Summer Update In The Garden

We had a bit of a cool start here in Alberta – lots of rain, temperatures that did not seem to want to go up. Usually I plant out the beans at the very beginning of May, but this year even that was delayed by a few weeks.

As I write this now, we’re in the middle of an extreme heat warning issued by the weather service, but mercifully, that should only last a few days. Mostly, the weather has been excellent, especially for the tomatoes, and after planting on Victoria Day long weekend, they shot up and I have many plants now already forming very lovely and healthy looking fruit.

Of course with the cool wet spring, that brought weeds. TONS of weeds, so I’ve been battling the chickweed most of the summer thus far, just trying to keep it under control.

Tomato ‘El Nano’ – July 1, 2017

I’ve had some problems with both my ‘Green Limelight’ and ‘Sunset Runner’ beans germinating – not a single plant came up. I suspected squirrels or magpies at the beginning, but after resowing and then protecting, still nothing came up. Sometimes gardening is like that – very rarely does everything work out exactly like you had planned.

The first tomato to start flowering and setting fruit this year was ‘El Nano’, which surprised me quite a bit. I was fully expecting ‘Silvery Fir Tree’ to be the first. This variety did quite well for me on the west coast, so I was a little unsure as to how it would fair in a drier, hotter, and shorter climate. Turns out my worries were for nothing because it’s doing even better than it did for me before.

Slocan Snow Peas, flowering – July 1, 2017

Slocan Snow Peas are doing quite well for me as well, which isn’t so much a surprise because my mom had grown them in the area before and I knew they had done well for her. Within a week they had shot up, started flowering, and now producing delicious, lovely fresh snap peas (which we’ve already been snacking on). I’ll be sending a healthy amount of these seeds to the Seeds of Diversity seed library. They need a rather large helping to help ensure they’re preserved and quantity is made available to more people, and if past years are any indication, I should have a good amount come harvest time to send them.

Slocan Snow Peas, setting fruit – July 7, 2017

The next few weeks should prove to be very active in the garden – the beans are on the verge of flowering & fruiting and more and more tomatoes are setting fruit. This is the best time in the garden – I don’t have to fear the oncoming frost, but harvest is just around the corner. Stay tuned for more updates coming along in the following weeks.

Also stay tuned for the newest seeds for distribution to be released this year. I’m running a bit late – spring and the beginning of summer proved to be quite busy, but they’re coming soon, and it’ll be announced on the mailing list when that list goes live – you can be the first to know by joining using the form to your left.

2017 Grow Outs Announced

I’m pretty excited about this year’s grow outs. Despite the fact I’ve had to scale back the tomatoes slightly because of some blight worries from last year, I do get the chance to re-grow some of my absolute favourites. I also get to finally try some varieties that have being waiting very patiently for their turn.

And, as always, a big thank you is well deserved for my volunteer growers, who always do a fantastic job!

I’ll be starting all the seeds in the next few weeks here, so there may be some slight changes between now and then, but for the most part the list is correct.

As always, you can view the list as well on its page (which includes what’s being grown out by the volunteers), and on the wiki.

Take a look-see:

Tomatoes

    Altajskij
    Armenian
    Canadian Dwarf
    Charlie’s Green
    Detenicke Salatove
    Dubrava
    El Nano
    Garden Lime
    Gigant Purelesa
    Grosse du Gers (in conjunction with the Dan McMurray Memorial Seed Bank)
    Hardin’s Miniature
    Ispolin
    Italian Winter
    Matina
    Michael Pollan
    Novocserkaszkij
    Polyarnye
    PSB-1
    PSB-3
    PSB-4
    Rita’s Black
    Rose d’Eauze (in conjunction with the Dan McMurray Memorial Seed Bank)
    Saint Pierre
    Silvery Fir Tree
    Thessaloniki
    Tsygan
    Uluru Ochre

Beans

    Broad Windsor
    Mr. Tung’s
    Mrocumière
    Sunset Runner

Other
Peppers:

    Cubanelle
    Czech Black
    Hinkelhatz

Peas:

    Slocan Snow Peas

Lettuce:

    Lettuce ‘Freckles’
    Lettuce ‘Red Sails’

Squash:

    Brode Galeux d’Eysines
    Tatume
    Zucchini ‘Cocozelle’

Other:

    Eggplant ‘Rosa Bianca’
    Huauzontle

Annual Seed Sale Fundraiser Now On!

That’s right, it’s that time of year again – the seed sale fundraiser is now on!

What’s all this about, you ask? Well, once a year after bankable quantities have been safely stowed away for future years, I separate out all the varieties that I have a surplus of. Those seeds then get packaged up and made available to you guys!

