Article - Floral Encounters

How Floral Encounters Produces Seed.

We cherish our seeds.
Each seed is a little life bundle just waiting to sprout forth. We think of each and every one as a tiny child and we try to respect and look after them in the same way. They need care, attention correct storage and climate conditions to keep them at their best. Even when we send them out into the world to grow in your garden we try to give them to best opportunity to get there as strong and healthy as they can be.

We grow all our own seeds.
Yes we do buy seed to grow, it's the only way we can get new and different plants to grow. Often these won't be organic when we get them so we need to grow them on at least two years before they are producing organic seeds for us. Sometimes we have to buy seed from overseas because we can't get the interesting and different plants we want to grow and sell here. In some cases even when we have bought from a 'local' dealer it turned out that the seeds were still coming from overseas, being bought in bulk by the seed companies and then repackaged and sold domestically. A surprisingly a large number of seed companies do this.

Once our plants are established we can begin to collect seed from them.
The raw material comes directly from our fields to a cool seed storage barn. Ours is located under dense tree cover so it stays as cool as possible throughout the year. Once the seed material arrives it may be laid out on racks to fully dry or if already dry stored in bins until we have the time to process it. Summer is a busy time and we often don't have time to process the seeds immediately. No seed company I have ever visited processes immediately, summer is too busy. As soon as possible we thresh and remove as much bulk material from the seeds as possible. The seeds are still not clean but the amount of material is reduced enough that we can store it in a cooler environment.

As the season winds down we clean the seeds.
This involves many steps to remove the unwanted material and leave only the seeds. As we state in are FAQ it takes an enormous amount of effort to remove all the material from the seeds unless many thousands of dollars are spent on seed cleaning machines which we can't yet afford on our little farm. We are working on it but it's a slow process.
Once we have removed as much material as possible from the seeds they are labeled and dated then stored in bulk in refrigeration units that are designed to keep a constant humidity and temperature. All our seeds remain there until they are sold directly to you.

We package our seeds for each order.
This ensures that all the seeds you buy have been stored at the best possible temperature for the longest possible time thus keeping the seeds in the best possible condition before they are sent to you.

We date our seeds with the year that they were harvested .
This is so you know how old the seed you are getting is. In almost all cases we use seed grown in year before so a packet marked 'harvested in 2016' would be seed for use in 2017. Occasionally we use older seed if we did not grow that seed in a particular year or if the harvest failed. If stored in the ideal conditions most seeds will remain viable for many years, some are reported to last up to 30 years in the wild. This means if you put your seeds in your refrigerator as soon as they arrive they may stay viable for many years so you don't have to plant them all at once if you don't want to. Dating seed ensures that you know exactly how fresh the seed you are getting is and when it was grown.

When shipping we keep our seeds cool as long as possible.
We take all our orders directly to the post office and post them inside the building. This ensures that they stay as cool as possible for as long as we can manage. We don't place them in hot mail boxes or give them to open air mail carriers. This is especially important during hotter summer months. In this way the seeds we offer are as fresh and viable as they can possibly be.

All our seeds are shipped directly to you from our cooled storage
This gives them the least possible time in less than idea conditions. So if you buy our seeds you know exactly where they have been and how they were treated until they were sent to you.

We always recommend that you place your seeds in the refrigerator as soon as they arrive and that you keep them their until planting. If you don't use the whole packet then put the rest back. Use them again next year, they should be fine.

Janice Hazeldine PhD is the owner and head grower of Floral Encounters an organic Medicinal Herb farm that is also a designated sanctuary for pollinators.