Author Topic: SEEDS...  (Read 9032 times)

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2017, 04:30:06 PM »
Would it be appropriate to include non-GMO seeds in this topic, or would that be best posted in a different location?
It's a given (for all of us, presumably)  that we are never talking about planting GMO seeds.

ilinda

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Re: corn
« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2017, 04:33:26 PM »
Maybe i don't have to Google it myself... Does anyone know about the different kinds of corn and their characteristics/advantages/etc.?
I have all kinds but just assumed corn = good.
Organic gardener/geneticist Carol Deppe has written a book that discusses the different corns in detail, and it is too much for my brain to remember it all.  The book is The Resiliant Gardener and although I read it, it's more like a reference book and I plan to re-read portions again.

She discusses five crops that one needs for surviving hard times.  She knows her corns.

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2017, 04:39:15 PM »
Hi Socrates,

That's where I was heading with the last post.  In the U.S. we have some serious problems with corn seed, yet it's a staple crop.  It didn't become an issue until the 21st Century, when GMO seeds were patented and released for mass production farming, before the germ Bt was tested on humans.  Since corn so easily cross pollinates, we can no longer feel completely assured by such marketing terms as "open-source," "heirloom," and "organic."  A decade ago, a questionable practice was introduced into the retail seed supply called "The Safe Seed Pledge," in which retailers virtually awarded themselves a non-GMO label if they swore that they would not knowingly sell seeds contaminated by GMO crops.  This was a weasel word that allowed sellers to skirt around testing their seeds and pretend to care about the topic while really just boosting their profits.  http://www.councilforresponsiblegenetics.org/pageDocuments/MDY2JSPBRC.pdf

There are a few tools we can use to increase our chances of getting pure seed.
1. Know first-hand, if possible, where it came from.  Use seed that was passed directly to you, without an intermediary, by someone who has grown a particular corn cultivar for a couple of generations and kept their crop isolated by at least a half mile ideally from GMO corn crops. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollen_drift

2. Or look for the Non-GMO Project symbol with the orange butterfly, meaning that the supplier actually physically tests a specific percentage of seeds. https://www.nongmoproject.org/

3. Or look for a "100% Organic" certification.  The word "organic" by itself without the percentage designation isn't enough in this country. https://gmo-awareness.com/2011/05/05/is-organic-always-gmo-free/

4. Opt for a variety/category of corn that agribusiness hasn't taken an interest in, and maintain safe distances.  It can still become contaminated, but the slender shape of flint corn, for example, is somewhat reassuring that it has retained its original genetics.

Once we have pure seeds in our own hands, then we in turn must be responsible to protect our crops from contamination by maintaining distances from the crops of neighboring growers.

Here are a few generally respected seed suppliers that are marketing themselves as being things like organic, heirloom, open pollinated, etc., but if you study their websites carefully, you will find weasel words regarding GMO-free certification (while in some cases speaking loudly against GMO's):
Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds/aka Rareseeds.com, Sustainableseedco.com, Victoryseeds.com, Sand Hill Preservation Center, Adaptiveseeds.com, Seedsavers.org

Here is a seed company that certifies certain specific strains of corn only: Fedco of Maine sells only non-GMO sweet corn.  Its other strains of corn are not certified.  At least they are very clear about it.

Here is a seed company that certifies all of its corn varieties:
Highmowingseeds.com has double certification, being both 100% organic and a certified Non-GMO Project member.  More companies listed here: https://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/verified-products/results/?categoryId=1675003486

A few unscrupulous, but slick and green-sounding companies will post the orange butterfly logo of the Non-GMO Project on their website as a link to more information about it, while not actually being affiliated with the Non-GMO Project.  We can avoid being fooled by noting that they boast having signed the "Safe Seed Pledge," indicating that the very most that they are willing to do is ask their own seed suppliers for statement of assurance.
Also if you get to know the actual people behind the scenes at some of the small seed companies you have a better idea of where they stand.  I have seen Glen Drowns the co-owner of Sand Hill Seed Preservation give presentations at the annual gathering at Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, and the guy is totally against GM.  One problem is if testing isn't done, though, being against GM isn't enough, considering wind-driven pollen drift.

Another factor is where the corn is grown.  In the open in the plains states, there is very good possibility of contamnation with GM pollen.  If grown in an area of the Ozarks studded with billy-goat land with steep hills and hollers, with lots of forests surrounding, there is a good chance of absence of GM.

My one friend in Delaware plants her organic/biodynamic corn very early or very late in season to avoid the nearby GM pollen from all the GM farmers nearby.

BTW, thanks for posting this, as you brought up some new points!

As soon as I can get some corn planted, I'll post a few pics of hopefully finished crop.

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2017, 05:00:01 AM »
Quote
My one friend in Delaware plants her organic/biodynamic corn very early or very late in season to avoid the nearby GM pollen from all the GM farmers nearby.

Ilinda, what a great idea, especially for Southern growers who have warmer soil in spring and autumn! 

Looking forward to pics of your crops :)

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2017, 01:42:45 PM »
Adding the Restoration Seed Company as one of the good guys for corn seed preservation.  They have gone the USDA certification route, rather than the Non-GMO Project path.  Same end result - unless one wants the government out of their garden altogether.  They do accept some non-certified seed from their growers as well, on the grounds that they're afraid special cultivars will become completely extinct otherwise.  Look for USDA symbol to tell the difference.  https://www.restorationseeds.com/collections/corn

Yowbarb

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2017, 12:15:59 PM »
R.R. Book, Excellent!
Thank you...

