By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MN Curt Levang of Howard Lake has an array of plants in his garden, which started with seeds from around the world.
One particularly interesting variety is his German pea plants.
Levang believes his grandmother acquired the German pea plant seeds around 1910, from a German immigrant in North Dakota.
Since then, Levang and his father have continued to save the seeds.
“I have enough seeds for two years, just in case something were to happen that I couldn’t harvest them one year,” Levang commented.
About 25 years ago, Levang and his father thought they had lost the German peas because the seeds from the year before had rotted.
“I went home, and noticed a purple plant in the garden,” Levang said.
At that moment, he knew their German pea crop would continue to grow, he said.
Levang also has Japanese cucumbers called “Sayo,” and Asian cucumbers called “Green Dragon.”
He obtained the cucumber seeds from Ikuyo Shin, a Howard Lake local.
Another interesting plant is his winter onions.
The onion plants grow bulbs at the top which are then planted in the fall and harvested in the spring.
Levang also has a rose geranium.
It is a unique geranium in which each flower on the plant looks like a miniature rose.
“I just cut a piece off of my mother-in-law’s plant, stuck it in the ground, and it grew,” Levang noted.
His mother-in-law does not know where the seed came from or how she got it, Levang added.
“A strange fact about the rose geranium is that the flowers do not like rain (to fall) directly on them,” he said.
Levang continues to expand the rose geranium plants by cutting off pieces and replanting.
“I sell the rose geraniums for $10 or $20 each for Bible camp,” Levang stated.
Levang also has a sand cherry tree, raspberry bushes, a plum tree, apple trees, and other plants.
Levang saves his seeds, dries them out, and uses them in the following years for most of his plant varieties.