hunt for suitable flower varieties that could be grown from seed.

Owners and farmers, James and Guy have put a tremendous amount of work into their website—it’s super informative, filled with great photos, and I love their seed descriptions. All of the seeds I have ordered from them (which is a lot!) have done exceptionally well–their quality is top-notch.

Grand Prismatic is located in the mountain foothills of Utah, so the varieties that they offer can withstand the stresses of growing in a desert climate. They focus on plants that thrive in harsh conditions, including hot dry summers and cold snowy winters. If you’re a gardener in this type of climate, they are a wonderful resource!

James and Guy, I’m so happy to be able to interview you both for the blog and for more people to find out about what you’re up to. You each bring a unique perspective to Grand Prismatic Seed. James, you previously worked with Frank Morton at Wild Garden Seed in Oregon, and Guy, you have such wide-ranging experience, including ethnobotany and habitat restoration. Can you share a little more about each of your backgrounds and how they’ve influenced your business?

James: If you had asked me in my twenties what I would be doing in my thirties, I would never have predicted seed farming or owning a business! My background isn’t rooted in botany, horticulture, or agriculture. I studied Anthropology and International Studies in college. After graduation, I went on to work for the International Rescue Committee, first as a youth program coordinator, and later as a special needs case worker assisting refugee families being resettled in the Salt Lake Valley.

After Guy got a job that moved us from Salt Lake City to Corvallis, Oregon a string of serendipitous events landed me at Wild Garden Seed. It didn’t take long for Frank Morton’s extraordinary passion for seed farming and plant breeding to rub off on me. Within a few months on the job, I was hooked on the art and science of seed saving. My 5 years at Wild Garden Seed influenced Grand Prismatic in so many ways, from our method of precision winnowing to our brand loyalty toward the storage totes we buy.

Other factors of my background that have influenced Grand Prismatic are my love of fiber arts and dye plants (which we feature prominently in our catalog), and my capacity to enjoy extremely tedious tasks like hand-filling thousands of seed packets at a time, winnowing for days on end, and what can feel like endless weeding projects.

Guy: I have been involved in a variety of ethnobotanical projects through work, study, and my personal life, and experiencing communities with deep-rooted, thriving relationships with plants and ecosystems has been very impactful. This has inspired me to look more deeply at how I engage with plants and the received knowledge and perspectives gained from my own cultural upbringing and schooling.

The deep relationship with place and the intimate knowledge of how to live with your surroundings are constant messages in ethnobotany. Our modern lifeways and global economy have obscured and abstracted that sense of immediate connection with nature in many of our daily lives.

Through Grand Prismatic Seed, I hope to introduce people to plants and ways to interact with them that provide meaningful connections to the natural world.

My work in field botany, habitat restoration, and native plant and seed production has developed my knowledge of plant ecology of various regions in the western U.S. That knowledge gives me insight into underutilized plant species. I also learned many skills, techniques, and perspectives that are transferable to seed farming and provide additional avenues for us to explore, such as seed production for ecological restoration efforts.

Similarly, my current work in water conservation gardening at Red Butte Garden and Arboretum has exposed me to a huge diversity of plants used in many styles of gardening, especially plants that support sustainable gardening practices.

I believe that through my time spent in each of these disciplines, I have developed a holistic viewpoint that gives Grand Prismatic Seed a multi-faceted nature and the ability to offer customers the opportunity to explore and develop their gardens in exciting ways.

In the U.S., seed companies are often located on the west or east coast. What led you to start Grand Prismatic in Utah? 

We were both raised in Utah and when we decided to take the leap and start our own seed farm, the idea of being close to family again felt really grounding and comforting. After 5 years of living and farming in Oregon, we also missed the landscapes and flora of Utah, and the idea of offering many of our favorite Utah native plants alongside domesticated crops in our seed catalog was really exciting for us both.

The opportunity to make plant selections in an environment that has fewer seed growers and plant breeders also appealed to us. As climate change continues to make growing conditions less predictable, having adaptable seeds selected under diverse environmental pressures will become increasingly important. 

