The Garden Digs

Exciting & New Organic Offerings for 2018

It's official! The 2018 Harris Seeds Organic Catalog has been printed and mailed! GardenTrends is the home garden brand of Harris Seeds, and while it's only our second year producing a separate organic catalog, the organic program is thriving and has many new varieties and exciting offerings for 2018! These varieties are the same farmers use in their fields and have been tested and trialed to ensure your success as a gardener. The garden-friendly packets, in 10 and 50 seed counts, will make it more affordable and better suited for small-scale gardening or to plant different crops in one area to diversify your garden.

2018 Organic Seed Catalog

With over 90 new organic vegetable and cut flower varieties for 2018, you have some difficult decisions to make! Try growing the Veronica Romanesco Cauliflower or Poppy Scarlet Peony this season. Or perhaps grow some delicious Aunt Molly’s Ground Cherries!

Veronica Cauliflower Scarlet Peony

New OMRI listed and certified organic gardening supplies are available, like the new Sustane 4-6-4 All Natural Flower & Vegetable Plant Food & Fertilizer.


Check out the new organic gardening collections! These collections will make gardening fun and goal oriented. Instead of waiting in line at your favorite restaurant, grow your own fast food with the Organic Fast Food Collection. Join the juicing craze and grow all the ingredients yourself with the Organic Juicer’s Garden Collection!

Organic Fast Food Collection Organic Juicer's Garden Collection

The introduction of organic cover crops is brand new to our product line for 2018. Cover crops can be planted in your beds in between plantings to replenish the soil for next season and to increase the overall yields of your plants. Our retail 1 pound packages are ideal for growing living mulches in your growing spaces at home.

Cover Crops

Request your catalog here to see the full organic product listing as well as learn more about organic growing. Stay tuned for more announcements as we will continue to add new and exciting collections throughout the year!


Daniel Eggert is the Organic Brand Manager at Harris Seeds/GardenTrends. He oversees the organic division which includes expanding the product line, contacting growers to ensure their success, helping with trial varieties, and expanding the brand presence within the organic community. Daniel is passionate about sustainability, becoming self-sufficient, and studying permaculture/biodynamic practices. He loves working at Harris Seeds and helping growers achieve success.

Busy Like a Bee

As the summer is approaching an imminent end at Harris Seeds, it is time to reflect on the trials conducted on our grounds as well as all the travel spent around the country to view collaborative trials with universities and professional growers. Despite our outdoor trials slowing down, the midnight oil has begun to burn as we spend the beginning of fall inside writing our catalogs for next year. In honor of our successful trials this year, it is important to recognize some of our hardest, most exceptional workers, the honey bees.

It is said that the honey bee is responsible for every one in three bites of food. They not only pollinate plant flowers, creating higher yields of fruits and vegetables, they also create a forever food, honey, from the nectar they harvest. Honey is considered a forever food because it is a hypertonic solution, which means it’s almost all sugar and lacks water. This doesn’t allow microorganisms to live in honey and contaminate it. Honey bees evolved from a species that originated in Asia. There are about 7 to 11 commonly known honey bees, but there are 20,000 different types of bees worldwide. Humans have been domesticating bees for around 4,500 years, which is known based on Egyptian art depicting bee keeping.

Bees at Harris Seeds
At Harris Seeds, we instituted bee keeping practices last year. We have a team of volunteers, including myself, who work with the hives to ensure their future. Our first year was a tough learning year. With a history of previously harsh winters, many local bee keepers struggled as well. Nearly 44% of hives were lost in 2015-2016 and 33% were lost in the 2016-2017 season. The decline in populations could be due to numerous factors such as fluctuating temperatures and the long cold snaps that took place. Unfortunately, we lost both of our hives the first year. However, we did not let that stop us from trying again! With help from our partners at Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, we acquired new queens and colonies.

Bees at Harris Seeds

This year we focused on making sure the honey bees were able to thrive. We relocated our hives to a new spot closer to our trial grounds and near a wind block. Close by is our compost pile, where numerous volunteer plants sprouted, and we deliberately planted the Wildflower Eastern Pollinator Mix next to the hives. Along with our trial gardens of flowers and vegetables, the bees had a bountiful buffet to feast on.

