Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sustainable living

That string bean seed is the one that got away!

Have you ever heard the term "Sustainable living"? If you haven't you will soon begin to hear this more and more. The important thing is it is not a new idea, it is the oldest idea humans have ever shared. It means to live in a way that lasts and will keep you alive and well. You need to be able to pass your sustainable living along to the next generation.
There are some fun shows on the PBS stations that encourage Sustainable living. One show gets farmers, cheese makers, bread bakers, animal folks and fisherman or what ever people in a community who supply food, together. They make a great meal and invite people in the area to dinner to show them what it is to eat from their own community. Think about it, go for a drive, what is in your own area that allows you to eat? I'm so lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest! Food and farmers abound.
In light of this fast changing world, the growing fuel prices, the changes in where your food and supplies come from, you need to learn about sustainable living. You can contribute, you can help your own community learn to sustain that community. If you are interested I will go into this idea much further on in another blog.
I got a shock yesterday when I went to my seed cabinet. Long ago I became very interested in growing and saving sustainable foods. My daughter Cheryl and I loved the subject of Heirloom plants and we studied what we could find. There are groups of seed savers all over the world and seed storage chambers in some very interesting places around the world. I began growing foods in three 6 X 10 foot boxes. I grew a wide variety of heirloom plants which I would save seed for each year.
What is important about heirloom seeds is if planted the next year you will get the same food you had last year. Most seeds sold are Hybrid. Yes and on a yearly basis of buying seeds in town this is fine. If I want to have Sustainable food I need to save seeds from heirloom plants only. Hybrids can not reproduce to a plant like they came from. They may not even reproduce a food at all. You may be surprised to learn this. Another important point to heirloom plants is they can be bug and disease resistant and hearty in ways hybrid seeds do not. (more later)
So from my heirloom plants I saved a lot of different kinds of seeds. They were in envelopes sealed and in zip lock bags and in shoe boxes in a locked metal cabinet. I loved to use and add to and look at my collection.
SHOCK. When I went to the cabinet yesterday the seeds had all been eaten by a rodent. How he got in I don't know. Twenty-three years in this cabinet never once was there a problem. Because of the children in my house (long ago) I didn't put the seeds in glass jars as I had wished to. If it is even possible to restore my collection I WILL be putting the seeds in glass jars for the future.
After the BIG Shock and a bit of drama for bleach boy's notice I found my fury friend gave me some humor in his attack. He loved the pumpkin seeds (so did I), all the squash, but hated the herbs, the broccoli, the onions and leeks. He bit into the envelopes but left the seeds. I have planted all that was left and cross my fingers, and a prayer, that they will grow.
Having been un-employed since February I find this years garden most important. Grow seeds grow!
In humor I say we will have no pumpkins or squash to save for our winter dinners, we shared those with Mr. mouse.
I hope you check out the food growers in your community. Visit them, buy from them, encourage them to grow with the idea that the food should be healthy and safe. If we support the people closest to us who can feed us we will never have to wait months to find out where a tomato that made us ill came from! If you buy from local growers you will help keep them in business.
And for you who want to garden, even if it is just in a pot, please find heirloom seeds to start with. Seeds of change and Territorial seeds are what I use here in the Pacific northwest but my favorite way of getting seeds is from friends who share.
I plan to give you more on these plants and these ideas. I think they are so important to keeping us alive.

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