Seed Potatoes and New Seed… Come get some!!

Hey Guys

In our last newsletter I warned about a potential cold snap. I really hope you guys managed to get everything in order so that your losses were minimal or non-existent.

We had to move thousands of seedlings into our office as we do not have a heated tunnel. Fortunately, we did not have a single loss.

My personal opinion is that we will have another frost in early September (it happens almost every year). We only start our field plantings and transplants from the 15th of September for this reason.
We used to plant out on the 5th and we seemed to hit a 50/50 frost around the 10th-12th, just after all our beans started to emerge. So we have now decided that a lit more patience is prudent.

What’s happening on Livingseeds Farm

Livingseeds farm is in high gear. Orders are coming in thick and fast, and we have started building our new offices and training facility. We have again run out of space, and need to expand.
There is only one group of people that we can thank for that, and it’s you guys! Thank you for your support over the years.

The ultimate goal is to be able to open up our offices to customers once a week, as well as being able to host on-farm tours and training for our customers. Something that everyone has been asking for.

Our seedling production is in high gear, although the majority of seedling production is for our web-sales, we are of course also planting for Livingseeds seed production.

One of our tricks that we use is to plant our first heirloom corn crop into seedling trays, this gets them growing well in a warm safe environment, we then transplant them outside after the 15th of Sept and they just take off in the ground. The benefit of this is that we can get 4 weeks growth ahead of the last frost, and it allows us to squeeze an extra crop in during the season.

Your last Frost Date

Guys, this is important! Many gardeners do no know their first and last frost dates. I have been banging on about this for the last few years, and I really hope that more people are waking up to understanding the relevance of this knowledge.
Your last frost date is critical and is really important in your garden planning.
Normally one of the first crops to go into the ground is a good crop of beans. They have a 5-6 day emergence and if you get your frost date wrong,  they can be killed by even a light frost, forcing you to replant, wasting time…..and money if you have to buy more seed.

Please make a note of your frosts over the next few weeks, once you start getting a pattern over a few years, it will make your planning so much easier.

We have been struggling for the last few years to get a good variety of seed potatoes. We were not sure of the exact reasons but crop failures, the recent (and ongoing) drought were at least two of them.

We have finally managed to secure the supply of a really great range of certified seed potatoes.

The exciting thing is that we will be able to supply a unique range of seed potatoes and will be bringing you new varieties every year from now on.

This year we have the following 4 new varieties.

Double Fun and Magenta LoveThese exciting varieties are based on the ancient Peruvian potatoes and have been bred to produce well, have great growing characteristics as well as good disease resistances.

We have managed to secure a good supply of of these superb cooking potatoes. Developed in conjunction with the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru. The specific goal breeding these varieties was to protect and preserve the ancient genetic variation of Peru’s potatoes.
Just by growing these varieties, you are contributing to the further protection of ancient Peruvian potatoes.

An additional benefit is that both Double Fun and Magenta Love are very high in Anthocyanins.

These are medium maturing varieties and are suited to boiling, really eye-catching potato salads and baked potatoes.

ChopinChopin is another new release, this potato has a lovely bright skin, it produces nice, uniform potatoes with a good tolerance to bruising in harvest and in storage.

This is a superb, medium, firm cooking potato that is your quintessential all purpose potato.

The flavour is not bland like most store bought potatoes and it’s rich flavour will satisfy even the most difficult potato connoisseur.

Good yields from a mid-late season harvest.

Expect 10-14 increase on planting.

I’m really excited about this potato.This is a potato that everyone has been waiting for! Every year I get calls from Boere Tannies looking for “egte bliss aartapples” well here they, come get some!

We get requests to source Up-to-Date (UTD) seed potatoes on a regular basis, unfortunately they are extremely hard to source.This however is the answer to your prayers. Challenger is a UTD replacement and has all of the benefits of great production, lovely floury flesh and none of the low yield drawbacks of UTD.

Challenger makes one of the best fried chips, it’s crumbly texture also makes it a great mash and roast potato, in fact it’s probably one of the better cooking potatoes out there.

Expect a 13-17 increase on planting.

Early Release Seeds for 2017

As always, we have done a lot of work over the last few years to bring you some exciting new varieties.

Bringing a new variety onto the market is not a simple process, and we sometimes spend years growing and checking before we release a variety on our website.

This year we have a number of really exciting new varieties and we are very proud to offer them to you.

Lets start off with our new corn varieties

Livingseeds has an outstanding corn collection and it’s something that we are very proud of. We work with a number of contract growers that grow specifically for us and they make sure that you get the best seed available.

Glass Gem Corn
Oh YES!!!! This variety caused a sensation worldwide and we have now released it onto the South African market. Glass Gem is a stunning variety and the translucence and colours will leave you totally amazed.
This little corn excels as a popcorn, however it’s almost too beautiful to eat. We have also ground it down into a flour to make a very tasty pap.

Come get some! This one is going to sell fast.

True Gold Sweetcorn
Our modern taste-buds have been taught by “Big Sugar” that sweetness equals flavour, and this is simply not true. Flavour is so much more than sweetness and with this sweetcorn you will finally understand what real sweetcorn tastes like. True Gold is a real sweetcorn with a real, rich corn flavour.

Green Oaxacan Corn
We have grown this variety for 4 years now and it astounds me every year with how productive it is. Not a particularly tall crop, but every plant had 3-5 ears, they filled out nicely and make for a superb harvest. This is a dent corn and makes a great maize meal.

These are just awesome, they really stand out in the garden and on your plate.

We have 5 new varieties that are available immediately, and a few more that will be available in the next month or so.

Blue tomatoes are a “new” release and have been bred using conventional breeding methods. The ones that we supply are all open pollinated, so saved seed will breed true.
The unusual colours come from breeding black tomatoes back into wild tomato strains with naturally high anthocyanins.

And that guys, is it for this newsletter.

This is just the very tip of of the iceberg for this season. Watch this space for loads of exciting new additions to our range, new ideas and innovative gardening products to make your gardening life easier.

This Spring is going to be spectacular!

Have a stunning week.
The Livingseeds Team.