This is our ninth year for Annapolis Seeds, and it’s hard to believe we’ve been at it for almost a decade! I’m really happy with everything we can offer in the catalogue this year, we grew some special new varieties this past season. With over 50 new varieties, and some old favourites coming back, this is our biggest and most complete catalogue yet.
The 2016 growing season was an interesting time. Here in the Annapolis Valley we had the hottest and driest summer we’d seen for many years. Fields turned dusty and brown, while lakes, rivers and wells all dropped to record low levels. We fared better than most farmers; we don’t have much of an irrigation setup, but we do have a great well and we mostly got water to the plants that needed it.
The fact that we’re growing plants for seed helped. We would have struggled to grow lush juicy vegetables for market, but we’re the rare farm that actually wants our plants to bolt! It’s usually really hard to grow lettuce seed outdoors here, but our August was as dry as a Willamette Valley summer, where most commercial lettuce seed comes from. Our okra and peanuts both loved it also, it was almost like being back in their native latitudes.
On the other hand, our snap beans had a rough time. The drought struck just as they began to flower, so they dropped their pods and waited for 6 weeks to try again. That set them so far back that not many pods reached maturity before frosty weather arrived in October. Many bush snap beans are in short supply this year as a result.
We grew some great new varieties of greens this year. Perpetual Spinach is a beautifully tender green chard, we offered it years ago and I was excited to finally grow it again. Celtuce is a cool new vegetable, a lettuce grown for it’s thick crunchy stem. The new seed I’m most excited for personally is Ba-Ye-Qi Sorghum, it’s so much earlier than other varieties that it makes growing sorghum for grain in Nova Scotia easy and practical.
This season was a great reminder of how important diversity is. Some crops really struggled, while others thrived. Out of hundreds of varieties at the farm, enough loved the heat that overall it was still a great growing season. As our climate becomes less and less predictable, it becomes all the more important that our (and that’s a collective “our”) seeds are grown and saved and celebrated by our communities.
Many thanks for supporting local seeds and community seed saving! We couldn’t be saving these seeds without you.
Wishing you an abundant growing season in 2017!