Compared to our mild climate here in the Pacific Northwest, the Intermountain West seems to experience more extreme temperatures and weather. How have those conditions impacted the varieties that you choose to grow, and has this changed over time?

The Intermountain West is definitely a harsh environment for seed production. The silver lining is that our plants end up having LOTS of selection pressures like intense hail storms in the spring, early and late frosts, and large thunderstorms with strong winds fueled by monsoon moisture in late summer. Over time these selection events will produce increasingly resilient plant seeds. 

Each season we grow a handful of varieties that we know are unlikely to produce seeds before frost, but we love pushing the envelope to see what we can and cannot grow here in the high desert. Sometimes it takes years of experimentation to get things to work just right, especially with how variable our growing season is year to year. 

An example of this longer-term experimentation with varieties is our time spent with Japanese indigo (pictured above). The first 2 years that we planted it were pretty demoralizing, and we questioned whether or not it was a viable seed crop in our region. The plants grew beautifully here, but they weren’t able to produce seeds before frosty autumn weather set in.

Instead of throwing in the towel, we saved seeds from the few individuals that bloomed a tad earlier and were slightly more frost hardy, and then we grew those seeds out with a mix of other Japanese indigo varieties with a similar leaf shape.

The result of this mixture of genetics and lots of natural selection via extreme Utah weather events has been a beautiful population of robust plants that are a very reliable dye and seed crop for us year after year.  

I would say that our method for selecting varieties hasn’t changed too much over time, but the harsh conditions of our climate have definitely brought us more respect for the rugged native plants that we grow.  

In the early years of Floret, I rented land from a neighbor and I was interested to read that you also lease some of your growing area. Can you tell us a little more about how you came to find your current location?

After losing our original leased land to the expansion of a nearby highway in 2019, we were having a difficult time finding more land to grow on. Luckily, Rikki Longino, who is now a dear friend, came across a post we had on Instagram regarding our land search and reached out to us about extra growing space that they had available at the Mobile Moon Co-op (MMC). We’ve now been growing crops at the MMC for four seasons and love working alongside them.  

In addition to land leased at the MMC, we plant high-maintenance seed crops in the yard of the house we rent and have an ever-growing diversity of seed crops at Top Crops farm in downtown Salt Lake City. Having three different growing locations can be a lot to juggle, but this allows us to have multiple isolation plots for plants of the same species. 

There are definitely constraints that come with leasing land, and in many cases, like our first lease, you may end up losing all the work you have invested, but the financial commitment of leasing property is far less burdensome than having large land debts. 

Most farmland being sold in our area is priced for future subdivisions and not agriculture, which has prevented us from being able to afford a permanent home for Grand Prismatic Seed. We love our current growing locations but look forward to the security that would come from a future forever farm. (If you are reading this, and happen to have any leads on a little house in Utah with land priced for agriculture, send us an e-mail!) 

Your online shop features an extensive collection of varieties that can be used for natural dyeing. What drew you to this special group of plants, and how do you go about selecting the seeds that you offer?

James: I became interested in dye plants as a teenager shortly after my sister and grandma taught me to knit. Knitting exposed me to a whole new world of fiber arts, and natural dyeing quickly caught my attention. After getting my first books on natural dyes, I became completely mesmerized by the process of coaxing color from plants. My fascination with this process has only grown as I’ve become a more experienced dyer. 

When we started selecting the first dye plants we wanted to grow for our catalog, we were surprised by how difficult it was to source seeds, and even more surprised by the extremely low seed counts (and germination rates) of the varieties that were on the market.

An example would be Japanese indigo where many packets offered in the U.S. contain as few as 10 to 25 seeds per packet, and most of those seeds aren’t viable. (Japanese indigo seed doesn’t have a very long shelf life.) 

Through a lot of research, tedious seed sourcing, plant trialing, dye experiments, and crop successes and failures, we’ve been able to curate a beautiful lineup of seeds for dye plants, and we add varieties to that list each season. We are also happy to be offering seed counts that give customers a greater chance of success with their dye gardens. 

