which glowing class dmitri delsyn l2 pvp accumulate that epic l2sea8 reception hidereception aggregate with avatar design only characters dark
CALL US Toll Free: 866-735-4454 (8-6pm M-F EST)           Login/Register     My Account     My Wishlist     My Cart: 0 Items   Total: $0.00    Checkout 
High Mowing Organic Seeds
High Mowing Organic Seeds High Mowing Organic Seeds
   

The Seed Bin - May 2011

 

What's Happening At High Mowing?


As we write this the sun is finally shining - a welcome sight this spring! It's been a cold and wet spring in Vermont, with record flooding in certain parts of the state. Our fields have been too wet to do much planting, but now with this sun we're optimistic that we'll get back on schedule! The greenhouse is bursting with seedlings ready to transplant, and the production staff is hard at work planting even more seeds.

This year we're conducting several exciting and interesting trials. One of our friends at Caledonia Spirits was looking for a local, non-GMO, organic source of sugar for his distillery, so we've collaborated with the USDA to trial 15 different types of organic sugar beets. We're also working on growing true potato seed - these are the actual seeds, not the tubers. In the future we hope to be able to ship you a packet of potato seeds, not the cumbersome tubers! Another trial involves the planting of mature onions, carrots and turnips to grow out for seed stock. It's been an odd site to see the trials crew planting full root crops back in the ground! We'll keep you updated on these trials in our blog The Seed Hopper, so stay tuned.

And in case you missed it, don't forget to check out the blog post about Medicinal Qualities of Organic Culinary Plants by staff member Sarah Zettelmeyer.

Happy gardening!




Seed Storage

- Sarah Zettelmeyer, High Mowing Organic Seeds Sales Associate

Often crop seed is left over in the package after planting. This excess seed can be saved for next year's garden, usually with little loss in germination.

Seeds do carry on their basic life processes even while in the dormant stage, just at a very slow rate.  The point of keeping the seed stored properly is to prevent the metabolic activity from accelerating to the point of germination.  To make this happen you need to keep your seeds away from moisture and heat, and hungry critters who may want to eat them.
Storage temperature, relative humidity and seed moisture are the important factors in determining how long seed can be stored without loss of germination.

Appropriate Storage Containers

Package the seed in moisture-proof containers and store it in a refrigerator or freezer. A moisture-proof container is one that stores seed safely while submerged in water. Use sealed cans or jars, rather than plastic bags.  In general, longer seed storage life is obtained when seeds are kept dry and at low temperatures. Storage temperatures between 35°F and 50°F are satisfactory when the moisture content of the seed is low.  Don’t leave your seeds hanging around in the open air, especially if you live in a humid climate, as they will absorb moisture from the air.  
 
Get your jars ready for the freezer. Date each jar so that you know when you stored the seeds. Specify which seeds came from your own garden if you want to keep them separate.

How long can the seeds can be stored and still be viable?

  • Seeds from pumpkin, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes and watermelon will last up to five years.
  • Spinach, carrots, peas, beans and broccoli seeds will only remain viable for up to four years.
  • Onion, corn and lettuce seeds can only be stored for two years.

Conditions Essential to Good Seed Storage

Conditions essential to good seed storage are just the opposite of those required for good germination. Good germination occurs when water and oxygen are present at a favorable temperature. Good seed storage results when:
  • seeds are kept dry (below 8 percent moisture) and,
  • the temperature is kept low (below 40 degrees).
When seed moisture and storage temperatures are low, the presence of oxygen has not been shown to be a factor in seed longevity.  Moisture rate is difficult for most home gardeners to determine, but a quick test is to see if the seed breaks instead of bends when folded. If it breaks, the moisture content is low enough to store.  And, hard shelled seeds such as corn or beans will shatter instead of flatten and are mushy when placed on a hard surface and hit with a hammer.

Drying Your Own Seeds Before Storage

If you are collecting and saving your own seeds from vegetables you grew, most seeds, in most climates, will dry adequately for home storage when spread out on a paper towel or newspaper in a well ventilated in a shady spot or inside for a week.  Depending on the type of seed, you may need to change the paper a few times.  Avoid the temptation to rush the drying process by adding heat.  This may cause the seeds to crack or shrink and make it so the seed coat is impenetrable.  Drying the seed at too high a temperature (anything above 100 degrees) will greatly reduce the seed viability.  Also, if you accidentally expose your seed to moisture after you have dried them, you greatly reduce the viability of your seed by trying to dry them again. 

Beans and peas are particularly subject to over drying and therefore should not be dried as completely as other seed. If they have been over-dried, they germinate better if exposed to a humid atmosphere for two weeks before planting.

