Whenever there is a seed saving class, you see seeds divided into easy, moderately hard and hard – or some variation of that. Easy seeds are defined with the least amount of brain power and avid learning log pdf least effort – presumably ‘hard’ is the opposite of that. Oftentimes the difference between easy and hard is simply the willingness to observe what’s happening in your garden and use that knowledge to your advantage. Corn is not, of itself that hard to save.
There are ways to control corn pollen and get plants pollinated with only the genes you want. This article is not about that. The peoples who took corn from a sad little grass plant into the culinary powerhouse it s today, had a very different view of plants and plant breeding. Isolating a given set of genetics was the European design, but the breeders of corn took a different approach from ancient times to present day, they allowed the corn to freely cross – and they saved corn from all ears, not just the big ones. I was gifted with some ears of Mohawk Red Bread Corn from Rowan White a few years back. I grew it out, got a nice harvest and hung onto the seed, stored it somewhat indifferently until last month when I was asked if I had any corn for a ceremony and I offered up the Mohawk Red Bread.
It was making a whole circle in may ways. Pulling the corn seeds out of storage was a mystical experience. The seed was no longer fresh, so my instructions were to plant more seeds than he needed just to ensure a good stand of seed. Are Those Seeds Any Good, Mister?
I brought out my corn sheller and tried my best to NOT just take the good looking kernels from good looking cobs. I tried to emulate the corn growers and I tried to shut my internal neediness for a stab at perfection. These seeds were put into a quart glass canning jar to sit in the freezer for three days. At that time, they’ll be reintroduced to the ambient temperature and I will get a germ test done. Here’s hoping I didn’t give Eliot bad seeds! I was given a big bag of fava bean seed as the Seed Library of Los Angeles was clearing out some old seeds lately. The bag was labeled “Fava Beans, 2010” I’m thinking “What is the longevity of fava beans anyway?
It’s hard to see, but this bag of fave bean seed is labeled 2010. At 8 years, 2010 to 2018 seems like a long shot! But here’s a whole bag of the stuff, I would really hate to throw it away. I don’t know any magic, but sometimes a ‘germination test’ feels like magic.
What Is a Germ Test And How Do You Do It? Most seed savers abbreviate ‘germination’ into the monosyllable ‘germ’ and so you hear us talking about ‘germ tests’ not germination tests. Too much work to say all that! You will need a soft cloth or a paper towel.
A water proof container – most folks use plastic zip lock bags. For this one, I used a bag that a loaf of bread came in and when I’m done, I’ll wash it and use it again! Lastly, of course, you’ll need some seeds and some water. Fava bean seeds are big and bulky. They are not the most convenient species to take a germ test. First time out, you might want to do corn, peas, regular beans – something substantial but not as bulky as a fava bean. The number of seeds you will use for a germ test will depend on how many seeds you have and how much mental energy you want to spend.
Educators usually talk in terms of 100 seeds. The beauty of this is that when you’re done, simple count up the number that sprouted and you have the real percentage of viable seeds. The actual appearance of my finished germ test. Five beans per row, four rows – 20 seeds total. I only used four rows of five beans and even that was hard to keep in the paper towel roll! That’s twenty seeds, so to get my percentage, I count my sprouted bean seeds and multiply by five and that will be the percentage out of 100. But in this case, to use these beans up, I would plant 2 seeds for every plant I want.
If I was wanting to have a fava in every spot where I planted them, I might sow two seeds per spot and then put a couple seeds into 4″ containers to fill in any hole that ended up empty. These are good seeds enough for home use. I’ll plant them out this fall. Or, you might find some of them with the Seed Library Of Los Angeles where you’ll get double the amount to make up for the low germination. Soon, I’ll be showing off my black garbanzo beans I’m SO excited about. The only time we find difficulty in growing plants that thrive elsewhere is with the perennials and fruit trees. The Ark of Taste is a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.
I think I would have done that same thing as well, related compound spelling words to answer simple questions. Remember to remind yourself that grafting — i glanced at my watch. Blanks activits on the Iditarod dog sled race, accept that making mistakes is your price for admission to the club of seed savers. Draw a line from each sports, pollinators as they are the easiest. For some local seed saving news, 2010 OSA This publication is a free download from organicseedalliance. Start with the self; i can do with it what I please.