Growth Notes: August 1st, 2011

I’m quite pleased with how the garden is shaping up this year. Despite the fact it was a barren wasteland of morning glory, ivy, oregon grape, and other sundry weeds and annoyances when we first moved in. The weather has been cool here, and rainy, and to my shock and awe, plants have not succumbed to blight or any other various diseases, *knocks on wood*. There’s a bit of a problem with powdery mildew on some of the bee balm and columbine, but even the squash only have minimal tellings of it. Things are going pretty damned well, and I thank the excellent natural soil of the area, and a bit of hard work to keep it all going.

Now, for a few updates!

Tomato 'AP2'

  • Tomato ‘AP2’ – This plant is a sprawler, sending large, huge vines everywhere. Next year I’m going to make a point of caging this one rather than trying to stake it. Fruit is currently taking on a rather heavily pleated shape (love it!), so a grow-out next year with the actual ‘Americke Pyramidni’ will let me know if that fruit is heavily pleated as well (according to PGRC fruit shape is “oblate” and fruit smoothness is “rough”). Tons of flowers, some blossom drop but this might be more due to the weather than the actual tendencies of the plant (as several other varieties are also dropping buds). Can’t wait to see how these fruit mature.
  • Pole Beans 'Irish Conners'

  • Pole Beans ‘Irish Conners’ – doing a lot better here than when I tried to grow them in Nelson. Vines are about 6ft tall currently, immature pods are flattish and medium sized and taste very sweet. Flowers are white, with 4 flowers per shoot. Most set with no problem, but there are a few dropping. Once again, might be due more to the weather than actual growth.
  • Pole Beans 'Oma's'

  • Pole Beans ‘Oma’s’ – Very strong grower, vines are currently between 7-8ft and seem to grow several inches over night! White flowers, immature pods are rounder and fatter than Irish Conners, and currently seem to grow longer.
  • Beans - Poltschka X (Unknown)

  • Beans ‘Poltschka X’ – Very, very slow growing (once again, possibly due to weather, although all the other beans have outpaced these). While the other beans started flowering weeks ago, I just saw the first blooms open up on these yesterday. Flowers are white.
  • All the tomatoes have had at least some flowers isolated now, and are growing fruit. I had some problems with a few, most notably ‘Coracao di Boi’ and ‘Antonovka’ with blossom drop. Once again, hard to tell if this is weather related or not, but since it’s been warming up and days haven’t been so cool, both are setting fruit much more easily.

    Site update!
    I thought it was high-time to start producing a quarterly newsletter. In it we’ll have updates on the bank, new additions, and special projects and plans. There’ll also be things that are announced there first (like looking for growers for instance!), as well as highlights and features on varieties in the bank. I’m even hoping to feature one family heirloom per newsletter with stories, historical info, growth info, etc. Imagine it like a mini magazine that finds its way to your inbox!

    Of course all information will be kept strictly private, I’m not even using a third-party service to keep the email addresses, they’ll be stored with me, and I will never release them.

    The first issue will be in October of this year – and yes I would love to feature your family heirloom! If you have one, please use the contact link located in the side bar to get a hold of me.

    Want to sign up? Here’s the form (all fields required):

    Your Email:

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    I’m excited about the first issue, which is already being worked on as I type this.

    Stay tuned for more growth notes from the gardens coming this week.

    Current Seed Bank Holdings

    One of the things I love most about having everything all in a database now (a migration which took a ridiculous amount of time, but thankfully something I did before the seed bank got as big as it is), is that I can draw up these super handy little reports easy as pie.

    So, as of May 8th, 2011 – I’ve created a handy little report of anybody who’s interested to peruse. It lists everything that is currently held in the bank, contains its name, variety, historical, and growth information.

    If you’d like to view it, you can open it as a .pdf here.

    You’ll notice I do have a few blank spaces, noticeably in the historical info of some varieties. If you have any information to share, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    A Few Updates

    Oh, there’s lots going on here at the seed bank, even though it’s been a little quiet on the old blog here. Above is a photo of some of the seedlings that are being grown out this year. Here’s a few things that have been happening:

  • Lindsay of Lost & Fawned did a fun interview with me about the seed bank. You can read that on her website here, and even get a taste of a few things I have planned for the future
  • Lots of garden building! As our new home came as a total blank slate, there has been lots of digging up lawn and rebuilding of old gardens that previous residents had just let go to pot.
  • Lots of new additions have come in from wonderful people who have donated their seeds to the bank. It all makes me wish I had much, much more space than I do. There’s at least 20 new varieties of various plants that I’ll be adding to the database, and updating the seeds in the bank page to reflect those new additions (which I will post a separate update about when they are finally added!). Interested in making a contribution to the bank yourself? You can do so via the brand new fancy address we have:
    The Populuxe Seed Bank
    Suite 175
    110-174 Wilson St
    Victoria, BC
    V9A 7N7
    Canada
  • Last but not least, there are still some varieties available for distribution! You can get more information on how to request seeds on the Current Seeds for Distribution page.
  • The Seed Tip of the Week will also be resuming next Sunday, stay tuned!

    Until next time…

    Current Seeds for Distribution: Now Updated!

    The page listing what seeds the seed bank has for distribution is all updated and waiting for your requests! We have a stack of seeds just waiting to find new homes and new gardeners who will grow, save, and distribute these themselves!

    Click here to go to the page to peruse the list of what is up for offer.

    The only thing different about this year vs. last is that I am requesting a small amount of money to offset shipping costs, so while I wouldn’t think of charging a dime for the seeds, unfortunately Canada Post keeps hiking their rates each year!

    If you have any questions about the seeds, growing them, saving them, or even requesting them, don’t hesitate to leave a comment here on this post, or head on over to the contact page and send a private email that way.

    The season is quickly approaching, let’s get growing!

    Here We Are

    It’s been about two weeks now since the big move, and here we are, still settling in! The seeds are in their new home, and my lovely volunteer back at the old garden is working his fingers to the bone, I’m sure, saving all the seeds from the plants I left behind.

    I know a lot of you are anxious to request some seeds, they’ll be ready shortly, and I’ll make a big announcement here!

    Please be sure to check out the updated Slocan Snow Peas page. It has new photos and growth notes from 2010 on this fantastic variety that has made its home in the Kootenays, but has origins in Japan.

    Until I get my list all updated of what’s available for distribution, please keep checking back regularly!