Do you donate seeds?
Yes, as I support community gardening and local seed saving, I will consider donations of seeds for community gardens including school gardens, seed libraries and seed swaps, as inventory allows. Please contact me through email with your proposal.
Do you trade seeds?
I am open to trading seeds if they are ones of interest to me. I am primarily interested in open-pollinated staple crops suitable for growing in Michigan, especially legumes and grains. I am specifically interested in Robert Lobitz varieties, varieties with some significance to Michigan and/or the Great Lakes region, and Slow Food Ark of Taste varieties. I look for large enough quantities (at least 20 seeds for legumes) to ensure healthy genetics. I send seeds in a protective mailer with tracking id and request similar for seeds sent. If this is of interest to you, please send me your list of available seeds and let's chat! (or find me on Facebook...)
How do you select your varieties?
We grow varieties based on several criteria.
- First they need to grow successfully and produce a sustainable quantity of viable seed with little attention from us within our 145ish frost free days.
- Next they must be good eatin' or serve a useful purpose – why grow something we don't enjoy eating or that isn't useful to us.
- A third criteria is versatility – crops with multiple ways of preparing them maximize use of our garden space. Consideration three and a half is also related to versatility, the variety must preserve well through multiple methods with as minimal energy requirements as possible.
- A fourth important aspect is history or story – is the variety culturally or personally significant, does it have a story to share.
Why so many beans?
Why not? Mother Nature provides us with a diverse and wonderful abundance of beautiful beans that are not only easy to grow but are flavorful, nutritious, versatile and easy to preserve / store. Also, it is important to us that we do our part to preserve open-pollinated varieties at a time where the large corporate seed companies are dropping them in favor of hybrids and patented varieties.
Why do you include Latin names?
Latin names tell us to which groups a plant belongs. Knowing how a plant is grouped helps us harvest seeds that are true to type. Rosso di Lucca and Kurzer's Calico Traveler Lima both belong to the bean family. Both are in the genus group Phaseolus but they are in different species groups. Kurzer's is in the lunatus species and Rosso is in the vulgaris species. Because the beans do not share the same species, they will not cross-pollinate. If they are the only two beans we grow, the seeds we harvest in the fall are "pure".
How do you keep all your varieties from crossing?
The key to keeping plants from crossing is knowing their species. If plants do not share the same species, we don't have to worry about cross-pollination. Some species we only grow one variety a season. Others we can grow many varieties if we use different techniques, alone or in combination, such as isolation by distance, barrier crops, isolation by maturity dates; hand-pollination or use of blossom-bags. Please see the Seed Saving page for more information.
You are a seed company, why do you want us to save our own seeds?
Honestly, simply, the best seeds for your garden come from your garden. Saving the seeds from your garden fosters self-reliance and sustainability as each season seeds adapt to the micro-climate that is your garden. That and humans have been saving and sharing seeds and their stories for millennia - it is a vital part of our collected culture. Let us add new varieties to your garden, but by all means, please save and share your seeds.
My package shows you spent only $3.50 to ship my order. Why did you charge me more than that for shipping?
As indicated on our Important Details page, the "shipping fee" includes fees associated with processing your credit card or PayPal payment in addition to actual postage and shipping materials. Some companies hide their costs in their packet prices, I believe it is more fair to my customers to recover some of my costs through a one time "shipping fee". I am not making a profit on shipping fees.