opening ourselves with the hinging daylight hours

Friday, January 29, 2010

heirlooms falling through the sky: food security

All of the seeds are ordered. I am one happy farmer woman right now. The land is frozen rock solid frozen through. Yet out of this frozen earth there is life that waits to peek into germination. Thousands of poppy seeds, winter rye, various legumes, and the heirlooms lie asleep in the frozzzen earth, and it's not even Candlemass yet (groundhog's day). Asleep in the land lies the heirlooms that have fallen and the heirlooms that we have spread, establising themselves as perennials moving us closer into no-till.

When an heirloom garden is grown the farmer plays geneticist and selects the seeds to be saved. After a few generations of seed and natural selection the heirloom is developed into what is called a "land race" variety. A land race is specific to a certain place. Camden's heirloom land races well outweigh the true value of all the bombs in the world now or ever in terms of security. Selecting for seed saving is both an art and a science. All the research advises to choose the 2nd or 3rd fruit that the tomato (or almost any vegetable) bears. Select the variety that you would most likely want to eat, but instead, sacrifice the fruit's innards to let life live on past through hands and winters rising with the warmth.

Heirloom seeds resurrecting year after year.

THis past fall was mild. The frost didn't really come until the beginning of December. We were harvesting tomatillos by the gallons, making garden fresh enchiladas through Thanksgiving. The Junior Farmers and I graded the tomatillos for seed saving. After the freshest tomatillos were taken out, we went through the rest sorting through to find the most beautiful perfect size tomatillos for seed saving for next year. I got the blender out and we ran them through adding water so the "tomatillo pulp" could separate. We replicated the procedure until all jar was full. The dead seeds float, but the one's with life and its codes sink to the bottom. The gook and all the peels and dead seeds and soil is poured off first when you pour this semi-fertile mixture over next year's garden beds out of the blender. Be careful to save as many of the seeds in the bottom of the blender as you can.

The seeds that sank, full of life, can be poured onto a clean bread towel (do NOT use paper towels). Smooth all the seeds flat so they are not on top of each other. Place the bread towel and the seeds inside your oven. Do NOT turn the oven on. The climate in the oven will draw all of the moisture from the seeds and the towel. Put a sign over the oven door warning of the hazards of the pre-heat.

In a few days you have hundreds even thousands of heirloom tomatillo seeds dry and ready for storage. Also, feel free to be creative with how you are creating your own land race heirloom seeds. You can keep isolating them out by a specific color, size, shape, taste, rate of growth, number of seeds. Place all of the seeds that you have saved into a cool dry place out of direct sunlight where the humidity and temperature add to 100 degrees total.

With the rest of tomatillos, walk all around your neighborhood and throw these heirloom seed bombs until you have taken over your community with the ingredients for salsa verde and food security.

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