About Going to Seed
Going to Seed is about what I learned and am still learning on my seed growing adventure. I usually post once a week. During the growing season I mainly write about growing, harvesting and cleaning seed. Through the winter, I focus more on planning and managing a seed farm. (Here you can read a recap of the first year of posts.)
About where I grow seed
Currently, I grow certified organic seed on a quarter acre at Tourne-Sol cooperative farm. This seed meets about 20% of the seed needs for the Tourne-Sol vegetable production. We also have our own seed catalog and sell seeds to other seed companies. (This is in addition to growing veggies, flowers, herbs and seedlings for the Ste-Anne farmers market and our 250 share CSA.)
The farm is 45 minutes West of Montreal along the St-Lawrence river in les Cèdres, Quebec. Situated in zone 5A, the frost free period is from mid May to early October. That’s the luxurious part of the equation. The growing season can be either wet wet wet or dry dry dry. Most years, that means 6 weeks of one then 6 weeks of the other. Summer temperatures easily get above 30C (86F) though recent history has had some cold summer blues. These are not ideal growing conditions for most seed crops – which paves the way for great learning!
I did not grow up on a farm though my parents did have a big garden and a much bigger lawn where I learned the basics of splinters, blisters, sweat, and how to drive a lawn tractor. A B. Sc. in agricultural engineering introduced me to irrigation and Excel spreadsheets, and refined my love of defining variables and planning.
However, the transition to farmer came in 2000 when I started working on farms (mostly growing vegetables but also grain and a bit of livestock.) I worked both as an apprentice and field manager on a range of scales from farms based around manual tools to tractors to draft horses.
In the fall of 2004, with some friends, I started Tourne-Sol cooperative farm.
Currently, I am president on the Canadian Organic Growers (COG) board of directors and on the Eastern Canadian Organic Seed Growers (ECOSGN) steering committee.
I also co-authored (with my co-farmer Fred Thériault) Crop Planning for Organic Vegetable Growers.