Farmington Grape Library

The Seed Saving Garden on Farmington Road

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The seed saving garden was an off-shoot of working for Lon. In between digging blackberries we would talk about vegetables, he would explain how they were grown to seed, selected and pollinated.

However, from a practical stand point, it is far easier and more reliable to save only seeds from vegetables that are unique or easy. Tomatoes and Lettuce being the most common types of vegetables a CSA saves.

The Brassica family would be a fun group to work with, but vitually imposible to maintain the seeds of enough varieties to sustain a CSA or farmer's market for more than 20 weeks. It can be helpful to grow 6 types of Kale, for example, thereby ensuring there is always some Kale each week; but to do that you would need to put the Kale on a six year seed rotation. As a result every successful CSA or large scale gardener buys seed each year, often just half an ounce for most things.

With the hoop-houses, farming gets even easier, they allow for constant rotation with vegetables. As soon as one variety of something is grown through and fully harvested, another vegetable can be squeezed into place. With hoop-houses, space is at a premium. Probably the most curious approach to this is a method of space management which interlacs a raised bed with gaps in the odd slots. Essentially you go through and don't fully maximize the raised bed, you leave room in the odd numbered spaces. Then replant again with something else that will be harvested at a known number of weeks. This always ensures there is room in the bed for the new arrivals. The size of a bed may be fixed at either side with existing vegetables, yet the new arrives may outnumber the bed size. By planting in the odd slots you can over-lap one section to another without disrupting any planting. What got me attracted to farming was nice neat orderly rows of vegetables, but this method ignores that concept.

Because the soil under plastic isn't subject to falling rain compacting the earth, you can create a grass-free dirt environment of soil that is always loose, airy & ready. The down-side is a network of plastic soaker-hoses and drip-lines.

I am not entirely sure that so much plastic is really the way to go. It is possible to be "organic" and yet the chemical process' that helped deliver the plastic to the "organic" farm still lead to fish kills, and the garbage gyers in our oceans. The plastic hoop-house method still seems to mortgage the future of the planet even if it provides the farmer with a sustainable income. Wood and glass houses of the same dimention would be an ecologically better idea. This whole arguement ignores the larger issues surrounding food preservation and why people always starved in the winter months. And that starving a little each year might actually be a good thing.

The age-old problem with farming is that there are no easy answers, you can not do it alone, you need a community. At best you can get close, however to have it all does come at a cost. I think people can get distracted with the newest ideas and latest concepts and miss the point. The larger point being: money can push a people into choices that begin the process of sickening them into a "self-imposed genocide". The health implications of plastics in our world are already beginning to be seen in some literal ways.