Remove your seeds from the freezer when you're ready to plant them. Set them aside until they come to room temperature again before using your seeds to reduce condensation in the jar.  

References: 

Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth
Saving Seeds: The Gardener’s Guide to Growing and Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds by Marc Rogers


Top of Page


Seedborne Disease and its Control - Jodi Lew-Smith, Ph.D. Director of Research and Production


Some plant diseases are spread through the actual seeds themselves. When customers buy our seeds, we do our best to ensure that these seeds are disease-free. Non-organic companies can spray their seeds with chemical fungicides to kill off the diseases, but organic companies such as ours need to utilize different tactics. The following article by Dr. Jodi Lew-Smith, our Director of Research and Production at High Mowing Organic Seeds, details the different types of seedborne diseases and how we treat them.


Types of Seedborne Disease Pathogens

Seedborne disease refers to the particular plant diseases that are transmitted by seed. In some cases the transmission on seed is insignificant compared to the population of disease organisms that exist in soil or on weed species. In other cases, the transmission on seed is the primary means by which a disease spreads. While we are cautious about any type of disease on seed, it is this latter set of diseases that we must be most vigilant in controlling. For the purposes of this article, we will call them seed-specific diseases.

Diseases of plants are caused primarily by three types of pathogens: bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Despite that fungi comprise the largest group of pathogens, the bulk of seed-specific diseases are caused by bacteria or viruses. This is due to the fact that bacteria and viruses are more adept at entering and then traveling through the veins of the plant, a phenomenon known as ‘systemic infection,’ and from the vascular system may make their way into the developing embryos of seeds.

Fungi, in contrast, tend to be restricted to the outer layers of the plant, where they initiate infection by means of air-borne spores and then proceed to spread by attacking nearby cells of the outer layers. Fungi are much less likely to enter the vascular system of the plant, and thus infect seed mostly when they either ‘crawl’ all the way to seed on the outside of the plant, or else send out spores that land on the seed. In either case, the fungal spores are on the outside of the seed, in the layers of the seed coat. Spores on the seed coat are more prone to either dry up and die, or else to get sloughed off with the seed coat during seed germination, thereby failing to cause disease on the next generation of plants.

Treatment Methods for Seedborne Disease

Disease pathogens restricted to the seed coat are treatable by external application of anti-microbial agents such as bleach, acid, trisodium phosphate, or other commercial products. Rarely do these treatments effect 100% sterilization, but they can greatly reduce levels of pathogens. These types of treatments are typically used for the class of non-seed-specific diseases in which seedborne transmission is minor compared to the levels of inoculum already present in soil due to crop debris. An example of such a disease is cucurbit scab (Cladosporium cucumerinum), a fungal disease which tends to flare up in wet years on fields that have grown cucurbits repeatedly.

Seed-specific disease pathogens that reside inside the seed, which are typically bacteria or viruses, cannot be eliminated by surface sterilization. Because they’re often inside the embryo itself, these pathogens are almost certain to divide and spread to cause infection when that seed germinates and grows. They cannot be eradicated by external application of chemicals, however, they are susceptible to the one agent that can penetrate the interior of the seed, which is heat. The number one method for sterilizing seed is to treat it with either wet or dry heat, which penetrates to the core of seed. Heat kills the majority of bacterial and fungal pathogens, and bacterial pathogens are particularly sensitive to heat. Wet heat, in the form of hot water, is more effective than dry heat, and thus the most common method for treatment of seed disease is hot water of 122ºF (50ºC) for 20-25 minutes. We have found in our own lab, though, that temperatures of 118ºF (47ºC) are equally effective for most pathogens and less damaging to the seed.

Hot water is commonly used for treatment of most small seeds, but is less effective and more difficult to use for large seeds. Large seeds tend to be damaged by wetting and re-drying, are more difficult to penetrate fully with heat, and are so bulky as to make it difficult to efficiently wet and dry them. 

Unfortunately, viral pathogens are generally not susceptible to heat, although dry heat has been shown to have some efficacy against certain tomato viruses. Solutions of bleach or trisodium phoshphate are sometimes used to remove surface infections of virus in pepper and tomato seed. In general, though, viral pathogens are quite difficult or impossible to remove from seed, and thus virus-diseased plants in a seed field are almost always pulled up and destroyed immediately.


