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Saving Seeds

We have been saving seeds in some fashion since we started farming. Mostly flowers and herb seeds. Calendula, Bachelor buttons, Johnny jump ups, as well as herbs like sage and oregano. One day, my mentor, Marjon, of the past On Line Farms, gave me some Mizuna seeds. They were a variety that I would have worked with when I worked for them in 2002. Tokyo Beau was the name of the hybrid variety of Mizuna, and shortly after 2002, it was discontinued. No longer available. This can happen with hybrid seeds. On Line Farm really liked this variety and decided to save seeds and start a breeding process to stabilize the seed for open pollinated production. I have been tending these seeds for 8 years, and sometimes it feels like I am fumbling along trying to preserve them. Mizuna, being a brassica, can cross with lots of other crops. This has been a great learning opportunity and I’m happy to say, that the seed is still going strong.

I have been also saving Pepper seeds, for just over 10 years, and have mostly been interested in varieties of Paprika. These you may have seen as plant starts in our mini garden center. I call them Clever Crow red and chocolate paprika. I purchased the original seed from Saltspring Seed Co. and other companies at a Seedy Saturday event. I saved the seeds and they got all mixed up. When we moved to this farm, I grew them out again and separated out the two distinct varieties. The original names have been lost, but the plants are strong and produce well, and make the most amazing “smoked paprika”. This year we have expanded the peppers we saved seeds from. We have also purchased quite a few OP varieties from Seedy Saturdays, and online, from a coastal seed saver. With what we have learned, we will keep them isolated so we don’t get any crosses. We also saved some onions from last year to grow out for seed this year, the Alisa Craig, a very large, open pollinated variety, grown from organic seed. They are just starting to bloom now. Next year we are looking forward to growing out some shallots for seed too. This will be the beginning of a rotation of onions and shallots for seed for the farm. This is a large commitment, as growing vegetables for seed requires more time and space than just for vegetables. We will continue to support local seed growers too, especially from our friends at Good Earth Farm, here in Black Creek, BC.

The Foo Foo