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This is my second year gardening in Idaho — and when I say gardening I mean I live in a second-floor, one-bedroom apartment and have three planter boxes outside. I am not a serious gardener, but I did have more success last year than I was expecting.
Last year, I purchased container garden-specific seeds from the Snake River Seed Cooperative. The seed cooperative is a collective of family farmers in the Intermountain West, who produce locally adapted seeds for amateur gardeners like me. The growers take a pledge to produce organic seeds and produce.
I was drawn to the idea of the collective because I'd be growing seeds that are accustomed to Southwest Idaho's climate and soil and air — all of the things that go into making a plant grow. I thought it was likely my best bet to get seeds to actually sprout.
Unfortunately last year was not that great of a year for my vegetables. All I got was a lot of purple kale, a few tomatoes and some beautiful wildflowers. My jalapeños did not produce much, but I have more hope this year. I am starting my seeds indoors and bought more than I did last year.
There are so many options for seeds. The ones I purchased were from the "Collections" section, where you can buy a few seeds from specific farms, or you can purchase container garden-specific seeds or a beginner garden collection. This year I purchased two collections: the Earthly Delights Farm Seed Collection and the Field Goods Farm Seed Collection. Both are urban farms in Boise. I wanted to support local and smaller farms this year.
People can find the seeds at local nurseries, a list of retail providers is at snakeriverseeds.com and you can also order them online at the same website.
I've been writing about agriculture in Idaho for nearly two years now, and every time I talk to a local farmer the conversation usually ends with, "Please support local." So I thought I would practice what they are asking and support two hyper-local farmers.
I know it may be easier to run over to Walmart in April and buy an already flowering tomato plant, but part of what makes the Treasure Valley special is our agriculture producers. I am a transplant here, and I feel like that gives me a duty to give back to a place I dropped myself into. I feel like I have a duty to support the way of life here, and this spring, that means buying local seeds and attempting a garden.