Many of the varieties you grow at Grand Prismatic are open-pollinated. Can you tell our readers a little more about what distinguishes open-pollinated plants from other varieties and why you’ve chosen to focus on them?

We believe a cornerstone of food sovereignty is the ability of farmers and gardeners to save their own seed and adapt varieties to meet the needs of their environment and community. Because of this core tenet, we grow open-pollinated varieties that will produce true-to-type seeds when saved by their new stewards.

Open-pollinated plants are allowed to naturally pollinate within their variety, while hybrids are created by controlling the pollination of two inbred lines to produce a new uniform variety with specific attributes. If you save seeds from hybrid parents, it’s unlikely that their progeny will have the traits you originally desired. Because of this, gardeners and farmers relying on hybrid varieties must return to the hybrid growers year after year to buy more seeds.

You talk a lot about the importance of farmers and gardeners being able to save their own seeds, which is something I’m passionate about as well. Do you have any advice or tips for those of our readers who haven’t tried their hand at seed saving yet?

Definitely! We have two main tips:

First off, we recommend that readers interested in seed saving start by saving seeds from large-seeded domesticated crops like sunflowers, safflower, peas, and beans. Many generations of people across the world have spent thousands of years building relationships with these plants, and that’s resulted in traits that make their seed harvest and cultivation intuitive and straightforward. 

Large-seeded domesticated crops no longer have intricate seed dispersal mechanisms that can make the seeds difficult to collect (like milkweed seeds floating away in the wind, or lupine pods exploding to propel seeds). Many of these plants have also lost their built-in dormancy, which allows them to germinate more quickly, easily, and uniformly when we plant them. 

The seeds of many non-domesticated plants retain innate physical and chemical mechanisms that prevent the seeds from germinating all at once or without special environmental signals that are tied to survival in the plant’s natural surroundings. These signals are often connected to patterns of temperature, moisture, decomposition, wildfire, or other phenomena of the natural world that the plants have evolved with and adapted to. Because of this, undomesticated crops can be quite frustrating for beginning gardeners or seed savers. 

Domesticated plants with large seeds are also much easier to clean without professional tools. A box fan or heavy breeze can easily remove much of the chaff, and when the seeds are clean of debris, the large size makes them easy to inspect for maturity and health.  

By saving seeds from large-seeded domesticated plants, you get to benefit from the brilliance of our ancestors’ work who have made the job so much easier, while also joining a chain of seed savers that will connect you to the next generation of growers.

Our second recommendation is to focus on plants that are self-fertile, meaning that their own flowers can pollinate themselves. With self-fertile plants, you are more likely to end up saving seed for a plant that will produce the vegetables, flowers, etc. that you expect. With outcrossing plants, you’ll need to be much more aware of nearby plants of the same species that may cross with your crop. 

Winter or summer squash are examples of commonly grown plants that can take special care to maintain the characteristics desired by the seed saver. This is due to the fact that one of their main pollinators is a very widespread native bee species that can cover significant distances while pollinating almost exclusively squash plants. What can result is a seed carrying very different genetics than what you are expecting. 

As you get more familiar with seed saving and seed cleaning, smaller seeded crops and native plants will quickly become more approachable!   

I’m impressed by the number of unique and hard-to-find varieties that are included in your catalog. What criteria do you use when selecting the seeds that you offer each year?

Thank you! We hope to inspire people to explore plants by catering to a wide diversity of gardening interests and goals, including food, medicine, dye, natives, habitat enrichment, soil building, and beauty. Some selections come down to personal preference for flavor, aesthetics, and other traits.

We generally try not to use our limited growing spaces for plants that can be sourced easily from large producers unless it is something we have worked to adapt to our local growing conditions, and we always aim to identify plants that we can grow well and that will produce healthy seed crops.

Many heirloom varieties have fallen out of cultivation or have gone extinct. When we identify an heirloom variety that we want to steward, we like to get those seeds out to people and practice conservation through dissemination.

