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How I Fell in Love With Claytonia

I (hi! I’m Petra!) first met Claytonia on a solo backpack around Point Reyes in California nearly 20 years ago, where they were growing knee-high as well as everywhere. Though I didn’t know them by name, my instincts urged me to take just one bite…

…and another…

…and another.

800 x 400 organic claytonia miners lettuce 1

One week later, emerging from the wilderness (oh, the days before cell phones!) having eaten pounds of the loveliest greens I could imagine, I went straight to the library to figure out this plant I was obsessed with, relieved that indeed they have been revered as delectable for millennia.

Like bright, succulent spinach, deliciously crisp and even more cold-hardy, we sow claytonia seeds bright, shining ebony orbs in late September, both in the field and in our high tunnels, since she strongly prefers to germinate in cool soils. Sown earlier in September, they may not germinate: literally, we germination test our claytonia seeds in the fridge.

Here in the Northeast, Claytonia only grows 4-6″ tall, surrounding us with abundance in fall and even in winter, re-growing with impressive vigor, like an emerald carpet, in spring before flowering white and going to seed once the temps rise in May. Growing when tree roots are not, Claytonia is a beloved member of our orchard, as well.

If there were three seeds that would feed us all winter long, they would be…

…claytonia, spinach, mache…

…and chervil…

…and cilantro…

…that’s three, right?!!

Though it seems a little late, you’re sincerely right on time if you’re here in Zone 5 and plenty of time if you’re in Zone 6.

If you have a favorite overwintering green in your garden, shout them out in the comments, we’d love to know!

And if you’re looking for organic Claytonia seeds, we love to share ours here.

Sow Seeds & Sing Songs,

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& the whole Fruition Crew

800 x 400 organic claytonia miners lettuce

6 thoughts on “How I Fell in Love With Claytonia

  1. I enjoyed hearing your love for Claytonia . I wish I could get some seeds .

    1. Hi Vivian, You’re in luck! You can find our Claytonia HERE! Thank you for being part of the wider Fruition Community! -Sylvia and the rest of the Fruition Crew

  2. I am so eager to try Claytonia. I just ordered seed from you today. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. You got this, we got this! -Sylvia and the rest of the Fruition Crew

  3. Thank you for your Claytonia seed! I have them growing slowly but nicely in an outside raised bed; also in a pot about 2 gallon size, and another pot maybe 6-7 gallons. QUESTIONS: 1. Would you advise leaving the two pots outside, or bringing them inside for the winter? 2. How best can I prepare the outside raised bed to be sure of Claytonia’s survival and spring growth? And thank you for your delightful videos. Your enthusiasm is contageous! [And I have fallen in love with your dog!}…:o)B

    1. Ohhh! Hope you get to meet Pancho & Davi one day, Barbara! Thanks for your kind words and enjoy Claytonia in the meantime. And what wonderful questions! Leaving your pots outside will be grand; though the soil will be colder in the pots compared to being in the ground, I suspect they’ll survive just fine. If you happen to have straw bales to tuck around them, they won’t bat an eye at the cold! Also, if you can, tuck some heavy weight floating row cover over them. Since claytonia is so short, hoops aren’t necessary. Let us know how they do & stay cozy, yourself!

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