The Sunday Gardener: Seed Starting

“How does your garden grow?” With this question in mind, we’re sitting down with terrain’s own avid gardeners to find out what they’re digging throughout the seasons. Each month, our experts will provide their lists of essential to-do’s for spending a Sunday in the garden. This month, Senior Plant Buyer Steve H. is spending an afternoon seed starting. 

“Here in the Mid-Atlantic, everyone is starting to get excited about the last frost," says Steve. "Now is when I begin prepping for the spring vegetable garden by starting cold weather crops such as lettuce, leafy greens, and kale from seed. I always look forward to clearing off the windowsill and finding the perfect, sunlit space to grow my seeds.” Steve tells us that it’s worth moving your indoor plants away from the sun temporarily to make way for seedlings. Though the move might put a strain on houseplants, seeds will flourish in south-facing sunlight. He adds, “I live in an older home, so instead of investing in expensive heat pads to keep my seeds warm when winter sun is lacking, I put them on the radiator. The toasty location speeds up the germination process and keeps me from having to rely on sun to warm the soil."

Before Steve starts to planting, he turns to his trusty paper pot press to create vessels for the seeds. “I’m usually not prepared for how long it actually takes," he says. "I'm ambitious about the size of my garden and end making 150+ seed starting pots. While it can take the entire afternoon, it’s time well spent. Once the pots are made, it’s time to fill them with soil, use a dibblet to make just the right hole for just the right amount of seeds, tamp the soil, and give each pot just a little water.” 

Steve’s Seed Starting Tips
1. Do fertilize (but not until your seeds have sprouted).
2. If you are growing in a tray, rotate the tray 180 degrees each day to prevent the plants from stretching too far towards the sunlight.
3. Resist the temptation to go out and plant your sprouts directly in the soil after the last frost. It's better to transition them outdoors over the course of 1-2 weeks, placing them outside in their tray for more time each day; this helps the young plants adapt to the change in sunlight and temperature.


Habit + Habitat: Kayla Acciavatti

February 19, 2015

At Home

Habit + Habitat: Kayla Acciavatti

Ever wonder what the folks at terrain do when we're not in the nursery? In our monthly series, Habit + Habitat, we're finding out by asking one person to share a favorite habit and a beloved habitat. This month, we’re spotlighting Creative Project Coordinator Kayla Acciavatti, who keeps our photo, design, and web teams on schedule and running smoothly. Kayla chatted about heading to her family home for a habit that she shares with her mom-- hand-crafting skincare products with items fresh from the garden.

terrain: What is your role at terrain? Can you describe your typical day?

Kayla: I'm the Creative Project Coordinator for terrain. I handle all the project management, which entails making the schedules, setting milestones and deadlines, and otherwise facilitating projects for our web and print design teams. A typical day at the office usually involves a lot of meetings with various departments. Afterward, I regroup with the creative team to review changes and project needs. 

terrain: How did you and your mom get started with making skincare products?

Kayla: It actually started with my wedding. For my bridal shower, I wanted guests to leave with a gift that was special-- not something they'd toss out as soon as they got home. My mom and I thought it would be fun to try our hands at making soaps and body scrubs in Weck jars. It was a huge hit with everyone at the shower, and it just grew from there. Everything we make is all-natural; my mom grows most of the ingredients in her garden, so our creations are pure, fresh, and clean from start to finish! They make great gifts for friends, family, and hostesses.


Notes from the Field: Late Winter with Love 'n Fresh Flowers

Have you ever received a bouquet of flowers or bought fresh cut blooms at the market and thought about where those flowers came from? In our new series, Notes from the Field, we’re taking a peek at life on a local flower farm across the seasons. Specializing in “seed to centerpiece designs,” as well as workshops and a budding Plant Share program, Love 'n Fresh Flowers is not only a thriving florist, but a full-fledged flower farm as well. Owner Jennie Love will be checking in with us throughout the year to share what life on the farm is really like. Read on to learn more about what Jennie is up to this time of year! 

terrain: What time did you start your day?

Jennie: I almost always start my days when the sun comes up. Lucky for me, it's still winter so I got my work day started around 7:15 today. While the kettle heats for a big mug of tea to warm my bones, I hop on email and review my to-do list. Then it's full-tilt the rest of the day.

terrain: What color is most prevalent in the fields at the moment?

Jennie: Brown. Well, white really. They're covered in snow! 

terrain: What's blooming right now? 

Jennie: We're just entering the flowering branches season, so we’re seeing French pussy willow, Fan Tail willow, quince, pieris, and forsythia.

terrain: What's about to bloom? 

Jennie: The first buds are pushing on the ranunculus and anemones. They'll be blooming in just another week. Also, the hellebores are starting to come on nicely. Once we start warming just a bit in March, the narcissus and muscari will come on fast, followed by tulips.

terrain: What are you planting right now? 

