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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Conscientious Recycler Does Something Smaller

I was pleasantly suprised today to find out one of our local citizens made the news by making a statement about waste. For one year, she saved all the non-recyclable plastic or refuse that could not otherwise be recycled at her home. This included any napkins or plastic she might use at restaurants! The reporter who went to interview her expected to see several bags worth and was amazed to find only about 5pounds of trash total in a single bin.

See the live News Clip and a picture of Liz!


I know hard she works at something really important because, if you ever went walking on most city streets now days your going to see some papers blowing around. This bothers a lot of us but we choose to ignore it. Its someone else responsibility.

I have met Liz several times and she is always there to listen to anyone
who might wish to offer a way to make our city greener and encourages
any amount of positive energy no matter how small and make it so worth
wile. Her energies have wide effects into various regions from
recycling, growing a community garden, or even bringing life back to
some of neighborhoods with reclamation; including Habitat for Humanity
on the near West side.

People can get involved through Syracuse grows, Slow Food, as well as
through the Alchemical Nursery Project which supports permaculture, and
green living. (alchemicalnursery.org)

On top of that, she also loves to crochet non-recyclable materials as
much as I do!
Gotta love that! Cher

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Seed Saving in general terms

I like to do "Seed Trains" with persons who would like to learn about seed saving, trading, and growing your own. (It does'nt matter what state you live in) You can send me an email, or just ask.

The basic rules are collect seeds of plants you can comfortably identify and mark the name on a package. If its from a garden, then know the rules of how to probagate or collect heirloom seeds. Make sure the seed is fully mature before picking. (This may take some practice or experience. Some seeds are easier to collect than others)

When growing some types of vegetables from seed, if its planted next to one of its realtives, it might cross pollenate. You will still get a tomato from a tomato seed but it may not taste or look the same. Keep this in mind if you decide to plant 12 different tomato plants next to each other. Even if they are "heirloom".

If your not collecting the seeds it doesn't matter; but it sure is cheaper to save some seed than having to purchase it each year and hope your usual distributer still carries it. You can choose to rotate your favorites, or plant them further apart, or use spun bond to cover during blooming and keep one type covered while the other is getting pollenated. Or hand pollenate. This is reasonable with some types of veggies but not all.

People started collecting seeds in the first place; to ensure that their best loved plants would be there for them again the next season. They would take the best tasting tomato and keep the seeds in a cup to ferment for a few days. When it starts to look like the gelantous mass is breaking down and releasing the seed; its time to rinse and dry off on a paper towel. Allow a few days to dry completely.

I usually take a half of an envelope or make some packets from recycled paper. Or reuse some envelopes to keep seed in. I keep a scrap book of types and growing conditions and notes to fall back on for next season. Seeds do best when they are cool and dry, and kept out of direct sunlight. The viability of some seeds is longer than others. And some seeds do best when replanted right away. (More so wild edibles)

Its best if your going to collect seed to try it with one or two items the first season. If you try and take on too much you will end up not being a happy gardener and give up. If the price of food keeps going up,(should I say when?) it will be a good skill to have.

I know from past experience, even with my own family they would grow a dozen tomato plants and then give away tomatoes to everyone. I'm guilty of the same thing; and sharing is nice but don't forget about sauce or canning.
If you ever tried to make sauce, you would not just toss the "imperfect" ones into the compost, but instead try and make sauce out of them if not a bushel or so. Give it some thought. If your seed grows true to form, taste and color three seasons or more in a row, you can safely say you still have an heirloom seed. If you save seed and all the tomato plants look different, and taste different, and some even have curled leaves or other problems, you probably got a throw back from one of the original parent plants or a new cross breed. If you were in a tight pinch and didn't wish to just toss the seed, you could do a test planting of some of the seeds and see what happens.

If your wanting to ensure some will be heirloom and then mark those with a colored twist tie and numbering system and then the next year try growing the seeds and see what you get. If one tomato plant tastes way better than some of the others, then that is the one you want to keep seed from. Even when you have all the same variety of tomato plant you may end up with some better tasting than others.
This is very true with wild edibles. Since they are not cultivated, they can vary in taste and texture from plant to plant and even in chemical content. That is why it is good to know what you have when foraging and what to expect. Some plants are quite edible and some only certain parts of the plants can be eaten like rhubarb..the stalks are edible but the leaves will make you quite sick. This used to be passed down from grandparent to grandchild. Now most of us are re-learning it.

Some plants when allowed to go to seed, will "winter sow" and you get new starter plants which you just transplant into their new beds while they are still small. I have done this with broccoli, parsley, leeks and garlic. I have also had some leafy greens come up by themselves as well as dill. If I don't eat them before I make it back to the house, I take little bits of edibles and toss them into my salad bowl. When its early in the season, I toss in some garlic scapes, dandilion leaf and even wild violet leaves and flowers can be added to beet top leaves or even wintered over carrots. Once you get a feel for the how and why, it starts to become a little bit easier each time. I feel its important for everyone to grow some food even if its only one tomato plant. A cardboard box full of corn which can be a nice privacy screen, smells great and the stalks are useful for fall decoration as well as crafting. corn stalks make great compost too, if you don't end up feeding them to livestock. I believe everything has a use. If you are dragging alot of refuse to the curb for others to carry off, maybe you need to rethink your plan. I can't help but shake my head when I see pumpkins at the curb instead of composted in the garden.

