[permaculture] Designers for extreme cold?

Bill McDorman bm at seedsave.org
Mon Oct 31 19:59:59 EST 2005

Michael and Vint:

I have been searching for, testing, growing and selling non-hybrid seeds for
the coldest, short-season climates for 25 years.  I grew up at 6,000 feet in
the mountains of central Idaho and started a seed company to supply the
needs of those like myself largely ignored by industrial agriculture.

"High Altitude Gardens" was started in 1984.  (Before that, I helped start
Garden City Seeds in Western Montana in 1979.)  The first 10 years,
approximately 40% of the open-pollinated vegetable, wildflower and native
grass seeds found in the catalog changed from year to year as we discovered
better varieties from around the world.

We formed a small family corporation in 1990 and named it "Seeds Trust" to
encourage folks from other cold climates to take a look at our stuff even if
they didn't live at altitude.  We printed catalogs for 18 years and still
sell seeds under both names.

How cold?  One summer in our trial gardens we had 9 frosts and 2 hail storms
between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

You can find our list of 200 vegetables, 100 wildflowers, 15 herbs and 25
native grasses at:  http://www.seedstrust.com

I write this not because I want you to buy something from our humble
operation.  I write it because the list embodies the collective intelligence
22 years testing at 6,000 feet and feedback from tens of thousands of
customers from cold places all over the world trying to solve the cold
climate garden puzzle.  It is one of a number of good places to start.  And
of course, we are still learning.

Let me know if I can help.


You can view our list at
>> Information shared to the whole list might also be appreciated. I may not
>> live
>> in a zone known for extreme cold as in Montana, but in my exceptionally cold
>> pocket of New York's Finger Lakes, I rarely get more than 12 frost-free
>> weeks.
>> Cold-hardy agroforestry, greenhouses (look up Elliot Coleman,) and
>> well-designed homes seem to be key.
>> Who else is growing/living in zone 4 or colder?
>> -Michael Burns
>>> I have received an inquiry for both permaculture and building design for
>>> Northern Montana. Low temps are twenty to thirty degrees sub-zero
>>> Fahrenheit.
>>> Does anyone have any recommendations of practitioners in this area or
>>> equivalent and neighboring zones?
>>> Anyone who should be avoided?
>>> You can contact me off list if you wish.
>>> Vint Lawrence

___________(_)/ (_)_______________
Bill W.  McDorman
Seeds Trust, High Altitude Gardens
PO Box 596
Cornville, AZ 86325
bm at seedsave.org

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