Today we did our first day of packing seeds for the 2017 BC Seed Trials.
Our first crop to pack was leeks as these will be sown earliest in the season. They spend a long time in the ground and need an early start.
We have a very wide selection of leek seeds this year from all over the place including many from BC. We’ll be seeing how well these long season crops hold up going into the winter.
Once a crop has been chosen for the trials (a process in itself) there are a number of steps that occur:
- Choose the type within that crop you want to work with
- For leeks we are looking at OP leeks that hold up well in winter
- Start identifying relevant varieties and sources of each crop
- Most of this is done online, but you cana lso talk to local growers who may also have seed
- Make a list of the varieties and their sources in a spreadsheet to get them organized
- Determine the plot size for each crop – in number of plants or bed feet
- Calculate the amount of seed needed for the pre-determined number of plants or bed feet
- As a buffer, be sure to order much extra seed! Your price per unit weight goes down significantly as your volume goes up
- Check prices on seed for the volume you need and add these prices to the variety list spreadsheet to help calculate your total seed costs.
- Don’t forget to include shipping and US dollar exchange
- Ask about bulk pricing if none are shown on the website
- Order your seeds!
- When they arrive, mark them as received in your spreadsheet
When we receive the seeds we repack them into new envelopes to send to growers. The new envelopes do not state the variety name, rather just a code, so growers do not know which variety is which. By dong “blind” trials, growers cannot easily show preference towards a specific variety.
We print labels with the required number of each variety code and affix them to smaller envelopes. Then we add the seeds.
Once all the seeds are repacked they can be assembled into packages to send out to farmers. Packages can include:
- Seed packs
- Planting stakes
- Promotional material
Packages can be mailed or delivered in person to farmers. In-person delivery can be expensive and time consuming but is important for building a relationship with the growers. We do a combination of mailing and delivery as we often have several different crop packages to distribute throughout the year.