Another goal for our selections is to highlight less commonly known and grown native flora from different regions. We want to provide plants that offer something special to gardeners, whether it is a chance to enhance/support the local ecology by including local wildflowers in their growing space, propagate uncommon wild food and medicine plants, or to incorporate tough, adaptable plants in their garden that create beauty while using fewer resources.

Lastly but importantly, we strive to avoid plants that are known to become invasive and do damage to ecosystems in different areas. If we grow a plant with this kind of potential, we do our best to warn people of the risk and always encourage customers to consult their local state noxious weed lists before ordering seeds.

Last year you offered a few varieties that were part of the Open Source Seed Initiative (OSSI). Can you tell us a little more about OSSI and its benefits?  

OSSI was developed to provide plant breeders with a way to identify their varieties as “open source” and protect them from future patents. The goal of this is to expand and maintain access to germplasm at a time when farmers worldwide are increasingly dependent on patented seeds that they can’t legally save or share. 

After a plant breeder has submitted a variety to OSSI, seeds of that variety are then sold with the following pledge on each packet:

OSSI PLEDGE: You have the freedom to use these OSSI-Pledged seeds in any way you choose. In return, you pledge not to restrict others’ use of these seeds or their derivatives by patents or other means, and to include this Pledge with any transfer of these seeds or their derivatives.

OSSI also lays out four seed freedoms, which helps to summarize their stance on what an “open source” seed is:

  1. The freedom to save or grow seed for replanting or for any other purpose. 
  2. The freedom to share, trade, or sell seed to others.
  3. The freedom to trial and study seed and to share or publish information about it.
  4. The freedom to select or adapt the seed, make crosses with it, or use it to breed new lines and varieties.

What are you most excited about for the upcoming growing season, and what is the best way for people to stay up to date with your current offerings? 

We are excited about all the new varieties coming to our 2024 catalog, but two that we’re most enthusiastic about are ‘Prairie Sun’ Rudbeckia which is a stunning cut flower and dye plant, and a bicolor Coreopsis that will be the fourth variety of dyer’s Coreopsis that we have available. We’ll also have fresh Japanese indigo back in stock! 

One of the things that surprises us and delights us most each season is seeing customer photos on Instagram or sent to our email that show their happy plants or incredible dye projects featuring plants grown from Grand Prismatic Seed. People are SO creative! 

We are also pretty excited about a handful of educational blog posts that we have in the pipeline for 2024. 

The best way to stay up to date with our offerings is to sign up for our newsletter.

Thank you both so much for taking the time to tell Floret readers about Grand Prismatic. I’m really excited to grow more of your offerings this year. 

Grand Prismatic is offering a generous giveaway of five $100 gift cards to their online shop. For a chance to win, simply post a comment below telling us about your favorite dye plant, or one that you’re interested in trying. Winners will be announced on January 16. Please note: This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

Update: A huge congratulations to our winners Rebecca, Alina, Alex, Sarah Aumsbaugh and Julianna.

To learn more and connect with Grand Prismatic Seed, be sure to visit their website and follow them on Instagram.


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Designing the ‘perfect’ meal to feed long-term space travelers


Designing the 'perfect' meal to feed long-term space travelers
This salad made up of soybeans, poppy seeds, barley, kale, peanuts, sweet potato and sunflower seeds could be the optimal meal for men on long-term space missions. Credit: ACS Food Science & Technology (2023), DOI: 10.1021/acsfoodscitech.3c00396

Imagine blasting off on a multiyear voyage to Mars, fueled by a diet of bland, prepackaged meals. As space agencies plan for longer missions, they’re grappling with the challenge of how to feed people best. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Food Science & Technology have designed the optimal “space meal”: a tasty vegetarian salad. They chose fresh ingredients that meet male astronauts’ specialized nutritional needs and can be grown in space.

Astronauts in space burn more calories than humans on Earth and require extra micronutrients, such as calcium, to stay healthy during extended exposure to microgravity. Future long-term missions will also require growing food sustainably and circularly within the spacecraft or space colonies.

