Friday, March 27, 2015

Host a Seed Planting Party for Earth Day

I love a good party!  My sister asked if I would be interested in hosting a Seed Planting Party at her house.  YES!  Once we hashed out the details, she set up a facebook event so that we could both invite our friends.  People were SO excited!  One friends asked if this was kinda like a tupperware party but with seeds.  Nope.  This was just a chance for friends to get together and plant seeds!

EARTH DAY is April 22nd and this is a GREAT way to Celebrate!

The cost for each kit was $5 to our party goers.  Some friends purchased all 4 kits!  For those that didn't want to purchase a kit, we had free flower seeds and dirt.  
I asked my 8 year old niece to teach the kids about planting the flowers.  She did great and the kids had a blast.

Here's what you need:
Containers with lids for each kit (I actually ran out)
Coconut Coir Pellets (seed germination pellets)
Heirloom Seeds
Plant markers (we used clothespins)
Marker or Pen
Optional: small baggies for seeds purchased at Michael's 

How does it work?

This was a family-friendly event.  Adults and kids all had fun.  We had a drawing station, A flower planting station outside, a table full of healthy snacks and iced tea AND a table full of Seed Planting Kits!
The kids made signs for the table for each Seed Planting Kit.

Grow Kit options
Caprese: Roma Tomato and Genovese Basil
Salad Garden: Tom Thumb Lettuce and Rainbow Chard
Herb Garden: Genovese Basil and Dill
Butterfly Garden: Butterfly Garden Flower Mix

I placed 6 coconut coir pellets per container, included printed instructions and seeds.

Our table was set up so nicely.  Everyone had a chance to see the kits and ask as many questions as they needed.

To "grow" the coconut coir pellets, add approx 2 cups of water to the container.  They should expand in approximately 5 minutes.  For this, It would be a good idea to have a large pitcher of water on hand.

For tips on using Coconut Coir Pellets, read our tutorial Seed Starting Indoors
Here's what they look like with a seedling already growing

Once the pellets have expanded, plant the seeds directly in the pellet and gently "squish" the coconut to cover the seed.

Use the plant markers to label each variety in the kit.  Or, plant only a single variety in the kit and just label the container.

We chose to use Coconut Coir Pellets because the are mess-free compared to the alternative.  From our website: "Roots emerge easily through the porous walls of the pellet as a result of the enhanced air circulation created by the unique design and characteristics.
The Coconut Coir Pellet - complete with the started plant inside - goes directly into the ground. As a result, no transplant shock occurs, and the plant has full vigor to mature faster. All the young, tender roots remain totally intact.   NEW Coconut Coir Pellets are more eco-friendly!"

Would you like to host a Seed Planting Party?  Check out our Seed Combo Packs page to purchase Heirloom, Non-GMO, Organic seeds with discounts and FREE SEEDS included!

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In times of Economic Uncertainty, GROW and SAVE!

Planning for the future is important.  In the words of Jack Reacher (Lee Child), "Hope for the Best.  Plan for the worst."  While we cannot predict the loss of income, unexpected medical bills or car repairs, we should plan ahead and prepare the best we can.

I've been asked, "How much money can you actually save by growing food?"
That's a great question.  First, it depends on where you live (seasons) and next, how much you plan to grow.  With most projects, there are start up costs and time involved.  Let's start off simple with 2 plant varieties
I chose 2 easy varieties: Arugula and Bell Pepper
Check out more of the crazy and unique varieties at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  
Like PURPLE Basil, GREEN ZEBRA Tomatoes and LEMON Cucumber!


At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, a packet of Arugula seeds is $3.00 and contains 300 seeds.  Even if only 90% of those seeds germinate (almost 100% of mine grow!), that still leaves 270 plants!
For this comparison, we're going to share a very economical option for growing greens 

Grow Your own:
Sterilite 18 gallon bin: $9
Organic Potting Soil: $9 a bag
Arugula Seeds: $3
Total: $21 for 270 Arugula Plants (much more than a bunch)

Purchased at my local store, organic Arugula is about $1.99 per bunch.  Let's compare:

270 homegrown bunches of Arugula $21

270 store bought bunches of Arugula $537.30

If you save your seeds...The savings are incalculable!


At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, a packet of Cal Wonder Bell Peppers is $4 for 35 seeds. Again, even if only90% of those seeds germinate, that's 31 plants!
For this comparison, we're going to share a very economical option for growing peppers 

Grow Your own:
Sterilite 18 gallon bin: $9
(a 5-gallon bucket works and it costs $3)
Organic Potting Soil: $9 a bag
Pepper Seeds: $4
Total: $22 for 31 Pepper plants
What if your harvest is "not-so-good?"  That's okay!  Save the seeds!  A pepper plant can produce 1-20 peppers (sometimes more depending on the variety)
For this, we will say that each plant produced 3 pepper (sad, I know).  That's still 93 pepper!

