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Wet processing includes all fleshy fruit. Tomato, eggplant, pepper, all cucurbit and any seed enveloped in a fruit. When harvesting the fleshy fruits seeds must be mature that means that different plants mature at different stages, mostly when they change to their final color. Harvest when:

  • Tomato – when ready to eat its ready for harvest.
  • Pepper – changes to its final color usually red.
  • Eggplant- losses its shin and changes color to yellow.
  • Melon – changes color, stripes appear and usually disconnects from the vine.
  • Watermelon – when ripe.
  • Cucumber – changes color usually yellow.
  • Squash – when ripe, the skin is hard and doesn’t puncture with your fingernail.

The seeds of a fruit are protected by a gelatinous coat which contains germination inhibiting compounds. Nature’s method of removing the seed’s sugar coating, Happens after the fruit falls on the soil. It then ferments and decomposes and the coating is shed. We must do the same when processing artificially.  Seeds are taken out of the fruit with their juice and left to ferment. In a way that natural yeast, bacteria and fungi can use the sugars to ferment and shed the coating of the seed.  The seeds are now washed clean, placed on a screen with air circulation to dray for a day and then bagged and transferred for a final drying in a dry room with low humidity for a few months.

The desired water content of a seed for long term storage is around 5%. High water content will shorten life span of the seed. When frozen water expands and brakes cell walls, killing the seed. With low water content of 3% and below, the seed coat will prevent water from entering the seed and germination won’t occur.

 

I now live in a beautiful old cabin built in 1846 by general Taylor; it’s located perfectly and has an old phonograph.

The white house chose SSE to host a Town Hall meeting with president Barack Obama. I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to see the president speak and answer questions.

It was a beautiful day, the audience asked very harsh questions about many subjects, but no question were asked about GMO and the president strategy in dealing with big cooperation’s controlling the markets, so I was not completely satisfied.

My conclusion was that no mater how much the president wants to change the direction we are going, if the people don’t raise their voice to be heard not much will actually change.

Like it always has been. If the right people don’t stand up to wrong doing, inequality prevails and all creations suffers the consequence.

In 1819 seed diversity was brought to the US to be shred with the public from the understanding of the importance of communal seed diversity. the federal government founded the USDA who was distributing seed verities to everyone for free. Universities had grant for improvement of crops, breading programs and served regional community.

1863 “American Seed Trade Association” formed. In the first meeting in Rochester they decided to to stop the free seed program throw lobbying congress, and they succeeded by 1923.

In the 1950’s hybridization increased and funding for universities dropped, changed into founding for commercial products and turned universities into servants of the privet sector.

In 1980 the supreme court allowed for the first time patenting of life, a bacteria that eats oil, Diamond Vs Chakrabarty. And from their any part of plant, characteristic could be patented.

Many things changed rapidly which gave way for large, non agriculture chemical pharmaceutical companies, like Monsanto, DoPont, Bayer ect, to cease the opportunity and take over the seed industries, total control of seeds throw patenting, stopping farmers from saving seed crops and no researchers can save and innovate.

Luckily some small seed companies like SSE, Seeds Of Change, Southern Exposure, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Native Seeds SEARCH and many more, started saving heirloom seeds and breading seeds, working with rowel communities for protecting our heritage.

We most find the way to be more collaborative protect local farmers and pass are seeds in our communities as the beginning of creating a sustainable next generation.

 

 

With over 35 workshops, garden hayrides, a barn dance and four keynote addresses, I enjoyed a full weekend of seed-saving celebration and information at Heritage Farm.

I spent this weekend meeting amazing people with amazing stories to tell, and went to inspirational talks and workshops about seed saving. some of my fevered talks where:

Craig LeHoullier – tomorrow’s Heirlooms, Breeding new tomato varieties.

Woody Tasch – Slow Money- Investing as food, farms & Fertility matters, his book is a must for everyone and his ideas are the future.

Matthew Dillon- Community Seed System, past and present. You wont believe what the big companies did to take over the seed system.

*Later on they interviewed me for a documentary they are filming.

Jeff McCormack- Isolation distances, principles & practices. Founder, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange.

