Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The keynote speaker was Matthew Dillon, who co-founded Organic Seed Alliance & was formerly the Executive Director of Abundant Life Seed Foundation. He told us all about the evolution of seed sales in America- did you know that the US government used to care for and distribute seeds for free to anyone who would grow them? At that time it was about 10% of the budget. In 1897, the government gave away 1.1 Billion seeds; now there are 4 main corporations who hold about 90% of the seeds for sale. Also, there are over 12,000 patents on food... This is crazy! Where are we going with this!!! We need to take it back into our own hands (and gardens). Learn to save your own seeds! Let some of your plants go to seed and collect them... give them away and tell the recipient to also raise more seeds and give them away...
When I was telling someone about the seed situation after the event, they were wondering why it was so important that the seeds be distributed by more than those folks. The big companies are efficient, etc... Well, the fact is that these companies grow all their seed in a few regions (or just one) and they are grown with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. When they send the seeds to different regions, the farmers have different results depending on the climate and the amount of chemicals that are applied... I used the example of seed raised in Michigan and then send to South Carolina to grow out... very different climates! So, if you are trying to grow an organic plant from a seed that was raised conventionally, it just doesn't always thrive. Also, some of the GMO seeds are bred to require a spraying of their chemical cocktail to survive. (You can purchase it with your seed order.)
I saw a horrifying documentary about the organic canola seed farmers a few years ago- they got sued because the neighbor farm's GMO seed drifted over and contaminated his field. They said he was raising their proprietary seed without purchasing it!!! The thing that really stuck out was that the only way you can tell the difference is if you spray them (with that which will not be named) and if they survive they are GMO, if not- "Sorry Dude, we just killed your organic crop!"
I for one am all fired up! I have been saving my organically (from organic seed) raised herb seeds since I began, and intend to continue doing that for years to come! Anyone want to come to a seed sorting party?
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I am blogging straight from that porch on Sister Sage Herb Farm! If I had a tripod I could be waving to you... I'm looking at 2 cute goats that are visiting my garden plot on Roseballen Land Trust. There is so much chickweed in the new beds. I saw some chamomile & cloverin there too.
Well, I thought I was blogging from the farm. It did't upload... but I will try again. What a lovely day on Vashon visiting friends and my neighbor farmers!
Friday, February 17, 2012
Just about this time each year (after the NW Flower & Garden Show) the bulbs and see think it is time to strut their stuff. I see little leaves reaching out of the soil to the sunshine that is lingering a little later each day.
I walked by a great garden about two weeks ago. It is a pretty modest deal, but very easy to take care of. Lots of evergreen shrubs and bulbs. Because the gardener had left leaves of the bulbs to rot in the winter, or possibly the leaves were still green until the snow storm we had at the turn of the new year, the crows were pecking around the base for worms & adding to the nutrition and tilth of the soil. Now, the leaves are emerging and well on their way to their next phase of life.