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Q. Over the past few years I’ve been disappointed to find vegetable varieties I’ve grown for years disappearing from the listings of my usual sources. Is there some easy way of tracking down current sources of particular varieties?
A. I think many gardeners are dealing with the same issue. My best dwarf, small-leaved basil varieties have disappeared from all the new seed lists I have accessed so far.
A useful online resource for finding specific varieties of vegetable seeds is the Seeds of Diversity website: seeds.ca. Click on “Canadian Seed Catalogue Index” and then on the vegetable you are researching. A list of varieties of that vegetable will appear, along with seed companies that list it. Click onto a company name to find further details, such as the price.
Q. Are all kale varieties equally hardy?
A. Not in my experience. I remember one really harsh winter that wiped out the kale plants in many gardens near where I live. The one variety in my garden that stayed in useable condition was Improved Siberian. Because of that experience, I always include at least two Improved Siberian plants in my kale patch each year.
That experience happened before I discovered Sweet Hardy, from Salt Spring Seeds, whose online catalogue describes the variety as an “Heirloom from Prince Rupert. Abundant thick and tender sweet leaves on multi branching plant. Withstands prolonged frost and alternating damp conditions.”
Since I began adding Sweet Hardy to my kale plantings, I’ve found it to be perfectly hardy and wonderfully productive. I often encourage visitors toRead more on theprovince.com