Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Soaking seeds and COrNTRACTS

  I've been starting seedlings galore. One of the biggest perks to growing things from seed you saved yourself is the noticeable vitality. 

  I ordered up a huge selection of different crops to try this year. The whole liberating concept of having plenty of room to grow whatever and as much as I want.. the internet.. plus a debit card... a touch or two of Pinot Noir.. and the giddiness only achievable by many nights of no sleep..  Well the results showed up at my doorstep 3 weeks ago. 

 I resisted the urge to pile up all of the packets and roll in it. 

 I grabbed out the old teacups that sport lovely 70's floral design and made a mild tea. The glorious thing to the neighbor's old house is that the downspouts are snapped off at the base, which makes collecting water a snap. 1 gallon of rainwater, a few drops of organic liquid sea kelp fertilizer and I ran it through vermicompost. By ran it through.. I took a cleaned out 16 oz. cream cheese container, cut a large hole in the lid, popped a coffee filter in the container (folding the edges over and the lid held the filter in place).. a few scoops of vermicompost gently swirled into the rainwater mix was then strained in the cream cheese filter container.

 Totally don't need to do this.. it is just to make a mild tea that I use to presoak some seeds in small batches before planting. I let many seeds soak in this for a few hours. To be blunt.. it puts me on the clock. Once they hit the water.. I am committed. I have to have their pots readied, the identification tags made.. move move move! No slacking off  or excuse to "do it tomorrow". 

 The soaking also lets me pay closer attention to the seeds. For example.. a lot of floaters is not a good sign. I had a LOT of floating tomato & pepper seeds from my order.. and looking closer.. they are missing embryos, and many tomato seeds were crushed. 

 When you clean your own seeds, you can skim off the "floaters". Ones like squash, tomatoes, peppers, etc. will set a lot of seeds in their fruit, but the "empty" seeds.. the unfertilized (hence missing the embryo) seed is more buoyant. (there are some viable seed that float.. however a majority of the floaters are not viable, this is when you are first processing your seeds to be saved.)

 Seeds I saved sprout very quickly. About 10 days faster than the ones I just purchased of the peppers. The chive seeds I chucked in a tray on a lark were 3 years old. The onion family is notorious for short viability of their seeds. 3 years old.. I didn't give them too much of a chance. I was pleasantly surprised when at day 3 I saw many of them emerging. 

 I'm still trying to figure out how to get a few acres tilled. We have to remove a lot of saplings and brush to clear a way to the gates to get into 2 of the fields. Around here.. "lures" to attract deer are illegal. The way properties used for hunting get around it... is by planting corn. Can't put out a salt lick.. so instead they set out a massive buffet. 

 The hunters we rent the farm to seemingly talked to a local farmer. Short version.. my Mom was talked into renting the north fields as at the moment, I do not have the finances to reseed it all in an alfalfa mix.

 When she approached me on it.. I had more than a few questions. 

 "What are they planting?"

 "What strain of corn?"
   "I don't know, but I will find out on Monday because I have to register it."

  "Isn't Farmer So-n-So a conventional grower?"
    "I don't know what the difference is. I told him no toxic chemicals and he said that is not a problem because he doesn't use them, but he did say he will have to use fertilizer."

 My Mom is not a farmer, she is not a gardener. She also is rather uninformed about a lot of things (absolutely the opposite of her Mom, my Grandmother, the Garden Guru). I got Farmer So-n-So's phone number and asked him point blank. Resulting in the contract being cancelled. He was planning on GMO corn and the joys that come with planting that type of crop. Out here, Round-up is considered harmless by a majority of the farmers. What Farmer So-n-So thinks is non-toxic.. and what I think is non toxic... are 2 entirely different worlds. 

 While Farmer So-n-So tried telling me of it's virtues.. and how you can't grow anything without it.. that it is safe enough that he lets his cattle graze on it after harvest. That's his opinion. He knew my youngest sister, but it seems he didn't know that several times she had to be airlifted out to the City was after the neighbor sprayed.

 I'm fine with being the "organic hippy weirdo". The way I see it is.. either you pay the piper now or later, but no matter what, he needs to be paid. 

Update on my sister.. She got into the Mayo clinic. After a battery of tests and biopsies the results were much worse than we expected. The tumor is 5cm, and right up on and pressing against the superior mesenteric artery which makes it inoperable. Chemo at this stage wouldn't help.

 Right before getting the call that there was a cancellation and she could be squeezed in.. she bought tickets to see the Goo Goo Dolls in April. 

 We are trying to tackle everything as best as possible, not squander what moments we have, and take it in stride one day at a time.



  1. Sorry to hear the news about your sister.

    In contrast I so enjoy reading your posts on seed sprouting/saving. Always very informational.

    I also just noticed I am signed up as a follow on your blog as Connor and not PP. Interesting I am not sure how that happened nor how I never noticed before.

  2. Ty kindly Pioneer. :) I most likely won't mention my sister in this blog again. I'll restrain my ramblings about that in a personal journal. The whole fight for basic health care... decent health care especially in a moment like this.. sends me off on rants.

    It is our basic human right to control our food.

  3. We always worry about the corn, we have large feilds of GMO corn a couple miles from where we live and I always wonder about that when collecting my own seed. I agree that the piper must be paid and his toll becomes higher each and every year...good job on sparing your families seed and soil from this man made monstrosity.

    So sorry to hear your sisters test results.

  4. I am sorry to hear about your sister. A sad time for your family.

    Really do enjoy reading your blog.

  5. @ Mr. H Here in IL.. 82% of all corn planted in 2010 was GMO.


    Enogen (the latest ethanol corn) with it's built in enhanced amylase enzyme, you only need 1 kernel in 10,000 to ruin a batch.

    At the local farm bureau is where the crops are registered, you possibly could find out who has what planted and how many acres.

    @ Pattie F. ty. :) I'm a really bad writer, so this is just my ramblings of what is going on in kind of a journal.

    I'm always appreciative of comments and questions.. and always up to help if I can.

  6. I'm sorry to hear about your sister's prognosis. I've heard of "alternative" forms of cancer therapy is she is willing to consider it.


    I can't guarantee anything, but eating healthier will help battle the disease with the body's natural defenses.

    GMO corn....UGHHHHH!!!!

  7. Yeah... that is what she is doing right now (the Gerson diet). Watercress plays a big role in this which is difficult to get a supply of, so we are setting it up for her to grow it at home. Watercress has an exceptionally limited storage life once picked, but it's nutritional properties are amazing, especially in the way it supports the body to fight cancer.

    I'm surrounded by GMO.. literally. BUT.. a strong trend towards organics is also very obvious. Although a serious lack of knowledge is an issue, the shift in attitude is building!