Purchased at my local store, Organic Bell Peppers are 2 for $3.  Let's Compare:

93 homegrown organic Peppers $22

93 store bought organic Peppers $139.50

SO MUCH MORE savings if your pepper plants produce more peppers AND you can save your seeds!

Are you seeing the pattern here?  Growing Food saves Money!  Growing your own Food means you know exactly what and how it was grown and you can grow it organic with no cancer-causing chemicals or pesticides.

Did you know the WHO, the World Health Organization, just classified Gyphosphate a carcinogen?  That's cancer causing!  What is Glyphosphate?  It's a key ingredient in Monsanto's Round-Up and it is IN THE FOOD, WATER & AIR thanks to the millions of tons of Glyophosphate used every year in the US.

Are you ready to get growing?  What would you like to grow?
Would you like FREE SEEDS?  Check out our latest special for free seeds at Mary's Heirloom Seeds


Other than those points, remember that growing food—or any plant for that matter—is an exercise that connects you with nature. The goal is to enjoy the process, to learn and to have fun! 

**UPDATE:  After only an hour of publishing this article, the feedback is amazing.  From a friend and customer: "That amount is just the tip of the iceburg.  I have been giving away a ton of stuff to neighbors and I cannot eat/freeze it all right now.  Another savings is the "junk" stuff (end pieces, etc) gets fed to the animals which cuts down on the feed bill"

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Who doesn't like free stuff???  
This is definitely a deal you shouldn't pass up!
Purchase the following seed combo packs 

and we'll include 2 FREE SEED PACKS! 
Mary's Salsa Pack 
Mary's Pepper Pack 
Tomato Lover's Pack

*Free Seeds: Genovese Basil and Marigold*
ALL orders will include a FREE Pack of Bee-Friendly Seeds
*$10 order minimum*
Both Offers expire 3/31/2015

Mary's Heirloom Seeds Newsletter
Tutorials and Educational Videos 


I realize that not everyone is on facebook and not everyone stops by our blog Back to the Basics.
So....we thought we'd share our latest organic gardening tutorials and videos with you.  Enjoy!
First, We have chosen our winners for the
SPRING Heirloom Seeds Giveaway. 
We have sent out emails to all 5 winners.
If you did not win, we have a
SEED Special just for you!

From Back to the Basics, check out our recipe for Organic Liquid Fertilizer!


This tutorial went live on our blog on Jan 22nd.  Then, it was featured at 

You can purchase Organic, Non-GMO Alfalfa Meal from Mary's Heirloom Seeds in 1 or 2 pound bags. 
If you are interested in larger quantities please let us know.
All of the seeds listed are open-pollinated, non-gmo and non-hybrid,non-patented, untreated, heirloom seeds.
$10 minimum order
Mary has signed the Safe Seed pledge.  
Seed Orders placed Monday-Thursday are shipped
within 24 hours, except for holidays. 
Free Shipping on all Heirloom Seeds! 
Don't forget....
2 FREE Packs of seeds: Genovese Basil & Marigold included with all orders of Mary's Salsa Pack,
Mary's Pepper Pack and  Tomato Lover's Pack

AND, an extra FREE PACK of bee-friendly seeds
included with all seed orders.

There you have it!  Happy Planting!

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If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


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Tuesdays with a Twist #103

Good Morning and welcome to another No Rules Party! 

It's been a WILD ride these past few weeks.
Yesterday I shared a VIDEO!
Last week I shared our Organic Pest Control series.

I've been busy posting.  A VERY popular post is
March 2015 Regional Seed Planting Guide for the US

Are you ready for the party?   We're your hosts 

Back to the Basics

The party starts every Tuesday at 7am EST and will continue until Saturday at 11:59am.  Feel free to stop back any time and "like" your favorites.  Please visit other blogs if you have a moment. 
Share older posts as well as new ones.  No limit on links!
*Pictures should be your own* 
By linking up you give us permission to use these photos
 (with proper link backs) in our features.   And now for the party!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Video: Using Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

After sharing ORGANIC PEST CONTROL Part 1 about using Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth, I had tons of questions from blogger and customers.

So many questions that we decided to film a short video today to help you apply Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth to your garden and around your home to safely deter bugs.


Helpful links:

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!


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Friday, March 20, 2015


Are you ready to get planting?
To help you get started, Mary's Heirloom Seeds is sponsoring a SEED GIVEAWAY! 

This giveaway is only open for 3 DAYS!  Enter and SHARE!
Grow ORGANIC for the BEES!

