So the glossy color seed catalogs are arriving, lists are being made, dreams are being dreamed…who needs Christmas? Every January I go through my seed stock and take inventory, and make a list of seeds I need to purchase for the upcoming year. This year I am trying to write up a garden plan for a 1/2 acre, just in case we do land the farm (still waiting there, I promise I will update as soon as I hear something positive! Local governments do not move quickly). In my poking around I did find this useful blog post regarding varieties that are owned by Monsanto and Seminis….and the seed companies that may or may not sell them. Apparently one of big Ag’s goals is to own the patents on
ALL vegetable varieties sold. It is so Big Brothery it is almost surreal, and more than a little frightening. I know F1’s are reliable and consistent but the more I learn about the seed industry the more I find myself turning to the older, weirder open pollinated varieties. And breeding locally adapted seed of course makes just as much sense as breeding locally adapted honeybees or other livestock. We will see how it all shakes out once I am growing for a living and not just for pleasure. My revelation of 2012? I was able to grow fabulous, scrumptious, 2 foot long parsnips in my raised beds. I am the person with a clay brick for a back yard….this is epic. The variety I am most excited to try in 2013? Beaver Dam pepper.
I have a spread sheet that I update every year, and having that history over time I have found to be extremely valuable. I know which varieties produce consistently in my garden, and more importantly, am finding out which seed companies I like best. Top of the list right now? Adaptive Seeds. They have a lot of regionally adapted varieties and some very unique things I haven’t been able to find anywhere else, like Sweet Magnolia snap peas (they are a glorious purple, the flowers are beautiful, and hardier and more productive than Super Sugar Snaps), and the 24 inch parsnips.