Q&A

DEAR NEW FARM:

Now that Monsanto has bought out Seminis, I thought maybe you could help: Where can I find seeds so that I can grow my own ‘Buckskin’ pumpkins? I’ve searched the web, called all my local suppliers, and am at my wit's end. I should have saved the ones I had instead of roasting them, I guess.

Thanks for your consideration,
Parker Pascua
New York

 

DEAR PARKER:

A great place to go for heirloom varieties no longer commercially available is Seed Savers Exchange: www.seedsavers.org. Seed Savers members are a network of home gardeners and market farmers dedicated to preserving old-time varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers by saving them and making them available to other members through the the nonprofit Seed Savers Exchange’s annual yearbook.

These are all open-pollinated varieties, meaning the seeds will grow true to type. ‘Buckskin’ is actually a hybrid, meaning the seeds will either not be viable or will not replicate the traits of the parent. If you don’t want to deal with Monsanto or Seminis, other seed companies carry a ‘Fairytale’ variety described as “buckskin in color" (www.harrismoran.com/products/pumpkin/fairytale.htm; www.osborneseed.com). This may or may not be the variety you seek, but as a matter of course you should also know that many other seed companies buy from Seminis and repackage under their own label (though they generally preserve the variety name).

Our best advice to you or anyone else concerned about the consolidation of the seed industry and the loss of traditional, regionally adapted, beautiful, nutritious and delicious varieties of produce: Find the open-pollinated varieties you cherish: and save those seeds!

Good luck!
NF

 

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