Thursday, December 17, 2009
The fabulous 2010 Brown Envelope Seeds Catalogue has arrived! It looks really nice, printed by Matthew Walsh of Ecoprint Ltd. on recycled paper from Klee Paper, and full of handsome vegetable flower images created by the very handsome Mike Sweeney. It has of seedsaving tips too, to help me into an early retirement. If you ordered from us in 2008 or 2009 or have requested a catalogue, it should be on its way to you by the efficient An Post service very soon. If you don't think you are on the list and would like a copy email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
All your Christmas shopping problems can be solved by the
Sunday, December 6, 2009
We are still trying to get the 2010 catalogue to the printer. All going well, it will be tomorrow. It has focussed my mind on what events we want to hold on the farm next year, as that goes into the catalogue. And so we have decided to have an 'Open Day' on Sunday June 6th 2010 and a 'Seedy Weekend' over the August bank holiday weekend. We will have a beginners seed saving workshop on 31st of July, and on Sunday 1st August, a workshop on beginning plant breeding. Please email email@example.com to book. If you want to buy a workshop voucher for someone special we can do that, at no extra cost. Cost €30 per day. (2days €50). Participants are welcome to camp on the farm. That leaves Monday the 2nd open for another event. Anyone want to run a seed related workshop? Or, would it be a nice day to have a gathering of seed savers who just want to hang out. What do you think?
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The wind is howling here, and its time for a bit of sofa gardening, or perhaps Sophie gardening. Last summer we sponsored the vegetable plants for a show garden at Bloom. There is an earlier post here. Last week the garden, designed by Sophie von Maltzen, has won the Irish Landscape Institute Design Award 2009 in the category of Residential Landscapes. It was filmed by TV3 which you can see here and view it 3D here. Perhaps a few of the design elements could go in your garden plan for next year. The garden is still looking for a permanent home where the maximum number of visitors could benefit from it. It could also act as a hub creating a community park around it. If anyone has any ideas, a transition town project perhaps, do get in touch.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sunday, we drove to Clare to commune with the ISSA and talk about de-hullers with other interested parties.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The kiwanos are coming along. If I restrained myself to growing one plant, as they weren't that successful last year. However, if I gave up trying things that didn't work in the first year, the catalogue would be a lot smaller. It was in a pot outside for most of the summer and I brought it in the polytunnel when the nights got a bit cool. I hope they will ripen now.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
It is a bit confusing remembering the names of squash and which ones cross with which. The green Buttercup in the top picture is Cucurbita maxima, as is the orange, Ushiki Kuri, in the next picture, and would cross with it.
The Butternut squash, above, growing outside have set some fruit, as they did last year. However last year's did not have any seed in them and any seed we got was in the tunnel produced Butternuts. The plants in the tunnel are further along than those outside. They are Cucurbita moschata and only cross with other beige coloured squash.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I'm so disappointed we are going to miss the oat threshing on Saturday. We are off to the GIY conference in Waterford which will be a summer holiday of kinds. Well, the summer is happening this week. The sun came out today fora trial run.
I put the mix in a pot and added water and of course most of the remaining hulls floated to the top. I had a nice bowl of porridge although there was still the odd annoying hull in there.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Tom is touring France in September and giving workshops there, before moving on to Denmark and Germany, then he will be in Ireland before visiting the Isle of Man where his grandfather came from, and finally the UK.
To get an idea of what he does have a look at his blog Tater Mater.
Tom has been breeding potatoes and tomatoes for over 50 years. He has created hundreds of varieties including potatoes resistant to blight,
He will be talking about what an independent breeder of tomatoes and potatoes does and possible release of new lines of potatoes and tomatoes.
Some of the topics that will be covered will be:
The history of Tater Mater Seeds
The development of some of Tom’s classic tomatoes such as the Green Zebra, along with dozens of other varieties that are available in the open market.
How Tom is rapidly accumulating a large germplasm of potato clones and TPS (True Potato Seed)
Hands on demonstrations of how to cross tomato and potatoes, many times with actual plants and with video and power point presentations.
Tom will talk about how he has taken just a few varieties of potatoes and tomatoes and created a vast diversity of seeds for the future. By using heritage potatoes and tomatoes, and adding some newer releases to cross with, Tom is working with these to create tomorrow’s heirlooms.
Through a variety of breeder/grower initiatives beginning with the workshops, there will likely be many cooperatives dealing with plant breeding and variety development starting with seeds of Tater Mater.
These workshops will be part of an effort to keep seeds free and available to the public and not be allowed to be controlled by major seed companies, universities, or governments.
A concerted endeavor will be launched to work with local heritage varieties to incorporate them in variety improvement and to avoid GMO’s at all levels.
Potatoes can be grown from true seed and avoid the virus contamination of tuber trades. TPS is but one way to foster diversity and reach local needs for flavor, storability, yields, disease resistance, all with organic growing methods
The workshops will features many ways to look at seed extraction, seed saving, clonal selection.
Single seed descent and bulk population breeding and variety maintenance will be discussed.
The workshops will try to feature local gardens and local growers.
The goal is to find ways for this to help Tom in his work and how he can help local growers in return.
Video and audio recording will likely be part of many of these workshops. Some of those may be shown at succeeding workshops to show the growth of the information exchanges. A few clips of how to cross potatoes and tomatoes may be linked to the Tater Mater blog. Many still photos will be shown of his tomato and potato varieties.
Each of these workshops will invite anyone to submit questions to answer during the workshops and/or later in an interactive format. With sufficient interpreters present, these answers will be delivered in the original language.
The goal of Tater Mater Seeds is to get young people involved in plant breeding, therefore, if Tom can be a mentor and teacher for many potential plant breeders, justice is done.
During Tom’s 56 years of breeding plants, he has not only proven that anyone can be a home garden plant breeder but will show many how they, too, can be plant breeders. His unique collection of proprietary seeds of tomato and potatoes will be a great resource for plant breeding groups in each nation.
Tom started out breeding plants on his family farm near Lancaster, Kansas. He kept a family heirloom bean alive and growing each year in his gardens from a few beans his great grandmother brought to the USA in 1888. He kept growing new selections out of his breeding work even while he obtained degrees in Anthropology, Botany, Geography, and Education. His career includes farming, managing garden centers, managing greenhouses, potato buyer, potato and tomato breeder under contract, teaching, seed catalog, and a wide host of other professions. He has offered many of his creations in Farmers’ Markets and has introduced his varieties to other organic growers.
Tom stays busy with his TaterMaterSeeds forum and is a moderator on the Tomatoville.com for CrossTalk and Potato sub forums.
Tom currently lives in Everett, WA. His plots are all organic and shuns any chemicals applied to the soil.