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Last year, the first year of the Seed Saving Project, I chose Ireland Creek Annie beans. I mainly picked it for the name. I’ve only tried growing beans once in the past and I harvested one bean pod per plant and only five seeds had germinated – not even enough for a meal. It was time to try again.
In 2009, I had much better luck. I harvested enough beans to supply a number of packages for Seedy Saturday as well as a couple of cups to try in recipes. I have to say I am not a dry bean expert and my Ireland Creek Annie creations were not that successful.
Ireland Creek Annie beans are an early and reliable producer. They are supposed to make their own thick sauce when cooked. They are disease resistant and non-staking. All this sounds wonderful but I obviously don’t have the right ideas for cooking them.
I will probably grow some more to see what other recipes I can experiment with but because the idea of Seedy Saturday is to swap seeds, I am planning on swapping them for one of the other dry beans in the Seed Saving Project. I think I’ll try Neabel, a Ukrainian dry bean that grows six feet tall (an advantage in my small garden).
That’s the wonderful thing about Seedy Saturday. If you don’t find the type of bean or pea or whatever that you grew to be suitable for your cooking methods and taste, you can trade it in for another type that also grows well in Powell River.
Beans are easy for seed saving. You leave them on the plant until the pods are dry and brown, then harvest them. The pods are easy to break open for the seeds. The seeds should be dry and hard.
At the Kale Force seed packing party a couple of weeks ago, Ed brought in some Purple Peacock Pole Beans. I couldn’t resist that name and scooped up a few seeds. I discovered that they grow six feet tall, have light purple flowers and dark leaves. The pods are dark purple and turn green when cooked. They should be fun to try. And they will be available at Seedy Saturday if you are intrigued by the name too.
and so much more tonight, Wednesday Dec. 2 at VIU. 7:00 p.m.
The 2009 pilot project coordinators are willing to add more vegetables and varieties within those vegetable families to the Seed Saving Project in 2010. Are you jumping, up and down?
The Project will still keep track of the original beans/peas, beet/chard and squash varieties but new vegetable varieties will be added, for the food security enthusiast, horticultural therapist, market gardeners or for those, who just want to plant a pot of fresh herbs near the back door.
All in the name of the increasingly loud buzz word, local sustainability.
Can you hear this sound?
Now that the seed saving Project is being expanded, I’ll bring more beet, cucumber, parship, pepper and tomato seeds tonight. A bunch of cilantro and dill. Plus in the flower department(got to attract those beneficial insects) calendula, cosmos, marigolds, poppies and ornamental sunflowers. And that’s just a fraction of the flowers, herbs, vegetable seeds I have to trade/donate.
Then there’s a Kale Force seed-saving party, in January, food security author, Robin Wheeler in February and Seedy Saturday in March. Plus a permaculture, organic vegetable/seed saving gardening course in the spring. Oops!
Did I let three cats out of the bag?
Watch this space!
2009 was a great growing season!
Hope that you, had a successful seed saving season as well.
What seeds did you save?
As a food security enthusiast, I have an assortment of vegetable, especially heritage variety dry bean and peas, which I obtained through the Powell River 2009 pilot project.
These seeds were purchased from Dan Jason and his excellent West Coast seed company, Saltspring Seeds. Plus I’ll be bringing some other vegetable varieties, herbs and flowers to swap with our seed saving community next week.
Wednesday, Dec. 2 at Vancouver Island University, 7-9 p.m.
A number of people have inquired about the Seed Saving Project and I thought it would be a good idea to provide everyone with what we feel is the basic goals of the Project. We hope that seed savers will venture beyond the Project scope but we are going to keep the Seed Saving Project focused on the basics to try to encourage more seed saving in Powell River.
The Project is focused on raising the quality as well as the quantity of local vegetable seed.
- Develop a list of vegetables for seed saving that are suitable to this region.
- Educate local growers on seed saving techniques.
- Encourage seed saving locally.
- Encourage new and experienced gardeners to save seeds.
- Increase the number of contributors to Seedy Saturday.
- Provide a stable supply of locally produced seeds.
- Raise the quality of locally produced seeds.
- Be open to suggestions about additions to or deletions from the basic list.
- Become self-supporting in providing seeds to new Project members.
- Provide a forum for seed savers to ask questions and offer advice.
Seed list considerations:
- Main groups are: squashes, beans, peas, beets/chard.
- Vegetables that are relatively simple to save seeds from.
- Have a variety of vegetables in each group.
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.
Here’s a list of the vegetable varieties included in our community seed-saving project.
Of course, we encourage people to save seeds of any of their favorite vegetable, flower, herb, tree etc. seeds.
This list was arrived at by knocking a couple of experienced local market gardeners’ heads together last fall. Then running our choices past Dan Jason, experienced seed saver and owner of the Saltspring Seeds.
With our focus on enhancing local food security, we chose vegetable varieties that were both relatively easy to grow and save seed from.
Plenty of beans, peas for inexperienced seed savers to learn how to save seed. And then a number of beets/chard and squash varieties, that it is difficult for an individual seed saver to save more than one variety of each type of vegetable. Per year.
A network of local seed-savers, increases more varieties of vegetables for swapping.
Here’s the list:
1)Beets(Lutz Winterkeeper, Detroit Red, Early Wonder Tall-top)
2)Chard(Rainbow, Rhubarb, Bietina(Italian)
3)Peas(Oregon Sugar Pod/Sugar Pea(edible pod) Green Arrow(fresh shelling) Carlin(dry soup) China(Snow)Sapporo(Japanese Shelling Pea)
4)Beans (Pole(green, wide Celina), Pole Blue Lake), Pole Dry(Neabel), Fava(Andy’s Broad), Dry Bush, (Ireland Creek Annie, Odawa, Jacob;s Cattle,Beka Brown, Kidney-Red/White,Ukraine, Monetezuma Red, Coco) Bush(Honey Wax) and green, (Jade)
Pepo-Table King Acorn, Sweet Dumpling Delicata, Spaghetti,
Maxima-Hokkaida -Buttercup, Baby Blue Hubbard,
Today, the Seed Savers of Powell River sent out a letter of invitation to experienced vegetable growers in the district who have expressed interest in seed saving for the Seed Saving Project 2009. Also a description of the goals of the project as outlined elsewhere on this blog.
The seeds from the selected varieties of peas, beans, beets, chard, squash and pumpkins purchased from Saltspring Seeds, will be divided up, on a first come, first served basis.
Of course, we’d like to encourage everyone to save seeds from far more vegetables then just these variety names, in this small pilot project. What vegetable seeds you select, from what sources,and how your growing season goes over the next year. And any other subjects of interest to food gardeners.
It’s still early to plant much outside, but the warmth in yesterday’s sunshine, got me, feeling spring is on its way!
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.