31st Annual Seed Savers Exchange Conference & Campout


The simplest way of controlled pollination is using distance isolation (Caging is expensive and hand pollination is labor intensive). Definition: isolation distance is the minimum separation required between tow or more verities of the same species (same genus or family) for the purpose of keeping pure seeds.

Some plants are protected from crossings by just small distance, such as lettuce, eggplant, tomato. Others, such as peppers may need a much larger isolation distance.  Corn, a wind pollinated plant can cross at distances up to 7 Km.

Distance varies from species to species do to difference in flower structure and pollination (wind, insects, self). Isolation recommendations are available on line, but many environmental factors can affect how far or effectively wind or insect can transfer pollen. Consider adjusting recommended isolation distance.

Important thing about distance isolation- every time you double the isolation distance between tow crops that can cross, the amount of cross-pollination decreases by 4.

Factors to be considered: get to know your gardening neighbors and aria

Increased isolation required-

  • Plant population size.
  • Grater number of varieties.
  • Large number of pollinators present.

Decreased isolation permitted-

  • Presence of tall barrier crops or pollen bearing crop.
  • Presence of alternate pollen source for pollinators.
  • Plants planted in blocks rather then long rows.
  • Collection of seeds from center of block planting.
  • Staggered blooming times between plants (time isolation).

 

Plants are the most fundamental organism in nature. They are able to photosynthesise, accumulate carbon and release oxygen into the atmosphere, and sometimes, like in the case of the majestic Sequoia trees, can live up for over three millennia.

All of nature is succumbed by plant life. Micro-organisms like nematodes, fungi and bacteria keep the soil healthy and strengthen and protect plants. Animals, birds, insects, water and the wind disperse their seeds to all corners of the earth in their endless verities and all life entwined to their success.

To serve their distribution needs humans transplanted, changed and redesigned plant life throughout the world. For over 10,000 years gardeners and scientists have experimented with the genetics of food plants through cross-pollination, selection and the enhancing of desired traits. While holding seeds in our hand when planting, we cannot comprehend the amount of history contained in the seeds, both of what has come before and what is to come.

In these modern days of mass extinction, huge corporations struggle to find solutions against natural devastation they have created. Where the majority of humans live disconnected from natural life we are losing plant diversity at a striking speed.

The mission of protecting our human plant history involves each and every one of us. The skills of seed saving and preservation are essential for organic gardeners and fundamental for agriculture. Gardeners should be able to grow and maintain their own seeds as the base of controlling their productivity. Seed preservation was the first skill by which humans developed agriculture and transformed from hunter-gatherer societies toward a settled existence, and enabled mankind to pursue different aspects of human existence that brought about technological advancement.

Today saving and sharing of heirloom seeds is essential in creating a sustainable eco-organic society that is sustainable for future generations.

 

 

In a perfect flower fertilization usually occurs with in each flower and dose not need special attention.

For wind and insect pollinated plants, there are mainly four different techniques for maintaining a pure seed of desired verity, keeping them from contamination throw cross-pollination.

Isolation by Distance- isolation of one plant verity by distances that is large info to prevent cross-pollination throw wind or insects. The distance varies from species to species and there are many recommendations for every species.

Isolation by time- crops from the same species can be planted at different times so they won’t simultaneously flower. This works only given a sufficiently long growing season and only for plants that flower in one burst.

 

Caging with introduced pollinators- constructing a physical barrier made from a frame and screen to prevent cross-pollination of insect-pollinated plants. These techniques are good for plants that can self-pollinate and do not show inbreeding depression. Quenelles hives called Nucs, with ready to hatch bees are placed inside the cage as if that was their world. At seed saver we use  mason bees and alfalfa leaf cotters.

 

 

 

 

 

Hand pollination- especially corn, hand pollination is very commonly used technique of producing pure seeds. Bagging using cloth or paper bags to cover a flower act as a pollen barrier (be aware that temperatures wont be too high inside the bags), some crops can’t be allowed to self pollinate do to inbreeding depression resulting in low yield and unable to produce any seed.

For Diocese species, kept under constant isolation, transferring uncontaminated pollen from male plants\flowers onto the receptive stigma of female flowers. Plant Hand sex.