Seeds Keith Edwards from Diggers VERY brief notes summary from talk on 18th November 2016.
Diggers has been around since 1978. They specialise in Heirloom Seeds i.e. seeds with history and provenance.
Keith emphasised that as an independent company, Diggers can speak out about genetically modified seeds and food, industrial agriculture and the corporatisation of our food supply. He brought to our attention the fact that due to these factors, our commercially grown food is less likely to be as nutritious as our ancestors’ food.
This has come about as a result of refrigerators and supermarkets because people can buy their food instead of growing it themselves. They can keep it or longer. These two factors resulted in commercially grown food being modified genetically to suit the profitability of the grower. As well, commercial growers use carcinogenic chemicals that contain glysophate. And they use fertilisers that contain heavy metals! Oh yuk.
This led on to the topic of the corporatisation of our food supply. There are only three BIG seed suppliers in the world and they are producing hybrid seeds that are created in laboratories. They contain genes to
stop them maturing/ripening fully (like tomatoes you can keep for weeks)
make the plant seeds viable for only one year (so you can’t grow food from those seeds really successfully if at all.)
This is pretty scarey stuff. It means the more plant material we can produce for ourselves in our plots, the healthier we are going to be.
Keith also talked about how to grow your own seeds –preferably Diggers. Some seeds can be inserted directly into the soil, like carrots. Others should be grown in punnets, like lettuce. You plant the seed twice as deep as the seed is wide. Got that. If the seed is 5mm wide, you plant is 10mm deep. Then you water. The seed will firstly put down some roots, then send up two leaves that act as solar panels. After the plant has 4-6 leaves, they needed to be hardened off and acclimatised by planting them in the garden if they are not directly sown into the soil.
Tomatoes. Plant the SEEDS in June/July.
Garlic. NEVER use the white, cheap garlic from the supermarket. It’s been grown, and fertilised in China. It’s been irradiated and bleached. Use Australian grown garlic – or grow your own. Plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest. Don’t water for 2 weeks prior to harvesting. Dig out and shake off dirt. Don’t use water to clean. Hang up in a dry, cool, airy place for a couple of weeks, then plait the dried leaves and start using. Should last 8 to 10 months. Keeps some cloves to plant the next year. Plant about a thumb’s depth down – pointy side up. Drying your own seeds. When your plant starts to go to seed, let the seeds dry off a bit, then cut off and hang them upside down in a brown paper bag.
Then we ran out of time!!! Check out the Diggers site for yourself and consider becoming a member. Some gardeners are already interested in carpooling to Heronswood in Dromana early next year. Interested? Let me know.