Tagged: Grow

With spring less than two weeks away, we're more eager than ever to dig into this year's garden. Since the weather is still cold where we are, we're starting from seed and choosing some favorite varieties to plant in the coming weeks. Our experts searched far and wide for the best organic and heirloom varieties of vegetables and herbs, and their seed selection is the newest arrival in our nursery. Read on to learn more about a few favorites that we'll be welcoming to our summer gardens.

White Tomesol Tomato: Thanks to their parchment-white skin, these unusual tomatoes are sure to be the center of attention in your garden. The White Tomesol is an heirloom variety that produces sweet and rich fruits, weighing about 8 oz. each. Our seeds are sourced from Missouri's Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., who offer over 1750 varieties of historic seeds from the 19th century onward.


Laura Twilley, Square Foot Gardening Watercolor, terrain
Laura Twilley, Square Foot Gardening Watercolor, terrain


With spring on the horizon, terrain Art Director Laura T. is planning a square foot-style, raised bed vegetable garden to cultivate throughout the summer. Ideal for maximizing space in a compact plot, the square foot method involves planting 12x12" sections of different vegetables to create a small but dense garden. This allows for ample yields and diverse crops while limiting maintenance. As she waits for planting season, Laura created the pretty painting above to organize her garden into sixteen parcels for her favorite vegetables, including some terrain picks-- Organic Galilee Spinach from California's All Good Things, and Tom Thumb Lettuce from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. in Missouri. Laura says, "I love to see lots of color in the garden and, as they say, 'eat the rainbow.'” We'll be checking in throughout the seasons to see how her garden is growing. Here's what she'll be planting this spring:


Golden Sweet Snow Pea
Scarlet Kale 
Red Russian Kale

Organic Galilee Spinach

Tom Thumb Lettuce 
Five Color Silverbeet Swiss Chard
Mascara Lettuce


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.


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."


Three Unexpected Valentines

February 5, 2015


Though a bouquet of roses is always lovely, we've recently found ourselves seeking substitutes for traditional, Valentine's Day flowers. If someone you love is a garden enthusiast or would simply enjoy a more surprising Valentine, it might be time to step out of the rose garden and consider some alternative blooms. Stylist Alli M. created the three unexpected arrangements above for sweethearts seeking an unconventional gift this Valentine's Day. Read on for her thoughts on each style.

Protea Bouquet: "Protea is a tropical bloom that's really noteworthy for its large scale and unusual shape-- features that also allow it to stand on its own in a simple bouquet. I like that this bunch maintains the traditional pink shades of Valentine's Day, while using something different than roses."

Woodland Hellebore: "Also known as 'Lenten Rose,' hellebore is one of spring's first bloomers. I planted it with layers of dark foliage like creeping fig, rex begonia, and peperomia, then wrapped the pot with strips of birch bark and twine for a romantic, woodland vibe."

Dramatic Succulents: "I loved the unexpected color palette of this planting for Valentine's Day-- the pairing of cool-hued succulents like echeveria and desert rose aeonium with sprigs of black eucalyptus and dried thistle for added drama. Thanks to the spiky agave, this arrangement is all about interesting silhouettes, so I kept the container clean and simple with white ceramic. Best of all, it makes a perfect gift because it's very easy to care for."


Seeking inspiration for springtime photo shoots, our creative team recently took a field trip to a plant lover's landmark-- the New York Botanical Garden. Founded in 1891, the 250 acre plot in the Bronx is home to over 50 different gardens and plant collections, including the greenhouse specimens shown above. The highlight of our team's trip was exploring the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, a Victorian glasshouse filled with gorgeous tropical varieties, towering palms, and rugged cacti. A delicate, white iron frame and abundant panes of glass make the space an airy retreat from the February chill. "It was wonderful to escape from the winter cold into the humidity of the conservatory," says Narrative Photographer Isa S. "I loved seeing how the wildness of the plants contrasted with the grandeur and elegance of the structure, and strolling down the pathways that connect the different climate spaces."