Food shortages? Not when you grow your own!

There is some talk going around the internet of upcoming food shortages forecast either to scare people or force them into accepting government handouts. But whatever the reason, it does not concern me and whenever possible I post when I have extras if either plants or food, veggies, strawberries etc. Join the contact list if you are interested.

We could be going into a period of some shortness of supply but there is plenty you can do if you are concerned. For as long as humans have been around, we have been growing food. People have the know how and the ability no matter where they live. City lots can be turned into blooming orchards and food gardens, feeding and sheltering their inhabitants. Many cities create block clubs where they organize and share. This way the workload is also shared. Many elders miss the days of fresh food and would gladly trade their space for a few vegetables because they cannot do the work a garden takes anymore. Kids are naturally engaged gardeners and love knowing where their food comes from. It is a perfect family activity. It heals and connects.

If you have a shortness of space or time, there are many indoor and automated growing systems to look at. Even a small tub of fresh greens or sprouts are easy to do and very healing. It starts small and grows from there!

There are even groups in Edmonton doing food yards for newcomers to Canada. Many of these people are used to growing all their own food, and miss it dearly. All they need is a space to do it in and come from cultures and communities where resource sharing is a way of life. How crazy is it that we live in a land of such plenty but don’t know how to grow for ourselves?!? Many of us realize we have to get back to a local economy, local food, local trade and businesses that supply from small producers.

Did you know most of the grocery stores you buy from have no avenue to accommodate small farms and small producers? There is so much food that goes to waste because the farmer does not meet the “minimum”requirements of the big chain stores? I once was involved in a local food coop and we had about 10,000 lbs of potatoes at the end of the season. We called around to many food distributors and large suppliers but they would not take them as that was too small for them to bother with!!! We distributed what we could but the rest went to waste. So sad. I have always said that it is not a problem growing food here in Alberta, but the system to get it to the hands of people is what’s messed up. I even offered that people could come out and get them for free! No one responded.

Another thing we could do to prevent food shortages is create more local food processing facilities. Owned by the people for the people. It would provide jobs and help alleviate this supposed food shortage. Many are starting to realize we need to implement some of these actions ourselves because if it does not put money in the pocket of government and industry, they are not interested.

If you are looking for ways you can be part of the solution, long term, check out constitutional conventions dot ca. Action, answers, ands way forward.


Heirloom seeds? What’s the difference?

I often get asked what heirloom seeds are and how do they differ from other seeds offered. So I will attempt to answer that to the best of my ability.

Heirloom seeds are generally considered an open pollinated seed variety from history. To qualify, the general rule of thumb is that the variety has been around for at least 50 years. Older than some gardeners!! And the seed is identical to the parents it came from. With very small variances for environmental differences, seeds from Heirloom varieties will be largely unchanged from the time your great grandmother grew it. And that is exciting!!

Now we know that nature is intelligent and that seeds are adapting to changes in the environment all the time. So in small ways the plants are improving over time, but generally these varieties will still be recognizable after all these years. I have found that Heirlooms outperform hybrid seeds in most cases. They are often earlier and can adapt over time to be even earlier the longer you grow them in your garden because they can adapt. Like us, plants have all kinds of suppressed genetic material that it can activate if need be in the case of diseases and creating hormones that either fend off insect attack or warn nearby plants that there is a danger. Cool, eh?

I find heirlooms taste better in almost all cases, especially in the family of tomatoes, corn (if you are looking for that rich old fashioned corn taste), beans, and peas. This holds true for most vegetable families in the Heirloom category. Why? Because they have been selected the old way for taste or production or form or fruit, that all kinds of gardeners of old did naturally in their gardens. You had to save seed year to year so naturally you saved the ones that did the best and tasted how you preferred.

Now what about this open pollinated idea? Open pollinated means that the plants, say from beans, are able to cross freely and naturally with themselves or other beans to create fertilized seeds that would grow the next year. That may seem like a no brainer, but now a days industrial farms use terminator seeds, created by those who value profit above all else. These seeds are often treated with Tetrachlorine and other chemicals that gradually kills the germ in the seed after a period, usually 1 year, so that farmers and growers cannot keep seeds and have to keep buying them each year. Ever wonder why seed germination goes down so quickly in the store bought seeds you buy? This could be why but it can also have to do with storage conditions. More on that in another blog.

There are also hybrid seeds. A hybrid is a crossing of two parent plants or parent lines to get a seed that is called an F1 generation. If you have seen F1 behind the name of the seeds in a catalogue now you know what that means. Some F1’s are created naturally like great grandma did trying to get a green ripening tomato rather than a red one, or a bean with more length, or a corn with shorter cobs. Natural selection was a great addition to the way man began to farm way back when. It still exists today and many great seed companies have their own on site breeding programs.