Specific Seedborne Diseases and their Control

A.    Black Rot

At High Mowing we take seed borne disease very seriously. We believe most seed companies will agree that the number one seedborne disease of concern is black rot of crucifers. Black rot, caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc), is highly virulent to all crucifers - the group that includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards, turnips, and many different salad greens. Because it is so deadly, it tends to kill its host plant if it infects the plant early. Whole fields are quickly wiped out if black rot takes hold early in the season. If you think about this from the pathogen’s perspective, you’ll realize this gives the pathogen a unique problem: How do I get myself over to a new field of healthy crucifers once I’ve killed all the plants in this field? I can’t live in soil, I need live tissue to survive, so golly, I really shouldn’t have murdered all my hosts. But oh, wait, across the hedge line, in that field over there. I see some plants that don’t look sick yet and they’re flowering. I think I’ll mosey my way over there and get up in those flowers in time to get into the seeds. I know I can live in seeds, and seeds will take me a long way away to where there are certainly more hosts to infect.

OK, enough for taking this so seriously! But the point is that it takes a late infection for black rot to infect seed, giving the plant time to grow to full size, flower, and set seed before black rot infects. This means the most likely scenario for seed infection with black rot is a seed field that looks perfectly healthy most of the season but becomes infected sometime after flower stalks emerge, thereby allowing a small proportion of the total seed crop to be infected.

For this reason, we and other seed companies are exceedingly fastidious about testing for black rot. Larger seed production companies who grow crucifer crops all have their own labs for testing seed using high tech methods for detection of proteins specific to the black rot bacteria. All of our hybrid crucifer seed is tested in this manner, by the companies that produce the seed and are themselves vigilant in preventing black rot.

In the past year a new tool has also become available, a simple-to-use strip test, similar to a pregnancy test, that detects black rot proteins in ground samples of seed. In our High Mowing lab we now use these strip tests for all small lots of crucifer seed that we have grown by our own contract seed growers. The strip test, together with a sophisticated sampling technique that takes seed from all portions of the lot, assures that the seed is free of black rot down to the sensitivity level of the test. Note that no test guarantees 100% absence of disease in every last seed of the lot, as you can only ever test a sample.

We have yet to have a seed lot test positive for black rot, however the one good aspect of black rot is that the bacteria is highly sensitive to heat, and crucifer seed is very easily treated with hot water. This means any lots for which there is any reason whatsoever to suspect disease can be preventatively treated with hot water. Most larger high-value seed companies routinely treat all crucifer lots with hot water.

Tomato Mosaic Virus

Another highly infectious seedborne disease is tomato (or tobacco) mosaic virus, commonly called TMV. Unlike black rot, TMV rarely kills its host plant, making it that much easier for the virus to enter the seed and get passed along. This makes TMV in seed much more common than black rot, and thus that much more of a problem.

Luckily for growers, though, for some varieties the symptoms of low-level TMV infection are nearly undetectable, making it a non-issue for tomato growers. As a seed company, though, we feel it our responsibility to never knowingly sell seed infected with disease. For this reason we use a similar strip test to the one described above for black rot to test all incoming tomato stock seed for our own productions to make sure it is TMV-free before planting for seed crops. If virus symptoms are detected during the growing season, we use the same test to assay for virus in the leaves. If it is detected, we will pull and destroy the plants immediately. Similarly, all of our hybrid tomato seed is watched closely throughout the growing season and then tested either by us or by the companies that produce it for sale, assuring it is free of TMV.  


Other Tested Diseases

The reality of the seed business is that disease testing is expensive and thus reflected in the cost of the seed. The higher-value the seed, the greater the number of tests it receives. For lower-value seed, the primary strategy is prevention. This means:
  • growing seed crops in ideal climates whenever possible,
  • making sure all growers are responsible about walking crops to scout for signs of disease and then pulling up any with confirmed disease,
  • using only disease-free stock seed for planting productions,
  • and performing preventive applications of organically-allowable sprays where necessary.
  • Tomato seed is also routinely fermented during harvest, a process that eliminates nearly all surface pathogens.

Top of Page

Succession Planting - Megen Hall, High Mowing Sales Associate


Why plant a whole bunch of spinach – or lettuce for that matter – all at once when you can stagger your plantings for a continuous harvest?  This is a fairly simple concept, but it will require a bit of planning and some specific knowledge about varieties.  The following strategies will help you plan for a whole season of succession plantings, allowing you to spread out your harvest longer.  Please note that much of the information about seasonally slotted varieties is geared toward growing in Northern regions and may not apply to regions with unusually warm or long growing seasons.

