Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

WYPIWYG – What You Plant Is What You Get

May 26, 2010

You may have seen this infomercial doubling as a YouTube video. It is put out by Survival Seed Bank and can be seen at this URL.

Survival Seed Bank Video

While I like the quality of the video and can appreciate the message—that we all need to be responsible for our own food supply and not be dependent on those that might not have our best interests at heart—I do have a problem with the company. Now I know that they certainly have the right to sell a product to make a profit. And if they can get people to pay them what they are asking for seeds, then more power to them. But, that being said, since most of us don’t have unlimited amounts of money, wouldn’t it be better if you could put together your own Survival Seed Bank? Let me tell you how.

Before we get started, there are a couple of things we need to address. First, for survival seeds, you MUST make certain the seeds you purchase and store are open-pollinated or non-hybrid. What is the difference between the two? Open pollinated seeds will “breed true” as is the common vernacular. What this means is pretty much WYPIWYG or “what you plant is what you get” from the next generation of seeds or the seeds you save. Hybrid seeds, common notated as F-1 (first generation hybrid) is usually a cross between two (or more) separate plant strains in the same family that combine desirable characteristics from each plant to produce a “hybrid” or cross. For a more detailed explanation, see this link, Wiki. By way of example you could cross a tomato that produces small numbers of large fruit with another tomato that produces copious numbers of small fruit. So in theory you end up with a F-1 hybrid that produces large numbers of medium size fruit.

So for our purposes, we want to not only provide food for our family for this year but also subsequent years as well. In addition, we also want to grow our seed stock through barter, so we need more than we need so we have some to trade. Also, you always want to keep some seeds back, just “in case” something goes wrong and you have to replant. Because “things” happen, such as a late season frost or a flood or even vandalism by either humans or animals. So, always keep some seeds as insurance, because we are talking about survival after all.

Okay, on to the solution to the problem. Where do you get your non-hybrid, open pollinated seeds? Below is an abbreviated list, with many other links and sources available. The important thing is to get busy and do NOT procrastinate. If you wait until EVERYONE is concerned, then the supply of available seeds will be exhausted VERY quickly.

OpenPollinated

JohnnySeeds This site sells all types of seeds, so check each variety before ordering

These are just two of the better known seed selling websites. Don’t overlook local coops, seed and feed stores, farmer’s markets as well as old time gardeners. There are even organizations dedicated to preserving “old time” seed varieties.

Southern Exposure

UGA.EDU

SeedSavers.org

Once you have your seeds, how to you keep them viable for as long as possible? The short answer is to store them in a cool, dry, dark location in air-tight containers. Some suggestions are to use old film canisters, but I mean really, who has those any more? Tupperware containers work as well. Just remember that viability will decrease with time, but most seeds should be viable for at least two seasons. And even if your germination rate is low, with most plants, all you need are a few to keep the flame alive.

Now, how to prepare YOUR seeds for storage is another topic entirely, which I can go into at a later date. The important thing at this point is to get the seeds for the foods you would normally eat NOW and store them. This is just like buying insurance. While I can’t say that I don’t expect to use my seeds, ’cause you know I will, I hope I don’t have to DEPEND on what I grow to live. However, if I do, then I do.

Saving seeds is just ONE small step you can take to ensure the safety of you and yours. But a word of caution is in order. Don’t wait until you HAVE to plant to survive. Start gardening now, so that IF (and some would say WHEN) you start relying on your produce to survive you are ready. Preparation removes the tendency to panic. Because, remember, “only YOU can prevent starvation.” 😉

This is just the opinion of “a man out standing in his field.” Judging by some of my opinions, some of you think I’ve been standing out in my field under the noonday sun without a hat, but that would be YOUR opinion. And in the battle of opinions, mine wins, at least on this blog. Happy saving…

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I Need Your Help to Title this Blog – Survey Says…

February 6, 2010

I need to update the title and heading of my blog.

The idea is to make the blog’s title:
1. Unique
2. Compelling
3. Mast head sub-title) needs to contain an implied offer or benefit
4. Must be in agreement with the basic philosophy of the blog

That philosophy is that good food with superior nutrient content and great taste can be grown by everyone if they have the knowledge and willingness to try. I want to share the knowledge and experience I have gained over 40 years of gardening so as to improve the gardening and eating experience of those that follow my blog. The industrial food system is killing Western civilization and must be changed if we are to survive. There IS a BETTER way. A method that is sustainable, recycles nutrients back to the soil and improves the environment without disrupting our way of life. Home gardening puts you in charge of your food.

With that in mind, these are some of the titles/headings I’ve come up with. Please feel free to add your own contributions in the comment section. To vote on a suggestion simply copy and paste your suggestion into the comment section.
Thanks in advance for your help and interest.

