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Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Getting seeds for the new growing season
The best way to get seeds for the new growing season is to save them. Only open pollinated seeds can be saved. The second best is to buy heirloom, open pollinated, naturally, or organically grown seeds from local growers or seed companies - or from a seed company that is in an environment similar to yours. Open pollinated seeds are the best - those are seeds from plants that can reproduce.
What seeds to choose
Before getting any seeds you have to know your frost free days. Here is a link for Canada and USA. In our region it is 106, which means that all my seeds, no matter where I get them from, should have less than 106 days to maturity to be able to mature and bear fruit here. If it is a continuous fruit bearing plant like tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, etc., the days to maturity should be at least 30 (better if it's more) days less than the frost free days. That would allow the plant to produce for about a month. I usually try to stay between 50-70 days. If it is a one time harvesting plant like carrots or beets, the days to maturity can be the same as the frost free days.
By choosing what to grow, think of what you like to eat. Don't grow a whole row of rutabaga (like I have done), if you only want to eat three of them.
Where to get seeds
I have both ordered seeds from a catalog or online, and bought seeds locally at a Seedy Saturday/Sunday event or a store. The advantage of a catalog / online is that I can take the time to see what is available, compare varieties, and decide what we really want. Getting seeds locally can be advantageous in price especially if using special sales, and there are no shipping costs. Whether you choose a store or catalog, find out first if the seeds they offer are GMO-free. A catalog usually says that right in the beginning. If a catalog or store is not saying anything about it, chances are that it is not sure and it's better to stay away from them.
Here are a few Non-GMO open pollinated Canadian seed companies suited for a northern climate (I am constantly adding more as I hear about them, so if you know of a great seeds source, let me know):
Caseys heirloom tomatoes in Albert
Harmonic herbs in Alberta
Seed potatoes in Alberta
A'bunadh seeds in Alberta
Prairie Garden Seeds in Saskatchewan
Heritageharvestseed in Manitoba
Soggycreek in Ontario
Saltspringseeds in British Columbia
Westcoastseeds in British Columbia
Seeds of diversity, a great place to find open pollinated seeds. There are Seedy Saturday/Sunday events offered in different locations worldwide.
Posted by Anna