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Sieva emergency?!?

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  • Sieva emergency?!?

    Do Seed Savers staff look at these forums? Or should I try a more direct but less public way of asking them questions?
    What's with two years in a row of sieva lima bean crop failure? And why did every other commercial (not seed saver members, I know they offered seed) also report crop failure the last two years? Is there actually only one US source of sieva lima beans?
    The same thing happened about 10 years ago: nobody had sieva beans for two years running. It's what introduced me to Seed Savers and what got me started saving seed. I had some sieva seed left over from previous years in a jar. They were all at least two years old, but I'm sure that their average age was more than 5 years. I took 50 seeds from the top of the jar and attempted to sprout them between damp paper towels. I got three spindly plants which I eventually transplanted to my garden. I saved every single pod they produced.
    But it wasn't necessary. That winter, I discovered Seed Savers and they had sieva lima seeds. I planted half theirs and half mine, and continued that regime until two years ago. Then their crop failed, and then it failed again. Did it fail again this year? Can I eat sieva limas or do I need to save every seed I produce for preservation of the variety?

  • #2
    Welcome to the Forum tyto! It is refreshing to discover growers like you who care so much about the preservation and availability of heirloom seeds. Regarding the Sieva, we contracted a large grow-out in 2009, for which we sent a majority of our stock seed. This production turned out to be a complete crop failure, which put us into the time-consuming role of having to rebuild stock seed quantities to the level we could schedule another large production. We grew the Sieva this past summer at our farm, and will do so again in 2012. The hope is that we will produce sufficient stock seed for a larger contract production in 2013, so that it can be included in the catalog for 2014. My recommendation is save back a portion of your Sieva harvest for your own garden, to get you through this Sieva Emergency. Best of luck to us both!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tyto View Post
      Can I eat sieva limas or do I need to save every seed I produce for preservation of the variety?
      There's not a crisis per se, regarding "Sieva"... a lot of people still have seed. Just not in quantities large enough to sell. I tried to grow a small-scale commercial crop in 2010, expecting 25-30 pounds of dry seed. Due to bad weather, I only got about 2 pounds; apparently other growers had similar (lack of) success.

      If you are only saving seed for your own use, you don't need to keep much. The pods dry quickly, and just the ones I miss picking in shelly stage would keep me supplied with seed! If you intend to share, or if seed will be kept for several years, you would need to keep more accordingly.

      As a replacement, if you are looking for commercial seed, I would recommend "Carolina Red" from Sandhill. It is an all-red lima that is very similar to "Sieva" (whose alias is "Carolina") in size & maturity.

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      • #4
        I found that Sieva is a cool weather variety
        I got very few pods last year and they are doing poorly this year
        Other varieties planted at the same time did well
        I too recomend Carolina Red
        Florida Speckled,Hopi Pole and Alabama Black were also very productive
        Last edited by hementia; 07-09-2012, 11:41 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by twahlberg View Post
          Welcome to the Forum tyto! It is refreshing to discover growers like you who care so much about the preservation and availability of heirloom seeds. Regarding the Sieva, we contracted a large grow-out in 2009, for which we sent a majority of our stock seed. This production turned out to be a complete crop failure, which put us into the time-consuming role of having to rebuild stock seed quantities to the level we could schedule another large production. We grew the Sieva this past summer at our farm, and will do so again in 2012. The hope is that we will produce sufficient stock seed for a larger contract production in 2013, so that it can be included in the catalog for 2014. My recommendation is save back a portion of your Sieva harvest for your own garden, to get you through this Sieva Emergency. Best of luck to us both!
          My 2012 Sievas did great and I was able to give over 100 seeds away this Spring at a seed-swap organized by SeedSavers at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. I hope yours also did well and that you were able contract for greater production this year as planned.

          As my Sievas are doing well again this year, and I've already been able to pick several meals worth, it does not seem too early for me to ask if you will be able to include Sievas in your 2014 catalog as hoped.

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          • #6
            Sieva Lima. We did have a successful stock seed regeneration last year, and it is in contract production this year. Barring late season catastrophe or germination issues, we will have it back in the 2014 Catalog, which will be available early December. Thank you for inquiring.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by twahlberg View Post
              Sieva Lima. We did have a successful stock seed regeneration last year, and it is in contract production this year. Barring late season catastrophe or germination issues, we will have it back in the 2014 Catalog, which will be available early December. Thank you for inquiring.
              I guess you must have had a "late season catastrophe" because I just received my 2014 catalog and Sieva Lima beans are not in it. Or has Seed Savers decided to discontinue this offering? What is the actual status of the Sieva lima?

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              • #8
                Sieva

                Originally posted by tyto View Post
                I guess you must have had a "late season catastrophe" because I just received my 2014 catalog and Sieva Lima beans are not in it. Or has Seed Savers decided to discontinue this offering? What is the actual status of the Sieva lima?
                Sadly you are correct and the late season demons have struck. But we did get about 200 lbs produced, and are growing again this year in a more temperate zone. This is the actual status.

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                • #9
                  I sent a small supply of Carolina Sieva to Sandhill for listing this year. They will limit to 1 package per customer, but should be able to supply enough to get a start of seed to most who want them.

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                  • #10
                    2013 SSE "Sieva" crop

                    Originally posted by twahlberg View Post
                    Sadly you are correct and the late season demons have struck. But we did get about 200 lbs produced, and are growing again this year in a more temperate zone. This is the actual status.
                    According to my math, at 45 seeds per ounce (which is my observed average for "Sieva") 200 pounds would be about 144,000 seeds. While this might not be enough to support bulk sales, it surprises me that SSE did not offer "Sieva" for sale in packets.

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                    • #11
                      On the surface 200 lbs may seem like a lot of seed. However, 100 lbs goes directly into new production, and the remainder into stock seed for a future production. The really good news is that anyone can search the yearbook offerings where there are several Sieva listings "https://exchange.seedsavers.org/catalog/results.aspx". And if you are a member you can purchase directly from the listing member.

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