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2017, 05:17:56 PM »
This is the first in a series of seed-saving articles.  The first one will only have one pic, as I tried a few minutes ago, and failed miserably, to post anything, as jpegs may have been too large.
Ok, here are radish plants that are going to seed.  You can see the rather large seed pods, which will turn brown eventually and become brittle, at which time they are ready to pick and save in a cool/cold, dry place.

Radishes are biennial, although they usually bolt in the same year as opposed to most other biennials.

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2017, 05:30:44 PM »
This is the second part of a multi-part series on seed saving.
Seed saving is more than just gathering a few seeds, whatever is handy, and stuffing them in a ziplok bag and waiting for next gardening season.

Saving seed means alloting space in your garden (which is probably bursting at the seams anyway) for your seed crop.  Plus it also means a bit of time involved in weeding (at least once) your seed crop, which is taking up valuable space.  But if you want seed, this is what you do.

Most garden crops are either biennial or annual.  The biennials usually grow their crop one year, then return the following spring to produce their seeds.  All the brassicacea (cruciferous) veggies do this, and some others as well, including parsnips and beets.

For example with parsnips or beets, the experts say to save 6-12 of your best roots, storing them in damp sawdust or damp sand (not wet) during the winter, in a location where it's cold but not freezing.  Then the following spring, re-plant the beets or parsnips when danger of hard freeze is over The pic attached shows beets as they are beginning "to bolt" which means to go to seed.  The beet seed tops will get taller as the season wears on a bit, and they may reach 3' or more.  Flowers are not vibrant as in many other crops, but seeds do get produced.  Be patient.

As most people know, it is best not to harvest anything from the seed crop, except the seeds when dry.  All the leaves are busy metabolizing, etc., but the plant needs all its energy to go into producing seed. 

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2017, 05:57:10 PM »
AFter unsuccessfully posting a pic of parsnip seed plants, I re-sized another parsnip pic, so this is an experiment.
The attached pic shows how small the first year parsnip crop is compared to the 5' tall seed crop plants, seen at the far end of the row.  In this jumbled mass of greenery, the only thing weeded is the parsnips from from to back. 

Once the parsnip seed crop flowers, then seeds form and dry, it will be about July or so here in MO, so there won't be a lot of time for hot season crops to fill that space, but fall lettuce or fall peas are a possibility.



ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2017, 06:04:03 PM »
The attached pic shows the quite tall parsnip seed crop with their yellow flower heads.  Some are already 5' tall and growing. ( In the foreground are Fava beans which are another cold season crop, and this year they are an experiment.)

Because you only need to save and plant 6-12 of your best beets or parsnips for seed the following spring, you can usually squeeze them in somewhere, so I put both parsnips and beets at one end of the bed, with food beets and food parsnips at the other end.

Yowbarb

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2017, 07:46:51 PM »
Great posts, R.R. Book and Socrates. :)
Socrates I sent you a msg...an idea...
Let me know,
Barb T.

Yowbarb

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #26 on: May 22, 2017, 07:48:28 PM »
ilinda - wonderful posts and images. Looks like you are walking the walk. :)
Great stuff - growing that much food...
I love root veges.
- Barb T.

Socrates

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #27 on: May 23, 2017, 04:23:53 AM »
Saving seed means alloting space in your garden (which is probably bursting at the seams anyway) for your seed crop.
Reality check for people interested in growing their own food: Marjory Wildcraft teaches that a whole 3/5 of your land needs to be about growing soil, i.e. not food.

I personally feel that scavanging for soil is a real option [check out any forest], but that also involves a lot of carrying soil around all the time...
In traditional horticulture, which was practiced for millennia [!] before authoritarian social/political developments caused agriculture to be all the rage..., the edges of food forests were used for growing specific crops.

#whatisagarden...
survival database
location, civilisation reboot, PERMACULTURE, postcataclysmic soil, Growing Soil 1.01

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2017, 05:11:13 PM »
Saving seed means alloting space in your garden (which is probably bursting at the seams anyway) for your seed crop.
Reality check for people interested in growing their own food: Marjory Wildcraft teaches that a whole 3/5 of your land needs to be about growing soil, i.e. not food.

I personally feel that scavanging for soil is a real option [check out any forest], but that also involves a lot of carrying soil around all the time...
In traditional horticulture, which was practiced for millennia [!] before authoritarian social/political developments caused agriculture to be all the rage..., the edges of food forests were used for growing specific crops.

#whatisagarden...
One of our neighbors sometimes has experienced hay being ruined by an unexpected rain at the wrong time, after which he asks hubby if he wants to buy the spoiled hay.  We're absolutely delighted to buy spoiled hay--we're getting his topsoil at basement bargain rates.

Another source of good soil is after horrific storms we find large trees uprooted up in the woods, so we bring that soil down and place it in the garden, to prevent pelting rain from washing away all that wonderful soil that has formed under these huge trees.  It is amazing the amount of soil attached to the upturned tree roots.

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2017, 05:16:05 PM »
And last but not least attached is a pic of one of our prize parsnip roots for seed.  We're always torn between wanting to eat the best, but know that's not what seedsaving is all about.