Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The seed company less well travelled

I have just seeded some unusual plants from Yuko's Open-Pollinated Seeds: manchurian plum and nanking cherry. She also has lots of other interesting varieties that she saves from her garden and sells at reasonable prices including Mitsuba (perennial japanese 'parsley') and a variety of ground cherry that amicably sows itself around her garden. This company especially interests me because it is local so I know the plants are adapted for this climate (if not my particular garden conditions).

I also visited (and promptly bought seeds) from Solana Seeds who have recently translated their webpage into English. Stunned by the number of plants including Piel de Sapo melon (a keeper melon), Red okra and more solanum berries than you can shake a stick at, I decided to try more french websites and bumped into La Societe des Plantes who made me swoon by selling turnip rooted chevril (I was beginning to think this veggie was a myth) and skirret (perennial 'carrot' relative) seeds. Both these Quebec companies also sold scozonera (another potentially perennial veggie I'm trialing here) which I could not easily find in NA prompting a kind European blogger to send me some seed from over there (I'm not linking him only because I don't want people to think of him as a courier ;-).

One final company that I quite like is Wild Garden Seeds as they genetically mixed seed packs so you can do your own selection for a variety suited to your microclimate.

Thought I'd bring these smaller seed company to the attention of locals and perhaps even those further abroad.


Anonymous said...

I think you will love Nankin cherries. I am in Rockland, close to you, and I once planted a hedge of Nanking instead of cedar. You can cut and sculp that small tree/bush as you wish, it is also salt resistant if you plant it close to the road.And boy is it productive and delicious. La SOCIÉTÉ DES PLANTES and SOLANA are 2 very good small companies. Patrice Fortier, the owner of La Société des Plantes, will be in the Ottawa region ( my place) before the end of the month. Part of the ''menu'' during his visit will be to evaluate roughly 175 new clones of potatoes grown from true seeds, 7 of them from Russian seed material but all the rest from the 50 years of breeding by Tom Wagner, father of Green Zebra and many other great new ''heirloom style''tomatoes. Tom is not only the greatest tomato breeder in the world, his potato work is even more impressive. His material is incredibly disease resistant,it took many frosts to kill most of the cultivars, actually some were still up after 6 frosts and flowering... so since I feel alone as a plant explorer and breeder in my neck of the woods, why not invite you to meet Patrice and see all that new and incredibly valuable material. I also have thousands of true seeds from Tom's material, sharing some would not hurt... I will also take advantage of Patrice's kowledge to seed a couple of thousands turnip rooted chervil and probably skirret too.

If you have time, drop by Homegrown Goodness Forum and check it out. It is slowly becoming a place where plant explorers from around the world are gathering, almost everybody is very experienced at breeding. I also am trialing hundreds of melons for the north and have a melon breeding thing on the go. Hundreds of cultivars, most unnamed and from mountain areas of semi-desertic places, meaning cold nights, are to be studied along old cultivars that faded over time, we already have made a couple of great discoveries that I am very eager to share. The invitation stands for any amateur breeder here. You can reach me at http://alanbishop.proboards60.com/index.cgi
I go under the nickname canadamike

Michel Lachaume

Ottawa Gardener said...

Thanks for the invite. I headed right over to homegrown goodness and it seems like you are growing quite the community.

kate smudges said...

It's good to know about small seed companies ... thanks for the info. Next spring, I'm planning more veggies if I get the plot I've signed up for.

I hope you don't have any frost!!

Ottawa Gardener said...

The big five letter F word has already descended upon us but it was overdue.

Leigh said...

I'm in northern Vermont, and I'm thrilled to hear about some Quebec seed companies.
Piel de Sapo melon is excellent - I have been trialling melons for years here on the border of USDA zone 3-4, no greenhouse, and PdS is the best performer and best flavored I've tried. By the time non-keeping melons are ready to ripen here, it's so cool they just don't develop sugars very well. Piel de Sapo is prolific, good sized fruits, sweet and aromatic.

O.I.M said...

and i thought i was adventurous for trying swiss chard. sounds like you are growing some really cool stuff. thanks for the info on the seed companies.

Ottawa Gardener said...

That's good to hear Leigh. I am excited about growing it.

Barbarapc said...

Thanks for the information on the seed companies. Fun blog! I grow mostly flowers - start about 70 different things each year, & some heirloom veggies - just in case you haven't seen their catalogue, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a real trip : http://rareseeds.com/seeds/