oh where did the time go!? Two weeks have gone by since the last post! Well.. what a better way to start back up than to talk about a great seed company called Seed Savers Exchange.
Seed Savers Exchange offers a great mix of veggies, flowers, & herbs that are all open pollinated and heirloom varieties. The “hybrids” they may offer have been breed true to their seed so that they will plant again from their seed producing the same great quality as the parent plant.
They define their seeds varieties as being from one of three categories. —-1. Historic Commercial varieties originating from before 1950—-2. Heirlooms that have a history of being grown and shared within communities from a variety of histories and times.—-3. Modern Commercial Varieties that have an origin that is after 1950, but that have been around for at least 35 years in commerce.
Seed Savers is a great place for a wide selection of everyday seeds you use year after year. Their catalog contains several articles about seed saving different types of seeds from your garden plants. They also offer several books on the topic as well. Seed Savers Exchange also offers a good variety of seed potatoes, transplant tomato & pepper plants & also a wide selection of garlic.
You can join the Seed Savers Exchange as a member starting at $30-$40 depending on your income level. With this membership you get access to a 1 year subscription to their quarterly magazine, The Heritage Farm Companion, a 10% discount on all orders made to Seed Savers Exchange for one year, & an online & printed copy of the Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook.
The Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook is a listing of thousands of plant varieties that are offered by fellow members to others through the exchange. One thing to note is that you do not have to be a member in order to participate in the exchange through the online version. As a member, you get a printed copy of the yearbook listing all of the many many vegetable, herb, and fruit varieties other gardeners and famers have saved themselves and now available to others. The 2014 yearbook can boast it is offering over 13,000 unique varieties of seed available!
I am currently making my way through the book “Seed to Seed” by Suzanne Ashworth that I got this holiday. It is quite informative and a great resource! For someone who is interested in not only gardening to harvest produce, but also about how the plants grow, survive, & pollinate this is a perfect selection. It has the plants/seed types sorted by botanical family. I know very little so far about botanical families and identification and have been trying to learn more to understand each plants/species relation to each other. This book offers a great introduction to those just learning about classification and a good standard reference for those seasoned gardeners wanting more information about seed saving and storage for a wide variety of produce. It helps a great deal when deciding your garden layouts each year, not to mention solving pest problems as the season progresses. Although this book is primarily about seed saving, it has an abundance of information that is well written and easy to understand about classification and fun facts about each botanical family and the plants that belong to it. It even touches on what some of the best ways are to grow each variety by seed. In all, what I’m saying is.. it’s a good book.. it’s defiantly worth reading and keeping around for a well written reference year after year!
Another great book about seed saving is “The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds” by Robert Gough & Cheryl Moore-Gough. Seed Savers Exchanges does not offer this book, but it is available though both Barns & Noble as well as amazon as printed book and a Kindle version. Its full of tips and tricks for more successful seed saving as well as great color photos throughout. It starts out with a basic intro into seed and plant biology .. very basic… and well explained.. don’t be afraid! Part 1 of the book covers growing plants from seed, germination, hand pollination, seed storage, and cross-breading your own varieties. Part 2 covers specifics for various varieties of plants sorted into the four different categories of Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers, and Nuts Fuits & Trees. The seed saving info about the individual varieties is nice, but where this book does best in the “Part 1″ of the book with all the great information about pollination, seed storage and germination tips, & the cross-breading help. Although the individual seed information is helpful, it is not as informative as I would like. This is where the Seed to Seed book excels. It has a wealth of knowledge for more specific information on individual varieties and plant classification. Together the two books are a perfectly complementary pair.
As far as Our garden here in STL… we have onion, basil, & cabbages going strong! We just planted eggplant seeds this week from both new varieties as well as some that we saved from last year’s harvest.
The sweet potato slips were started about 2 weeks ago and have some strong roots on them as well! No green yet, but it won’t be long till there will be some sprouts coming out the top. Towards the end of next week the plans are to seed the tomato and peppers. It almost feels like spring… until I look outside at the 4 inches of snow on the ground… but I can pretend for a few minutes at least!