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Back to February 2015 Newsletter

What's your favourite seed variety?

Paul Hrycyk

Whenever I hear a new variety name, I always wonder who named it, and why they named it what they did. Does the name describe a certain characteristic of that variety? Is it named after the family who’s been growing it for years? Or the place it was first grown?

Every variety has an interesting story. Take the Pollock tomato for example. Andy Pollock, who adapted this variety, has a unique and isolated garden. What makes it unique is that it is situated at an altitude of three thousand feet, and a short distance north of the fifty-fourth parallel.

Each year, Andy saves seeds from the earliest and strongest plants that he starts in his frigid mountaintop greenhouse. After thirty years of selecting and replanting the best seeds, Andy has developed a slightly frost resistant variety of tomato that can grow on the side of a mountain. This is the Pollock tomato variety. (Read Andy's own account of how he selected the Pollock tomato at www.seedstosoup.com/pollocktomato.html.

Another great example is the Red Valentine bean, a variety you may have heard of. This bean has a long and mixed up history. Originally, it was thought that it came from Turkey, since an early translation of its name was ‘Turkish Date Shaped’ bean. It was later discovered that Prince von Neuwied, a German explorer, was the first to observe and describe this bean among the aboriginal community living along the Missouri River in 1815–17. It was taken back to Germany and then, in 1837, at David Landreth’s seed farm near Bristol, Pennsylvania, it was launched as a "new" variety of bean.

The history of seed varieties is fascinating, but unfortunately we have lost many of these stories over the years. But while farmers and gardeners may not know the history of all their favorite varieties, they certainly know which ones grow best and which they have the most faith in. And that is what we’re hoping you’ll share with us!

We want to hear the names of your favorite varieties. Which is a consistently great producer? Which variety performs well in drought conditions or in wetter than usual years? Which variety tastes the best?

Tell us today! Send us a quick email at paul@seeds.ca, tweet your favourite variety @Seeds_Diversity or post it on our facebook page or send us a text at (519)897-5353. Your efforts will help us put together a list of the most valuable varieties so that we can make sure they are all backed up in our seed library. Thanks for sharing!

 

Photo: Andy Pollock's 'Pollock Tomato'.

 

Back to February 2015 Newsletter

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