|Jan. 7th, 2019: Hi friends,
I’m really happy to be sharing another season of seeds with you! This year’s collection is well over 500 varieties, with about 40 new ones. We grew some cool new plants this past year, and I can say for sure that our 2019 seed catalogue is the biggest and most interesting collection we’ve offered yet.
2018 was a weird growing season in Nova Scotia. We had only 98 frost free days, many of which were record breaking heat. Even still, the gardens were surprisingly bountiful! It was our year of cucurbits… melons, squash and cucumbers loved the heat and ripened nicely in the short season (most of them anyway).
Montreal Melons were one of the highlights of the season. An old variety, once grown on the Island of Montreal and popular across the Northeast. The variety was almost lost in the mid-1900s, but they’re making a comeback. And for good reason; their green flesh is exquisite, and they’re superbly adapted for the Eastern Canadian climate.
Sicilian Serpent Gourds were impossible to ignore in late summer. They literally sprawled over the other cucurbits, and their vines climbed through our corn patch, 30 feet in every direction. Picking them was like a jungle expedition, and they produced more delicious fruit than we could keep up with.
For those who didn’t experience it, most of Nova Scotia had a hard frost the morning of June 4. I heard that folks in central and northern NS continued to get frosts into mid-June. It was by far the latest frost that I’d seen in 12 years farming in the Annapolis Valley. The old timers have always said that you’re safe from frost after the full moon in June. That always seemed needlessly late to me, but it was spot on this year.
Luckily, I was behind schedule on planting, so I didn’t have too many frost sensitive plants in the ground. We fared better than many growers.
Around the summer solstice, the heat began… and never really went away until late August. The heat loving plants thrived. We grew some amazing peanuts, okra and gourds, they appreciated the consistent 30 degree humid days. Unfortunately, I’m not a heat loving human, and I didn’t do as well as them! It was just too hot to garden most afternoons, and there weren’t enough cool hours in the day to weed everything. Our beans and peas were struggling from the dry weather and then also got neglected. You’ll see a few are out of stock until our next harvest.
The unpredictability of 2018 really brought home the importance of diversity for me. Certain crops fared poorly, but enough really enjoyed the heat that we still had a good year. Next season may well bring the opposite conditions, and a whole new group of plants might star the show. We share a future with less climate predictability than we’re used to, but I have a feeling we’re going to find ways to thrive through it. If we grow and save a diversity of seeds, and share them in our communities, I know we’re at least going to eat well!
Wishing you abundance and beauty in 2019,