Seed Library of Galiano

Seed Library of Galiano

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So far slog has created 19 blog entries.

New presentation: Cover Crops for Sustainable Agroecosystems by Grace Augustinowicz

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By |2022-05-24T22:29:30-07:00March 30th, 2022|Presentations, Website Updates|

Asian Loose-Leaf Red Lettuce

By Lezlie Wagman, Board Director

Thinking about what salad greens to plant this spring? What about Asian loose-leaf red lettuce? Your Galiano Seed Library has just acquired some of these easy to grow seeds, Galiano-grown and adapted to our local conditions.

This is a beautiful lettuce not only for eating but decorative for any garden. The leaves are ruffled and green at the growing point turning to a deep red hue towards the edges. When mature the leaves are about fifteen cm long and fall out as loose leaves do from the centre. The texture has more bite to it than regular green leaf lettuce and has a very fresh taste. It tears easily for salads and also has enough hardiness to be used as a wrapper for grated vegetables and grilled meat, which is how it tends to be used in South Korea.

As with most lettuces this one grows best in cool weather during the spring and fall. Well-drained, fairly fertile soil and lots of sunlight is a good recipe for growing. I sow these seeds directly outside and usually start in early April. The birds love the new growth so covering the baby lettuce with a cloche or some other bird barrier like a screen is essential. Once the plants are ten cm tall they’re not in near as much risk to being munched on by our feathered friends. You can also start these seeds indoors or a greenhouse. If starting in-doors you’ll need a very good grow light otherwise the plants become leggy and weakened.

For continuous harvesting, sow seeds by scattering lightly on prepared soil or in shallow short trenches five mm deep with a light scattering of earth on top. Planting can be done every two to four weeks. Germination should happen a week from planting if the conditions are right. The first little salad leaves are usually ready to eat about a month after germination. For fuller heads this lettuce will mature in approximately sixty-five days. It’s important to ensure even watering as it’s growing otherwise the lettuce can become a little bitter. An interesting feature of this Asian loose leaf red lettuce is that after maturity the leaves can be used in stir-frys and for steaming and retain a good flavor. Even once the flower stock appears these too may be cooked.

Seed saving of this fine plant is easy. Let the flower stocks mature into little yellow flowers. These will eventually fall off and you’ll be left with a tiny seed ball resembling a very miniature dandelion puffball. Once these seed heads form they can be cut and placed in a paper bag to dry before gleaning the seeds. To keep this variety as pure as possible it’s important to know that lettuce cross-pollinates easily with other kinds so keeping it in a separate area of the garden is helpful.

April seed lending days will be held at the Community Library Meeting room on Saturday, April 2, and Saturday, April 23, 2022, both days from 12-2pm.

Membership is $10 to join the Seed Library.

By |2022-05-24T22:07:34-07:00March 30th, 2022|Past Featured Seeds|

Onion Bliss

By Colleen Doty, Chair, Seed Library of Galiano

Harvest season might just be my favourite time of year. Opportunities for gratitude are all around us. Vegetables, fruits, seeds. It’s a time of reflection: what worked well this past growing season? What flopped? What would I do differently next year?

When it comes to collecting seeds I like to think about the stories and the people who contributed the seed that grew my food and enriched my life. This article is a small tribute to Doug and Elizabeth Latta, who taught me how to grow incredible onions. Allow me to gush: onions from my garden bring me immense joy. For that alone, I will be forever grateful to Doug and Elizabeth.

When I moved to Galiano I was not a seed saver, although certainly a veggie grower. I didn’t have the confidence or knowledge at that point to trust future gardens to my own saved seed. But with the critical need for food security, I wanted to learn about preserving and maintaining the building blocks of our food supply and biodiversity. Beginner seed savers usually start with beans and peas. Growing onions seemed like a distant challenge.

Working with the Seed Library immersed me in the world of seeds. Elizabeth donated the Ailsa Craig onion seeds and growing instructions. I’ve now grown the onions for three years. Each year, I select the largest ones for seed. Because of the biennial nature of onion seeds (food crop in first year, seed in second year), I alternate my onion crops with the Newburg onion, a yellow, long-term storage onion also available from the Seed Library. My Newburgs usually last me 13 months in storage (but that’s a different article!)

The finely-textured Ailsa Craig is delicious either fresh or cooked. When dried and cleaned properly they will store for months in a cool, dark place. The open-pollinated beauty is well-suited for Galiano. With rich, well-composted soil, topped up throughout the growing season, the Ailsa Craig performed well this year despite the heat dome of late June and summer drought. The Seed Library has lots of Ailsa Craig seeds in stock. If interested in growing them out, make sure you have your seed ready to start indoors on heat mats by the end of January or early February.

Seed Library Update:

Website: Thanks to a grant from the CRD, the Seed Library of Galiano will soon be getting a website. Stay tuned for our launch date.

AGM: This year’s Seed Library Zoom AGM is Sunday, October 24, 2021, at 7pm. Our guest speaker will be Grace Augustinowicz on the topic of composting and soil health. Grace has a Masters in Soil Science and is a member of the Board of Directors at the White Rock Farmers Market. Grace is deeply involved in community work, having recently started her new and exciting position as Urban Agriculture Program Manager with Urban Bounty (Richmond Food Security Society). Save the date.

Volunteers: It has been five years now since SLOG first launched. Our membership consists of over 10% of the Galiano population. If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer, either on our board or on a committee, please let us know. We need help with maintaining the collection, seed sorting, and outreach. Without volunteers there would be no seed library.

Seed intake days: Sunday, October 3rd and Friday, October 15th at the Community Library, 12-2pm. Please return your saved seed (in envelopes or other containers), labelled with your name and seed variety. If you’ve lost your form, that’s okay. The seed is more important.

Any questions? We can be reached at: seedlibraryofgaliano@gmail.com.

Happy harvest,

Colleen Doty, Chair, Seed Library of Galiano

By |2021-10-19T22:09:35-07:00October 17th, 2021|Articles, News|

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