It finally feels like summer's here, and everyone we know is out planting their gardens.
But when you're done planting, check out the Great Canadian Giving Challenge! Throughout the month of June, every dollar you donate to Seeds of Diversity through CanadaHelps.org qualifies us in a donation contest to win $10,000. Get all the details at www.givingchallenge.ca.
Whether we win the contest or not, every dollar you donate is also a big help to organize seed savers in Canada's biggest heritage seed saving network. This year, we have volunteers growing over 100 varieties of heritage seeds to preserve them in our Canadian Seed Library. Next year, we want to expand that to 200, and your donations will make it possible!
This year we posted 142 Seedy Saturdays, Seedy Sundays and even Seed Wednesdays in our event list at seeds.ca/events. That's a new record, growing each and every year (we had only 30 events back in 2000). These fun, community-based events take place from January to May, with the bulk of them happening in February and March.
There were also seed exchanges that took place at the launch of seed libraries across the country, and many more seed exchanges at regular meetings of gardening associations.
Seedy Saturdays can be big or small, with many displays and vendors or none at all, but the one thing they all have in common is the seed exchange, the raison d’etre of each day. Other activities have included lunches, kids’ games, workshops and speakers, and one even had a pot luck!
Have you ever tried to grow a row of sweet corn in your garden only to be disappointed by poor results? I don't mean squirrels, raccoons, or insects eating your corn when it's almost ripe. I mean ears that are missing so many kernels they look like an old hockey player's teeth from the 70's.
The reason why kernels sometimes go missing from an ear of corn is that those kernels weren't pollinated. Imagine husking an ear of fresh sweet corn, ready to go in a pot of boiling water. You know those sticky threads that run inside? They're called silks, and there's one attached to each and every kernel. When corn pollinates in the field, a grain of pollen has to land on the end of each silk, and grow its way down to the kernel, which it will fertilize to make a seed. If a silk doesn't get a grain of pollen, then its kernel won't turn into a seed, and you'll see an empty spot where it should have been.
Each fall, usually with the help of a summer student and occasionally some volunteers, Seeds of Diversity plants 24 cloves of each of the 100+ varieties of garlic in our garlic collection. Garlic is planted in the fall, and must be overwintered through a process called vernalization before it begins to grow in the spring. Harsh weather can affect how many cloves make it through the winter, but a thick layer of mulch can help insulate and protect the garlic, though it cannot completely prevent damage to the cloves in very cold and long winters.
Are you interested in supporting bee health on your farm? Or know someone who may be? If so, you may be interested in Bee Friendly Farming. BFF is a program that provides guidelines for farmers and landowners who are interested in promoting pollinator health on their land. Any landowner or farmer in Canada and the US can participate, and certified farmers can use the BFF logo to tell others that they are using safe practices that conserve and encourage pollinators. BFF promotes the health of both honeybees and native pollinators.
An annual membership to Seeds of Diversity includes our quarterly magazine and our annual seed directory.
Moncton Seed Library Launch
Saturday May 28, 2016
Moncton Public Library
Meaford Seedy Sunday
Sunday May 29, 2016
Webinars From ACORN
Great! You've Planted your Seed Crops... Now What?
Monday May 30, 2016 1 to 2:30 Atlantic
BEGINNER LEVEL SEED SAVING WEBINAR SERIES
May 31 and June 1. 2016 7 to 8:15 pm Atlantic
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