I'd like to do landracegardening but am not sure where to get the genetically diverse seeds. It would be expensive to buy 50 different squash seed packets, with seeds of the same cultivar of squash in each packet, and then combine them. What would be better is if I could get one packet of squash with 50 seeds and each seed be of a different cultivar of squash. That way, I could just buy one seed packet vs 50. Any ideas?
If you use the drop-down tabs you can choose from different crops.....look at the winter squash tab and you will find, for example, "Lofthouse Landrace Moschata Squash" with reference to Joe Lofthouse who posts much here.
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If you watch the seed racks as they get discounted in places like dollar stores and hardware stores at the end of the year, you can often find cheap packets of seed mixes. I have one in front of me that's a mix of five different sweet bell pepper cultivars, and another one that's called "pumpkin and squash blend" that has a mix of 8 different "maxima" squashes in it -- although from the heft of the packet, there can't be more than 2-3 seeds from each cultivar. I didn't pay more than twenty five cents for either packet. I have paid as little as three cents a seed packet when the Dollar General is moving its crummy 5-for-a-dollar seeds out the door at 75% or 95% off in September. These are not seeds I would ever rely upon for a crop, but as a cheap source of genetics in the early stages of a land race when you're just trying to find things that will survive and set seed in your conditions, they can't be beat.
I echo the places already mentioned, especially Open Source Seed Initiative.
Pinetree Garden Seeds sells packets of mixed seeds, for example a packet might contain 6 varieties of radish seed. I'm sure other seed companies have similar offerings.
I participate in a lot of tit-to-tat seed swaps: Send in some seeds, get some seeds back. I end up paying postage.
Peace Seeds, and Peace Seedlings are great sources of genetically diverse seeds.
Carol Deppe's Fertile Valley Seeds has some offerings with a lot of diversity. For example, she sells my muskmelons and moschata squash. (I have test grown my varieties that she is selling, and they passed my QC checks with high scores.)
Some of my local farm stands sell genetically diverse melons, and squash. I go through the bins and select the "off-types" and add them to my landrace breeding projects. I add seeds to my landraces that I collect at the grocery store: beans, melons, and squash are great. A package of 15 beans soup is a great way to trial a lot of varieties of beans at a low cost.
If I plant a couple varieties this year, and a couple more next year, and a couple more the year after, and save/replant seeds each year, and allow them to promiscuously pollinate as much as possible, it doesn't take long to generate a lot of diversity.
The thing about growing landrace varieties, is that I don't care about purity. Other than in the broadest sense, for example, not adding hot-genes to my sweet peppers. So pretty much any seed I receive from any source can be planted in a semi-isolated location, and if it grows OK, it gets added to the landrace.
Experimental Farm Network has a section for landraces on their store. Josephs seedlisting says he's going to sell through it this winter.
Western Montana gardener and botanist in zone 6a according to 2012 zone update.
Gardening on lakebed sediments with 7 inch silty clay loam topsoil, 7 inch clay accumulation layer underneath, have added sand in places.
Would you turn that thing down? I'm controlling a mind here! Look ... look at the tiny ad ...