Mysterious origins, long-forgotten flavors. How will these precious seeds do in my garden?
I’m very excited to be a part of this year’s Member-Grower Evaluation Network held by the Seed Savers Exchange. If you haven’t heard of SSE, they are a wonderful non-profit organization centered around preserving heirloom seeds. Gardeners can browse either the catalog, or purchase a membership and shop and/or participate in their yearbook (where you find the really interesting and rare varieties).
Participation in M-GEN allows me to grow and observe rare seed varieties and report my findings back to SSE. By doing so, I can help others learn about the seeds and how they might do in their particular soil and climate. SSE’s Heritage Farm, where they grow hundreds of varieties of plants each year, is limited to Iowa. I can report back and let them know how the heirloom carrots do in Northern California. I think that’s rather awesome, don’t you?
So what, pray tell, did I receive (gratis) for the 2014 season? Well, participation meant we had our choice between signing up for either a four variety trial or a single variety evaluation. I opted for the four variety trial so I could make comparisons (and enjoy more seeds!). Then we are asked to rank our top 3 choices for crop type; I chose carrots as my number one, but there were also okra, turnips. For the single variety evaluation, peas and squash were also on the list.
I received my first choice; however, according to Tor Janson, the Assistant Curator, some members received their second and third choices to balance the overall numbers and geographic distribution. Read More →