Episode 258. Seeds ~ selection, short seasons

This is The ChangeUnderground for the 31st of May 2021.

I’m your host, Jon Moore

Decarbonise the Air, Recarbonise the Soil!

Some updating info. The website disintegrated and I’m in the process of rebuilding it. Everything except the show notes is back up I hope. The 275 odd sets of show notes will take some time but I’ll get them up over the next little while. Thanks for your patience, now to today’s presentation.


Seeds! Little packets of life left over from the last harvest, ready to go again. The Eternal loop from birth to life to death to birth to life to death as the wheel of the year mirrors the life of the seeds and those same seeds mirror the life of the year and without seeds we have no gardens as we know them.


The joy of seeds is their sexual reproduction and the fact that they’re a mingling of two sets of genes from their parent seeds which brings us to the point of seed selection. While I go for the heirloom, heritage and ancient seeds as opposed to the hybridised and definitely not the GMO types. These had potential but unfortunately Monsanto ruined it for the seed breeding industry. Instead of rust resistant genes from one variety being added into a more productive strain they created seeds resistant to glyphosate/Roundup which led to the spread of Roundup and all of the damage that’s done to soil.


It’s got to the point now where gmo means Roundup or Salmon genes being added to tomatoes to make them frost resistant. Frankenfish, frankenfoods and that sort of thing. GMOs are now tainted but would have sped up a lot of development in seed selection if they’d been used correctly in the first place but I’m sure that’s coming with CRISPR gene editing techniques and all the rest of it. There are, though, still many unknowns that will stay in the biosphere forever unless of course they turn out to be barren. This has happened not exactly with seeds but seed. There was a famous Holstein Friesian Bull in the states that everyone across large swathes of the country used for AI and only discovered 2 years later all his female offspring were barren. We need to be careful when we are messing with nature because that’s the sort of thing that can happen.


Now to hybrids. If you look at a corn field on a commercial farm each plant will be exactly the same height at the same time, they all require the same amount of water and feeding and all the rest of it so if you not irrigated that could be a problem, if you’re not using artificial fertilisers that can be a problem. Once you start trying to regrow the seed you’ve got from a hybrid plant eventually that seed will produce the parent or grandparent varieties and you get a very mixed crop. Some of the progenitors were chosen for drought resistance not production which means that they may grow in a dry year but return very little while the other progenitor without drought resistance simply fail to produce. Without knowing what went into your hybrid you can’t know what’s going to throw back to earlier crossbreeding efforts.


I prefer to use heirloom seeds sometimes called heritage but always open pollinated. That’s because they have a wide gene spread which allows the capacity to adapt to changing weather conditions across the season and you can save the seed and reuse it and you’ll get the same thing throwing true to type, as they say.


These seeds change a little each season, there’s a little bit of adaptation that occurs genetically and evolutionarily with each growing season. Now as the seasons are all over the place a little bit still following a basic cycle, winter, spring, summer and autumn but they can be timeshifted at the moment and we need our seed to be able to perform under these varying conditions. What I’ve decided to do and what I’ve been doing for years anyway because I like the idea, is to use the shortest possible seasonal varieties that I can get my hands on. This means if we get a really good summer, once the corn is off, I can put another species like buckwheat and harvest buckwheat crop or get the benefits of extra potassium that the backward seems to draw into the soil system. Or I can get two different sorts of melons off, different varieties of beans, one after the other. With each generation,  you’re adapting your seeds to your local area and the sort of season that they just went through. 


Its unlikely that you’ll get more than one off in winter but it is possible in summer especially if you get an early spring and there’s no late frost.The good thing about heirloom varieties is that can then be shared without any fear or possible legal actions as a result of breaking plant variety laws. 


And it’s not only gardeners who can do this. Cantankerous old small area and family farmers refused to go with the “new” system. There was a fellow in Sweden that continued to grow varieties of wheat but with lots of straw and he thought it was a good variety, that tasted great and so didn’t see the need for these newfangled varieties. He saved enough of seed for replanting until contrarian breadmakers arrived looking for new varieties, a grandson was able to provide these seeds to these fellas who then took a back to their hometowns and grew them up from allotment size to field size to having enough to bake bread with.


I would urge everyone to grow open pollinated seeds. Over time you’ll make selections in your local areas that will inevitably create new varieties, in time.


If you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions, I opened a new Facebook group with just myself in there at the moment. I’ve called it, imaginatively, ChangeUnderground Podcast Group. You search on the FB or there’s a link in the show notes and in the transcript over at WorldOrganicNews.com/episode258. 


Keep away from GMOs as a general rule of thumb, try to avoid hybridised when you can unless you’ve got a particular purpose in mind and grow your heirlooms, your heritage varieties, basically go for open pollinated and you too can change the seed in your world and change your world with your seeds and as you doing that you’ll be decarbonising the air and recarbonising the soil.


If you have any questions, thoughts or suggestions, I opened a new Facebook group with just myself in there at the moment. I’ve called it, imaginatively, ChangeUnderground Podcast Group. You search on the FB or there’s a link in the show notes and in the transcript over at WorldOrganicNews.com/episode258. 


Decarbonise the air and Recarbonise the soil.


Thank you all for listening and I’ll be back next week.




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email: jon@worldorganicnews.com


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