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Short & Savvy Podcast: In the garden with award-winning breeder Patty Buskirk

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I recently had the opportunity to take part in the 2015 California Vegetable Trials, which introduced me to many of the breeders behind the seeds that we grow. One of the highlights of the trip was our visit to Seeds by Design, a wholesale company started by owner and chief breeder Patty Buskirk in 1994. Patty realized that customers were looking for new and unique varieties and she began to focus on breeding and producing seed for specialty products – multi-coloured carrots, specialty peppers, unique salad greens, seedless watermelons, and impossible-to-resist tomatoes. While strolling through their trial gardens, which Patty calls her ‘living catalogue’, I asked her about Seeds by Design and a few of the award-winning varieties she has bred. Take a quick listen to our conversation below.

Click on the arrow to listen:

Patty seeds by design

Patty in the middle of the Seeds by Design trial gardens – her ‘living catalogue’ – with a fun Tennessee Dancing Gourd.


Along with Seeds by Design, Patty also started its sister company, Terra Organics, and has racked up many awards, including ten coveted All-America Selections Awards, for her vegetable and ornamental varieties. Her winners include ‘Harvest Moon’ F1 watermelon, ‘Chef’s Choice Orange’ F1 tomato, ‘Pick a Bushel’ F1 cucumber, ‘Saladmore Bush’ F1 cucumber, ‘Cinderella’s Carriage’ F1 pumpkin, and ‘Giant Ristra’ F1 pepper.

Chefs choice orange savvy

The ‘Chef’s Choice Orange’ tomatoes have thrived in my zone 5 Nova Scotia garden. Mid-season beefy fruits with heirloom tomato flavour.

I grew 7 varieties of cucumbers in my garden this year, but Pick a Bushel was by far the most productive. I didn’t do any pickling – yet – but instead have eaten most of these while still in the garden.

Pick a bushel

Seeds by Design is a wholesale seed company, and doesn’t sell directly to the public. Ask your local or favourite mail order seed company Seeds by Design varieties, or check out this handy list of seed companies that offer their seeds.

Patty is passionate about peppers and Giant Ristra is one of her award-winners.

Patty is passionate about peppers and has bred several award-winning hybrids, including Giant Ristra.

If you listened to the above podcast, you’ll remember that Patty mentioned her All-America Selections award-winning variety, Harvest Moon. It’s the first hybrid, triploid, seedless watermelon to win an AAS Award.

'Harvest Moon' F1 watermelon, photo courtesy of All-America Selections

‘Harvest Moon’ F1 watermelon, photo courtesy of All-America Selections

 

Seeds by Design is a family company, with Patty's husband Miles Rogers, sister Susan Birdseye and daughters Ashley and Arianna helping to keep things running smoothly. Ashley is also passionate about breeding, so look for her varieties in the future.

Seeds by Design is a family company, with Patty’s husband Miles Rogers, sister Susan Birdseye and daughters Ashley and Arianna helping to keep things running smoothly. Ashley is also passionate about breeding, so look for her varieties in the future.

 

Brandymaster Pink is a gorgeous hybrid with a rich, heirloom flavour.

Brandymaster Pink is a gorgeous hybrid with a rich, heirloom flavour.

One of Patty’s peppers, Pretty N Sweet is also a 2015 All-America Selections award winner! The compact plants grow up to 18 inches tall – perfect for containers – and bear a rainbow of small, sweet peppers. The taste? Fantastic! We loved these tasty little treats.

Photo courtesy of All-America Selections.

Photo courtesy of All-America Selections.

 

A peek at the extensive pepper beds in the Seeds by Design trial gardens.

A peek at the extensive pepper beds in the Seeds by Design trial gardens.

Would you try any of the above varieties in your gardens? Which ones and why? 

 







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