Photo Gallery index > 2017 Year in Review

  • Looking back at 2017, one of the highlights was the crop of Purple Dragon Carrot seed, seen here flowering in July. In May I planted out 360 carrots that had overwintered in a root cellar. Then a deer fence was put up to protect the precious plants.
  • This is green curly kale in flower. Closely related to canola, care must be taken to avoid cross pollination. The plants were dug up in the fall and kept alive in the unheated basement. Not all survived, but the ones that did are self-selected for winter hardiness.
  • These little brains are nasturtium seeds. As it was getting late in the spring for planting, I decided to soak them to speed germination. Unfortunately, we then had some very hot weather - only 2 seeds sprouted and the rest fried and died in the soil. Call it a cautionary tale - I won't be doing that again.
  • The Southern Alberta Permaculture Convergence in Turner Valley on July 8th was a lot of fun - I would definitely recommend this event! Thanks to Barb for inviting me to give a workshop on seed saving.
  • Here I am demonstrating my home made seed cleaner at the Convergence. We did a batch of formanova beet seed from stalk to finish and everyone got a sample.
  • Here's a better view of the seed cleaner, which uses the air current from a vacuum to separate the lighter material, including hollow seed shells which are otherwise very difficult to remove. To give credit where it is due, I built this with open source DIY plans from the Real Seed Company in the UK, which can be found online at http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedcleaner.html
  • The Edmonton Herb Club came out to the farm on August 19th and helped steam distill a batch of Black Spruce essential oil.
  • And this is how you get all those spruce boughs in there....
  • There was a good crop of Turga parsnip seed this year. One of the microseedery advantages is hand harvesting seed as it matures. In large scale production the challenge is timing the mechanical harvest to balance loosing mature seed (shattering) with allowing green seed to fully ripen. On a small scale, you just clip the seed that is ready every few days.
  • This was the first year using an air compressor the clean seeds. This would not work for light seeds like lettuce, but for nuggets like Homesteader Peas, it was a time saver. Thanks to Carol Deppe for the suggestion.
  • After a mild fall there was some cold weather in October. A good time to hang out by the wood stove and scoop out cucumber seed into buckets to ferment. And that concludes our 2017 review - stay warm, and cheers to gardening again soon!
Thumbnail panels: