Finally, we have managed to update! Find below our yearly gardening update.
Wishing you all the best this growing season!
We are even later than usual in getting our catalogue out this year. There are so many changes going on for us and it is hard to figure out how to navigate the move Rachelle has made personally, and will be making with Prairie Garden Seeds, back to the farm 3 hours (one way) away from where Jim lives and from where our operation is currently located in terms of seed storage and packaging. Please bear with us over the next few years as we do our best with this transition. We hope to do it without too many hiccups but inevitably there will be many and we ask for your patience! One job we will remove for next year is doing a new print catalogue so we plan to have this catalogue represent our collection for the next two years. We may print a one-page sheet as an “update” and we will definitely update our website. Changes for next year may include an address change and price changes on seed packets and shipping rates.
The drought we faced at the beginning of the growing season is really teaching Rachelle the importance of getting the early seeding crops in as early as possible! In a year like 2016, when we didn’t have rain until mid-June, it’s really important to take advantage of the spring moisture. For example, we really noticed the lack of germination in dry ground for peas and carrots. The rest of the season went well with excellent tomato and melon production. The grain seed production on the farm is rewarding with often healthy robust looking samples of seed, and the beauty that the patches of diverse grains add in the garden is lovely.
We had a fairly long fall here (after the initial entrance and exit made by winter) which made for extended harvesting time which Rachelle found exceedingly helpful given this is only her second year managing her own garden areas at the farm. When you are growing so many varieties and so many different crops there is a lot to keep track of and there are always a few things that get missed or for which there just isn’t enough time to do before winter really sets in. As we invite more people to be involved with our seed growing at the farm, we hope to have more people present with various gifts, to contribute to the maintenance, documentation, and distribution of this seed collection.
As Rachelle, and her partner Russell, get more settled on the farm, big projects come together, like this fall when their solar power installation was completed. There is now electricity in the house on the farm once again, this time from the sun! Many more projects to come…
There are a number of seed producers and plant breeders we really like and support, some of whose seed we offer in our catalogue (indicated in the listing). We are working on the resources area on our website in order to have a better list for you to easily browse and navigate. There are so many dedicated seed savers out there who are all a part of the intricate network of people and communities working to grow our seed resiliency, and we are so happy to be a part of these efforts here in Saskatchewan.
We continue to garden without agricultural chemicals and always will! A number of friends and relatives, and small growers, are providing us with some seed, and we are always ready to talk to new growers. All of our seeds are open-pollinated and none of the seeds are treated, but some items have been sourced from commercial suppliers which means they may have been grown using agricultural chemicals. We have indicated this by placing a (C) (for commercial seed) after the variety name.
With family and friends as neighbours, Rachelle’s transition to the farm continued last year in April when her partner Russell also joined her there. Rachelle and Russell are living there this winter as planned as they managed to get solar power and winter heat figured out in time. The operation of our Prairie Garden Seeds winter work is still based in Humboldt but we are planning to move everything to the farm as soon as possible (maybe in time for next year’s selling season…yikes that seems stressful but we will see!).
Thanks to my (Rachelle’s) amazing partner Russell and our wonderful neighbours out at the farm (Judy, Tom, Johnny, Betty, Janice, Shawn, Christopher, Rowan, Robin, and all the animals!) who are an immense support in many ways, not the least of which is simply being good company!
All the best to you in the 2017 growing season!
Looking forward to serving you,
Rachelle and Jim