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Posts Tagged ‘Seeds of Diversity’

seeds

Once again, the gardening season is at hand. I like to get things rolling by attending a local Seedy Saturday event. Last weekend, I made the drive up to Ottawa to join other gardeners in the joy of anticipating our return to the soil. A number of venders of heirloom and organic seeds and supplies come together to offer attendees, pictured above, a cornucopia of seeds. It would be possible to order the seeds by mail, but the buzz of excitement makes attending Seedy Saturday much more fun.

I mostly go to get a selection of tomato seeds. Last year I didn’t bother, and missed trying new varieties. This year, I purchased eight varieties from Terra Edibles and Gerta’s Organic Gardens:

Black and Brown Boar
Berkeley Tie Dye
Winterkeeper
Dancing with Smurfs
Pink Boar
Allegheny Sunset
Druzba
Persimmon

Seedy Saturdays are a project of Seeds of Diversity, an organization dedicated to encouraging the preservation and cultivation of heirloom and endangered varieties of food crops. You can locate a Seedy Saturday near you by visiting their website.

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Seedy Saturdays are seed-exchange and gardening events that pop up all across Canada in early spring. Maybe there is a Seedy Saturday near you! For a listing of events and more information visit Seeds of Diversity, linked here.

I didn’t really need any seeds. I placed a catalogue order that covers most of my needs. However, the weather was inviting for a drive, and I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see a wonderful phenomenon: hordes of excited gardeners coming together to talk and buy seeds and get ready for another year in the garden. Finding a parking spot was tough. At some displays, you had to wait your turn to belly up to the seed packets and seek out your favorites. Besides seeds, there were also vendors selling organic products and garden supplies.

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Of course, I couldn’t pass up the chance to pick up a few packets of seeds myself. I get a kick out of growing an assortment of tomatoes and I got three to try this year. Captain Lucky, the packet says, is an indeterminate, potato-leaf, mid/late season tomato with green/yellow/pink medium to large fruit. Cool! Nebraska Wedding is a yellow/orange tomato that I have tried in the past and liked. Information online reports that: Nebraskan brides were given seeds of this tomato as a wedding gift. It was said to have been brought from MN by pioneers in the late 1800s via covered wagons. And it thrived in cold, windy Nebraska.” And finally, Ozark Sunrise, which is described as a beautiful anti-oxidant-loaded purple beauty.

I also got some Lemon cucumber seeds to try. They were recommended by Alain at Roche Fleurie Garden. You can check up on Lemon cucumbers here. All in all, it was a fun outing.

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By February, I find my thoughts turn more and more to spring and the new gardening season ahead. This is even more true this winter. The mild weather we’ve enjoyed recently has made it seem like warm spring days aren’t far away. It’s still a bit early for starting most seeds, but a perfect time for scrutinizing seed catalogues and making plans. For the purposes of daydreaming, it’s good to have a selection of catalogues to browse through. This year, I noticed an advertisement somewhere for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and decided to order a catalogue. You can request a copy via their website at rareseeds.com. Many seed catalogues are free. Baker Creek charges $5, but it proved to be a worthwhile investment!

tomatoes
The catalogue, which arrived promptly in my mailbox, is just beautiful! It’s more like a magazine than a catalogue, handsomely produced in full colour, with many gorgeous large photographs of an amazing array of heirloom plants. Very tempting for any gardener! In addition to seed listings, the catalogue includes interesting tidbits of information and short articles on topics such as saving tomato seeds. My favorite things to grow in the vegetable garden are tomatoes. There is absolutely nothing like a lush tomato, fresh from the vine.

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This year, Fiddlegirl and I have agreed to share a pack of Sweet Gold seeds, a wonderful hybrid variety of cherry tomatoes that we have both grown in the past. And last year, Seabrooke had good results with Sub-Arctic Plenty. I’d like to try them this year. Others I am considering include Chocolate Stripes and Ananas Noir (aka Black Pineapple). Do you have a favorite tomato variety? I’d love to hear of your experience. Leave me a comment!

There are plenty of quality sources for seeds. I have catalogues from a variety of Canadian sources such as Veseys and Dominion Seedhouse and Stokes. Another great place to find interesting seed varieties is a Seedy event near you. Listings for Seedy Saturdays and Sundays can be found at the Seeds of Diversity site, linked here. In addition to an event listing, you’ll also find plenty of information about various seed sources across the country and news about heritage seed issues.

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Seabrooke and I followed up Mudpuppy Night on Friday with Seedy Saturday in Ottawa. The nasty weather that had been forecast did indeed arrive and there was cold, steady rain all day. Fortunately, Seedy Saturday is an indoor event! Seedy events are associated with Seeds of Diversity, a Canadian volunteer organization that conserves the biodiversity and traditional knowledge of food crops and garden plants. Seedy events include a swap table, vendors selling heritage and organic seeds and information displays.

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Here’s Seabrooke, checking out the swap table. She saved quite a number of seeds last year and came prepared with lots of packages to add to the seed exchange. There was quite a crowd. In the main room where vendors were set up, it was difficult to get close to the seed displays. As one man I jostled shoulders with noted “Who knew looking at seeds was a contact sport?” It was nice to see so many interested people in attendance.

I purchased a few varieties of tomatoes to try this year: Green Zebra, Black Sea Man, Jaune Flammé, and Persimmon.

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We signed the petition in support of a moratorium on GM Alfalfa. The petition was organised by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, a collaborative campaigning for food sovereignty and environmental justice. Alfalfa is used as pasture and high-protein feed for dairy cows, beef cattle, lambs and pigs and is also used to build up nutrients in the soil, making it important for many types of organic farming. Because alfalfa is a bee-pollinated perennial, GM contamination of organic crops is inevitable. The main purpose of GM Alfalfa seems to be to allow Monsanto to extend its grip on agriculture and farmers (GM Alfalfa is “Round Up-ready”).

Pictured below is a display by USC Canada. Their goal is to support programs, training, and policies in Africa, Asia and Latin America that strengthen biodiversity, food sovereignty, and the rights of those at the heart of resilient food systems – women, indigenous peoples, and small-scale farmers.

Check for a Seedy event in a community near you at the Seeds of Diversity website. It’s great to anticipate the new growing season with other gardeners.

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