2 Lucky Winners will receive Mary's Salsa Pack!

Make wonderful homemade salsa fresh from the garden!
 One packet of each.  Includes:
   -Mortgage Lifter Tomato
   -Jalapeno Pepper
   -Anaheim Pepper

   -Red Burgundy Onion

3 Lucky Winners will receive a "Wild About Wildflowers" seed combo pack!

Includes 6 varieties of individually packed Wildflower seeds
-African Crackerjack Marigold
-Bachelor Button
-Butterfly Garden
-Purple Coneflower

TWEET about the giveaway DAILY for additional entries!

Giveaway is open to all Residents of the US and Canada.
Giveaway opens 3/20/2015 and ends Monday, March 23nd at Midnight.
All giveaway entrants will be added to Mary's Heirloom Seeds mailing list.
Your information is never sold and we never send spam emails.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Please enjoy my final installment of Organic Pest Control.  We're getting ready for SPRING and a GIVEAWAY tomorrow!  Stop by after midnight to enter!
PLAINS COREOPSIS (edible flower)

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
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March 19, 2015
Many of you have seen our updates on facebook.  We reached 5,000 "likes" on our page so we're sponsoring a Giveaway on Friday, March 20th
Stop by Back to the Basics for details.

Organic Pest Control
Part 3  

We started off with
then we shared
Companion Planting in Part 2


In 2007 it was estimated that there are over 3 billion pounds of poisons and insecticides manufactured in the United State each year
for home and garden use.

Pesticide use in agriculture is down slightly, from 948 million pounds in 2000 to 877 million pounds in 2007. But that's only about 1% per year, and still close to a billion pounds of toxic chemicals intentionally introduced into the environment and our food supply each year.
These are a major threat to groundwater in every state and the problem keeps growing! It's also a major health concern.

More than 3.4 million people suffer from medically related side effects from the use of pesticides. Some of the immediate side effects include dizziness, nausea, headaches, low energy and loss of memory. Tests and research has proven that many forms of cancer are caused by 65% of all the pesticides.  

The herbicide glyphosate has more than doubled in use, from 85-90 million pounds in 2001 to 180-185 million pounds in 2007. According to a report from the Organic Center, this increase is likely a reflection of the rising popularity of Monsanto's RoundUp Ready genetically modified crops. (Glyphosate is the active ingredient of RoundUp.)

Today we have a few
DIY Recipes for Organic Pest Control

Organic Insecticidal Soap Spray
Option 1:
Add 1 tablespoon organic liquid castile soap
*I prefer Dr. Bronner's* to a spray bottle.  Fill with water and use on your garden every other day or as needed on "bad bugs"
Option 2:
Chop, grind, or liquefy one garlic bulb and one small onion.  
Add 1 teaspoon of powdered cayenne pepper and mix with 1 quart of water.  
Steep 1 hour, strain through cheesecloth, then add 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap (I use Organic Dr. Bronner's) to the strained liquid; mix well.  
Spray your plants thoroughly, including leaf undersides.  
Store the mixture for up to 1 week in a labeled, covered container in the refrigerator.  

As we have said in previous articles:
Be careful of where and how you use these recipes.  Even organic pest control options can work on "good bugs" as well as "bad bugs."

Spray to Control Nematodes
Nematodes are tiny parasitic worms that live in your soil. If you've ever grown tomatoes and found that the leaves were beginning to yellow and fall off the plant, then you have a nematode problem. While some nematodes are actually good for your garden, most are not. This mixture can also be used to spray on your plants to control grasshoppers and caterpillars.
3 tablespoons of organic molasses
4 cups of water

Mix the molasses and water in a spray bottle and shake vigorously. Use warm water to help the molasses dissolve better.
Spray the "Molasses Tea" on your soil around your plants every couple of days to keep the nematodes away.

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds we'd like to do our part to Save the Bees and Butterflies!
From NOW thru March 31st we will include a FREE Pack of Bee-Friendly seeds with EVERY order.
*$10 order minimum*
Most orders placed Monday thru Thursday
ship within 24 hours (except for holidays).

NEW Varieties added this week
Long Island Cheese Pumpkin

Yellow Scallop Squash

NEW Milkweed Varieties

Asclepias Incarnata White

Recent Articles:
A World Without BEES

Ancient Seeds
For more NEW varieties and complete descriptions, check out our recent blog articles:
So Many NEW Heirloom Seed Varieties...Where do I Start?
So Many NEW Organic Wildflower Varieties...Plant for the Pollinators!

If you have additional questions please feel free to ask.  We usually reply to emails within a few hours. 
Thank you and have a wonderful SPRING weekend!

Happy Planting,

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