While researchers have explored methods of growing food in space and what nutrients astronauts require to stay healthy, specific fresh meals have not been developed. So, Volker Hessel and coworkers wanted to optimize a space meal that meets those unique requirements of spaceflight and tastes good.

First, the researchers assessed combinations of fresh ingredients using a method called linear programming, which computationally balances different variables to meet a specific goal. In this case, their model identified how well the combinations of different foods could meet a male astronaut’s daily nutritional needs while minimizing the water required to grow the foods.

The team was also concerned about the sustainability of the foods in space, selecting ingredients that needed little fertilizer, time and area to grow, and whether inedible portions could be recycled. Of the ten scenarios the researchers examined, they found that a vegetarian meal made up of soybeans, poppy seeds, barley, kale, peanuts, sweet potato, and/or sunflower seeds provided the most efficient balance of maximal nutrients and minimal farming inputs.

While this combination couldn’t quite provide all the micronutrients an astronaut needs, the researchers suggest that those missing could be added in a supplement.

To make sure that the identified combination was tasty, the team whipped up the ideal space meal as a salad for four people to taste test here on Earth. One tester gave rave reviews and “wouldn’t mind eating this all week as an astronaut.” Other people were more muted in their praise, even though they went back for second helpings. In the future, the researchers plan to see what their computer model dishes up as options for female astronauts and expand the variety of crops in their database.

More information:
Shu Liang et al, Modeling of Space Crop-Based Dishes for Optimal Nutrient Delivery to Astronauts and Beyond on Earth, ACS Food Science & Technology (2023). DOI: 10.1021/acsfoodscitech.3c00396

Provided by
American Chemical Society

Citation:
Designing the ‘perfect’ meal to feed long-term space travelers (2024, January 2)
retrieved 2 January 2024
from https://phys.org/news/2024-01-meal-long-term-space.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.





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باغبانی در یک منطقه جنگی

باغبانی در یک منطقه جنگی

«بعضی وقت‌ها سعی می‌کنم بخوابم، و شروع می‌کنم به جنگ، در مورد انفجارها، به این احتمال که هر زمان ممکن است عزیزترین افراد من کشته شوند، فکر می‌کنم. با خودم می گویم به این موضوع فکر نکن. آلا اولخوفسکا می گوید به گل ها فکر کنید.

آلا یک باغبان، متخصص در کلماتیس های نازک، یک عکاس، یک نویسنده و یک مراقب است. او در خارکف، اوکراین، در حدود 20 مایل (30 کیلومتر) از مرز شرقی زندگی می کند. صبح که جنگ شروع شد صدای انفجار و تیراندازی را می شنید. مهمات و آوار تنها چند متر دورتر از خانه مادربزرگش فرود آمده است. هشدارهای هوایی روز و شب فریاد می زنند و از دست دادن برق و گاز معمول است.

با این حال، هر روز آلا سوار اتوبوسی عمومی می‌شود که او را در نزدیکی باغ خانواده‌اش می‌فرستد، باغی که پدربزرگش پس از جنگ جهانی دوم به‌عنوان یک باغ کوچک سیب کاشته بود تا به اجدادش کمک کند تا زنده بمانند. هنوز چند درخت سیب باقی مانده است، اما اکنون این باغ خانه مجموعه ای از گل های کمیاب و خیره کننده است.

و وسیله ای برای بقا باقی می ماند.

در حالی که باغ پناهگاهی برای آلا است، پناهگاهی که او علیرغم جنگ از آن نگهداری می کند، همچنین یک راه نجات حیاتی برای خانواده او است. او آنجاست تا هر چه بیشتر بذر جمع کند. آلا با فروش آنها از مادربزرگ سالخورده، مادرشوهرش و شوهرش مراقبت می کند که تقریباً جان خود را بر اثر کووید-19 از دست داده و سلامتی خود را به طور کامل به دست نیاورده است.

حتی با نزدیک شدن به زمستان سخت، آلا ناامید نیست. با خوش بینی بی امان و اعتقاد به قدرت زیبایی و خوبی، آلا برای بقای خانواده اش یک دانه می جنگد.