And then there are F1’s created by crossing two parent lines that have been inbred to themselves for a few generations in order to suppress most genetic expressions except the one characteristic that the breeder is looking for. This happens a lot in corn. The problem is corn is an outbreeding plant and has to crossbreed with many different plants to maintain its genetic viability and strength. When inbred so much, these parent lines are weak, but that is part of the trick. Once the two genes that breeders are looking for are inbred enough in two separate parent lines, they then allow them to cross and the next generation, the F1, will be more vigorous and express both those characteristics well. The seed saved from any F1’s will not hold true to the next generation however, so although you can try to save the seeds, the next generation, the F2, will be highly ununiform.

I believe not all seeds stated to be F1’s actually are. The manufacturer just may want to deter seeds saving, but until you know how they created those seeds, you will be flying blind if you want to save those seeds and grow them again. If you’re a beginner you may want to stick with trusted seed from Heirloom growers.

The other issue with some seed from seed sources, especially large companies is that they themselves do not often save seeds, but they may trial it from their bigger suppliers. Monsanto and Seminis are two huge seed creators and there is often nothing natural about it. They are out for profit and many of their varieties are created in a lab so they can patent them. Proprietary rights are the name of the game. I avoid these seeds, because I want real food and natural food systems, unadulterated by chemicals and pseudoscience.

One other thing to mention is that a seed variety is usually it’s name. Say for beans – Blue Jay would be one variety, Oma’s Speckled Green Pod is another. Tomato is the kind and for a seed grower, variety names are everything. It is obviously how we keep them all sorted out. Get to know the plants you grow by name and they will never let you down!

I hope you learned a few things from this little chat today and if you did, feel free to send it on to friends and family! Knowledge is power.

Edmonton Seed Sale

Hello Beautiful People!!

Some of you will have attended the Edmonton Seedy Sunday event last weekend online. Not quite the same, but as we move towards a freer world and more awareness that some dangers have passed, more in person events will be offered. Now more than ever, seeds are showing their importance as the start of food security and we are happy to be part of your collection of seeds!

The Edmonton Horticultural Society is having in person meetings again, their first being March 28, 2022 from 6:30-9 PM at the central Lions Recreation Center (11113 113 st) in Edmonton. This is where Seedy Sunday used to be held and they have asked if I would be interested in coming out to have a table. I am interested and so have committed to be there. Those of you who have ordered potatoes or seeds that want to pick them up can come there then. Those who just miss the face to face aspect of seed sales can come there as well and peruse our selection of quality seeds. And remember, open pollinated seeds are ones you can grow and save seed from yourself, lessening your cost over time.

Hope to see all your bright and shining faces at this event, and we welcome any inquiries about ordering ahead to pick up there. But remember, I would have to have those orders today or tomorrow for sure. Thanks again!

Summer Events 2022

We are planning a few events on farm this summer. Typically we need help putting in the garden in the spring, working it in the summer and harvesting in the fall. In conjunction with the harvest, I hold seed saving workshops for some hands on experience and am doing the same this year, but will be conducting a more in depth seed saving workshop in the early summer. Stay tuned for that.

We will host an online seed starting course in March 16, 6:30-8:30, as we are getting ready for those seedlings in the indoor environment. If you are interested in learning how to start seeds, what mediums to use, how to do it and when, we will cover all the basics during this course. It is via zoom and will be full of info. Cost is $25 per participant and we will run with 10 participants and more. Email smileyo at for registration ahead. You must register ahead for this one so I know who will be there.

Growing in a greenhouse. This workshop will be held May 14, 2022. We can only accommodate 10 participants in this course. We will talk about constructing and growing in a greenhouse, show different alternatives to greenhouses such as low tunnels and high tunnels and learn the basics of growing inside a greenhouse in beds or in containers. We will start at 10 and end around 2 pm. Bring a lunch and your gardening gloves. Cost is $50. Register ahead at above email.

How to grow Strawberries – this workshop is for participants who want to know how to plant strawberries, what is involved in a large or small operation to be successful. We will spend time explaining layouts, options, plant survival, and success. Participants must be in good physical condition and be ready to apply what they learn in the strawberry field as we gain hands on experience. Registration is a must. Cost is $35. Runs from 10-2 on April 30, weather dependent.

Planting a garden – May 28 and June 4, 2022, 10 AM to 3 PM. If you have no experience seeding, planting or planning a garden, come along for a journey into growing, immersing yourself in the experience in a large space. We will only have space for 10 participants. Learn as you go. You must come for the entire day and as a reward, you can take home some seeds for your own garden. Bring a pack lunch, your gardening tools, energy and willingness. Register as above.

