Once again I need to thank Kate of Hills and Plains Seedsavers for bringing this video to my attention.
It is self explanatory.....
Take just ten minutes out of your day, grab a coffee, and settle down and watch the video
I'm sure you will be moved.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
I will be saving seeds this year from a cherry tomato plant that I have grown for the past couple of years.
I bought a few nice looking small red cherry tomato seedlings from some people who specialise in organic growing here about three years ago. The sellers just said they were red and cherry....
I grew them on and they produced a nice crop of cherry tomatoes which proved to be sweet and tasty.
At the end of the season I saved a few of the tomatoes.... but didn't do anything other than wash and dry the seeds. I cut the tomatoes open and washed the seeds out from the pulp. Then I dried them in a paper coffee filter. and put them away.
Last year I grew them again and again they produced a nice crop of bright red cherry tomatoes and again I saved seeds from the three plants I had.
Sadly, over last winter, something happened in my workshop and the envelope the seeds were stored in got wet. I discovered this in about late January/early February of this year, when I found the seeds all stuck, in a mass, to the envelope.
Eventually, I decide to sow the lot and see what happened. I simply scraped all the seeds off the paper onto a seed tray of sowing compound, watered it and left them to it.
To my astonishment I got what must have been a couple of hundred seedlings.
I thinned them down and nurtured them. I potted them on as they developed, pinching out a dozen tiny seedlings into a pot. Later I split those pots into individual plants. I gave some of the pots of 12 away, I also gave away individual plants until,eventually, people were crossing the road when I approached for fear of being off loaded with another tomato seedling.
I called them Ian's Red Cherry Tomato as I felt they had survived unfair stress and I owed them some recognition.
Now, some 6 months later I have about 20 plants fully grown in the garden, and today, I picked the first Ian's Red Cherry Tomato this year. It was delicious. They seem to be cropping better than ever this year.
I'm going to save seeds from these tomatoes and offer them under the Blogger's Seed Network.
If any one would like some seeds, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll keep some for you. I will be asking for a small contribution towards the postage costs.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Monsanto is trying to introduce genetically modified eggplant seed into India. Here is a letter I received recently. Please read it and do what you can. This is NOT someone else's problem, it is the responsibility of every human on this planet, including you and me.
Dear friends and colleagues,
This letter is to request you to sign a petition to the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, seeking to ban the entry of GM foods and seeds into the country.
The Anti-GM Food campaign (www.indiagminfo.org) has been active for a couple of years, and has thousands of farmers and urban consumers backing it in India. The protest recently got a reprieve when the newly appointed Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, made a statement saying he would not allow the entry of GM foods into India. We now need international support to make sure that there is enough pressure on the goverment to take sane decisions regarding the future of our nation.
Many of you may be aware that Monsanto is ready for the release and commercial sale of Bt Brinjal (eggplant) seeds in India. Eggplant is an an ironic choice of vegetable, since it is a well known fact that India has hundreds of local, native eggplant varieties, that continue to be cultivated even today, in fields and home gardens.
Earlier, the Indian government allowed large scale field trials of Bt Brinjal without biosafety protocol being cleared. Some of you may also have seen Monsanto's advertisements in leading newspapers and magazines in the US, about biotechnology saving the world, using Climate Change as a platform for their argument.
All you need to do is go to www.iamnolabrat.com and sign the petition. It will go directly to the Prime Minister's office (PMO). Every voice counts. This is a global concern we are talking about here, not just India.
I would like to mention here that India and the US Bush administration had signed an agreement - the Indo-US Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture (KIA) with a great emphasis on and large plans for transgenics, using state of the art infrastructure in India as tools for multi-national seed companies. It is interesting to note that Monsanto is one of the members of the KIA board, along with WalMart!
The Indian government had also come up with a Biotechnology Development Strategy (a policy framework) for the country with huge financial outlays for modern biotechnology, despite great opposition from hundreds of civil society groups at each stage - right from the draft to the regional consultations.
I am sending this mail out to all of you whom I have met, or been in touch with on email or phone during my time in the US over the last four months. I have mentioned the Bt Brinjal campaign to many of you, and I feel confident that you will respond to this alert. Please also take a few minutes to send it out to your network so this gets wider publicity.
The campaign may also request you for future help, in case things reach a stage where phone-ins on designated dates are needed. We would deeply appreciate it if those of you who can do so, respond to this request as well. What seemed like a lost case then, has reached this stage with public pressure and participation, and with our collective effort, we may be able to get the government to take an appropriate decision.
Many, many thanks in advance and all good luck with your own work.
Adjunct Fellow, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, India (www.atree.org)
Member, Kalpavriksh, Pune, India (www.kalpavriksh.org)
Founder Trustee, VANASTREE, Sirsi, India (www.vanastree.org)
Sunito Rao is a board member of Kitchen Gardeners International. I thank Kate at Hills and Plains Seedsavers for bringing this to my attention.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
As well as the above , my orchard has cherry, peach and nectarine trees. The cherries fruited well, and we ate substantial amounts before succumbing to the glut and freezing bagfuls. The peach is new this year and is establishing itself but the current drought is not helping it. I think the drought has also taken it's toll on the nectarine....a new tree last year but, I fear, neglected through oversight as my attention focused on all the new vegetable beds. I shall give it some tlc and see if it recovers.
Of course, I have other fruit in the garden, grapes, melons, rhubarb, hazelnut, raspberry and redcurrant to name a few. but many of them are new and all are suffering from a lack of water. Don't they know this part of the world is called AQUA taine......