As I said in my first post I am happy to be led down the garden path by you guys on topics, and Kelli got me thinking about one of my favourites. SEEDS.
I am always in awe and amazement at what a seed contains. It is mind blowing that tiny seeds can hold all the information needed to grow into their full potential whether it be a humble radish (maybe not so humble when you consider this beauty), or a majestic tree.
The diversity and complexity of each seed is nothing short of magical, and as I think about how high my favorite scarlet runner beans will get by late summer, I can easily understand the origins of the story of jack and the beanstalk .
Sow how do we grow our veg here (not a spelling mistake just my sense of humour)?
We grow all our veg from seed and almost always have. The few times we have bought in seedlings we haven't really had any success with them.
I'm not saying you should do this as each gardener or farmer has to find the way of growing that feels comfortable with them. If you want to buy seedlings from the nursery then awesome and if you want to buy seed and then save you're own seed to plant again then awesome to you too. But don't get caught up in which is the best way, or the way you should do it, just do it.
We have tried many different seed companies and I would say that my obsession with diversity follows through to them too. I usually end up ordering seed from at least a few of them, mostly because not one of them has all the seeds I'm after. I also try and buy only Certified Organic seed as it is a requirement of our certification but it also means I am supporting other Organic growers.
One of my favorite seed catalogues would have to be Diggers because of their diversity and their commitment to sourcing heirloom varieties. We have had a lot of success and enjoyment from heirloom varieties. The flavours, vigour, colours and diversity are astounding and something to be cherished.
We have almost always sourced open pollinated seed so that we can save our own seed if we want to.
I just love planting seeds and patting them down and eagerly checking on their progress. Sometimes I just can't wait and I will carefully dig around looking for the seeds and checking for any movement. I shouldn't really disturb them, but I do love seeing the tiny shoots sneaking out of their cases.
Kelli also wanted to know about our "planning and preparation process - such as raising seedlings for transplanting and succession planting.", but I don't think we are as organized as we could be and rather than me give you a how to I would like to suggest to you some wonderful resources that we have used through the years.
Joyce Wilkie & Michael Plane from Allsun Farm are farmers that I have long respected and followed. I have been long a long time customer of their great garden-farm supply company and purchased their CD-ROM very early on in our farm adventure. It is an invaluable resource and I am always amazed when I suggest it to people and they haven't heard of it. I remember sitting on our porch surrounded by our first garlic harvest with the printed out pages from the CD-ROM learning how to make beautiful plaits.
Steve Solomon is a man who knows a lot about seeds. His book Growing Vegetables South Of Australia has been one of those books I refer to all the time. It is about growing in Tasmania and our climate here is pretty similar, but there is so much other useful info in there it would be worthwhile wherever you are. He also started an online Soil and Health Library that has hundreds of great free ebooks, most of which are out of print and public domain.
Well I think that's enough from me now.
Please keep commenting and asking as you see I do take your suggestions on board and a quick reminder that I have been replying to a lot of your comments, so flick back and check.