Haliburton County Seed Library Will Benefit New and Experienced Gardeners

Haliburton in Transition (HINT) and Harvest Haliburton have partnered with the Haliburton County Public Library to bring a seed lending library to the residents of Haliburton County. At the seed library, patrons can check out seeds for free. They then grow the fruits and vegetables, harvest the new seeds, and “return” some of those seeds so the library can lend them out to others.

seed library pic 2 “There’s an avid and growing community of growers in the county and the logical next step for those people is to learn to save seeds and pool their knowledge for the benefit of all growers in the county. We want to develop a seed stock suited to our soils and climate and we want to be certain we’ll have an inventory of seeds suited to our scale of growing,” says Langdon. Proprietary hybrids and genetically modified seed tailored to industrial agriculture dominate the industry to the detriment of heirloom seeds. For centuries people saved their own seed and we’ve got to learn the simple rules of how it’s done and do it again,” says Langdon.

“We were intrigued by this project – the free service and the community collaboration aspects fall within our purview, says Sue Robinson, staff member responsible for community partnerships at the HCPL. She adds, “A quick internet search revealed a number of seed libraries in Canada and the U.S. After speaking with our counterparts at the Grimsby Public Library who run a successful project there, we needed no more convincing to come on board.”

seed library pic 1There’s an educational component to the project as well. Three workshops are planned for July and August. The first workshop on Thurs. July 25th at 6 pm will discuss how to save the ‘easy’ seeds such as herb and flower seeds that are ripening now. The 2nd workshop on Monday, Aug. 12 at 6pm will discuss the three ways to save tomato seeds. The 3rd workshop on Wednesday, Aug. 28 at 6pm will consider how to save ‘difficult’ seeds such as squash and cucumber. Community strategies of growing and sharing the harvest to maintain the purity of seed will also be discussed at this advanced workshop. All events will take place at the Haliburton Branch of the Haliburton County Public Library.

Experienced seed savers in the county are encouraged to contact the organizers and offer their help in developing a community of learners and seed savers. Anyone with seeds to donate is also encouraged to drop them off at the library. Anje Hilker has already donated some seed including the locally famous Citron Melon seeds that were grown decades ago in Stanhope. They were found in an old tin in a farm building.

For more information, contact:

Sue Robinson, Community Partnerships & Administration, Haliburton County Public Library

Phone: 705 457 2241; Email: srobinson@haliburtonlibrary.ca

Carolyn Langdon, Haliburton in Transition (HINT)

Phone: 705 286-3966; Email: windfallfoodforest@gmail.com

2013 Haliburton County Farmers’ Market Vendor Application

The Haliburton County Farmers’ Market is seeking vendors and new products/services that fit in the market’s model.

We’re seeking vendors who provide local fruits and vegetables, meat, as well as produce from home gardeners too!

The market is a one-stop shopping experience offering quality local & regional foods, other agricultural products, as well work from a few local Haliburton artisans offering one-of-a-kind items.

Haliburton County Farmers' Market Vendors – Market Vendor Application

Market Rules & Regulations

Interested in becoming a vendor at the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market? Please review the Market Rules, then download and submit a Vendor Application from links provided.

Completed and signed vendor applications are due by March 15th, 2013

Please mail to: Elaine Repath, Market Manager, 2344 Duck Lake Rd., Minden, ON K0M 2K0

Questions?! Please contact:

Angel Taylor: 705-286-4877  ~(or)~ Elaine Repath, Market Manager: 705.457.0991

Email: incredibleHCFMA [at] gmail [dot] com

Learn to Save Seeds – Join Us at the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market

When plants are allowed to reproduce naturally, they develop the ability to adapt to their local conditions which means they’re a reliable crop to grow year after year. Unfortunately, corporate agriculture relies on hybridized, and in many cases, genetically modified, or gmo plants.

This type of monoculture is bred for traveling long distances and not for their taste, and even worse, what they produce are more than likely swathed in poisonous chemicals.

A growing number of informed consumers are realizing that this negates the natural evolutionary process and is depleting the world’s biodiversity.
Thousands of vegetable and flower varieties have already been lost, some say as much as 80%, due to this reliance on commercial hybrid seeds that are eroding the gene pool, resulting in less hardy, more vulnerable plants.

We’ve all heard about the potato famine in Ireland. We should learn from this historical mistake they made of only growing one type of crop and be very careful to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself in the present time or the future.

If you raise and save your seeds, you are producing seed from and for your garden. By personal and careful selection anyone can produce plants best suited to their climate and gardening conditions.
By growing heirloom vegetables, ones that are adaptable to local conditions, the benefits are many. Many characteristics include better flavour, no chemicals, and they become pest and disease resistance, and many can be enhanced by careful selection over a period of years.

Seeds saved from open pollinated plants are the only kind that will produce again true to type. This means they will reproduce exactly the same as their parent plant the following year. Some do require space between one another, melons are a good example of this because they can be cross pollinated if two similar varieties are planted too close together, meaning next year, those seeds may turn into something completely different than what one expected!

Tomatoes are the exception. If you avoid hybrid varieties you’ll be able to grow the same tomato from seed saved from each plant next year, even if different varieties were grown close together.

Pepper and eggplant flowers can be cross-pollinated by insects, so different varieties of these have to be separated in the garden by about 500-feet to retain the purity of those seeds.

Saving tomato seeds take a little more time. Harvest nicely ripe tomatoes from several different vines of the same variety, cut each across the middle and gently squeeze the juice and seeds into a bowl. You will note that each tomato seed is encased in a gelatinous coating. (this prevents the seed from sprouting inside the tomato.) Remove this coating by fermenting it. This mimics the natural rotting of the fruit and has the added bonus of killing seed borne tomato disease.

Join us at the Haliburton County Farmers’ Market this week as we learn all about saving seeds.
We’re thrilled to have Kaarina Blackie at the market. She’ll be demonstrating how to save seeds from heirloom vegetables, discussing the difference between heirloom and hybrid, and encouraging the use of heirloom seeds in your garden!

Kaarina’s focus is mainly on heirloom tomatoes. This year she grew 54 different varieties! Much of her demo focuses on tomato seeds but she’ll discuss many other varieties as well. She will also have some seeds on hand that are already fermenting and will explain the best drying and storage methods to maintain the good health and viability of the seeds.

Look for Kaarina to share info about the many other easy vegetable varieties to propagate such as: squashes, zucchinis, cucumbers, melons, watermelons, peppers, beans, lettuces, rapini, amaranth and radishes.
Kaarina will offer some free heirloom tomato seeds to those who are interested, as well as the many books and photographs she had to help people decide which tomatoes they would like to grow.
Come early and learn the basics of seed saving, and why it’s a beneficial gardening activity on so many levels.

For more information, consider a visit to these links:
Seeds of Diversity (Canada)
Vegetable Seed Saving Handbook
Seed Savers (USA)