The Populuxe Seed Bank is a privately run seed bank located in Edmonton, AB.
In January 2009 I decided to start my own private seed bank. Over the course of 2009 and 2010 the original number of a handful of varieties of seeds I started with has grown to over 200 heirloom and open pollinated varieties, and is growing exponentially as each month passes, as other dedicated growers donate their seeds for preservation.
The Populuxe Seed Bank was born to acquire seeds, grow them out, and then redistribute them to anybody wishing to grow these varieties. The Populuxe Seed Bank also documents seed histories to preserve the stories associated with the variety. The Populuxe Seed Bank helps to educate other private growers on how they can start their own seed bank to help preserve biodiversity.
Please feel free to browse the site and send me any questions you may have.
The Populuxe Seed Bank has a twitter feed here.
Finally, after what seems like about a million years, the seeds for distribution are finally available. You can mosey on over here and take a look. There are 25 varieties of tomatoes and 3 varieties of beans currently up for offer. Some are in very low quantities, so if you see something you like, snag it up quick because they won’t be available for another 7-10 years.
I’ve also been updating the database with a few photos, so you can see all the tomato and beans are looking so far this year. Everything in the garden was pushed back about three weeks due to some wacky weather, but with the heat, and some rain now offsetting that heat a bit, everything is finally growing fast and furious. I hope to be updating with fruit photos before July is out.
In the Fall 2014 issue of the Seeds of Diversity member magazine I wrote an article about my friends Dan & Val McMurray, who from their home in Wynndel, BC were the stewards of thousands of varieties of vegetable seeds. Not only did their love of open pollinated varieties probably manage to save and revive dozens of seeds that would have surely gone extinct, but their dedication to spreading them to other growers around the world far and wide became well known in the seed saving world.
Val McMurray passed away in 2010, and Dan passed away in 2012. Their amazing seed collection was then passed on to The College of the Rockies in Creston, BC where it is now being cared for, catalogued, and grown out (you may have noticed a few mentions around the site of myself helping with the grow outs). I wanted to share the article here now with readers of this site, as I and many others found the McMurray’s a true inspiration, and the legacy of their seeds living on is a testament to what one or two seed savers can do.
If you like those kind of articles, please consider joining Seeds of Diversity – members get access to the member seed catalogue once a year, and four magazines to their mailbox a year. Plus the warm fuzzies knowing that you’re helping a whole bunch of ecological research, projects, and preservation.
Thanks to Tatiana as well for supplying photographs.
One of the big reasons why I run the annual seed sale every year is to help procure funds for further acquisitions for the bank. Thanks to everybody who’s purchased seed so far this year, procurement has already begun!
Here’s a few of the varieties I’ve been able to obtain in the past few weeks:
- Bunte Pflaume
Dwarf Wild Fred
Eva Purple Ball
Lime Green Salad
Schappis Küsnachter Alpenglühn
Tartar from Mongolstan
Val’s Black Striped
Waltingers Fleisch aus Indien
- Broad Windsor (Fava)
Thibodeau du Comté Beauce
Would you like to see a complete list of what holdings the bank currently has? You can view that by clicking right here (list is in PDF form).
This is when most of the seed bank is done. Or at least, that’s what it feels like. Once the plants go in the ground (or pots) they mostly seem to take care of themselves, except for watering and bagging blossoms. I’m outside amongst the plants, picking and preening and generally fussing, but it hardly feels like work.
When I say work, I mean the planning, and I guess what makes it more work-like is that I spend hours sitting in front of the computer, reconciling what’s in the bank with what my database says, updating the database so I can track where everything is, and then of course the pouring over what’s in the bank (via the database) deciding what needs to get grown, and figuring out which seeds are going to which growers. When I say work, it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it, because I thoroughly do. Every gardener knows that planning your garden is a great way to get over the doldrums of winter.
And this winter has been a tricky one. We’ve, overall, had a warmer than normal winter, which is great because it’s not -20C constantly, but also awful because it makes it feel like spring is that much closer when you know it actually isn’t.
But, it has made me be really early this year with getting the 2015 growing season in order, and that is a feat unto itself, because before February I have the list of what’s getting grown this year, which growers are getting what seeds, and I’ve even planned out the seed starting schedule to the day of when everything needs to get sown.
The past couple of years have really been about getting all that super old seed grown out and in good quantity, and I can now say, at the end of 2015 everything will be 100% caught up if all goes according to plan, which of course means lots more room and time for acquiring new varieties. That is exciting.
Without further ado, here’s the list of what’s getting grown out for 2015 and here’s the growers participating this year.
I’ve already been busy acquiring seeds for the bank as well, and that will be posted in a future update.
I’ve also been fiddling with the wiki quite a bit, and now you can view which varieties have been grown in which year.
The seed bank is still running it’s annual seed sale to help fund the endeavours of this year, which includes (but isn’t limited to!), postal costs, website costs, and most importantly, acquiring new varieties. Please consider purchasing some seed from the etsy shop, it goes a lot way to helping keeping the bank going for another year.
I do accept donations as well. You can read about donating here.
And, of course, I am always accepting donations of varieties into the bank that we do not currently have. You can read about donating your seeds here.
Stay tuned for the list of new acquisitions coming up in a future post!
As promised, the seeds for sale are currently up, and available through the etsy shop! I’m excited this year to be selling some really awesome varieties.
But I thought your seeds were free??
They are, and they will be. But every year I run a little drive in order to help fund the coming year. The Populuxe Seed Bank is run entirely out of pocket, and in order to help mitigate some costs, each year I sell seeds first. Some quantities I have are quite limited, and if they sell out through the Etsy shop first, they will be gone until they’re grown out again (which is a 7-10 year cycle). So if you see something you really need, I do suggest you snap it up first on Etsy! Plus you’ll get that warm fuzzy feeling from helping a good project (and my gratitude!).
Thanks for your ongoing support, as always!