Spring finally here?

Some of the smaller mandrakes potted up

It’s been a long and hard winter most places in North America, I think. Certainly a much tougher winter up here in upstate NY than I have experienced since moving here ten plus years ago. It was long, cold, and had lots of snow, but perhaps it is over. I am going for it, anyhow.

Tomatoes and peppers potted up 4/12/14

After not growing any food plants last year because I needed soul healing, not food, me and my healed soul started the usual suspects–tomatoes and peppers–a month or so ago. I loved White Queen tomato when I grew it a couple years ago. It’s a Victorian beefsteak variety that is more like a fruit than a veggie, very creamy in texture and mild in taste. Now, when some variety descriptions say “mild,” they really mean it has no taste whatsoever. But White Queen does have a taste–a somewhat fruity one. I know it will make good preserves, and that is what it is destined for. Today I potted up those seedlings, along with a neat new variety with purple skin called Indigoand a hybrid (yes, a regular hybrid, not a GMO, totally natural) called Aria Yellow Pear. This is a small pear-shaped mater that is supposed to be better tasting than the usual yellow pear tomato, which tastes like nothing. We shall see.

Bullnose pepper 2012

I also potted up some peppers. I do love peppers, especially the pimento types. These are a very old-fashioned type of pepper, usually heart-shaped, with thick walls and sweet flesh. They aren’t that common a pepper type, but to me, they are the best, especially if you are going to stirfry or pickled your peppers. I also like old-fashioned so-called “bull’s horn” peppers, the traditional Italian type, and so I planted Carmen, which is a hybrid version. I’ve been wanting to grow that variety for quite a while. It has good reviews from home growers. Thinking it was Bullnose, I bought a hybrid variety of bell pepper called Red Bull Hybrid, and those babies are up. Bullnose is my absolute favorite pepper variety. It is a small bell with very thick flesh. YUM. The pic is of Bullnose peppers I grew in pots on my driveway a couple years ago. This very old variety was grown in Thomas Jefferson’s garden. You can actually get the seeds from the Monticello garden shop.

Nicotiana quadrivalvis, rustica, and sylvestris

Still left in the pepper/mater tray are a bunch of Nicotianas, including N. rustica (wild tobacco), N. quadrivalvis (wild tobacco used by Western tribes in North America), and N. sylvestris (woodland tobacco). These have a little way to go before I pot them up, but I also potted up 40 foxgloves this morning. These are the foxgloves I grew from pelleted seeds. Almost all of them came up. Very handy. I hope to get flowers the first year from these, which I will dry and sell on Alchemy Works. And of course I also potted up 12 of the smallest mandrakes.

Forty foxgloves!

The mandrakes are actually two-year-old plants, although you’d never know it from their size, especially compared to their siblings. But they seem to be quite happy to be in much bigger pots and in full shade outside. These probably won’t be ready to sell for roots in the fall, but the others should be, and I have about 30 of those, half of which I will sell in October/November, depending on when our hard frost hits.

5 comments to Spring finally here?

  • JaniceMarie

    Hi there!
    These look great and I envy your summer crops as the tide turns to winter down here, any tips on germinating mandrake? I’d heard they disliked transplanting, what size container did you germinate the seeds in? Did you climate control them in any way?
    Thanks in advance, I have some precious seeds but I don’t want to lose them to bad techniques!,,
    Warm regards

  • Alchemist in Charge

    I have a detailed info sheet that I give out with each purchase of mandrake seeds from my shop, Alchemy Works, but you can view much of the info on my mandrake seed pages:


    One thing I’ve noticed is that they germinate much better when they are in cool temps and have temperature fluctuation. The other is that they like germinating in spring best. I start them in peat pellets watered with liquid kelp solution.

  • JennM

    Are those m. turcomanicas? I have 20 turcs going right now and three in fruit.

  • Wonderful! I’m enjoying the release that comes with spring as well. Here in Michigan we labored under the roughest winter in memory as well, I guess the earth lady needed an extra thick blanket this year as we broke snowfall records. I always feel like my spirit sort of expands in the spring. Like something that was all wound up tight gets to finally to relax! Bright blessings 🙂

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