Our second guest speaker last Thursday night at the Living Better group was David Kenyon from
These seeds are developed in Tasmania particularly for home gardeners in cool districts. Years and years of trials have gone into sourcing and securing vegetable seed that perform well in our short growing season.
David says a lot of people will blame fail rates on bad weather years and fickle climate over summer but he maintains that most of the time it is simply growers not choosing the appropriate variety for their growing season.
We talked about cross pollination and stable and unstable genes, that is how conforming the produce is to subsequent seed saving and sowing. We talked about hidden genes (the genes responsible for the intangible traits like mildew resistance) and visible genes (the obvious visible characteristics like colour and size) and touched on the politics of seed and big companies and seed ownership. David also spoke about the fashions and fads of home growers. Twenty years ago his seedsmen put a lot of trial and research into cereal crops only to abandon and loose much of the work when it proved unpopular with the home gardener. How things have changed, there is a marked increase in interest now for cereal and grain crops amongst home gardeners such as quinoa.
David also brought along a couple of tomato varieties to taste and the smell was divine. This was my favourite called "Santa" a bright red and very round 4cm fruit that really has that tomato flavour and smell from the good old days. It's great to be able to taste and see and plan for next summer.
Something else that I have never tried is the Black Spanish Radish. David got us all excited by this variety. It grows to the size of a swede and is available to harvest in that hungry time of winter. David recommends peeling it and grating it for salads or adding it to slow cooks.
So what do we plant now?
David advises brassicas and silverbeet as well as onions, lettuce, asian style greens, beetroot and carrots.
Here is the best bit...
David brought along seeds to buy and they normally retail for $3.50 but we were able to purchase on the night for $2.50/pkt. I am very sorry for those who missed out and couldn't come on the night but boy did I enjoy myself.
You can purchase Inspiration's Seeds on line and you will be especially impressed with their range of bean varieties. I am going to have some fun with those next summer for sure.
So if you are in cool districts, now is the second biggest planting time of the year so get cracking.