Happy holidays, friends. I love all these weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year. I wish we could roll them all into one humongous holiday filled with twinkly lights, cheery music, fresh pine scent, gluttonous dinner parties and cozy gatherings with loved ones.
I remember as a child, I feverishly looked forward to Christmas not because of its spiritual significance or even Santa himself (I was that cynic in school who told all my friends he wasn’t real — I know, I was so mean), but because I loved seeing all those gifts under the tree. It was the one time of year that my family actually picked out toys and clothes and cognac and wrapped them up in pretty paper, a delightful change from the red envelopes stuffed with money that was more common in our culture.
Ah, those gifts. Through the years, I’ve found that I love being the gift giver more than I like being the gift recipient. Being a kid, it was easy — everyone enjoyed a handmade card or craft that I’d painstakingly created in my bedroom. But as an adult, finding the right gift for the right person becomes trickier because it seems like all the people in your life already have everything they need. Food is usually my standby gift, often homemade. And gifts from the garden have had an increasingly frequent appearance over the years.
But I’m always looking for something special aside from the framed photos, pickles and jams, potted succulents, and homegrown harvests I often reach for come holiday (or birthday or other special occasion) time. When GrowJourney introduced me to their Seeds of the Month Club (all heirloom, all certified organic) and offered a sample membership to review, I thought it sounded like a sweet idea. A gift of seeds is like a gift of life, and suits anyone from the aspiring gardener to the longtime green thumb.
I’ve gifted (and been a giftee of) other monthly memberships in the past (wine, honey, cheese) but what I especially like about GrowJourney’s program is how committed they are to helping you be a better gardener.
With every shipment, you get your seed packets and your introductory letter and that’s all fine and dandy. If you know your way around seed starting, you’re good to go. But the value lies in their online dashboard, which every member has access to.
Each month, GrowJourney posts the seeds they’ve sent out along with all the information you need to successfully start them. You’re given a one-page QuickGuide that you can download as a PDF, essentially a more detailed version of the kind of instructions you’d find on the back of a seed packet.
You’re also given a more extensive GrowGuide, which covers a full history of the plant and other varieties in the same species, as well as loads of information on seed germination, transplanting, harvesting, seed saving, pest and disease control, and recommendations for sun, soil, and water. They even link to a resource on hugelkultur as a tried-and-true technique (on their own farm) for improving soil fertility for chicory, one of the seeds I received. And they do this for every single seed variety they send out.
I’ll be honest here. I’m sometimes leery of these monthly clubs because you may not always like what you get. And with the five varieties that were sent in GrowJourney’s November shipment, realistically I will only grow three of them this season — just the vegetables, which were escarole (chicory), leeks, and peas. (But I’m still saving the other two, a poppy and a thyme, for next year if I have more room in my garden. Or maybe I’ll just give them away.)
I’m okay with that, because I really, really like the ability to access their full archive of QuickGuides and GrowGuides for all the fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers they’ve shipped in the past. I may never get around to growing that thyme, but I like amaranth and sorrel and even if I get those seeds from somewhere else, I can still consult their GrowGuides for tips and tricks.
Other things of note: GrowJourney includes a couple of “buddy seeds” with each shipment — smaller sample packs that you can share with a friend. They also tell me they have a couple of new features in the works: hyper-customization of seed selection (better tailored for your climate and also any individual seed preferences) and video tutorials (to help you on your path of growing organically). But keep in mind that this is a small and relatively new company, started by a husband-and-wife team, so implementation of these features is likely a year or more down the line.
And even though I think the Seeds of the Month Club makes a great gift, it goes both ways — why not treat yourself this Christmas! GrowJourney’s personal and gift subscriptions are available for small spaces (3 regular packets plus 1 share packet for gardens less than 100 square feet) and large spaces (5 regular packets plus 2 share packets for gardens over 100 square feet).
In the spirit of giving and gardening this season, GrowJourney is offering a free six-month seed subscription to one lucky Garden Betty reader! (An $80 value for yourself or a friend.)
The giveaway is open to US residents only, and all you have to do is enter via the form below. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on Friday, December 11, 2015.
This giveaway is sponsored by GrowJourney. Your information will be used for email communications related to their products and services, but rest assured it will not be sold or given to third parties. You may unsubscribe from their email list at any time. Good luck!
This post is brought to you by GrowJourney. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that support Garden Betty.
Update: A big thanks to everyone who entered!
This giveaway is now closed. The winner is Terri W.