…and sow on

The ground is still frozen solid. Chilly Arctic winds have whipped  the plastic covers off my garden cold-frames, where my overwintering greens are (were, since about three weeks ago) still providing colour, flavour and nourishment to our meals. I have temporarily placed the covers on the ground, laying them over the frozen Swiss chard and the baby lettuces like a quilt, weighted down with a variety of boards and bean poles.

Snow was late arriving to our island. Short-lived, it has come and gone again. The cold, outflow winds continue to blow across the land and the sea. Oh, but it has been bitter!


C.’s built the compost with scrapings (seaweed and decaying fallen leaves) from the beach and cleanings from the chicken coop, plus a year’s worth of kitchen detritus. All layered up nicely in the series of purpose-built boxes over yonder, just waiting to be lugged up to the garden.

Gradually I’ve been pruning the shrubs and the fruit trees. Thanks to Mother Nature’s assistance in the form of bears, high winds and large falling trees, a lot of the heavy lifting in the pruning department has already been done. Mostly I am just tidying up the yard and the orchard in brief stints to avoid the biting wind and chilly temperatures.


Indoors I have been pointedly ignoring the sagging, dust-laden cobwebs and the storm-spattered windows in favour of organizing the income-tax stuff. I hate this job only marginally more than cleaning the house. Finished with that, I have now turned to my seed stash. No point cleaning the house until I have finished sorting out the dusty garden seeds.


In spite of the on-going winter weather, spring is coming, and it is time to start germinating the seeds that will become our mixed cottage garden this summer. I have made a list of the existing seeds in my collection as well as the ones we still need to purchase for this coming summer’s garden.

Out of the 96 varieties of vegetable and flower seeds in my collection, 60 of them were grown and saved here at home. Most of the original parent seed was purchased. The remaining 39 packets are store bought. If I don’t go crazy trying out new and different varieties of veggies or flowers, I will need to purchase 18 packets of fresh seed for the coming season. I store my saved seeds in small paper envelopes and tightly sealed, glass or plastic bottles and jars. These are tucked away in an old biscuit tin or two, safe from mice and insects, on a cool, dark and dry pantry shelf. Depending on the variety, the seeds can remain viable for up to three years.

When I need to buy seed to replenish or add to my collection, I look for locally grown veggie and flower seeds whenever possible, purchasing by mail order or from one of the nearby retail garden supply stores. I like West Coast Seeds, a regional company that offers untreated, non-GMO seeds for organic growing.

I also enjoy sharing the seeds of plants I have grown. It’s fun to exchange seeds with friends and family; a bit like sharing a favourite recipe with a fellow foodie. Veggies, fruit and flowers, food, cooking and dining with family and friends, growing a garden; these are all basic human survival skills, learned, developed, and handed down by generations of gardening and food-preparing elders. I especially enjoy the notion of sharing involved in this particular, nourishing, human activity.

I am excited at the possibility of a little outing this Saturday with my youngest daughter. We are planning a day trip to attend one of the local seed swapping events in town. In all the years I have been growing a garden, collecting and saving my own garden seed, I have never actually attended a Seedy Saturday. I am really looking forward to the experience! (For everything you ever wanted to know about saving seed and Seedy Saturdays please go to the Seeds of Diversity website at: https //

Seedy Saturday poster 2018One must arrive early on Saturday if one wants to participate in the annual seed exchange. I have it on good authority that once the doors open at 10 a.m., a frantic mob of gardening enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes, will rush in like a flock of hungry birds eagerly grabbing up all the seeds in their path. Very soon there will be nothing left.

Speaking of there being nothing left, and at the opposite end of the bean pole in the world of seeds, are the stories of the really big seed companies, owned by the even bigger mega-corporate players in the game, and the patents they hold on certain varieties of plant (read: food) life. Interested? Go to:

Seeds and Patents on Life –

As a gardening human being, I object to the entitled sense of ownership that these entities appear to have over plants of all sorts. Part of the wonderful thing about gardening is the joy of growing a plant from start to finish; from seed, cutting, or slip to maturity and fruition. Harvesting the seed of that plant to propagate is a natural progression as one gains gardening knowledge, experience and skill. This is something that gardeners do and have always done.

Preparing a gift for my green-thumbed daughter, I spoon an assortment of homegrown flower and vegetable seeds into small paper packets. I enjoy a sense of comfort and security, not to mention a little chuckle, knowing that if all else fails there will still be a delicious and nutritious patch of kale (or chard, lettuce, sprouts and more)  growing in the garden.





