Horticultural Crops



Nov 29, 2001 | 18:09 1 As an organic home gardener I am interested in sharing experiences. What has worked and if there are any problems as yet unsolved that may be known by others; sharing experience and knowledge.

My experience is with vegetables in the Annapolis Valley. I have a backyard compost program, employ companion planting, and prefer the raised beds with plenty of mulch. I am leaning toward heirloom seeds and seed saving.

If you are looking for answer(s) or offer suggestions, this will expand the forum. I look forward to active participation. Respond to this or post a new topic. Reply With Quote
Nov 30, 2001 | 06:50 2 Organic gardening is gaining popularity amongst public. Since application of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers is not allowed this type of gardening is both knowledge and experience driven.
Heirloom Seeds have quite a selection in their portfolio and most of their seeds are non hybrids which will give some flexibility to grower and allow seed harvest.
I would, however, recommend buying seeds rather then saving them as you might run into problems with cross pollination in your garden. Reply With Quote
Nov 30, 2001 | 09:53 3 I would reiterate from another thread: Profit for the short term is the only measuring stick that can be used by government to determine the value of industry. They give lipservice (in response to intense lobbying) to environmental concerns but where peoples' livelihood is concerned, money counts. After all, environmental concerns don't pay taxes, affect GNP, and provide few jobs. Reply With Quote
Nov 30, 2001 | 16:47 4 Seed saving requires an isolation practise. I use material from floating covers to shield foreign pollen. This also requires pollination controls that involve insertion of insects or by hand. Since not a commercial operation, I am willing to invest the time.

Over ten years of organic practice I have seen increased yield and quantity while also seeing far less pest presence. The organic does work. It is also a great satisfaction to know that nutrients are more abundant.

Please continue. Reply With Quote
Dec 12, 2001 | 09:05 5 Organic Agriculture/ Gardening works in long run, however many growers get disappointed when facing short term challenges.
As far as seed saving goes, it is very labor and management demanding process which requires time and dedication. Glad to hear that it works for you. Reply With Quote
Dec 12, 2001 | 20:48 6 There is no short term organics. It is a long-range endevour. A good plan has an essential knowledge requirement along with the commitment to stick to it.

There is a wealth of knowledge available, most of which is free. There are books and web sites with most of the answers. An organic grower also must be open to trial and error. Some things will work consistently while others may need a little tweaking.

The real results will pop up after the fourth or fifth year. From then on it is a steady progression to harmony and bliss.

The market is there for the commercial enterprise. Start with a plan. Reply With Quote
Dec 13, 2001 | 09:32 7 Small scale producers - gardeners seem to be interested in organic practices. Have you thought of putting a course together through community college? Just an idea. Reply With Quote
Dec 13, 2001 | 12:15 8 How to you define what is organic? I have always had a big vegetable garden with annual and perennial vegies as well as flower plots and I garden the same way most farm plots were grown for the past 100 years. I never use commercial fertilizers and try to stay as close to nature as possible. This is easy for me on may scale, but I can see it might be more difficult if I had to make a living at it.

What is the advantage of Heritage seeds? Reply With Quote
Dec 13, 2001 | 16:36 9 Pandiana,

I would define organic as chemical free. There are many natural steps and solutions to most problems; I haven't met one that can't be dealt with organically. The foundation is building the soil to provide the nutrients your plants need.

In my thinking, the plants are the beginning of our food chain. All else draws nutrients which only plants can extract from the soil.

The greatest benefit of heirloom seeds is pure taste. It is always a comsumer complaint that most of the produce on store shelves have not taste. ioscience has bred plants for appearance and storage. It has cost us in flavour. Do your own taste tests.

Be it also said that many of the older varieties (heirloom) have acquired their own natural defences through natural heredity. Any plant (or animal) when, in receipt of essential nutrients, has a strong immune system. In todays world we are bombarded with chemicals and preservatives that are blocking and destroying the natural processes.

Let us all escape the unnatural world. Go organic. Reply With Quote
Jan 5, 2002 | 17:37 10 Dan

I agree that most plant breeding has been more for appearance and yield but there are many varieties that still have flavour and other desirable characteristics. The major problem is that you can't always have everything.

Until people reject the perfect looking vegetable for one that is better tasking commercial growers will continue to grow what looks good! Reply With Quote
Jan 6, 2002 | 05:00 11 Rod,

It is the multinationals who are dictating what is grown. They own major pieces of agriculture, processors and research. What they want is what they produce.

Look in this years seed catalogues for the varieties you grew last year. Many have been dropped. You now must decide on a new variety; bigger, better and just as, if not more expensive.

It is not organics but the orginal varieties (non-hybrid or fixed hybrid) must be maintained. If for no other reason than the biodiversity. Soon they will be crossing cousins, brothers & sisters, etc. Next in line is the potato on a tree or the melon-size peas.

Where does the buck stop? Reply With Quote
Jan 13, 2002 | 10:53 12 Dan

I agree that there must be a gene bank maintained, otherwise we risk losing valuable genes that may contain the answers to a certain pest problem.
The major problem is human nature and the need to try something new or percieved to be new. We are growing a variety of carrot that we started with 10 years ago and have not found one that will totallly replace it. The other example is the Russet Burbank, over 100 years old and still the main stay of growers because people know the name and thats what MacDonalds wants. Reply With Quote
Jan 14, 2002 | 06:47 13 Savings in a gene bank puts the future in the hands of multinationals. They have the money and technology. It is the original SEED that must be maintained which can be used by the grower; saved or hybridized.

With the freedom granted multinationals, what is to stop them from developing a GM variety for every crop. Then they would have total control. You would not have any choices. They are patenting every step, process and outcome. Your business is theirs; financially, without having to maintain the farm.

Speak out now before they gain total control. Even organic potential will be a non-concern/impossibility. Reply With Quote
Jan 21, 2002 | 23:55 14 To me, the best things in life are free but to them, they are "worth nothing"! Reply With Quote
Apr 6, 2002 | 15:12 15 I sometimes get concerned when I see things like this because it seems to me we are talking about two separate things. The organic way of growing things is a process and a choice.

The conversation at some point turns into a backlash against the big multinational companies. Are the two even related? If you grow organically and preserve your own seed etc, how does that preclude others from doing with the seed what they want?

Please help me out here. Reply With Quote
Apr 6, 2002 | 23:47 16 Cakadu
I agree with you it is a choice, just as being a vegetarian or eating meat is a choice. Unfortunately too many role it into a anti establishment, anti globalization back to nature type thing.

There will always be so called heritage varieties as plant breeders whether public or private realize the value of genetic material.

Companies such as Monsanto will only bring something to the market that will be saleable, it will have to have some agronomic or economic benefit for the farmer. If not farmers will go back to growing standard open pollinated varities that we have always used.

Dan mentioned about hybredizing, Gentic modification could be as simple as a hybredized variety. All genetic engineering has done is shorten the time from the first cross to commercialization from 10 years to matter of months. The price of progress, or the success of progress?
Rod Reply With Quote