You can save some of your pumpkin seeds and roast the rest of them to eat like nuts. Some people grind them up to make a flour or add to flour. Raw foodies grind them up and add them to smoothies, as well as sunflower seeds.

Other seeds like broccoli. If you keep extra seed available you can start sprouts for a salad, sandwich or snack. There are so many reasons to collect seeds as there are plants.
If anyone has collected seeds, they can post their experiences, or you can ask questions and we will try and answer a few of them too.

Plus don't forget about joining a seed train or have a seed swap. I can tell you more about that too if your interested. Cher

I wanted to add another great NY source for Heirloom seeds: The Victory Seed

Take a look at their topics which talk about various aspects of seed saving that are important to know. They sell seeds but also are a seed bank for providing heirloom seeds.

Victory Seed Company

Rare, Open-pollinated & Heirloom Garden Seeds

News & Information

We do rely on the sale of seeds to fund our work, but our primary mission is to protect seeds. One of our tools for doing this is through education and dissemination of information.

The following links are to tools and information located on our Web site. In some cases, the links will lead you to other sites.

Visit them at: http://www.victoryseeds.com/catalog/index.html

Seed Savers - Why do they do it?

I wanted people to learn more about the various aspects of Seed Saving. There are individuals and families that have grown the same tomato seeds for generations. To some of us this seems a bit redundant if not amazing with all the choices we have today; but , are they informed choices?
It used to be that we referred to genetic manipulation just by simple methods such as cross pollination or selective seed gathering. Now its a whole different ball game in a world where they can splice genes under a microscope and cause them to create different chemicals. In fact as much as we know, we still don't know what happens exactly each time genes are "spliced" as you get a slightly different result. The idea of an exact method or perfect clone doesn't really exist, but it makes for good movies, or bad depending on what your view point is.

In the meantime, some people of wisdom decided that maybe its a good idea to carry on this method of saving naturally grown seeds. Just in case those others do not quite work out. We learned that with the monoculture that created the potato famine in Ireland. So I feel it is an important skill for many to know and understand seed saving and not leave it to just some organization or company, but rather a people skill. As important as knowing how to bandage a cut; we need to think about heirloom seeds as being just as important as the antique table in the dining room or the old clock.

I start my presentation with a NY Seed saving project on Long Island. They wish to educate more people about the need for saving seed. Just so you can get an idea of what its all about.


Long Island Seed Project's mission is to educate and inform the public about seed production issues and learn about how you can help in decentralizing seed production by creating your own garden and farm adapted varieties.

We are grateful to the Public Seed Initiative funded by USDA for it's leadership and inspiration and to the follow-up Organic Seed Partnership, locally administered by New York NOFA (Northeast Organic Farmers Association). In a world with increasing restrictions to access of germplasm because of what we believe are unfounded regulations both in the United States and abroad, plant patenting laws and "white lists", the OSP is a refreshing program that has breeders working with small farmers to produce better farm adapted varieties. Flanders Bay Farm which is host to the Long Island Seed Project is pleased to be a participant farm in that partnership.

We applaud the public and private sector plant breeders and seed savers all around the world who continue to allow access to their seeds so that sustainable varieties can continue to be grown and developed to benefit and serve the needs of the small farmer and gardener.

Long Island Seed Project was formed primarily as an outgrowth of the participation of our Flanders Bay Farm in the Organic Seed Partnership sponsored by NOFA-NY which promoted farm-based plant breeding to develop varieties bred especially suited to organic culture and ecological agriculture systems. NOFA-NY organized two breeding workshops (2006 and 2007) at Flanders Bay Farm which brought together vegetable breeders Michael Glos and George Moriarty from Cornell University, Jim Myers from Oregon State University and Brian Connelly from the University of Connecticut to help teach breeding techniques and inspire Long Island farmers.

Long Island Seed Project focuses on the issues involving seed breeding and the access to sustainable varieties that growers can maintain by traditional seed saving. The project helps to distribute potentially useful "unfinished" vegetable varieties and "gene pools" from the Project's Seed Bank to farmer breeders and hobby breeders sometimes referred to as "back-yard breeders".

Long Island Seed assists backyard breeders in developing their own regionally adapted varieties by sharing seed saving experiences and providing information through the internet site: www.liseed.org.

Through this web site, the distribution of seeds of potentially valuable genetic material to it's members and the local projects we are involved in, it is our hope that we can help make your "growing" experience more rewarding, enjoyable and sustainable.

liseed logo
Last updated: Dec. 2008


Bryan Connelly, Michael Glos and Ken Ettlinger demonstrate hand pollination techniques at the 2006 Organic Seed Partnership Workshop at Flanders Bay Farm sponsered by NOFA-NY.

2006 Workshop Photos

2007 Workshop Photos

Welcome to the Long Island Seed Project!

Long Island Seed Project is a volunteer organization working to produce farm-bred seed ecologically on Eastern Long Island as part of a network of breeders, farmers and gardeners. Our focus is on seeds of interest to the organic gardener, small farmer, seed saver and "backyard breeder".

Through this web site and the various local projects that we participate in, it is our hope that we can keep you informed and help to make your "growing" experience more rewarding, enjoyable and sustainable. Our web site; we hope, will provide you with seeds as well as useful information on vegetable breeding and seed saving and allow us to share with you some of the on-going projects that we are involved in. Although the focus of our work is developing and propagating suitable varieties for Long Island, we invite others to make inquiries.

Ken Ettlinger
Long Island Seed Project
Flanders' Bay Farm, NY

New York Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. New York Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.