Building Seed Resources

by Doug Muller

As winter nears and the weather cools, the race to finish undone outdoor projects heats up. It seems like every year here at Seedy Farm we've got some construction project we're trying to wrap up in November; this year it's the Seed House.

Drywall is up! Drywall is up!

The Seed House is our name for our new seed storage and packing space. It's a former concession stand from the days our property was a summer camp for Ukrainian children from New York  and New Jersey. We've spent a few months ripping out old worn out building elements, constructing interior walls, putting in a new door and new windows, re-wiring, and--with the help of our neighbor Todd Andrews of Todd Andrews Carpentry--installing insulation and hanging drywall. All that remains now is to spackle, paint, and do finish work. We hope to be in within a week or two.

010 Our little Seed House--a little ragged from the outside, but not for long!

And we're ready! We had hoped to have the building usable by mid-October, but the fall rush got us behind, and our small home is now bursting with seeds and packs, shipping supplies and display racks. We're managing to keep our sanity intact, but we're really looking forward to moving all these supplies to their new home and having a pleasant space to undertake our work.

We're also excited that we'll have a climate-controlled cool storage room for our seeds. It will make it possible for us to keep large quantities of seed from year to year with minimal decreases in germination rate. Right now we're making do with cool corners and refrigerator space; the cool room will be a big step up.

Once the Seed House is done, we'll be taking on a wintertime building project: building a network of small farms willing to grow wholesale quantities of seed for the Seed Library. Our vision is that each participating farm grow a decent quantity of one or two varieties of seed. Seed growing is more difficult than growing vegetables for the table, so by asking existing vegetable farmers to take on only one or two varieties each, we hope to share the burden of this important work. Of course, we'll still be growing plenty of seeds here at Seedy Farm, but because of our limited space it is impossible for us to grow multiple varieties of certain vegetable crops. So, we'll be looking to small farms throughout the Hudson Valley and upstate New York to help us. Do you run a farm that might be interested? Or do you think your CSA or favorite local farm would be a good candidate? (We hope to develop interactive seed-saying days so that CSAs can invite members to learn about the process at harvest time.) Let us know if you have any suggestions!