Will at work tilling our main garden

Our homestead is a mile and a half from the road; a neighbor watches

Our grandchildren, Mason and Ava, love helping pick vegetables for dinner.

Around here, we do a lot the old fashioned way; by hand.  Here, I’m planting some melons in our new garden, The Sand Garden.

We are perhaps the smallest seed business around!  My husband and I are the whole “crew”; we seldom have an intern or apprentice available.  So we do it all from tilling to seed harvesting by hand or with our old Ford tractor.  With that said, let me introduce ourselves.  My husband, Will, and I have been homesteaders for over fifty years and have always been interested in saving open pollinated seeds as a continuation of our self-reliant lifestyle. Do you realize it’s estimated over 500 varieties of historical seeds go extinct each and every day, worldwide?  They will never be duplicated or available again!  Please help us save them.  Visitors always welcome!

Will and I occasionally get to enjoy our wonderful front porch.

Our Northern Minnesota, off grid,200 acre homestead is way back in the woods; our driveway is a mile and a half long.  While this does pose a few difficulties, it, coupled with the fact there are no crops grown within many miles of us, it ensures there will never be GMO contamination to our naturally raised seeds.  We fertilize with manure from our own animals and use organic growing methods although we are not certified organic as there are too many hoops to jump through for our small operation.

Many of you will recognize me (Jackie Clay-Atkinson) from my articles in Backwoods Home Magazine and Self-Reliance, magazines supporting a self-reliant lifestyle, and my blog on the Backwoods Home website, HOMESTEADING WITH JACKIE CLAY.  My husband and I have been especially interested in preserving heritage open pollinated seeds which have been around for a long, long time and are often in danger of becoming extinct as commercial hybrids continually take their place.

However, these hybrids often have been developed for commercial growing, having traits such as good shipping ability, ripening all at once or appearance on store shelves.  They do not have the complex and wonderful flavors of old-time open pollinated varieties that have been around so long because of great traits.  Some are Native American crops.  Others were family favorites, brought to this country by immigrants from many different countries throughout the centuries.  We think of them as “history in a seed”!

All open pollinated crops are not old; some have been recently developed by seed savers and even hobby gardeners.  But both heritage seeds and modern open pollinated varieties allow folks to save their own seeds, saving both lots of money and these great crops.

So we save seeds, by hand, from crops we’ve found to be not only tasty but usually beautiful and very productive.  If they don’t taste good and are productive, they don’t get raised on our homestead.  And living in Zone 3, we only choose very hardy varieties that will grow almost anywhere.

Be assured that any seeds you buy from us will produce well, filling your table and pantry with tasty food.  We, ourselves, plant, harvest and collect the seeds from each crop.  AS SIGNERS OF THE SAFE SEED PLEDGE, WE WILL NEVER OFFER GMO SEEDS!  We homestead and garden for the joy and intense sense of security it gives us and hope you enjoy the variety, production, taste and beauty of our crops which our seeds produce.

Please click on “seed catalog”  in black bar at top to view what we have to offer this year!  And I promise you there’s a lot more to look at for 2020.  We are constantly looking for new “old” varieties to trial and offer to you.  Thanks for coming.  And a special thanks to our return customers as your loyalty and purchases support our homestead and let us accomplish much each year we wouldn’t be able to do without you.  So a huge THANK YOU!!!

If you or a friend would like a free paper catalog,  you may just email us at jackieclay2007@yahoo.com.

NOTE;  THIS YEAR WE WOULD LIKE TO FIND A FEW PEOPLE TO APPRENTICE HERE AT OUR HOMESTEAD.  WHILE THERE WILL BE NO PAY, THERE WILL BE RUSTIC HOUSING, THREE MEALS A DAY AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN UNLIMITED HOMESTEAD SKILLS IN A FRIENDLY, FUN ENVIRONMENT.  We don’t care if you’re male or female, what your color, religion or age is.  All we ask is that you have a quest for learning, gardening and a good work ethic.  We are NOT looking for slave labor!  You’ll be working along with us.  And we’re not spring chickens.  If you’re interested, shoot an e-mail to the above e-mail address and we’ll talk.