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Welcome new members to our seed saving community who committed saving pea seeds at our recent Seedy Saturday!

A number of people have chosen to save pea varieties for the Seed Saving Project 2009. Sapporo*Japanese shelling peas, Carlin(dry soup pea), China Snow, Oregon Sugar Pod, from Saltspring Seeds. And Green Arrow(mainsteam variety) and Sugar Pea from William Dam Seeds.

Here’s a little tip, have used the last few years for an early start to a small but successful row for early peas.

First. Get your minds. In the gutter!

Gutter peas that is.

Today it’s snowing again. On coastal B.C. fairly unusual for mid March. The soil outside is so cold. Most weeds aren’t even sprouting yet.

If gardeners plant peas outside,(even presprouted) chances are they’ll rot. And that’s if the slugs, insects, birds etc. don’t have at them first.

So off to the scrap metal pile at the back of the farm, to haul out several 8′ sections of old guttering.(scored last summer, while garage-sailing, when noticing an adjacent neighbour having their roof, redone)
And that nice pile of rusty old guttering piled on the driveway. Although have used other metal guttering in the past)

Fold and layer, several thicknesses of newspaper and overlap them, the entire length of the gutter.

Fill with soil. As these gutters have been moved into my 8′ x 16′ unheated greenhouse, I use greenhouse soil.

Plan presprouted peas. Cover with soil up to the top of gutter. Water.

Cover for extra frost protection and evaporation with anything handy. I use old feed sacks or potting soil bags.

Peek under the gutter wrap, periodically, to see when the peas emerge and need daylight.

When the pea-lings get six or so inches high and have several leaves(and hopefully the nights are becoming frost-free)

Transport your gutters to the space, where you want the peas to grow. Then gently…slide. The sections of newspaper with soil/peas into the pre-dug pea trench.

The pea-lings will get a little disturbed but if you’re careful, they will recover nicely. Cover as per the ‘code’ of transplanting:)

Chances increase of getting a small but delicious crop of peas, some weeks before the outdoor planting.

Save some seeds from these early peas. Or plant other rows and save seed from them.


Doors open Saturday March 14th 10 a.m for Powell River’s fourth SEEDY SATURDAY,
at Community Living Place, 6831 Artaban Street, Cranberry.

Bring your seeds, tubers, cuttings, food plants etc. to a lively day of swapping garden plants and information. Cost for this community gardening event is a nominal $1 for admission with children under 12 are free. In addition to the exchange, information booths, and refreshments at the Seedy Lounge plus a supervised children’s activity corner, all day.

Five free workshops included:

10:00-10:45 a.m. Berry Happy, Thank You

Volunteer Master Gardener Myst de Vana presents ways to boost immunity in small fruit shrubs. You can have your fruit (and eat it too) by selecting sturdy varieties, planting for long-term health, and preventing disease and pestiferous creature problems. Managing crop size, staggering harvests, and using wild berries all help create a potentially long season of treats for our cereal and desserts.

11:00-11:45 p.m. Winter Gardening for Powell River

Master Composter, and professional horticultural therapist, Carol Engram helps you plan and manage a productive winter garden. Start planning your winter garden now, in order to plant in July.

12:00-12:45 p.m. Permaculture Gardening for our ‘Wet Coast’

Patches, from Nimh Permaculture Farm, south of town, provides practical tips for incorporating perennial food crops and sustainable gardening techniques into your garden and home landscape.

1:00 p.m.-1:45 p.m. Starting Plants from Seed

Kevin Wilson from micro-market garden, Fiddler’s Farm demostrates how to take the seeds you get at Seedy Saturday and grow them into healthy plants. Workshop covers starting seeds indoors under lights, direct seeding outdoors, and starting seeds the easy way with minimal protection.

2:00 p.m.-2:45 p.m. PLANT frequently. HARVEST abundantly.

Wildwood market gardener, Wendy Devlin helps you plan a small vegetable garden in advance in order to extend productivity and extension of the harvest.

Some of you, might have the other line of that jingle, stuck in your head!

Beans are magical in many ways:)

If you have several favorite beans and you want to save seed from them, will you end up with crosses(hybrids)?
Bush beans are self-fertilizing. Therefore there is generally little chance varieties cross-pollinating.

However it is advised to separate bush varieties in the home garden by at least two feet.

What is often done in home seed saving, is separating similiar bush bean varieties by a row of a different variety of bean (if you are growing all your beans in the same section of garden) Or a row of different vegetables.

There is more tendency for a pole bean to cross. So the advice is plant similiar varieties a minimum of 12 feet apart.

Also the more open-faced flowers of Scarlet Runners, limas and broad beans attract more insect pollinators and therefore more cross-pollination.

So again, a wider planting distance between varieties is advised.

Am growing Andy’s Broad Beans from Saltspring Seeds, and several varieties from my own fava seed collection(originally Windsors, and a small green and purple seeded. Plus two pole varieties of red-flowered Scarlet Runner and one bicolor.(which started out last year as EMERG0, all white which apparently crossed with the red due to close proximity)

So I’ll be paying closer attention to planting distances this season.