Plum Creek Seeds
Kathleen Plunkett-Black has been a member of the Seed Savers Exchange for more than 30 years which focuses on growing and saving heirloom seeds. She grows her own seeds for more than 200 varieties of vegetables, grains, dry beans, flowers and herbs. We asked Kathleen to tell us a little about her farm and its practices.
Please explain what your farm specializes in.
We grow seeds for vegetable varieties that have consistently done well here in our West-Central Wisconsin family subsistence garden. These include early-maturing short-season varieties and cold-tolerant fall and winter greens. We favor “workhorse” varieties that grow without a lot of pampering and put up with varying weather conditions and pest pressures. We’re also always trying out new varieties that look promising, and adding those that do well to the catalog.
What made you decide to go into seed farming?
I started growing my own vegetable seeds in the early 1980s, when I discovered that varieties I depended on to feed my family were being dropped from seed catalogs. After growing seeds for my own use for a few years I began offering them to others through the Seed Saver’s Exchange network. I learned that growing high quality seed often requires a large number of parent plants, and with more seed than I needed myself, I wanted to make it available to others in my community.
When and how did Plum Creek Seeds get started?
The idea of a seed business grew out of my experience growing seeds for my own use and to trade with other seed savers. In 2006 I sent the first list of seeds available from Plum Creek Seeds to about 25 gardeners in my immediate community. I was encouraged by their response to gradually expand the business over the following years.
Does your farm have any certifications(organic, non-gmo, etc)?
We’re too small for certification to be worth the time and cost, but have always used organic practices.
What is your favorite part about Plum Creek Seeds?
I love being in the garden and working with the full life cycle of the plants: watching and caring for them through bloom and pollination, seed maturation and harvest; and then getting to know a variety over many generations.
Plum Creek Seeds are available at Menomonie Market along with all of your gardening supply needs.