Saturday, February 5, 2011

Salt Spring Seeds - Article & Contest

This week finds us in the midst of a welcome mild spell in Northern BC. I'm pining for green grass, the smell of warm earth, and the chance to play in the dirt. Resisting the urge to pour through the glossy pages of gardening magazines and seed catalogs, preferring to save that for March, when I'm really desperate for signs of Spring. Yearning to turn the compost bins, plant some lemon balm, chocolate peppers and rainbow Swiss chard.  Defy the climate. Attempt once again to grow eggplants in zone 2a.  I am nothing if not optimistic when it comes to my little garden. 

There are dozens of excellent seed companies in Canada, and combined they offer a staggering selection of seeds, bulbs, and plants.  I favor untreated heirloom seeds, which are genetically diverse, open-pollinated, and often have family and community histories attached to their development and growth. Once an heirloom flower, herb, or vegetable of your choice has matured, it is easy to harvest seeds to trade with friends or to save for the next growing season.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be featuring two of my favorite heirloom seed businesses.  Let's start with Salt Spring Seeds.

Salt Spring Seeds (Salt Spring Island, BC) was my first venture into heirloom seeds. Red Belgian peppers - these grew like mad - and Carbon tomatoes - juicy and delicious - were among the first seeds I tried.  Founder Dan Jason offers a wide variety of flowers, vegetables, power foods, and culinary herbs.  There is also an outstanding selection of medicinal herbs.  Check out the Salt Spring Island Emporium section for mushroom extracts, beeswax candles, organic teas, massage oils, herbal medicinals, and seasonings.  To learn more about heirloom seeds, seed saving, and gardening, browse their selections of books and DVDs.  Whether you are an avid green-thumb or simply grow a bit of basil in your kitchen, I encourage you to check out this site.  It is a fantastic resource of articles and video clips that explain how to grow various crops, demonstrate seed saving techniques, and educate re: the politics of seed saving. I have gone through pots of tea and lost hours at a time browsing! 

Two unique aspects of Salt Spring Seeds made it stand out for me from other seed businesses.  The first is their very popular Zero Mile Diet Seed Kit.  As described on the site, it is a kit "for gardeners or groups of gardeners eager to become more self-reliant in food".  It includes 13 packets of grain and vegetable seeds as well as a comprehensive growing and recipe booklet. Note: Unfortunately, the Zero Mile Diet Seed Kit will not be sold this year due to the unavailability of certain seeds typically included in it.  Do mark your calendars and keep your eyes peeled for it in 2012.  This kit sells out quickly, so it's best to place your order early in the season!

Another draw is that it is closely linked with The Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada, also based on Salt Spring Island.  Seed sanctuaries play a critical role in preserving genetic diversity in plants, securing local food supply, and in promoting the importance of keeping unmodified seeds in the public domain, rather than under the control of major corporations. You can support the ongoing development of this vital and unique seed and plant sanctuary by becoming a member or purchasing a gift membership.  Being an active member allows you access to the seeds in the sanctuary, and you may select the 5 varieties from their data banks you wish to grow.  Learn more about this opportunity HERE.

Seed orders can be placed online, or you can order a printed catalog (cost $2.00). Gift certificates have also recently become available for purchase!

Dan Jason has generously offered to sponsor this wonderful giveaway!

Salt Spring Seeds Heirloom Seed Giveaway

Prize: Winner's choice of 10 packets of heirloom seeds (value approx. $35 CAN)

Eligibility: Residents of Canada

Contest ends Sunday, March 6th, 2011 at 8:00pm Pacific Standard Time.  Winner to be randomly selected.  If the winner has not responded to my notification by Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 8:00pm PST, another winner will be selected.

This contest is now closed. Congratulations to T. Kooper of Montreal, Quebec!  Happy gardening!

Thanks to everyone who visited and entered this contest.  I encourage you to bookmark Salt Spring Seeds and keep them in mind the next time you're in the market for heirloom seeds!

