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