Friday, May 21, 2010

Dream gardening!

I have seen my dream garden--and it is BEAUTIFUL! This week I had the opportunity to travel to Heritage Farm, home of Seed Savers Exchange, in Decorah, IA, with my best friend. Our morning trip was undertaken for the purpose of purchasing pepper and tomato plants to round out our gardens. What we discovered was our "perfect farm." Heritage Farm is nestled in the idyllic setting among the rolling hills of northern Iowa. In mid-May the hills are bright green with freshness and life. We saw some of the Farm's herd of White Park cattle, including some of the most precious calves I have ever seen. The photo above was taken from the barn, looking over this beautiful garden and the Visitors Center/Store.

 Hannah and Emily at Heritage Farm

If we had had the time, we could've spent the entire day wandering around. As it was, we were on a time crunch--both of us being busy moms with duties to tend to at home. We brought our younger daughters and Kris' baby with us. The girls had fun exploring the chicken coop. Both of them are familiar with chickens and recognized some of the breeds, since we both have flocks that they help tend. After choosing our plants and a few packets of seeds that we couldn't pass up, we had a quick picnic lunch near the stream before heading back north. It was a wonderful day--enjoying time to chat on the drive, passing a few horses and buggies as we traveled through Amish country, and getting a glimpse of the "perfect farm" that we wish our small holdings could someday emulate.

So, what did I purchase??? Well, I was looking for more Carmen sweet peppers since I didn't end up with as many plants as I'd like from my planting. They didn't have any Carmen, but I decided to try Tolli's Sweet Italian--"This sweet red Italian heirloom is one of our all-around favorites for fresh eating and canning recipes. Great added to tomato sauces. Large, dependable yields of 4–5" long tapered fruits." I also picked up some King of the North bell peppers, a dependable large bell pepper that I wasn't able to order seed for this year. Then for fun, I picked out Sweet Chocolate and Purple Beauty peppers, and Purple Tomatillos (just imagine the colorful salsa or pico de gallo!). Emily picked out some sunflower and nasturtium seeds plus a pack of petunias to plant in her garden.

What a fun day!