This time of year always sneaks up on us. One minute it's the beginning of November: the garlic is nestled in its bed and we are relieved to be done with farming for another season. We're packing it in for a "long winter", and ready for a break. We're tired and never want to see another weed again. We have flickering thoughts of 'why do we do this' and 'farming is hard'. Our friends and family still can't quite figure out where our passion for digging in the dirt comes from after helping with fall harvests. Blink and it's January 1st: seed catalogues start arriving in the mail and that familiar itch (every grower knows it) comes back. We can't wait to open up the field again, eat off the vine, chase the turkeys out of our fava beans and even weed the garlic. The long winter is still ahead but it doesn't matter because we know we'll be hardening off seedlings for transplant in a mere 16 weeks, and we really love being cozy right now anyway. And so the seasons turn.
As seed farmers, the winter is our busiest time of year. While we sit around the table germ-testing, printing envelopes, updating our website, and packing orders, we are simultaneously making a field plan, brainstorming improvements and choosing new varieties to try for next year. It's an exciting time; the possibilities are endless. Maybe you're a new gardener, an experienced farmer, or someone who's just dabbling with the idea of planting a seed, maybe you're reading along because you're curious about what we do - whatever your story is, thanks for being here. We hope this season finds you well.
Keep reading for a few updates:
New 2020 Flower Varieties
We are excited to be adding some new flower varieties to our catalogue this year. Flowers are a great way to make both pollinators and humans happy. We loved the bursts of colour these crops added to our field and home this summer.
Calendula makes a great potted plant to brighten any stoop. It is not perennial, but if you plant it in the garden it will self-sow and new plants will come up the following year. It is easy to direct-sow - a great flower for beginners!
Zinnias are a long-lasting cut flower, and this variety looks absolutely stunning in the garden. Person carpet zinnias boast an impressive range of yellows, oranges, and burgundies, both single and double blooms. We grew these zinnias for the tables at our wedding last summer, and might I say they looked quite lovely ;)
Cosmos are a dream: easy to grow, pretty to look at and happy to grace a vase for many days. In the field, they blow gently in the wind to and fro with the butterflies. Cosmos bloom early (especially if you give them a head-start indoors) and keep going until the frost.
My personal favourite: Strawflowers. These beauties have saturated colours that last for days in a vase and weeks when dried. I have strawflowers from years ago that look just as beautiful as the day they were harvested. Also easy to direct-sow and will bloom until a fall frost (do you sense a theme here?).
New 2020 Vegetable Varieties
ALE Kale *Ottawa-bred*
Bouchard Soup Pea
Purple Calabash Tomato
Sweet Granite Melon
Winter Red Kale
Zepplin Delicata Squash
Seedy Saturdays (and Sundays)
The most anticipated gardening events of the year! We love the excitement in the air as gardeners new and old geek out together on seeds. It's worth coming just for the experience; the energy is truly palpable. Lots of great vendors and interesting people to talk to and learn from. Click here to find out more about Seedy Saturdays. We'll be attending the following Seedy Events as vendors:
OTTAWA Seedy Saturday
Saturday March 7, 10am-3pm
Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre
102 Greenview Ave, Ottawa, ON
PEMBROKE Seedy Sunday
Sunday March 8, 10am-3pm
Rankin Culture & Recreation Centre
20 Rankin Rink Rd, Pembroke, ONKINGSTON Seedy Saturday
Saturday March 14, 10am-3pm
153 Van Order Dr, Kingston, ON
CORNWALL Seedy Saturday
Saturday March 21, 11am-3:30pm
800 Seventh St West, Cornwall, ON
Thanks for reading!
Jordan & Jamie
FREE SHIPPING with code "EDIBLE"
We are so happy to be featured in the "First Bites" section of the March/April 2018 Edible Ottawa Magazine! In celebration, we're offering free shipping on all online orders over $10 for the entire month of April! Make sure to take advantage of this deal and get your garden going by checking out our online store at www.birdandbee.ca and entering the code EDIBLE when you make your purchase.
Seedy Saturday Success
Thanks to all who supported local producers by attending Seedy Saturdays this winter :) We were happy to have done 4 events this year and look forward to branching out into more communities in years to come. We always enjoy meeting other producers and growers alike. If you missed out on the in-person sales, might we suggest you check out the online store?
There may still be snow on the ground but inside, seedlings are thriving! We are gearing up for spring and starting some new varieties for next year. Some crops you can look forward to in future catalogues: broccoli, peppers, parsley, onions, leeks, kale, and more! Don't have a garden of your own but curious to try it out? We are always happy for volunteers when it comes time to transplant these little guys. If you're interested, send us an email and stay tuned for more details.
Thanks for reading!
Bird & Bee
Looking out the window these days, it's hard to imagine that seed starts will be going into trays in just a few short weeks. The recent cold weather has given us lots of time to huddle indoors, flipping through seed catalogues and making plans for the upcoming growing season. In between brainstorming sessions we have managed to get out and enjoy the snow, too. Here we are on our way to a yurt in Gatineau Park with friends - highly recommend! We found the accommodations to be quite luxurious ;)
On the business front, our hands and minds have not been idle! We are gearing up for upcoming Seedy Saturday events, which will be taking place in February and March. If you've never attended one of these, might we suggest you come out and enjoy the fun? They are a great opportunity for gardeners and farmers to scope out interesting seed varieties, make seeds swaps, attend workshops and enjoy a lively community event. We will be participating as seed vendors in the following Seedy Saturday Events:
Almonte Seedy Saturday - February 10th, 9am-3pm
Ottawa Seedy Saturday - March 3rd, 9am-3pm
Kingston Seedy Saturday - March 10th, 10am-3pm
Cornwall Seedy Saturday - March 17th, 10am-3pm
Click on the links above for more details, including locations of the events. We hope to see you there! In the meantime... we'll be packing seeds, seeds, and more seeds.
Thanks for reading!
Bird & Bee