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The past three seasons since last March’s Seedy Saturday, kept this seed-saver, more than a little occupied with sowing, growing, a long, lovely harvest of the foregoing efforts. Plus seed-saving.

However as a general seed-saving season for vegetables, conditions weren’t entirely optional. (Possibly the worst in my memory?)

Never the less, collectively, hopefully, gardeners everywhere will share their seeds in their committment to local sustainability.

Seedy Saturday in us in Powell River, is on March 12, 2011 at the Recreation Complex.

Might be a good idea to peruse and order from quality seed catalogs, on-line resources, etc. earlier than later…just in case.

Perhaps cooperate with other folks on joint orders and swaps. And if you participate in the 2009 pilot project, let the blog, know, how your dedicated seed saving efforts went this year.

There will be a seed packing bee at the Kale Force in January,

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Here’s another interesting place:

Homegrown Goodness

It’s a forum / discussion board very much into seed saving and breeding, saving old varieties, and growing information. Worth taking a look at.

I bought tomato seed (their “cherry riot mix”) from this company at the Comox Seedy Saturday in 2006 or 2007 and they did very well for me. Unfortunately all my saved seed was eaten by a rat!

The farm is located on the Island outside Victoria, so many of their varietes should do well for us here. They have a lot of interesting and unusual heirloom tomato varieties, as well as lettuces, herbs, peas and beans and other stuff.

Two Wings Farm

Another handy online resource with some very good basic information about planting and saving seeds from some common plants. Lots of good info about ornamentals as well.

Here is another cool online resource, which I found via the wonderful blog Homegrown Evolution: Mother Earth News has created a Google Custom Search engine to help people find the exact variety they’re looking for, by consulting 500+ online seed catalogues. (The photo they chose to accompany the post is priceless!)

Here are the ten results for cannellini beans, a type of bean which is very much in favour in our house and not so easy to find.

It would be nice to filter the results by country or (even better) by whether or not they are certified organic. Still, it’s a good tool for finding those tricky-to-find seeds.

I discovered another potentially useful online resource, so I thought I’d share it with you all.

Here is the website for The Seed Ambassadors Project. And here is what they say about themselves:

The Seed Ambassadors Project, based out of Oregon in the USA, is an independent, not-for-profit seed stewardship initiative. Over the winter of 2006-2007 we orchestrated an ethnobotanical exploration of nine Northern European countries to collect and distribute seed, information and friendship. We met with many of the region’s finest seed stewards and breeders: from Danish Seed Savers to the Russian Vavilov Institute, from Lithuanian government offices to ‘ancient grain’ outlaws in England. In February 2008 we went on a similar journey to Transylvania. Please read more on our blog.

I am subscribing to their blog and have joined the Google group in case there is good information to be gleaned there.

I just added another link to our list of Weblinks: BC Seeds. This is an initiative of Farm Folk/City Folk and a bunch of seed producers and other friends of sustainable agriculture in BC. The coolest feature is the database of organic seeds, which allows you to search for the source(s) of any kind of food plant you’re interested in finding seeds for.

Here is their list of suppliers.

There are some glitches. For example, a search for “tomato” turns up an entry for Lutz beet, because the information from the Salt Spring catalogue entry for this variety comtains the sentence “We bake both the greens and the roots with caramelized onions in a tangy tomato sauce for a mouth-watering harvest dish.”

Here is some tantalizing information:

BC Seed grower Patrick Steiner has just published his first seed growing book: Small-Scale Organic Seed Production. This publication is not so much a “how-to” of seed growing as it is a “what to expect” when embarking on a journey of seed growing.

Patrick interviews several small-scale seed growers from Canada and the United States to get a glimpse of their experience over the years – their successes, their challenges, and what to expect in the future. Their stories are inspiring and do a wonderful job of preparing the reader for the world of seed growing.

Patrick himself is an experienced seed grower, operating Stellar Seeds (www.stellarseeds.com) in Salmon Arm, BC. He is well-known for his high-quality seeds as well as his involvement in seed growing education. Patrick has worked for the last several years on seed security issues in Canada and abroad, including serving on the board of USC Canada (www.usc-canada.org)

Organic seed production plays a vital role in developing sustainable food systems. With chemical seed production often being heavily reliant on pesticide use, the energy savings alone with organic seed production is huge. Furthermore, growing seed crops in organic conditions helps ensure that the plants that sprout from those seeds are also better adapted to organic systems.

Funding for the manual came from the Organic Sector Development Program. The 40-page manual is available for $10 as a print copy or $5 as a an electronic copy in pdf format. To get a copy of the manual, contact FarmFolk/CityFolk at admin@ffcf.bc.ca.

We ought to get a copy of this manual.

I found this very handy online guide to saving some of the more common plant varieties, part of the International Seed Saving Institute. Also, down at the bottom of the page are some links to useful info to get you started saving seeds. They’ve very thoughtfully broken the vegetables down into three categories, depending on the complexity of the process required for saving seed: beginner, experienced, and expert.