Summer Seed Saving Workshops

by Ken Greene

Seedy Farm: Success and Struggle

Last week one of our bean crops started acting funny. The normally deep green leaves seemed to be shrinking up and turning pale. A few days later, the leaves had turned mottled and yellow/orange patterns appeared. I had a hunch what it might be, but hoped I was wrong. Doug and I are thinking it might be mosaic virus; a disease spread by insects that stunts growth in beans. We're going to consult some well healed farmers before we pronounce the verdict. If it is mosaic we will not be able to sell these beans as the virus is seed borne, but we will eat them!

This season continues to be one of the most challenging Doug and I have ever experienced. The rain and cool temperatures have had a ripple effect on the farm. Wet weather breeds insects and disease. This is the first year I have seen this many aphids, slugs, and mosquitoes. Big Box Blight, which is affecting the tomatoes on farms all over New York, would probably not be so bad if conditions were hot and dry. In light of these hardships that are out of our control I want to send a special message to all of our gardeners, especially the beginners, don't give up! Every year your garden will improve, and every year your garden will have new successes and new struggles. It's time now to band together with other gardeners, commiserate, and share solutions.

Buttercrunh Bibb Lettuce Buttercrunch Bibb Lettuce

In that spirit, we are going to try a new approach with this year's workshops and hold them here on the farm on August 22nd and August 29th from 10am-2pm. We would like to invite you to come to our half grown, water logged, weedy, seedy paradise to learn along with us. Each workshop will start with a tour of the old resort property in all its dilapidated glory. Then we will have about 1.5 hours of community work on the farm followed by a BYO lunch with some farm fresh fodder. After lunch we will focus on one or two plant families that are going to seed and learn about their full lifecycle from seed to seed. Because these workshops involve some much needed hands-on help for us, we are keeping them affordable, $15 for non-members and $10 for members. The rest of your seedy education will come during the winter when I have a little more time to travel. You can register for one or both of the workshops and read more about booking a Seed Library event on the website under the new WORKSHOPS tab.

As we begin to harvest the beans of our edible but possibly unsellable bean crop, I will be reading up on mosaic virus and learning how to organically control the aphids. I will learn their life cycle and plan preventative measures for next year. And I will enjoy the beans, dressing them with tasty sauce and preparing them every way I know how. Anyone want to share a great snap bean recipe?