Michael LaBelle
“A man out standing in his field”

Michael LaBelle’s Gardenius Maximus
Good Food – Close By

Other titles:
Michael LaBelle’s Primal Garden
Eat What Your Ancestors Ate

Michael LaBelle’s Sustainable Kitchen Gardens
Permanent Food – Close By

Michael LaBelle’s Gardenius Maximus
Good Food – Close By

Michael LaBelle’s Gardenius Maximus
An Orgy of Flavor Right At Home

Other sub-titles:

Take charge of your food – improve your life
For the love of life and health
Sow the Seeds of Great Health
Grow Your Health
Sustainable Gardening – Can you dig it?
Great Food For a Great Life
Food – It’s all about the taste
Good Taste = Good Nutrition
Tomatoes don’t have to taste like cardboard
Back to the farm – Back to nature
Stop digging your grave with a knife and fork
No dig gardening
Gardening with minimal work
Gardening with minimal digging
Maximum Garden – Minimum Work
No Sweat Gardening
A Home for your garden – a Garden for your home
How food used to taste

The Tale of Two Cities and other ramblings

January 29, 2010

The Tale of Two Cities

I just returned from IPE10, which for the uninitiated, stands for International Poultry Expo 2010, which as always, was held in Atlanta, Georgia.  First a little bit about Atlanta.  It is a great city, as cities go.  All I really have to compare it to is Dallas and it is a LOT like Dallas, with a couple of notable exceptions.

First, the area is a whole lot prettier than Big D.  I mean, there are actual HILLS around and through the city and TREES!  Second, there is an actual RIVER running through the city.  The operable word is RUNNING, not like the sluggish meandering of the Trinity River, slowly glugging just west of downtown Dallas, replete with the occasional body or floating tire.  The third difference is the air quality.  I have never been to Atlanta in the summer, but Dallas in the winter has horrible air.  There is a condition known as an inversion that traps polluted air over the city for all of us to help filter out all the impurities using our lungs as filters.  We are (or in my case WERE) all about helping our city.  I am happy to say that I moved to where I no longer have to SEE the air before I breathe it.  I was taught in school that air was supposed to be a “colorless and odorless gas.”  Fat chance finding that in Dallas.

Unfortunately, the two cities are more alike than I would like.  TRAFFIC stands out as a VERY common denominator between the two piles of concrete and glass.  Since I was a non-native driver in Atlanta this time I did not have the luxury of “taking the back roads” to where I needed to go, which I was VERY good at when I lived in Dallas.  Since all I had guiding me was “Alice”, the Australian voice of my GPS, I pretty much had to go where she said go.  There is a work around trick for this situation though.  You can change your settings from “fastest” to “shortest.”  This works well as often the shortest is off the main drag and more along the lines of back streets.

BTW, don’t try this in the country of north Alabama. On the way to IPE10 (don’t you feel so cool knowing what that means now?) I had to deliver product to a poultry farm north of Tuscaloosa.  I did not realize I had Alice programmed for “shortest” distance.  Everything was going great until she “suggested” I take a dirt road.  I say suggested as I refuse to take orders from any woman (my wife excluded – love you babe) even IF she has a voice like Alice.  But I digress.  Before telling you how THAT worked out, let me remind you, gentle reader, that it has been a “more than a little damper than usual” winter in the south.

So, I slowly turned off the asphalt road onto the red mud and gravel road.  The first hundred yards or so were okay, until I went down a slight decline and noticed a situation just over the next rise.  I say situation since what I actually saw were ruts in the road that would have challenged by four wheel drive TRACTOR!  What was Alice thinking?  Okay, I took a deep breath and decided to try another way, regardless of what “Alice” had to say.  So, since the “road” was too narrow to turn around, I had to back out the way I came in.  This sounded good in theory, until I came to the “little decline” that I came down on the way in.  Now the “decline” was a stinkin’ INCLINE, which when it is covered with red mud and, now I noticed, not THAT much gravel, became a significant challenge.  So, since speed is supposed to be your friend, I got a good running start at the hill and slipped oh so close over toward the ditch.   Quick stop, drop the truck into drive and back the way I came.  Okay, I figured I just needed to be a “little” further to the other side of the road.  Repeat the above procedure, only on the other side of the road.  Not THAT far over!  Slam on the brakes and repeat the retreat.

Okay, I look at my cell phone, no signal.  After all I am on the north side of NOWHERE!  So, I walked back to the “scene of the crime” to see what I was looking at.  As it turns out there was a solid path down the road IF I could stay on it.  I quickly decided that speed was now not my friend but my enemy.  So, slowly I backed up, this time carefully staying on the “straight and OH so narrow” path.  Okay, so I got back to the road and made it to the farm for the delivery.  The farmers only comment, after detailing the road I had tried to take, was to look over at my truck and comment, “I really wouldn’t try that road, this time of year, until I was driving a tracked vehicle.”  You have to love the wisdom of the woods.  😉

Well I seem to have strayed from my appointed path, but then that’s the fun of a blog like this.  It reminds me of a comment Justine Wilson, renowned Cajun comic, made several times.  He may have only said it once, but I played the record LOTS of times. He said, “Tonight I want to tell you stories that I haven’t heard in a long time and I want to hear them again, and I want to tell you stories I’ve never heard and want to hear something new.”  I guess that is my way of saying that every time I start one of these entries I really don’t know where I’m going or where it will end up.  I don’t have an Alice for writing. But I hope you enjoy these little missives and next time I will get back to talking about gardening and growing, and fertilizer and other s*it like that.  😉