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Winter Update

February 4, 2011

An early January foggy afternoon

Early January was a good time to work inside, with  lots of cold, foggy days. Sometimes, on Sauvie Island, the fog does not burn off until mid-afternoon. The first week was devoted to technology. I have wanted to be able to sync my phone with my e-mail for sometime. The prospect of typing all my customer contact information into my phone was not pleasant. It took almost the whole week, but I got my e-mail switched to Outlook (that part was easy) and was able to sync Outlook with my phone. That part took quite some time: consultations with my IT Department (my father) and trying to understand what people were talking about in the help forums that I found online. And then trying out different fixes. Finally, now everything is playing well together.

Inchelium Red garlic, seed purchased from Uprising Seeds, is looking good

Next up for the month was the crop plan. Somehow, this took a lot longer than I thought it would. As I was working on it, I realized why: I was trying to find either new varieties or new sources for my seed purchases. Last year, after I bought all my seeds, I learned about some newer, small, organic seed companies in the Northwest that focus on open pollinated varieties, suited for the Northwest. I decided to try to buy as much seed as I could from these companies this year. I still bought seed from some companies in the Northeast and all but one packet of seeds is certified organic. (I bought the Galeux d’Eysines winter squash seed from a company in Missouri that sells ” open pollinated, pure, natural, non-GMO seeds,” the closest I could find to certified organic.) It was fun to look through the catalogs and read the descriptions online, but I had the hardest time choosing varieties. Everything sounds so good and looks so beautiful!

Casine or Italian Farmhouse fava beans, seed purchased from Gales Meadow Farm, also looking good

I have been thinking a lot about the business of seeds this past year. Surprisingly, it can be a cutthroat business on the larger, commodity scale: think thousands of acres of corn, cotton and soybeans. I wish I had all the facts from definitive sources, because what I have heard so far is a bit disconcerting…enough to make me choose to take my business to companies that I believe have more integrity. These are the companies I chose to purchase seeds from this year:

Abundant Life Seeds (I do have questions about this company, but they had organic varieties I wanted that I could not find elsewhere), Adaptive Seeds, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (the Galeux squash), Gales Meadow Farm,  High Mowing Organic Seeds, Johnny’s Selected SeedsUprising Seeds, Wild Garden Seed 

Now that it is February, it is time to start seeding and working outside again. But, before I get too far into that, I am attending a conference at the end of next week, called Organicology. The first day is all about soils. It should be good!

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