All posts by Chris Thoreau

Harvesting Carrot Seed

Harvesting Carrot Seed

As we harvest carrots from the BC Seed Trials we are still processing carrot seed from UBC Farm and the Sharing Farm. Although harvested over a month ago, the seed still needs to be processed to ready it for sale and planting. The seed dried down in the seed greenhouse

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BC Seed Gathering – BC Seed Trials Tour at UBC Farm

BC Seed Gathering – BC Seed Trials Tour at UBC Farm

We are happy to open the 2017 BC Seed Gathering with a visit to UBC Farm to learn more about the BC Seed Trials. The BC Seed Trials project, now completing its second year, is a collaboration between the Bauta Family Initiative on Canadian Seed Security, UBC Farm, and FarmFolk CityFolk. Through conducting vegetable

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Gleaning from the Variety Showcase

9 October 2017 Chris Thoreau One of my favourite trips of the past couple years has been my venture down to Portland to the Culinary Breeding Network’s Variety Showcase. Last week (sometimes it takes a while to get to these blog posts) I made it down for my second visit

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Carrot Seed Harvest Started

Carrot Seed Harvest Started

It has been a great season for carrot seed production so far and I was happy to start harvesting seed this week. Carrot seed matures over a period of time so I will watch for dry, mature umbels several times a week and harvest them as they are ready. This

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The Flies are Taking Over!

The Flies are Taking Over!

It was a real treat to check in on the carrots today, kind of. There so many flies in the enclosure it was overwhelming. So, of course, I took a video! Today also gave me the chance to tie up the carrots as they are getting more and more top

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Carrot Seed Update and Fly Breeding Schedule

Carrot Seed Update and Fly Breeding Schedule

To plan for having an adequate number of fly pollinators at all times during the carrot flowering period you can map out the lifecycle of the fly to create a schedule and breeding plan. This could look something like the following based on a typical fly lifecycle: Fly Breeding Schedule.

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Kale Breeding Workshop a Success!

Kale Breeding Workshop a Success!

Today we were happy to host Laurie McKenzie of the Organic Seed Alliance for our Kale Breeding Workshop in Duncan on Vancouver Island. We had a group of 18 eager and budding plant breeders ready to absorb all Laurie had to offer. This workshop was focused on kale as it

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Fly Breeding and Carrot Seed Project Progress

Fly Breeding and Carrot Seed Project Progress

This year, one of my goals in the carrot seed project is to breed our own flies to avoid ordering in pupae. There are a few reasons for this: The current source of blue bottle fly pupae we have is from a US source. There are no local or Canadian

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Seed Production in Italy

I (Chris Thoreau) am lucky enough to be in Italy at the moment, with a group of folks from Vancity Credit Union, to learn about the role of cooperatives in the Italian economy. We are primarily in the Emilia-Romagna region where Co-ops make up over 1/4 of the region’s economy

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Seed Mentee Blog #1 – Meg Curtis

My mentor is Sal Dominelli of Sweet Rock Farm on Gabriola Island (@sweetrockfarm on Instagram & sweetrockfarmseeds.com). Sal has been growing seed on Gabriola for fifteen years and selling commercially for the last six. Sweet Rock Farm is a 5-acre farm on Gabriola that has a good supply of water to source from during our

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2nd Year of Curly Kale Growth – Data Collection

2nd Year of Curly Kale Growth – Data Collection

We saw a particularly cold winter here in Vancouver and it killed most of the lacinato varieties of kale. The curly kale was quite damaged as well, but is making a fierce come back! The leaves still taste great too. In the second year of curly kale growth we will be

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2017 Leek Variety Trial Update!

The leek seedlings are looking great! They were seeded in the beginning of March and are ready to be transplanted into the field on Tuesday May 16th! We have 31 varieties of leeks being transplanted, unfortunately one variety had zero germination, but it happens and its a good thing we

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2017 Golden Beet Trial Seeded

2017 Golden Beet Trial Seeded

Tuesday May 9th was a beautiful day in Vancouver to breath some fresh farm air and seed 3 replicates of 8 golden beet varieties! We carefully measured out the plots, placed the correct stakes in as per the map we created. We randomized the order of the varieties between plots and

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Using Better Quality Stakes for the 2017 BC Seed Trials

Using Better Quality Stakes for the 2017 BC Seed Trials

At the farm sites where we trial the vegetable crop varieties, each plot must have a stake to indicate which variety is growing there. We use codes for ease of data collection and to avoid bias towards one variety or another. In the past we have used wooden stakes, which

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The Fly Generator

One of the goals of the 2017 Carrot Seed Project is to breed out own flies instead of buying pupae. Here is a short video showing the creation of my fly generator!   Here is the test run I made last year to get me started:  

Preparing and Planting Carrot Stecklings for Seed Production

Preparing and Planting Carrot Stecklings for Seed Production

Last week we got our isolation tent setup and our carrot stecklings planted at UBC Farm. This is a multi-step process which we documented much of. This is the first year doing the carrot seed project at UBC Farm. The carrot stecklings we are planting are Nash’s Nantes – bred

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Certificate in Organic Vegetable Seed Production with Canadian Organic Growers

Certificate in Organic Vegetable Seed Production with Canadian Organic Growers

Introducing the 22-week online Certification Course in Organic Vegetable Seed Production through the Canadian Organic Growers! This flexible online course is delivered with online readings and webinars while studying The Organic Seed Grower book by John Navazio and Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties by Carol Deppe. The experienced course instructors are Patrick

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Carrot Seed Project – Breeding Flies

Carrot Seed Project – Breeding Flies

One of my favourite projects is our carrot seed project. This project involves growing carrots to seed in an isolation tent to prevent cross-pollination with a common weed – Queen Anne’s lace. I have blogged frequently about this project in the past. Carrots require insects for cross pollination and these

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