20 comments:

  1. I have a veggie garden but purchase regular seeds. I should look into this... I love your pic with the mountains and the flowers. Is this a real place?
    Mrs. Shopper@simplyshopandsave.ca

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  2. Thanks for such a great article and I also really want to know of that pic is a real place!
    very best wishes, Dan

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  3. Isn't that a beautiful picture?! It looks like something out of a fairytale. I would like to walk into this scene.

    I found the picture just before I posted this blog entry, and am still trying to pin down the source/photographer so I can credit them. I tracked it to a site called "Feminocracy" and sent an inquiry via the contact form. I'll let you know what I find out!

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  4. I've had flower gardens for over 10 years. Last year was the first time I ventured into veggies and herbs. I found the article on saving seeds quite interesting and look forward to trying some of what I learned this year. So excited to spend more time looking around your site.
    mommamia25(at)gmail(dot)com

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  5. The site has so much to chose from! I learned about the Friggitello sweet pepper (which I had never heard about). This pepper is very red and tapered, 3-4" long.

    ajmizen(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  6. I have only been gardening for one year, but am hooked! I really love the Salt Springs site - I can hardly wait to get back out to the garden in the Spring!

    sbabij2 at shaw dot ca

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  7. Been Gardening since i was about 5 yrs old. Mom got me started. I love the site Salt spring seeds. Has alot of varieties of heirloom seeds. Many plants and varieties i have never heard of. Much healthier then what we get nowadays.

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  8. I have been gardening over 20 years and I just love it! I learned that this company has seeds that are untreated, open-pollinated and non G mo. This is different than the seeds that I buy! A new veggie is charentais melon which has a different colour.

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  9. I have been gardening for just a few years now, but his last year was my first year of gardening on my own property. Up till now, I have been doing the community gardening in the city, but now that I have moved to the country and have lots of space, I have lots I can do, and I am so excited.
    bcbeaveratheart@gmail.com

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  10. I've been helping with the garden since I was a little kid, but I haven't done much of the planning. I'm interested in new kinds of greens lately, and I found one at Salt Spring Seeds that I don't think I've seen before: Herba Stella.

    ikkinlala AT yahoo DOT ca

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  11. I've been gardening since I was a child. I can't imagine not having a vegetable garden. Looking at seed catalogues in the winter is always so inspiring. I've just discovered Salt Spring Seeds - what a great variety to choose from!

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  12. i love this contest! i bought seeds from Salt Spring Seeds two years ago and just finished starting the last of them. His edamame mix was incredible as were the various mixed dry beans I purchased. Ok, everything was! Such a great little company, thanks for the contest!

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  13. There are so many types of seeds...wow.....I am awful at gardening but spend a fortune every year thinking I'll get better lol. I think I'll stick to growing tomatoes in the topsy turvy it seems to be the only thing I grow successfully lol. But now at least I can purchase a variety of tomatoes!!

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  14. I am following you on GFC as terrymac1a
    Thank you for this terrific giveaway! I have just recently started planting heritage seeds, and last year the tomatoes were as tasty as the ones my mother grew when I was just a small kid some 40 years ago! Nothing tastes as good!

    terrymac1a at hotmail dot com

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  15. Salt spring seeds is terrific! I found some heritage seeds that I haven't ever been able to find before...in the herb section! I need a bigger garden to grow all that I found on Salt Spring Seeds site!!!! Thank you for hosting this giveaway and connecting me with Saltspring Seeds!

    terrymac1a at hotmail dot com

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  16. I have been gardening for a number of years but am looking forward to doing more veggie gardening. I love the idea of unusual tomatoes in a salad. I saw on the Salt Spring Seeds site yellow tiger stripe tomatoes and purple calabash tomatoes - I think they would look amazing in a salad.

    klfvilla at aol.com

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  17. I posted the link on my facebook - http://www.facebook.com/#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=159958230724769&id=537585581

    kevin.linkie@hotmail.com

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  18. I saw that they sell "manitoba tomato" seeds. I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, so was excited to see this! Would love to try it out!
    I've been gardening since I was a child, with my grandmother and am now passing it on to my children.
    kris(at)antoniusberg(dot)com

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  19. I didn't even realize that you had done a seed contest in the past! :)

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