Seed Week: Maria Scholten & Poyntzfield Herb Nursery in Scotland

Where did your passion for seed start?

Gardening on the Canadian prairies for a while under semi-arid conditions, my biodynamically trained farmer friend Ginie would recommend biological locally produced seeds because of their strength.  That was one of the first occasions I started thinking about seed and ‘local adaptation inside a seed’. The Canadian BAFTA Seed Initiative has rightly been emphasising regional seed hubs around bio-climatic zones

Why would you urge people to buy seed from a local, agro-ecological producer?

Growers in Scotland – especially the North and West – are finding it hard to obtain varieties suitable for the specific environmental conditions of this region. It is often trial and error. When growing vegetables for a veg box scheme on the Outer Hebrides we were sourcing seed as far North as possible and found that Stormy Halls biodynamic seed (in Yorkshire) were strong enough for the Outer Hebrides. Agro-ecologically produced seed in general tend to be more hardy because grown under low-input conditions.

If you could recommend just one variety, which would it be?

Any open pollinated variety really – growing an open pollinated (OP) variety is an act of conservation of genetic diversity. I used to have fantastic crops of Gardeners’ Delight tomatoes on Benbecula.

Maria Scholten is the Seed Sovereignty Coordinator for Scotland. If you’re interested to find out more about the organic and open pollinated seed movement in Scotland contact Maria on [email protected]

Tell us about about Poyntzfield Herb Nursery featured in the film

Poyntzfield Herb Nursery is situated on the Black Isle, a low peninsula surrounded by sea lochs, hills and mountains, on the east coast of the Scottish Highlands. Because of the high latitude and long winters, all plants are hardy, suitable for almost any garden. They’ve been growing herbs organically and biodynamically since 1976 and the quality of many species has been enhanced by propagating only from plants known to have hardiness, health, vigour, resistance to pests and diseases, good scent, colour and flavour. All the herbs and plants are for sale.

https://www.poyntzfieldherbs.co.uk/