Sunday, January 20, 2013

Give Your Vegetable Seeds a Great Start

photo courtesy of Tom Mann via Annie's Pinterest board
Wouldn’t you like to increase the chances of your vegetable seeds not only germinating but developing strong roots in their early growth stages?

I have been vegetable gardening for over 30 years and a retailer of vegetable seeds with our Seeds of the month club for just over three years. As you can imagine I run into a wide variety of vendors in the vegetable gardening industry that make claims to be the best, the greatest and the only product you, your garden or your vegetable seeds will ever need to grow into big and strong vegetable and fruit producing plants.

Some of these vegetable gardening products are just ok, and many are complete duds, border lining unsafe to have near my family let alone spray on my seed starting soil. There is one vegetable gardening product though that I can’t brag enough about. It is safe, great for your vegetable seeds, inexpensive, produced right here in the United States, and quite frankly I don’t think you will find another person in this industry that is happier to sell a product of this sort, and her family has been doing it for decades. Now that is a track record.

I first learned of Annie Haven about 3 years ago when I was perusing an article in a magazine I subscribe to. Compelled by how well that article was written about Annie, I looked up her company and a phone number and gave her a ring. I wanted to learn more this vegetable gardening product line that she was selling, how in the world she got into the business, and what it can do for my own customers when they go to germinate their vegetable seeds. It took all of about 30 seconds on the phone with her to realize she is as genuine as they come in the vegetable gardening industry and is passionate about selling her product line.

Nestled in San Juan Capistrano, California, Annie Haven, owner of Authentic Haven Brand produces a special line of all natural soil conditioners. This soil conditioner, also known as manure tea, is harvested from Annie’s own livestock.

Since 1924, Annie and her family have raised only natural grass fed livestock. It has been about the last 20 years though where they have harvested their livestock’s manure, seasoned it and packaged it for the general public to be used as manure tea for the home vegetable gardener.

The process is very simple. You take one of the manure tea bags and steep it in 1 to 5 gallons of water for about 1 to 3 days. Then use the mixture to water your garden soil with. If the organic health benefits of using such a product line with your vegetable seeds were not enough, they took the extra step of using a manure tea bag that is biodegradable and can be thrown right into your compost pile, once you completely use up the manure tea bag of course.

The manure tea bags come in three varieties, Horse manure, Cow Manure and Alfalfa. Annie recommends using the horse and cow varieties for vegetable gardens and the alfalfa on roses.

While I will be the first to say that I did not conduct any scientific testing, I did use the manure teas on some black beauty eggplant and compared that to some I grew without the teas and the results were remarkable. The manure tea treated eggplants had a better root system, looked lusher and greener in the leaves, and the fruit itself seemed sturdier (although I had no other way to verify this other than feeling it).

Since that time (about two years) that I conducted my informal testing, I have used Annie’s manure tea in my garden ever since. I will soak my vegetable seed starter soil when I plant my seeds, then water my gardens with the manure tea every two weeks throughout the entire vegetable gardening season.

But you don’t have to take just my word for it. Here is Annie’s Pinterest board where users of the manure tea have posted their results for the world to see:

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