So I have taken the plunge and joined the Seed and Plant Sanctuary for Canada. I've chosen my five seed types that I will plant and report back on, and confirmed all this with the organizer of the whole project. So here are 'the chosen five' along with a little blurb about why I chose it:
1) Echinacea: I've been wanting to grow this for a couple years now. I buy the echinacea pills all the time and do take them whenever I feel a sore throat or cold coming on, and while I have a cold. It does seem to help minimize the severity and the length of the colds I get, although the one I have now is a doozy and nothing seems to help. I have also thought that it would be a good thing to take as a tea regularly, and maybe something I could sell/trade if TEOTWAWKI circumstances arrive. Or even if they don't. Plus the flowers are pretty.
2) Chinese Rhubarb: I was planning on planting some kind of rhubarb this Spring because it is one of the first things that is harvestable in my cold climate, and I do love the tart taste of rhubarb made like applesauce. It freezes well, and its flavor reminds me of being a kid. And apparently the flavor of this variety is superior to most others. Then when I noticed that you can use the leaves as a bug repellent and the fibre for paper, I definitely wanted to try this variety out.
3) Golden Rocky Bean: I had great luck with my bush snap beans last year. I didn't measure the yield objectively, but I'm sure that the amount of food per square foot of beans planted was the most of anything I planted last year. So when I saw that this bean can be used as a fresh bean in summer and then dried to use as a black bean in winter, I just had to try it. I will still pickle some beans, because they were so delicious that way, but being able to dry the beans to use another way is very practical.
4) Burnet Saxifraga: Ever since hearing the Urban Gardener speak last Spring, I've been wanting to try growing some perennial salad greens. This one seems to fit the bill, and as a bonus our two guinea pigs are likely to enjoy these greens as well. I bought a few more potentially perennial green seeds as well, but this one sounded like the most cold hardy, and so the most likely to survive our cold winters.
5) Parsely Giante d'Italia: This is a cold hardy parsely, that apparently will seed itself quite easily. It is also a rare cultivar, so I thought I'd give something rare a try! And again, the guinea pigs eat parsely as a fairly regular treat, so I grow some kind of parsely every year. I've just never tried growing it from seed before, so this could be interesting!
I've cobbled together a spreadsheet with the categories I'm thinking of using for record-keeping purposes, but thanks to a comment from Apple Jack Creek I may switch over to a photo-based record system, which will probably convey a lot more information. Thanks for the suggestion AJC!
Picture courtesy New Botany