Staggering the planting dates of the same cultivar may be enough for some crops, while other crops require planting different varieties that are best slotted for particular parts of the growing season.  For instance, beans are best grown during the summer and do not have varieties for suited for spring or fall plantings.  Rather than sowing all your beans at once, plant a portion of your seed and continue to sow more of the same every 2-3 weeks so that a new crop will be ready as the earlier one begins to wane.  In contrast, some crops are particularly finicky about temperature or light requirements, etc.  While one type of lettuce may do fine in the fall, the same variety might be quick to bolt in the summer.  For example, green leaf lettuce can be sown every three weeks for a continual harvest, but it is best to change varieties as the characteristics of the seasons change. Begin your season with Waldmann’s, as it is best suited for spring production because it requires cooler temperatures for germination and has only moderate bolt resistance.  As the temperatures begin to rise, switch to Two Star, which is a similar variety, but will withstand the summer heat with more resistance to bolting.  And wrap up your season with Lettony because it excels in the fall due to it’s resistance to Downy Mildew. 

When planning out your garden, allow for enough space in your rows to plant all the seed that you plan to sow.  Using beans as an example again, if you plan to sow 15 row feet of beans, begin by planting 5 ft.  In 2-3 weeks, sow another 5 ft, and repeat again after 2-3 weeks.  You will be able to harvest your first planting about 3 times and just when the harvest begins to diminish, you next crop should be ready to pick and so on.  You can till in or remove your first crop and bring to a compost pile.  If tilling in, you will want to wait a few weeks before replanting anything into that same location.  If you are clearing the plants for a future planting, add some compost to replenish your soil and plant your next crop.  This same rule can be applied to all the crops in the following table, being sure to switch varieties as you go for seasonally slotted crop types.

The following table will help you to plot out your garden for continual harvests of multiple crops throughout the growing season.  The crop types and varieties listed are particularly well suited for succession planting.

Crop Type

Variety Name

Seasonal Slot

How Often  

Beans, snap

All Varieties

Summer

Every 2-3 weeks

Beets

Early Wonder

Spring - Summer

Every 2-3 weeks

Beets

All Varieties

Summer (Main season)

Every 2-3 weeks

Beet Greens

All Varieties

Spring - Fall

Every 2-3 weeks

Chard, baby leaf

All Varieties

Spring - Fall

Weekly

Arugula

All Varieties

Spring - Fall

Every 3 weeks

Flowering Brassica

Hon Tsai Tai

Mid-summer - Fall

Every 2-3 weeks

Flowering Brassica

Spring Raab

Early Spring - Mid summer

Every 2-3 weeks

Flowering Brassica

Te You

Late Spring - Early Fall

Every 2-3 weeks

Garden Cress

All Varieties

Spring, Late Summer

Every 2-3 weeks

Mustard Greens

All Varieties

Early Spring - Mid summer

Every 2-3 weeks

Radish Greens

Hong Vit

Mid spring, Late Summer

Every 4 weeks

Kale, baby leaf

All Varieties

Spring - Fall

Every 4-5 weeks

Spinach

Corvair

Spring, Fall

Every week

Spinach

Renegade F1

Spring, Summer, Fall

Every week

Spinach

Regiment F1

Spring, Summer, Fall

Every week

Spinach

Giant Winter

Fall

Every week

Spinach

Samish F1

Spring, Fall

Every week

Spinach

Tyee F1

Spring, Summer

Every week

Spinach

Bloomsdale Longstanding

Spring, Fall

Every week

Spinach

Winter Bloomsdale

Early Spring, Fall

Every week


The following table is specific to growing lettuce due to its varying seasonal characteristics.  All lettuce varieties can be sown every 3 weeks for continual harvest.


Lettuce Type

Variety Name

Seasonal Slot

Comments

Red Leaf

Magenta

Spring, Summer

 

Red Leaf

Lovelock

Spring, Summer, Fall

Heat tolerant

Red Leaf

New Red Fire

Spring, Summer, Fall

 

Red Leaf

Red Sails

Spring, Summer

Does not bitter in summer heat

Red Leaf

Galactic

Spring, Summer, Fall

Best for baby leaf

Red Leaf

Antago

Spring, Fall

Suited to low light conditions

Red Leaf

Dark Lollo Rossa

Spring, Fall

 

Red Leaf

Red Tide

Spring, Fall

 

Green Leaf

Black Seeded Simpson

Spring, Summer, Fall

Withstands heat, drought, and frost

Green Leaf

Waldmann’s

Spring

 

Green Leaf

Two Star

Spring, Summer, Fall

Heat Tolerant

Green Leaf

Lettony

Fall

 

Green Leaf

Bergam’s Green

Spring, Summer, Fall

 

