Sharing information about growing and saving seeds is a natural part of being a seed producer. We always welcome new opportunities to learn from others doing good work around growing, breeding, selecting, and improving seeds. Likewise we teach others about seed growing practices from our personal experience and the accumulated knowledge of many years of growing seeds for our own operation.
This year we're part of a national seed mentorship program organized by the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Sovereignty (BFICSS). We're mentoring local organic farmer Michael Silver of Earth Temple Gardens in Argenta, as he tries his hand at a number of different seed crops on his farm. At the same time, we are linked via the internet with a group of other mentor/mentee farmers across the province who are also teaching and learning about seed production practices. We all help each other with questions and ideas about the seed crops we will be growing in 2016.
I've known Michael for a number of years now and he's a natural at producing market crops, and already has a little seed saving experience. I've seen him grow fava and leek seeds in the past couple of years. This season he is expanding his practice and planning to save seed of pole beans, tomatoes, lettuce and rutabaga. I visited his fields this past week and we had a great discussion about his plans as we checked out his crops and his setup. We came up with some suggestions for contingencies in case the rutabagas (a biennial, and trickier to grow) didn't work out.
Here at Kootenay Joe Farm our own seed crops are in the midst of being seeded or transplanted and slowly our seed field is filling up. Our brassica greens like tatsoi, mustard and arugula are sizing up, herbs are slowly pushing out of the ground, beans are seeded and lettuces are moving out of the greenhouse and into the field. We'll post some pictures once things are a little more established. Until then, get out there and make sure your own gardens are getting off to a good start. Spring is early, let's make the most of it!