Jennie: Everything! We are filling up the greenhouse to the brim with seedlings. It's the biggest push of the year for sowing seeds and since our trademarked tagline is "from seed to centerpiece," we mean serious business when it comes to seeding! The list of what is being planted right now is literally pages long, but some of the highlights are agrostemma, Queen Anne's lace, dianthus, scabiosa, cerinthe, sweet peas, snapdragons, tweedia, calendula, and feverfew.  


Once located at 103-105 Arch Street in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Seed Company was led by President and Director Clarence Neal during the 1920’s and 30’s. Who is Clarence Neal? He just happens to be the great-grandfather of terrain’s Junior Web Designer, Kelly N! Kelly shared the above mementos from Philadelphia’s horticultural past, which have been passed down in her family for generations. Read on to learn more about these historic treasures and find out how Kelly, a Baltimore native, ended up in the same city where her great-grandfather once made garden history.

Reference Book: “The Philadelphia Seed Company reference book was given to me by my grandmother. It's a three-ring binder containing information on all the seeds the company supplied each year – some of the pages date as far back as 1935! As a graphic designer, I find the typography fascinating. I often flip through it for inspiration for designs. I think it's so serendipitous that I ended up in Philadelphia working for terrain, given that my great-grandfather's roots are so strongly connected to what we do here.”

Seed Bag & Sign: “The original Quaker Field Seed bag and amazing Philadelphia Seed Co. metal sign live in Pennsylvania, just outside the city at my uncle’s home in West Chester. Even though I'm a fairly new resident to Philly, it's nice to know that I have such strong family ties to this area. I'm also completely obsessed with the design of the old seed bag!”

1920's Mailer: “My mom keeps this mailer from October 29, 1923 framed in our home in Maryland. My great-grandfather's name is listed at the top, and I love the typography. It's so interesting to see all the prices of the seeds and how many varieties they offered, from grasses and clover to potatoes and birdseed. It's also amazing to think that farmers used to mail in their orders to the Seed Company – with everything being so fast paced these days, it's nice to think back to a time when stamps were 1 cent and people corresponded for seeds via "snail mail."


A Breakfast in Bed Parfait

Whether served for a special occasion or just a lazy weekend wake-up, breakfast in bed is a simple indulgence that makes any morning brighter. We asked Styer's Garden Café chef Jared Frazer to share a recipe for breakfast in bed with two criteria: it had to be neat enough to eat near our favorite quilts and pillows, and easy enough to make before our first cup of coffee. Jared offered the simple yet satisfying parfait above, topped with a homemade granola of oats, quinoa, and dried fruit. We love the bright colors of this breakfast bowl, as well as its delicious and healthy balance of toasty granola, fresh fruit, and tart yogurt. For a hint of natural sweetness, we stirred maple syrup into the yogurt before serving. Read on for the granola recipe, and surprise someone with a great morning this weekend!


Sugared Blooms

February 10, 2015

In the Kitchen
, How-To

Ideal for topping springtime treats, we think the sugared blooms above will be our favorite accent for desserts and drinks all season long. A sprinkling of sugar lends just a touch of sparkle to edible flowers-- we love dried violas or rose petals-- while keeping their natural colors in sight. While making the flowers above, we added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to our wash, pairing a hint of bright, citrusy flavor with the sugar coating. Atop baked goods, fresh fruit, or a favorite cocktail, these natural beauties make sweets even more special.

What You'll Need:
Edible dried flowers (we used violas)
1 egg white
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Superfine sugar
Parchment paper
Small, soft-bristle paintbrush
Clean tweezers

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper before beginning. Whisk egg white and lemon juice in a small bowl-- since the egg whites won't be cooked, please be sure to use fresh eggs from a trusted source. Gently hold a single flower with clean tweezers and brush all surfaces with the egg and lemon wash. Sprinkle with superfine sugar, then transfer to the baking sheet. Once all your flowers are sugared, let them sit at room temperature overnight. Use as a sweet garnish for cakes, cupcakes, cocktails, fruit, and more!


Sun Printed Valentines

February 9, 2015


Sun Printed Valentines

While red and pink hearts are Valentine’s Day mainstays, we're trading traditional greetings for cyanotype cards this year. Crafted by our Art Director using terrain's exclusive sun printing kits, these one-of-a-kind Valentines simply require a sunny day and a pretty arrangement of your favorite botanicals. We especially like feathery ferns, delicate vines, or scattered petals for creating the perfect heart print. Lay out your design and follow the simple instructions included in the kit, then leave the sheet square for framing or cut around the print in a heart shape to make a charming card. Finally, pen your own personal message on the back, and present it to your sweetheart!