Many of the varieties I grow are rare or hard to obtain, and have very little information about them available on the web. Getting them back out to you, the seed savers, is my main goal with this bank, with the hopes that you’ll grow out and then re-share the variety with your friends, family and community. I’ve said it time and time again – seeds with one source available are almost no good to anybody.

Head on over to the Populuxe Seed Bank Etsy Shop and take a look at what’s being offered this year, and if something strikes your fancy, grab them while you can (I had lower quantities available than previous years, so popular varieties are sure to sell out).

All seeds offered are tested for germination as well, so you can be sure you’re not getting bum seed.

What does the fundraiser do?

Your support with purchasing seeds through the annual seed sale is how this seed bank gets almost all of its financial support through the next year. The funds collected primarily going towards acquiring new seeds. Any additional funds go to keeping this website up and running so I can keep that information flowing to anybody who wants to access it.

By purchasing your seeds through the seed bank you’re helping save new varieties that might otherwise be lost, and by re-sharing the varieties you acquire from the bank you’re keeping many varieties on the verge of extinction alive.

So for all of you who purchase seeds through the bank – thank you!

2016 Round Up

Populuxe Seed Bank on CBC

This one is pretty exciting, and I’ve been sitting on the announcement for a few weeks now. I was interviewed by CBC for their latest episode of Ideas! The episode is (as you might expect) all about seed banks.

It’s called Seed Banks: Re-sowing Paradise, and you can take a listen right over here. There are a ton of really interesting people interviewed, and they talk about everything from Svalbard to my little seed bank right here.

Seed Sales

Thank you to all of you who have sent me a message already hoping to purchase some seeds from the bank this year – your excitement is wonderful! They’re not quite ready yet (they’re currently undergoing germination testing), but they’re coming soon!

Expect to hear a formal announcement in January, and as usual they will be sold through the Populuxe Seed Bank etsy store. I will have lower quantities than most years due to the weather this summer, so get them while you can once they are announced. As always, seed sales will be announced on the mailing list first.

Speaking of which…

The Mailing List

I’ve migrated over the mailing list to a new service. If you’ve already signed up, never fear, you’ve been migrated over as well, so there’s no need to re-sign up to receive the quarterly newsletter.

The real reason for the migration is to make it all easier on the back end, and that means more timely emails to all subscribers. As always, you can sign up using the handy form in the side bar to your left if you aren’t already a subscriber.

Members of the newsletter get discounts codes for seeds sold through the annual seed sale, along with special updates and news about the bank. It’s a quarterly newsletter, so your inbox won’t be inundated (I hate that too), and your sign up information is secure and won’t ever be sold.

Current Seed Bank Holdings

The list has been updated! There’ll be another smaller update in late winter/early spring as well, but for now you can check out what’s currently in the seed bank over here.

Last But Not Least…

This time of year is all about sharing, and there’s nothing more to me that harnesses that more than our community of seed savers and sharers all around the world.

So, whatever you do (or don’t) celebrate this time of year, from me to you, I hope you have a happy season with friends, family, and lots of good food!

See you all in 2017, which marks the 10th year anniversary of the Populuxe Seed Bank!

End of Season Update

Oh what a year it’s been for the garden!

It started out pretty rough, the seedlings were weak when transplanted, and I wasn’t sure they would all make it (they did!). Then they all grew so fast, my plots were like tiny little jungles in the middle of the prairie. Then it got hot – and stayed hot, even at night. So when they did finally start producing fruit, a lot of them dropped early on. I actually stopped weighing the harvest as I went along, because I knew the data I was collecting wasn’t indicative of a regular year at all. And, to tell you the truth, the numbers were bumming me out.

So finally the fruit starts ripening (very, very late – late August for the early varieties), and then it started raining. Constantly. So, the blight started with my one ‘Lyana’ plant I had, and then ripped through the whole patch in the blink of an eye.

We even had a little bit later of a killing frost this year, but it didn’t even matter because the plants were practically dead at that point anyway.

So, bit of a rough year.

A few of my varieties I didn’t get any fruit from – too hot, then too rainy and they just gave up (I could commiserate, I felt like doing that at one point too). I did get fruit out of the vast majority before the blight came, but not anywhere near the harvests I normally do.

So, the good news is, there will be seed! The bad news is, not as much to distribute as I normally have in a given year.

I’ll be updating quantities I have, the seed sale will start within the next 1-2 months, and the wiki of course will be getting updated over the period of the next two weeks.

Then it’s onto looking at what needs to be grown next year! Although I think I’ll have to give the soil a bit of a rest and grow mostly non-tomato crops next year (gasp!). I’m such a tomato fiend, I have no idea what that’ll look like.