Seeds

Artwork by Andrew Sharp
Artwork by Andrew Sharp

 

The North has a short but intense growing season — short in days but almost 24 hours of daylight in June and July.  As you might imagine, not all seed varieties grow well in the North.  Varieties that grow to maturity in 70 days or less do best.  Cold weather crops, such as spinach, often do poorly as they don’t tolerate the long hours of daylight and intense heat that occurs in some parts of the North during the summer.

The North cannot be painted with one brush.  There are as many microclimates as there are communities, and even within one Northern community, conditions can vary from one part of town compared to another.


Grant Dowdell and Karen Digby are experienced growers who have been farming on Grant’s Island in the Yukon for almost forty years.          

Louise Piché is well-known as a wonderful gardener in Dawson City, Yukon, and a frequent prize winner at the town’s Discovery Days Horticultural Fair.

 

Below are seed varieties that have grown well for Northerners in their own communities.

 


If you are willing to share a seed variety that has grown well for you in your part of the circumpolar North, please share it in the form below.

 

Shared Seed Knowledge Contributions

Asparagus

Asparagus, Jersey Giant Green & Purple Passion; Vesseys
Dawson, Rock Creek
For greatest success, buy the roots not the seeds.
Direct seed in the spring in soil that is  50% dirt & 50% sand.
Do not harvest until second year.
Second season cut the asparagus from June till mid July and then let be for the following year.
– Louise Piché, Rock Creek, Dawson, Yukon

Jersey Asparagus
Yellowknife, NWT
Has successfully grown from seed and after four years, now the size of grocery store asparagus.
-France Benoit

Beans

Bush Beans, Strike
Dawson, YT, Grant’s Island
Open Pollinated, 65 days
May 14 start Indoors
– Grant Dowdell

Bush Beans
Yellowknife, NWT
Not pole beans which take too long and are not as productive
– France Benoit

Pole Beans, Emerite
Dawson, YT, Grant’s Island
55 days
May 14 start indoors
– Grant Dowdell

Pole Beans, Scarlet Runner
Dawson YT, Grant’s Island
54 days
May 14 start indoors
-Grant Dowdell

Beets

Red, Taunus
Yellowknife, NWT
Great for canning, as skin literally just falls off.
– France Benoit

Red, Detroit Supreme
Inuvik, NWT
Open Pollinated, 65 days
– Les Kutny

Yellow, Touchstone
Yellowknife, NWT
Open Pollinated; 55 days
– France Benoit

Broccoli

Broccoli, Gypsy
Inuvik, NWT
Hybrid, 62 days
Start indoors, plant outside
– Les Kutny

Cabbage

Cabbage, Minuet; Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Yellowknife, NWT
50-day Chinese cabbage
Start indoors; plant and harvest in July. Started another batch when first one is planted, then plant 2nd one when after first ones. Can get two crops of cabbage.
– France Benoit

Cabbage, Savoy Blue
Inuvik, NWT
Start indoors, plant outside
– Les Kutny

Cabbage, Stonehead
Inuvik, NWT
Start indoors, plant outside
– Les Kutny

Cabbage, Fast Vantage
Inuvik, NWT
Start indoors, plant outside
– Les Kutny

Carrots

Carrots, Pelleted; Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Yellowknife, NWT
Pelleted carrot seeds are coated with an inert material and are bigger. It makes planting easier as you have more control over where they end up!
Grow them 2 inches apart, and thin once to get a batch of small carrots. Then they are 4 inches apart for the harvest at the end of the season.
– France Benoit

Carrots, Nantes
Inuvik, NWT
– Les Kutny

Cauliflower

Cauliflower, Snow Crown
Inuvik, NWT
Hybrid; 60 days
Start indoors, plant outside
– Les Kutny

Corn

Corn, Earlivee; West Coast Seeds
Dawson, Grant’s Island
Hybrid; 71 days
May 1:  start indoors, plant outside
The only short season sweet corn that has worked on Grant’s Island
– Grant Dowdell

Cucumber

Cucumber, Roxynante; West Coast Seeds
Dawson, Dome Subdivision
Hybrid; 60 days
Early April;  start indoors; plant in greenhouse
– Suzanne Crocker

Eggplant

Black Beauty Eggplant
Grow in a greenhouse. Plants are open pollinated, 74 days to maturity.
– Stephanie Williams, Dredge Pond Subdivision, Dawson City, Yukon

Shoya Long  Eggplant
Hybrid. grow in a greenhouse. 60 days to maturity. Need lots of water.
– Stephanie Williams, Dredge Pond Subdivision, Dawson City, Yukon

Kale

Kale, Winterbor; West Coast Seeds
Dawson, Dome Subdivision
Hybrid; 60 days
Mid April; start indoors, plant outside
– Suzanne Crocker

Dwarf Green Curled
Inuvik, NWT
Open Pollinated, 60 days
– Les Kutny

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi, Vienna
Inuvik, NWT
65 -70 days
– Les Kutny

Potatoes

Yukon Gold
Yellowknife, NWT
– France Benoit

Pumpkins

Pumpkin, Big Moose: Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Yellowknife, NWT
Has obtained 100% germination rate with Big Moose and it grows her biggest pumpkins
– France Benoit

Spinach

Spinach, New Zealand Spinach: West Coast and Saltspring Seeds
Dawson, Rock Creek
Open Pollinated; 55-65 days
Start indoors or direct seed, plant outside
Not actually a spinach, but tastes like it.  Doesn’t bolt!
– JF

Spinach, Fothergill’s Perpetual Been Green Spinach
Saltspring Seeds and Dawson Hardware Store
Dawson, Rock Creek
Doesn’t bolt!
– JL

Spinach:
Dawson, Dome Subdivision
For early spring baby spinach leaves:  Direct seed in unheated greenhouse as soon as the dirt thaws (end of April, early May)
Don’t heat the greenhouse and should have baby spinach to harvest by the end of May, before you plant your greenhouse for the summer.
– Riley Brennan

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash,  Pinnacle; William Dam Seeds
Dawson, Grant’s Island
Hybrid; 85 days
May 1: start indoors, plant outside
Productive and stores well.
– Grant Dowdell

Sugar Beets

Sugar Beets (non gmo):  Saltspring Seeds
– Gwen

Tomatoes

Cherry Tomato, Sweet Million (cherry), Stokes
Dawson YT, Bear Creek
Hybrid: 60 days
March 1: start indoors; plant in greenhouse
A family favourite. One year this tomato was our winning horticultural show entry!
– Lastraw Ranch

Tomato, Black Prince, Saltspring Seeds
Dawson YT, Dredge Pond
Open Pollinated; Have successfully harvested and regrown seeds!
Feb/March:  start indoors; plant in greenhouse
– Gwen

Tomato, Sungold (cherry)
Yellowknife, NWT
Hybrid:  65 days: vine
– France Benoit

Tomato, Early Girl
Dawson YT, Grant’s Island
Hybrid, 75 days, vine
March 1 start indoors, plant in greenhouse
– Grant Dowdell

Tomato, Yellow Pear, (cherry) Saltspring Seeds
Dawson, YT Dredge Pond
Feb/March: start indoors, plant in greenhouse
– Gwen

Tomato, Indigo Rose
Dawson YT, Sisters Island
Certified organic seeds from West Coast Seeds
Tomatoes are open pollinated and take 75 days to reach maturity.
– Lou Tyacke and Gary Masters

Zucchini

Pattypans; Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Yellowknife, NWT
– France Benoit

Black Beauty
Inuvik, NWT
Open Pollenated, 55 days
– Les Kutny

Thank you!

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