Want to learn about mushrooms? Our ever popular mushroom foraging courses are back! We will be hosting 2 wild mushroom courses this summer. The first will be June 15, the second August 6. The one in June will be an introductory course, heavy in identification and keying mushrooms, classification and what to look for in the wilderness. The second will build on the first and will be intensive in it’s scope. Both courses will feature a potluck lunch and courses featuring mushrooms if we find any. We will run rain or shine. Each course is $50 and registration is a must.

Biodynamic growing introduction to theory and techniques. Based on the concepts of universal connection of Rudolph Steiner, BioDynamics is a very involved and spiritual way of growing food, connecting to the soil and the regeneration of it is key. You will gain an appreciation of the subtlety of this connection and learn to begin growing in this way. We do not have any dates yet, but if interested, please contact us.

Cob building – We plan to hold hands on courses building an outdoor pizza oven constructed out of natural on the land materials. This workshop will enable you to grasp the basics of cob construction, how to mix materials and how to create with them, which can be used and adapted to other constructions including building walls. Contact us if interested in attending in July. No dates set yet.

Hands on building workshops using natural materials – aside from cob, there are natural materials such as whole logs, formed bricks from natural materials, and cordwood which can be used to create homes, sheds and outbuildings. We will host workshops featuring all of these to construct a simple outdoor shower and bathroom facility in our summer camping area. If you would be interested in attending and learning more, contact us, as we do not have dates set yet.

Organic Growing – based on the course I teach at the Organic Master Gardener Course in Stony Plain, this course will give you an understanding of what is involved in being an organic grower, whether you choose to certify or whether you are interested in your own little backyard plot or pots. Terms, definitions, and in depth exploration of the organic growing principles, requirements and considerations will be taught. We will host this as a zoom meeting March 10, 6:30-8:30 pm, registration is required. Cost is $35. Email for details and to register.

Evolved thinking about you and your interaction with the world. More than at any time in history, now is the time to begin to join with like minded individuals who are working towards building resilient community. This summer we will host connection events where you can come and explore new community ideas with others who are building them. We will discuss many topics, all focused on solutions to current problems. This is an advanced thinking community. Those interested can attend by emailing me first.

Action at large. There are many things that have been revealed to us through the past two years. We are not helpless to resolve them. Many have already begun the process of ending local and distant corruption, through the process of Notices of Liability. Many groups have different approaches with varying results. We will explore some of these groups, their concepts, what works and what doesn’t and how to reclaim who you are to move forward in the world with personal power and integrity. If you are interested, please contact me personally at the above email. There is so much to do but a small part is all we are required to do that adds to the whole and moves us all forward. Blessings to those that are moving.

We aim to add to your life in a way that inspires and reconnects you to your internal power place. Have a great day and we hope to see many of you this summer.

Seedy Events in 2022

Well it looks like phase one of the silliness is over. Hope the clear out continues, but in the meantime, we have some good news. Something to look forward to in the coming days.

We have a few Seedy Saturdays we will be attending and you can come in person to see us. Remember I have quite a few more items at the events in person than I am able to post on the catalogue even, because they are rare and in limited supply.

So if you love seeds, growing, gardening, or being food secure, be sure to pop by and see us.

We will be at an invitation only market in Edmonton March 13. This is a market for those who believe we should all be free to choose and value freedom above propaganda. I have to vet participants, so if you are interested please email me and we will have a conversation.

Calgary Seedy Saturday – They are planning an in-person event for Saturday, March 19 from 10am to 3pm. This will take place at the Winston-Heights Mountview Community Association building.

Edmonton is having a virtual event this year. Red Deer is hosting a seed swap and EcoFair as well, details are on the Seeds of Diversity website at

Stony Plain – The Stony Plain Organic Master Gardeners will host a sale in the Stony Plain PERC building on the Saturday of the April long weekend – April 16. Time open is 11 AM and runs to 4 PM. There will be speakers, and it is always a great event.

If someone wants potatoes this is the time to organize that so I can bring them along. Otherwise they are too heavy to lug around. So let me know.

First Seed Sale of 2022

We have been asked to attend a small CarBoot sale on Coconut Grove Farm this Saturday from 11AM to 4 PM. This is an in person event and outdoors so come prepared. Looks like the weather will be nice!

Yara will be there with the seeds and her new enterprise of special delicious cookies for restrictive diets so come support her Magic Bean Cuisine cookies!!

As I have a previous engagement I will not be there but she will pass out my cell number if anyone wants specific questions asked.

You can bring your order form or a list or just come browse our seeds and join in the fun at this event!

Address is

Directions:• 53215 RR 272 Parkland County (Off yellowhead onto Century Road Towards Parkland)• Peak out for a small sign (on RR 272) indicating Coconut Grove Urban Farms• Drive up the lane, past the house, and towards the yurt (Drive carefully as it is a maintained snow road)

Hope to have a great turnout and pass this onto your friends so their event is a massive success!!