Green Leaf

Nevada

Summer

Bolt resistant

Oak Leaf

Bolsachica

Fall

Best for baby leaf

Oak Leaf

Tango

Spring, Fall

Best for baby leaf

Oak Leaf

Sulu

Fall

Best for baby leaf

Oak Leaf

Blade

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Best for baby leaf

Oak Leaf

Flint

Fall

Best for baby leaf

Oak Leaf

Salad Bowl

Spring, summer, Fall

Best for baby leaf

Oak Leaf

Red Salad Bowl

Spring, Fall

Best for baby leaf

Oak Leaf

Oscarde

Spring, Fall

 

Oak Leaf

Emerald Oak

Spring, Summer, Fall

 

Oak Leaf

Red Oak Leaf

Spring, Summer, Fall

Does not bitter in summer heat

Romaine Cos

Defender

Spring, Summer, Fall

Best for baby leaf

Romaine Cos

Spock

Spring, Summer, Fall

Best for baby leaf

Romaine Cos

Spretnak

Spring, Summer, Fall

Best for baby leaf

Romaine Cos

Breen

Spring, Summer, Fall

 

Romaine Cos

Tin Tin

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Maintains flavor and texture in winter temps

Romaine Cos

Aerostar

Spring, Summer, Fall

 

Romaine Cos

Freckles

Spring, Summer, Fall

Best for baby leaf

Romaine Cos

Outredgeous

Spring, Summer

Best for baby leaf

Romaine Cos

Parris Island Cos

Spring, Summer, Fall

 

Romaine Cos

Winter Density

Spring, Summer, Fall

Heat and frost tolerant

Romaine Cos

Jericho

Spring, Summer, Fall

Heat tolerant

Romaine Cos

Cimarron

Spring

 

Romaine Cos

Green Towers

Spring, Summer, Fall

 

Romaine Cos

Rouge d’ Hiver

Fall

Frost tolerant

Romaine Cos

Coastal Star

Spring, Late Summer

Heat Tolerant

Butterhead/Bibb

Kweik

Spring, Fall, Winter

Cool season production only

Butterhead/Bibb

Optima

Spring

 

Butterhead/Bibb

Pirat

Spring, Fall, Winter

Heat tolerant

Butterhead/Bibb

Forlina

Spring, Fall, Winter

 

Butterhead/Bibb

Roxy

Spring

 

Butterhead/Bibb

Sylvesta

Spring, Fall, Winter

 

Iceberg

Boulder

Spring

 

Lettuce Mixes

Gourmet Mix

Spring, Summer, Fall

 

Lettuce Mixes

High Mowing DMR Mix

Fall

Suitable for indoor production

Lettuce Mixes

Yankee Hardy Mix

Fall

 

Lettuce Mixes

Red Planet Mix

Spring, Summer

 



Top of Page


Katie's Kitchen - Stir-Fry It! The Anything Goes Meal! - Katie Lavin, Wholesale Sales Manager


Greens love the cool weather of spring.  Here is a basic recipe for using a bunch of greens, usually the first items to appear in a CSA share, at the farmer’s market, and in your garden. Serve with rice or noodles.


Spring Stir Fry


Ingredients (or whatever other vegetables you have kicking around)


1 bunch scallions, chopped

1 bunch green garlic tops, chopped
½ lb of carrots
1-2 cups of snow peas or sugar snap peas
1-2 bunches of greens (think tat soi, Chinese cabbage, pac choi, or kale), coarsely chopped
Tofu or chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes

Saute your tofu or chicken in oil and turn a few times, until golden and cooked through.  Remove from pan.  Sauté your carrots until mostly tender, then add the peas, scallions, and garlic greens.  Add the chopped up leafy greens and cover until they wilt down.  Add your stir fry sauce, stir to coat the vegetables, and heat through for s few minutes.  Spoon over noodles or rice.



Hal's Stir Fry Sauce

Adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp honey
1-2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
1-2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp arrowroot powder or 1 Tbsp corn starch  (I use arrowroot)

Mix all sauce ingredients together except the arrowroot powder. Put the powder into a separate small bowl and dissolve with a few spoonfuls of the sauce and stir, then add together with the rest of the sauce. Add sauce to stir fry a few minutes before the end.


Top of Page

which glowing class dmitri delsyn l2 pvp accumulate that epic l2sea8 reception hidereception aggregate with avatar design only characters dark

Non GMO Project Verified USDA Organics Vermont Organics Copyright 2016 High Mowing Organic Seeds. All Rights Reserved.
76 Quarry Road :: Wolcott, VT 05680 :: toll free: 866-735-4454 :: fax: 802-472-3201
Join us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter!