August 22, 2013

Salt Spring Seeds

By Stowel Lake Farm

We visited with Dan Jason of Salt Spring Seeds just the other day. It is such a treat to visit other farms on the island; getting to see all the variations of the land here on Salt Spring and carving out the time to hang-out with other farmers during this crazy, busy time of year is so special. His farm is at the base of Mt. Maxwell and feels like it; in a basin that edges the hills, its beauty is so different than what we have here. The farmed areas are interspersed with beautiful structures for hanging garlic, record keeping, storing tools, greenhouse crops, drying & processing seeds and even a sweet little hut for yoga and meditation. We sat with Dan, in the hot August sun overlooking the fields, and he spoke about all the crops that he saves for seed, some of his farming methods and his philosophy on maintaining old varieties and maintaining the diversity within these varieties. Rupert, who was worked with Dan for years, was also about when we visited and he gave us a tour of his part of the garden; one devoted to herbal medicinal plants that he turns into tinctures and sells through the catalogue. It is truly inspiring to see the scale of Dan’s operation, the love that he has for what he is doing and to know that we are part of it!
Sitting in the sun.
This greenhouse has CHIA growing in it among other things.
Many different screens are used for drying and processing seeds.
The meditation hut.
An umbel forest.
An endangered species of echinacea, E. tenesseensis.

August 13, 2013

Seeds Are Coming

By Stowel Lake Farm

At this time of year we enjoy so much abundance coming out of the garden, crisp cucumbers, tender zucchinis, yummy broccoli, sweet tomatoes and more. But slowly, ripening & drying on their vines and stalks, are our beloved seed crops that will feed us in the years to come. We have just started the process of collecting some of them but most need a bit more time or are happy to wait until we get a chance to bring them in. Above are our leeks with their beautiful seed heads and  a couple of varieties of peas drying on the trellis behind them.
We will be bringing this lettuce seed in very soon as it is one that the birds will discover!
If possible, peas are left on the vine until the pods are totally dry and crisp. Then they will be picked and separated.
Parsley going to seed. It’s looking like a very abundant harvest this year!
We have to sign our seed crops well or they will get eaten…