Seed share

It’s time to apply for The Simple Year 6! Click HERE for details, or check out “The Handoff” link above.

Sometimes covering events for the paper gives me a really great excuse to attend gatherings I would never go to on my own accord. Saturday’s “Seed Share” event at a local grange hall is an example of that — I find the idea of saving and sharing seeds intriguing, but it’s not something that’s been traditionally high on the ol’ list.

Thank you, grangers! Don’t mind if I do.

But hey, I’ve watched Food, Inc., and I know there are seed companies out there that are jerks. (Not ALL seed companies are jerks, geez, please nobody sue me.) So the idea of saving seed from year to year strikes me as a very real way the little guy can stick it to The Man.

It’s a very zero waste kind of prospect too — no packaging, no miles to get seeds to a store, etc.

Johanna came along for the ride (well, she got to go to the bookstore first, that’s not a bad incentive) and the two of us entered the grange hall about 10 minutes after the event started. I met a couple of very enthusiastic ladies who send me press releases and went about taking photos, even though one warned me that it was still very early on and they were expecting more people.

Um, how many more people can they even get down here? I wondered, because that whole hall was hoppin’. Basically the gist was: You started at the end of a line and then worked your way down the tables, taking what seeds you wanted. They had tiny envelopes (and some small plastic bags) that you could decant seeds into so you were only taking what you’d use. They had master gardeners onsite to answer questions, and an organic growing shop also had a booth (with a cool wooden beehive thing you could hang in your garden. Eric, I just found your next project!).

I kept bumping into Johanna — when she gets nervous, she’s on me like a shadow — and I couldn’t blame her. Bumping into her all the time was actually a comfort. 😉

While I didn’t take any seeds (we haven’t had a garden in a few years now, and I didn’t want to be wasteful) I did grab a couple of handouts — and tossed a donation into the box — that break down how to save seed, how to make your own seed “shaker” device, and why you should save your seed. Some of the more interesting bits:

  • Seeds are best preserved in cool and dry storage, like a refrigerator.
  • You’ll need a barrier of some sort between similar crops to avoid cross-pollination of varieties.
  • Seed saving prevents loss of agricultural variety. (I hadn’t thought of that, but yeah, that makes sense.)

So. Many. People. Have I ever mentioned that, in addition to my numerous other issues, I’m claustrophobic?

HERE is a link for seed saving info as recommended by our grange — it’s got some great breakdowns on how to save various items and is print-ready. (Did you know that to save tomato seed, you squeeze the seeds and juice into a jar, top with an equal amount of water and let that whole ordeal ferment in a warm place for 3-5 days? Fascinating! I could totally do that!)

HERE is a link for building your own seed screen, also a handout I picked up at the grange, and also print-ready. I think this is for, like, major seed saving operations, but if you’re committed to the cause, it would make things much easier to have one.

As I write this, I’m kind of sad I didn’t get into the line myself and see what I could find. The grange does it free of charge, although I think there’s an expectation there that you will save seed for them, too, and donate it back.

Huh. I wasn’t expecting to be so jacked about this. Any seed savers out there who’d like to share advice (i.e., what seeds are easiest to save, if you refrigerate over the winter months, how long you’ve been at it, whatever else you think is relevant)? I’m definitely going to try this with tomatoes this year, and then next February we can start the seeds in the window and see what happens. Science!

Bonus Story

I mentioned recently that I broke my reading glasses, and have since been rocking a very unbalanced look (my coworker, Ben in Sports, told me I look like a Picasso painting. I took it as a compliment). Eric took pity on me and decided to try gluing the “arm” to the frame, and had them beautifully laid out for me in the kitchen the next morning. I immediately put them on and promised to be very careful. That lasted 10 whole minutes, after which I went to hug him goodbye as he left for work … and bumped my glasses on his cheek. The arm immediately fell off.

We decided our love is just too strong for mere glue. He says he’s got some other ideas on how to fix my glasses, so we’ll see. I’m seriously okay with just duct taping that thing on and calling it a day. Or I guess I could take them back to my eye doctor and see if they can jimmy-rig it again. That seems rather boring, though. (I’ve been writing this post wearing my bifocals, just FYI, and they work all right, I just have to have my nose in the air so I can see the screen. The cats think I’m being a snob.)

Next up: I’ve been sitting on a how-to entry since literally the beginning of my project, a la making a recycled journal. We’ll get that out of the way. Oh, and hey, I’m open to requests, if there’s a topic I haven’t gotten around to covering yet that you’re curious about.

Tell me, tell me...