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In 2016 KASSI grew seed crops at 2 community locations, and once again hired Frank Misek part time to coordinate and grow the seeds. The community seed garden committee consisted of Kathy Rothermel, Cate Henderson, Frank Misek, Bob Chambers and Michelle Thomas. The two locations were the Lakeside Community Garden in Kingston and Edible Forest Farm in Inverary.
Lakeside Community Garden (LCG): due to a very late start because of complications in trading paperwork between OPIRG, Lakeside, the City of Kingston and KASSI, the drought had already taken hold and it was too late to do very much in the one acre plot KASSI had been allotted. Therefore much of it remained under cover crop, some of which was scythed, and some of which went to seed. 2 beds of beans were planted and maintained by Kathy and Frank. A much smaller plot is proposed for 2017, which works for Lakeside due to an increase in demand for plots. Onion seeds were harvested from the Evergreen Long White Bunching onion, which would have crossed with the Allium fistulosa that flowered in the Lunch by George plot. Kathy Rothermel attended the LCG Annual General Meeting and explained the crossing and shared some of the seeds with other gardeners to grow out and evaluate-so the crossing may turn out to be a positive thing, or at least a learning experience for all!
Edible Forest Farm provided 13 raised beds 4′ x 50′ plus a plot for the corn. We used portions of those plots for 14 seed crops or trials, the unused portions largely planted to tillage radish as a green manure. These followed portions would be used in the 2017 season. They hosted a successful volunteer planting bee in which 8 people participated including KASSI board member Cathy Christie, and they also dedicated some WOOFFer and volunteer time to working in the gardens, even watering during the drought, hauling water from the lake and Frank’s neighbouring horse farm well, without which crops would certainly have failed. We were about 70 days without rain. The planting list in this garden included:
Beans: Ireland Creek Annie (pop for all beans based on row footage = 30+), Low’s Champion, Trout Black and White, and Jesse Fiske
Tomato: Yellow Oxheart-pop 9 (Kathy R), Golden Queen pop 17 (Frank and HSS), Quinte –pop 20 (Michelle Thomas) and Centennial Rocket -pop 17 (Kathy R)
Squash: Candystick Delicata trial -pop 9 (Carol Deppe)
Pepper: Lipstick- pop 25 (Kathy R-will start), Golden Cayenne –pop 14 (Frank’s seed, Cate will start)
Kale: Red Russian –pop 60 + for overwintering (HSS)
Leek: Musselburgh –pop 600 planted out, 160 for overwintering= drought loss (HSS)
Corn: Abenaki Calais Flint corn- sourced from FedCo, it is a reselection of Roy’s Callais Flint by Jack Lazar. Pop 220, but very poor kernel set, likely because of the heat. Because of the population size, the few kernels that came through should be good, and Bob Michelle plan to plant it again.
Many plants succumbed to the drought, but approx. 160 leeks and more than 60 kale remain to hopefully set seed next year. Bob and Michelle chose to spend the $100 budgeted on a collinear hoe for the seed garden. They had anticipated needing fencing but as it turned out they did not. One successful planting bee took place with 9 participants, including Bob and Michelle and 2 WWOOFers
Yield varied by crop in the drought. Centennial Rocket was VERY productive, and a full litre of seed resulted! Quinte and Golden Queen produced quite well. Yellow Oxheart did not perform too well, and was not very seedy, so seed yield seems lower. The peppers did very well in the heat and were very productive. The beans produced some during the drought, but when the rains came some molded and some actually germinated in the pods! A second flush came on but did not make it all the way to dry-down in many cases. Some seed was gathered from all varieties, and those that we have will be very hardy and prepared for drought.
Candystick Delicata was not part of the original plan-it was grown to trial Carol Deppe’s breeding project, but some viable seed was produced. Plants were prolific, producing on average 4-5 squash per vine, with some variation in shape and size as expected.
Red Russian kale germinated well and was watered through the drought, so a good stand is going into the winter.
Big thanks to Michelle and Bob for all the support they gave Frank over the season! We hear that Michelle was out more than one mosquito-filled evening to water droughty plants! Edible Forest Farm is a truly caring community partner
Kathy Rothermel recently accepted a cheque from the Community Foundation of Kingston and Area, on behalf of the Kingston Area Seed System Initiative. This funding will help with the foundation of our very own local seed bank, and provide opportunities for much-needed training.
Every community should have its own seed bank in the interests of seed-and therefore food- security for all of us. The Community Foundation includes measurements of food insecurity in the excellent “Vital Signs” report. Food insecurity is very real in our region, so having our own locally-adapted food crop seeds and community gardens in which to plant those seeds will be a great help! Thanks again, CFKA!
We will also have news pertaining to a grant from the Bauta Family Initiative for Canadian Seed Security-coming soon!
Located next to Centre 70, this community garden space is on land that was formerly Prison Farm land. We are pleased to be growing community seeds here this year, in partnership with the Lakeside Community Garden. If you would like to help out with this work, please email kassiseedgarden[at]gmail[dot]com