Dear Miss Floribunda,
I love to cook and am pretty good at it. To me the secret is good ingredients, and I spend a lot on organic produce. My gardening friends urge me to start a culinary garden in my backyard this summer, but I am brown-thumbed. I am told that I ought to start with herbs because they are easy to grow and can be grown inexpensively from seed. I am now coming to the point of this letter: Will the Hyattsville Horticultural Society have a seed sale this spring and will herb seeds be sold? Which ones?
Brown-Thumbed Gourmet on Gallatin Street
Dear Brown-Thumbed on Gallatin Street,
Yes, the Hyattsville Horticultural Society will have its annual seed and bake sale. This year, our sale takes place on Saturday, February 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Our sale will take place in the Mary Prangley Room, on the second floor of the Hyattsville Municipal Center.
Along with the Hart seed selection, so reliable in the past, Landreth Seeds with its wider variety will be sold. Both these companies are very old and reputable, and feature many heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.
Heirloom vegetables tend to be the tastiest, and thrive in Hyattsville’s climate.. For example, our hot summers and long hours of sunlight are propitious for tomato cultivation so you might be interested in the panoply of tomatoes to be presented.
In addition to their culinary uses, herbs are helpful interplanted amongst vegetables to ward off insects. You can include herbs such as Landreth’s Florence fennel and many basils, as well as Thai basil should you prefer that cuisine to Italian. Hart offers a whole selection of vegetables in its Italian collection, with basil and other appropriate herbs. Do you prefer French cuisine? Hart includes several varieties of thyme, rosemary and parsley. Landreth has introduced the Hamburg rooted parsley, which can be grown as a perennial. Soul food your thing? You can grown Landreth’s Dwarf Siberian kale all winter. And the Paul Robeson tomato is one of the tastiest ever developed. Cajun? Choose among bell peppers of many colors and, of course, okra. Mexican? How about cilantro with your tomatoes? Do you want to make Russian borscht? Try the Landreth Cylindra beet, which does better in our area than most, and the Savoy Drumhead Perfection cabbage.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry. Hyattsville Horticultural Society members will sit at information tables to answer your questions and hand out leaflets on many topics of interest to gardeners. As it was such a hit last year, once again there will be a table devoted to information about conserving and protecting our butterflies and other beneficial insects.
In addition, there is a new feature this year: veteran gardeners from the HHS, in the fashion of wine connoisseurs, will share their recommendations with you. They will name the varieties that are their favorites, whether flowers, herbs or vegetables, and give tips for growing them. And of course there will be hot soup and baked goods, potted flowers to brighten up the time before spring, and lots of good cheer. We hope to see you there.