This year is the third one I'm interested in having a garden in
our backyard. Last year I made raised beds since the soil is
clayish. Each year I'm learning. This time around I have
'fallen' on Steve's Solomon book at the public library. And then
I bought it as reference. After reading many 'recipe' books by
many gardening authors (Square Foot Gardening, WORD system, etc...) it was nice to read this one by Solomon. He used to have a
seed business that he sold at one point. He also grows yearly a
large part of their house vegetables. He explains how things
works, which is a good change from the 'gardening recipe' books.
One interesting thing, amongst many others, is that gardening has
one thing in common with tea: floorings. With tea, bits swept
off the production floors are sold in tea bags. It's the same
with seeds. After filtering the good seeds. What's on the floor
is put in nice colorful bags to be sold in (super)stores. The principle
is straightforward: general consumers are not critical. If they
fail growing nice large plants they can blame themselves and the
weather and they do not loose much anyways. They are not
considered in the business as critical. And many seed companies
are catering solely to this non-critical market share and making
money in hardware stores and corner 'Sunday' nurseries.
On the other hand, farmers, are considered critical. If only for
the fact that they know what they're doing, they are buying large
amounts of seeds and, they can sue if they get crappy seeds
because the money at play is significant. As bad tea exists,
crappy seeds also exists that will not yield good plants.
So, what Solomon says is simple: buy seeds from companies that
sells to farmers and/or have a very good reputation. They must
have and operate large trial grounds for the seeds they sell.
They must have packaging and expiration dates for their seeds.
Solomon, having spent many years operating a seed business, gives
a few addresses of such reputable companies. Luckily we have
three of them here in Canada, actually not far from here, so they
cater pretty much to the same hardiness zones as where we are.
Some companies are selling worldwide.
And this is the kind of seeds I'm using this year.
Now I will be able to blame *only* the weather ! http://www.soilandhealth.org/05steve'sfolder/05aboutmeindex.html
Solomon's book is titled "Gardening When It Counts"http://www.waldeneffect.org/blog/Gardening_When_It_Counts/