Changes Coming to Sherck Seeds

Rice Trials 2020

As I enter my 8th season of intensive crop trialing and seed increasing, I wanted to take the opportunity to share about some of the changes taking place for 2020/21. My initial intention for starting a “seed business” was to be able to offer seed for varieties of staple crops adapted to the Midwest. While this effort has continued, the overall scope of my seed trialing took on ever expanding reaches that went way beyond my original purpose. This was not a negative consequence but rather the positive outcome of having come into contact with so many excellent seed savers here in the US and abroad whom have shared tremendous amounts of precious seed with me. To this day I am still in awe of the enormity of rare and forgotten varieties of grains and legumes, let alone vegetables. When I grew my first seed plot in 2013 I had 3 beds of Duborskian Upland Rice, the only variety of upland rice that I had ever heard of. I really felt I had stumbled onto something unique for northern climates. Jump forward to 2020, to date I have successfully trialled and offered seed for 38 varieties, with 36 new varieties awaiting trialing this summer! And that is just a drop in the bucket for the total number of known and unknown upland rice varieties.

The problem with 7 seasons of continuous trials and seed increases is that is has kept me from pursuing a long list of projects. Some involve breeding, others related to growing methods. 7 seasons has given me knowledge of a good number of specific varieties that can now be plugged into experiments like same species “mixture plots”, multi-cropping and intercropping systems. I also have a desire to work more closely with my immediate regional community. In order to be able to pursue these ideas I need to reduce the amount of space and time I have devoted to maintaining the large selection of crops that have been available through my website. For the 2021 growing season and beyond, I will be offering the following for sale through this website.

Upland Rice The successes from the 2020 trials will be available for purchase for the 2021 growing season as well as a number of varieties that have done well in the past.

Wheat There will be a number of new winter wheat varieties available in September for fall planting. These will include a number of heritage wheats from the Republic of Georgia as well as a few other European selections, including free threshing emmer and Jacobi Borstvete. A number of the best of the previous winter wheats I have grown will likely be available in the future.

Jacobi Borstvete

All other varieties of crops will no longer be available for purchase through this website. The rarest of these varieties will still be grown on my farm in small maintenance plots. This will not provide enough seed for me to sell but in the future I hope to have seed for sharing with individuals for their trials and projects. I will also be working with some other growers like Kevin Payne in Taft California to help in maintaining these varieties. I am currently working to convert all of Sherck Seeds “seeds for sale” crop pages into an easily navigable series of posts for archival research.

I greatly appreciate all the support from customers and fellow growers I have received these last 8 seasons. I hope that Sherck Seeds (which will likely become Sherck Seeds Research) can still play a helpful role in the advancement of sustainable, diverse small scale agriculture.

John Sherck

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9 Responses to Changes Coming to Sherck Seeds

  1. Gregory says:

    Great job

  2. Karen Fischbach says:

    Let me know when it is time to order seeds!

  3. Andy says:

    Thank you for your incredible work advancing staple food production knowledge in the lower Great Lakes region, John. I look forward to your upcoming seasons of work. I am particularly excited to hear about any successes regarding grain intercropping & polyculture planting. Be well.

  4. Sean McHenry says:

    Are all your old trials and varieties still available for viewing? Even if you don’t offer a certain variety itight be helpful if we can still read what successes/failures you have had with certain crops.

    • John Sherck says:

      All of the old product pages have been converted to posts. You can find them by using the search box in the upper right corner. I hope to add some additional pages with lists you can scroll through and click a link to go to the crops page.

  5. Ben says:

    Hi John,

    I’m currently a young adult living in Florida but I was thinking of growing a small patch of Duborskian rice in my backyard. Do you think this would be a good variety? I thought it might be alright since I wouldn’t have to flood anything, but I’m entirely new to growing anything in general (my cat chewed on my last strawberry plant and it died, lessons were learned.) I would buy some wheat seeds but unfortunately celiac disease runs in my family. Are you going to make a post when you start selling Duborskian again? Also, if you’d like to give any advice to someone just starting out I would greatly appreciate it.

    • John Sherck says:

      Hello Ben,

      Duborskian is a good variety. There will be a number of upland varieties available this season that do not require flooding. Given your climate, any variety should work as long as it does not get too hot during flowering. Above 95 degrees and it can damage the pollen, leading to blank panicles with no seed. The only other suggestion for a first time grower is that I would recommend starting your plants in trays or very small pots first and then transplanting them into the garden a few weeks later. Direct seeding can be a challenge when it comes to controlling weeds. Transplants are easier to manage as you can easily distinguish the rice from the weeds (especially competing grasses).

      I am not sure if I will have Duborskian this season. I am waiting on germination test results. All of the varieties should be available near the end of November.

  6. Brian Cady says:

    Hi John Sherck,

    Have you heard of the handful of peanut varieties developed in Ontario years ago?
    The following mentions some of them:
    Last I heard, their seed stocks were transferred to USDA for safe-keeping, I believe in Griffin GA. If you are interested, I can dig up more about them.
    Brian Cady

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