علاوه بر این فیلم مستند کوتاه، مصاحبه مکتوب کامل با آلا را می توانید اینجا بخوانید.


اگر می‌خواهید از آلا و خانواده‌اش حمایت کنید، به این صورت است:

یک نسخه از کتاب آلا را خریداری کنید

اگر می خواهید همه چیز را در مورد clematis یاد بگیرید، آلا یک کتاب الکترونیکی فوق العاده در مورد آنها نوشت. این کتاب 124 صفحه ای شامل عکاسی زیبای او، توصیه های رشد بر اساس تجربه شخصی او، به علاوه انواع مورد علاقه او (سازماندهی شده بر اساس زمان شکوفه) و دستورالعمل هایی در مورد نحوه تکثیر کلماتیس از طریق قلمه ها و لایه بندی ها و از دانه است.

اگر می‌خواهید نسخه‌ای از آن را سفارش دهید، به‌تازگی کتاب الکترونیکی جدید Alla در مورد clematis را به فروشگاه Floret اضافه کرده‌ایم. از آنجایی که این محصول دیجیتالی است، بلافاصله از طریق ایمیل تحویل داده خواهد شد. 100٪ درآمد حاصل از فروش کتاب آلا از طریق فروشگاه ما مستقیماً به او اختصاص می یابد – نسخه خود را از اینجا خریداری کنید.

کمک مالی کنید

اگر به دانه ها یا کتاب علاقه ای ندارید و به راه دیگری برای کمک می خواهید، می توانید به سادگی پول ارسال کنید. نرخ ارز بسیار به نفع آلا است و آنچه ممکن است کمی به نظر برسد برای او و خانواده اش بسیار مفید است.

وجوه را می توان از طریق پی پال به آدرس [email protected] ارسال کرد. همه کمک‌های مالی مستقیماً به Alla می‌رود، و اگر کمک‌های بشردوستانه را در قسمت «این پرداخت برای چیست» وارد کنید، از هزینه‌ها و مالیات صرفنظر می‌شود.

در Patreon مشترک شوید

الا به تازگی یک حساب Patreon با سه سطح اشتراک ماهانه راه اندازی کرده است: snowdrop (5 دلار در ماه) clematis (10 دلار در ماه) و گل صد تومانی (25 دلار آمریکا در ماه). این اشتراک‌ها به آلا اجازه می‌دهد تا به تلاش‌های خود برای حفظ بذر ادامه دهد و در ماه‌های زمستانی آینده از خانواده‌اش حمایت کند. برای اطلاعات بیشتر، کلیک کنید اینجا.

بذر را سفارش دهید

لطفاً توجه داشته باشید که Alla در حال حاضر به دلیل پشتیبانی باورنکردنی شما به فروش می رسد. بعد از اینکه تمام سفارشات را پردازش کرد، ممکن است بتواند چند نوع را دوباره ذخیره کند. او در اکانت اینستاگرام خود به روز رسانی خواهد کرد.

آلا دانه های کلماتیس، گل صد تومانی، فلوکس و گیاهان و کشتی های کمیاب را در سراسر جهان می فروشد. برای ثبت سفارش به کاتالوگ های آنلاین او مراجعه کنید اینجا و اینجا.

آلا را در شبکه های اجتماعی دنبال کنید

آلا فوق العاده ای دارد اینستاگرام حسابی که در آن او تصاویر زیبایی از باغ، ویدیوهای جالب از کار خود، و به روز رسانی از اوکراین را به اشتراک می گذارد. او همچنین یک صفحه فیس بوک دارد که می توانید آن را دنبال کنید و یک کانال YouTube که می توانید در آن مشترک شوید. حتما برایش نظر بگذارید و چند کلمه دلگرم کننده.


لطفاً توجه داشته باشید: اگر نظر شما فوراً نمایش داده نشد، محکم بنشینید. ما یک فیلتر هرزنامه داریم که از ما می‌خواهد نظرات را قبل از انتشار تأیید کنیم.

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