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July 2017

How's the Weather?

It's summertime, and we hope you're having a good gardening season!

Sometimes when people "talk about the weather" it's because they have nothing else to say, but when gardeners talk about the weather they really mean it. And there sure is a lot to talk about. Some of our members' gardens are flooded, while others' are threatened by drought. In a lot of cases, it was the opposite last year, so the real problem is that it's getting harder to predict the weather, and the extremes are becoming normal.

That's why seed saving is so important: biodiversity is our best defense against uncertainty. So if you're saving seeds, you're doing something about climate change (keep it up, and thanks)!

Read about how our members are saving rare seeds in their own back yards, and how we support the efforts of seed savers all across Canada.

Here's wishing you a good summer, and if you're one of those whose garden has too much water, or not enough, we're thinking of you.


Seed Savers Growing for the Seed Library

Every year, your Member Seed Directory lists all the seeds that our members grow and offer to other members. It's the most popular, and most economical, way for thousands of heritage garden varieties to be circulated from gardener to gardener.

Even though our members do their best to keep all those rare varieties available, there is always the chance that some seeds will fall through the cracks, so we collect the most endangered varieties and store them in our Seed Library for safe-keeping. Whenever those varieties aren't available from other sources, we'll be there to provide them to seed savers again.


How to Select Better Lettuce Seeds

Are you saving lettuce seeds this year? Maybe you're growing lettuce and wondering about saving some seeds? It isn't too late, and this is the perfect time to make some "selections" to make your seed the best it can be.

Lettuce is among the easiest vegetables for saving seeds, because it's an annual and it mainly self-pollinates. That means it produces flowers and seeds in one summer, and insects don't tend to carry pollen between flowers, so your saved seeds won't be crossed with nearby varieties.


A Better Way to Stake Tomatoes

When I started gardening I read a book that told me to stake my tomatoes with posts stuck in the ground. It wanted me to put four posts around every plant, and train a single branch onto each post. That was a lot of wooden posts, a lot of work, and I lost count of the branches. I don't know the name of that book anymore because I tossed it out.

There's a much better way, and it works for lots of commercial growers who don't have time for fussy tomato stakes but need high quality tomatoes. It's often called the "Florida weave" system, but it's also been called the "Basket weave" or "Cat's cradle" because you literally weave your tomato plants into place to hold them up.


The Wool-Carder Bee

The other day I was out for a walk in our neighbourhood, and came across a patch of the silver-green fuzzy plant commonly called Lamb's Ears (Stachys byzantina). I noticed a large insect darting around the patch in a relatively regular pattern, and stopped to watch. It turns out I had spotted a male wool-carder bee (Anthidium manicatum).


In this issue

Seed Savers Growing for the Seed Library

How to Select Better Lettuce Seeds

A Better Way to Stake Tomatoes

The Wool-Carder Bee

Not yet a member?

An annual membership to Seeds of Diversity includes our quarterly magazine and our annual seed directory.


Biennial Seed Production in Market Gardens
Monday August 14, 2017, 9:30 to 12:00
Small Spade Farm
Stirling, ON

Integrating Seed Production into Market Gardens
Monday August 14, 2017, 1:30 to 4:30
Chick-a-biddy Acres
Hastings, ON

Quality Biennial Seed Production with John Navazio
Monday August 14, 2017
Granville Ferry, NS
Tuesday August 15, 2017
Cochrane Family Farm, Upper Stewiacke, NS

Field Day: On-Farm Plant Breeding: Developing New Varieties in your Market Garden
Wednesday August 16, 2017          1 to 4
Whole Circle Farm
Acton ON

Field Day: Selecting & Improving Seed Crops for the Market Garden
Thursday August 17, 2017, 1 to 4
Common Ground Farm
St. Thomas - West, ON

Vegetable Breeding Workshop
Tuesday August 22, 2017, 10 to 12:30
Aster Lane Edibles
Arnprior, ON

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