Best of 2001: Best Seeds

Urban Seed and Flower
7079 University Avenue, La Mesa

Sixty-seven years ago, Charles Ledgerwood, a UC Davis graduate, began selling seeds to North County flower and vegetable growers. Over time, his market shifted to home growers, and he developed an inventory that took into account San Diego's varied climate and soil -- seeds for flowers that can take interior heat, seeds for damp coastal air, pest-resistant seeds, disease-resistant seeds, high-yield seeds. Seeds for broccoli, blue lake green beans, white scallop squash, and yellow pear tomato -- good local seeds. Sixty-five years later, two longtime customers, garden designers Michael Bliss and Maurice Taitano, bought Ledgerwood's business and moved it, in toto, to La Mesa. The desk, the scales for weighing seeds, the card-catalog-style seed cabinet -- it's all the same, except it's bigger. The new owners are expanding the flower department and also carrying fresh-cut flowers, live herbs, and herb seeds -- Cinnamon Basil, German Chamomile, and Florence Fennel -- and unusual vegetables such as Japanese leaf products. They also stock eye-catching trellises. But a visit to Ledgerwood's old seed collection and a couple of years can still give you a field of riotous wildflowers -- California poppies, Lupins, and Clarkia, to name a few.

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