23 thoughts on “Seeds…”

  1. We both have been thinking of you as the late winds of winter whistle up the inlets. Hope you are all well and keeping warm. Every year seems to offer its share of challenges. As we age, we have realized the inevitablility of challenges and change and learned a bit better how to cope. Now we just hope that these things will be on the lower end of the severity scale! Then we can celebrate if we can say, “Well that could have been worse!” Merry Spring to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m super impressed with your compost. It looks wonderfully rich. And your collection of seeds is fabulous. I bet people will be lining up for your surplus stock at Seedy Saturday. Those photos represent such a lot of hard work. The ownership of seeds (and the human genome) raises huge ethical reasons. We seem to have gone too far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, and for your comments, Tracy. Good to hear your thoughts. Yes, the compost is rich; full of chicken manure, seaweed and other organic goodies. Yes, it is all hard work, and in a way I suppose that gives us a certain amount of ownership over the plants that we grow, and all of their parts. If one is lucky enough to actually get to the “saving the seed” part of the garden project, then a certain “payment” has already been made, in a way. It is a tricky question with no easy answer; food security, and how to address this issue, among others.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A little bit of any sort of manure will help the compost. Are you able to buy bags of well rotted steer manure? Apparently that is one of the best. Llamas, rabbits, sheep? Any helpful farmers nearby?

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  3. Crikey! Your weather does seem brutal. I am impressed with your determination to keep on planting seeds. And what a lot of seeds! Like you I find tax returns and housework equally tedious 😊 Seedy Saturday sounds like a bit of a bunfight!!

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  4. I’m impressed with all your seeds. That is a lot of seeds to keep organized and plants labeled. I’ve thought of trying to grow things in the winter, good thoughts that never come to anything because I don’t like the cold. You are inspiring!

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    1. Thanks Cindy! There are a lot of seeds, even more now after attending the Seedy Saturday where I did get a little carried away, straying from my list just a bit! I think winter is a good time to take a break from growing things, I am just not used to such long winters i guess. Normally spring has arrived here by now, and i should be starting lots of seeds, indoors and under lights. Things are different this year and patience is going to be required, it is still freezing out there! Instead I might have to bake some of those delicious looking scones that you have just posted on your blog!


  5. I am so much impressed with the variety of your seeds collection… and Yessss…. sharing seeds with friends and family members is always a great idea…!! At my parent’s house I have done seeds and plants exchanges a lot.. Now in a small apartment in city life I miss my gardening so much…

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    1. Thank you for your nice comment. I enjoyed having a peek ar your blog too, the post about the fusion cheesecake! Very nice! I look forward to reading more of your recipes and learning more about Indian cuisine. How interesting! I wonder what city you are living in? Have you tried container gardening? Or sprouting seeds to use in cooking? Smaller scale gardening for small apartment living. Pleased to meet you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks you so much for your lovely appreciation.
        I am from Bangalore, southern part of India. We use sprouted lentils a lot for salads though never tried seeds.
        Here apartment culture is spreading very quickly so people do a lot container gardening.. workshops also keep happening. The problem was that in my open balcony squirrels and pigeons were frequent visitors, so all my pots sampling and sometimes seeds itself became their food. Now finally we have covered the balcony with net but my enthusiasm was gone. But while going through your blog…. I am a lot motivated… Next month going to my parents house for a month…. will collect all the seeds and will try to bounce back!!!


      2. Ahh that is nice of you to say. Sprouted lentils are very good, i also sprout chick peas and mung beans, alfalfa seeds, and recently tried sprouting some homegrown, and saved, red cabbage seeds that i had an excess of. They were very good, spicy and crunchy. So sad about the birds in your potted garden, i have a problem with those creatures too, and find that if i can keep the seeds covered, or start them indoors, until they germinate and begin to grow, it is less of a problem. Of course limited space can be a problem too. I wish you good luck with the next attempt at planting your container garden. Thank you for your comment!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I am now following your blog, but somehow I don’t get notices of new posts in my email. Annoying. Unfortunately, this has occasionally happened with other blogs, and I am not sure what I can do to correct this. I guess I will have to pop in from time to time to see what you are up to.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hmm, not sure about that, except that I haven’t written a new post for a few weeks, there is one in the works now! I will check my site and see if there is a way to tweak that. It is all a mystery to me, uneducated in the computer world as I am! I know that most of the blogs I follow only show up in the so-called “reader” that WordPress offers to blog followers, not in my e-mail inbox, even when I push the button that says get an e-mail each time etc. Maybe they go to the spam folder, just a thought…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Goodness! I am only vaguely aware of my reader. I rely on notices of new posts coming in my email. Nevermind. I will check in with you from time to time to see if you have a new post. If they don’t come via email.

        Liked by 1 person

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