We made sure to check for pests diligently as well. Hive beetles and Varroa mites are two common problems for apiarists. We are currently practicing chemical free treatments to combat these problems. Installing vegetable oil traps for the hive beetles helps the bees push them up and into the trap, which drowns the nuisances. Tapping powdered sugar over the hives and onto the bees is like making it rain candy. Not only do they love the taste, but it makes the bees clean themselves. We are then able to catch the mites on a mite board and perform a 24 hour check to evaluate the severity of the infestation. Luckily, we have had minimal pest issues and have stayed well ahead of the problems to remain chemical free!

Bees at Harris Seeds

The populations of the bees have been in decline since middle of the 20th century with many possible contributing factors, including: the presence of Varroa mites, the diseases spread by Varroa mites, forage and habitat degradation, and pesticide exposure.  We all need to “bee” conscious when it comes to sustaining honey bee populations. Everyone can do their part, whether purchasing from local farms who implement sustainable practices, purchasing organic produce, or perhaps becoming an amateur beekeeper yourself.  As a consumer, you have the purchasing power to promote and grow bee-safe practices. The more efforts made toward supporting sustainable growers and practices, the more we will be able to help ensure the survival of our most valued, natural worker. The work of the honey bee is never finished and neither should our commitment to ensuring their future existence. 

Daniel Eggert is the Organic Brand Manager at Harris Seeds. He oversees the organic division which includes expanding the product line, contacting growers to ensure their success, helping with trial varieties, and expanding the brand presence within the organic community. Daniel is passionate about sustainability, becoming self-sufficient, and studying permaculture/biodynamic practices. He loves working at Harris Seeds and helping growers achieve success.

Giant White Moonflowers Create a Dreamy Ambiance on the Patio

by Laura Rivera

Last summer I bought a beautiful pergola for my back patio. I easily envisioned this space to be my summer backyard retreat. I knew the only way that it could look remotely close to those beautiful home and garden magazine photos was to plaster it with flowers and integrate some great lighting to create that classical dreamy ambiance.  I wanted vertical growth with large exotic flowers. The Giant White Moonflower was the way to go, reaching a robust 20’ tall with fragrant 5” flowers that would bloom in the evening. These attributes were ideal to obtain this mystical look.

Giant White Moonflowers from Seeds
This plant does not transplant well, so I started by planting my seeds directly into 14” pots indoors. In less than a week I had sweet little seedlings, which would soon become the focal point for my patio space. Once they were ready to leave an isolated indoor environment, I moved the pots outdoors. Giant White Moonflowers are climbers and need lots of support as the large vines get very heavy. I strung three strands of black nylon rope from the base of the plant to the top of the pergola to train them to climb along the posts.

Giant White Moonflower from Seeds - Climbing

My six year old discovered that you could hold a pencil to the vine and could actually watch the vine slowly wrap around it. What an incredibly cool discovery! My backyard is super sunny and so they drank a lot of water to keep hydrated. During the day the moonflowers were extremely green and lush. At dusk, the flowers would slowly open to large illuminous white flowers.

Giant White Moonflower Pergola
Every evening my husband, son, and I would go and sit on the patio just to watch the flowers bloom. Friends and family that came over thought they were amazing and wondered how we were able to create such a unique look and yet they were really so easy to grow and were very entertaining to watch. The Giant White Moonflower is truly a magical flower that lives up to its name in every way. 

Giant White Moonflower on Pergola

Laura Rivera Growing up on 77 acres of land with a family of five girls, Laura spent much of her childhood working hard and spending family time planting, weeding, and canning in the fall. After spending many years working seasonally on farms, Laura attended college and began a career outside of the agriculture industry. She eventually joined the Harris Seeds team as an Outbound Sales Rep and later took on the role of Customer Care Manager. Returning to her roots and her love for growing has been a rewarding experience. She loves helping customers find solutions and helping them with their growing needs.