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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?
BUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

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!

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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.

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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.

While I was in the UK I picked up some seeds (Mum and I shared some packets).

These two I plan to save seed from:

broad beans: “Masterpiece Green Longpod ”
Extra long 12″ pods, excellent for freezing, sow feb-Apr, so it may not overwinter. I’ll try some in fall 2009 though.

Shelling peas: “Meteor” bush pea 18″ high, the shortest I could find. Overwinters from an Oct-Nov sowing, or sow in March.

The following are brassicas and I don’t plan to save seed, but they are OP and I can give away a small packet to anyone interested:

Sprouting Broccoli “extra early sprouting Rudolph”
Overwinters from a Apr-Jun sowing to start harvesting January onwards – good flavoured purple spears.

Sprouting Broccoli “White Sprouting”
Overwinters from a Apr-May sowing to harvest Mar-Apr – white spears.

Sprouting Broccoli “Purple Sprouting”
Overwinters from a Apr-May sowing to harvest Mar-Apr – purple spears.

Brussels Sprouts “Bedford Winter Harvest”
Sow Mar-Apr for Nov-Feb harvest. Reliable, long season, winter-hardy.

Obviously these are not part of the “project” but fun anyway 🙂

Kevin