Just a quick note to let our local readers know that our friends at C’ville Foodscapes, a worker owned cooperative that designs and installs food gardens in the Charlottesville area, are accepting applications for their 2011 Garden Grants program.
The C’ville Foodscapes’ Garden Grants Program, in partnership with Charlottesville’s Quality Community Council (QCC) will help low-income individuals and families have their own vegetable garden.
Tax deductible donations can be made to Quality Community Council (QCC), which will act as the fiscal sponsor for this program and manage the application process and criteria for awarding a grant. QCC, is a Charlottesville non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community by addressing the problems that detract from a higher quality of life for its citizens.
Can you help a deserving family receive the gift of their own food garden? Please contact us to contribute to the Garden Grants Program. Donations may be sent to: QCC Garden Grants, 327 W. Main St, Ste 101, Charlottesville, VA 22903. Thank you!
Check them out here.
Information in this post comes from and is inspired by the new book The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe.
Some gardeners and farmers don’t thin corn at all. But sowing extra seed ensures a uniform stand of corn (especially important for small plantings) and allows us to select for seedling vigor. Thinning gives us plants with better disease and pest resistance, producing earlier, larger ears. For seed savers, selecting the best plants is essential not just to improving a variety, but also to simply maintaining it.
It’s too easy to put off thinning a stand of corn until the plants are a knee-high jungle, competing for light, water, and other resources. But thinning corn just after the plants emerge isn’t in our best interests as gardeners or seed savers either. Ideally, we wait until the plants are about four inches tall.
Why not simply keep the very first plants to pop up? Because these are not necessarily the first seeds to germinate. Many old-time, open pollinated heirloom corns put more energy into their roots initially, before sending their shoots upward. And we love this about them. It means they have bigger, better established root systems when the tender seedlings become vulnerable above the soil. And if the plants get nibbled on or otherwise set back, they can recover much more easily. If we were to select the first plants to emerge, we’d be selecting against this very useful trait.
Additionally, until the plants are about two inches above the ground, they’re still growing off the food reserves in the seed. And that depends on the size of the kernel – which is mostly determined by its location on the ear and the genetics of the mother plant, not on the seed genes. Once the corn seedlings reach four inches tall, we can compare their vigor based on their individual genetic profiles.
So as much as you may hate to watch those extra corn plants creep ever taller before you ruthlessly tear them from the earth, we trust you’ll do the right thing. Wait until your corn seedlings are four inches tall to accurately choose your most vigorous plants. You’ll be helping keep these old-fashioned varieties as hardy and productive as our forebears bred them to be.
OSGATA President Jim Gerritsen released this statement, March 29th, 2011, the day Southern Exposure joined 60 other plaintiffs in filing suit against the Monsanto Company:
Today is Independence Day for America. Today we are seeking protection from the Court and putting Monsanto on notice. Monsanto’s threats and abuse of family farmers stops here. Monsanto’s genetic contamination of organic seed and organic crops ends now. Americans have the right to choice in the marketplace – to decide what kind of food they will feed their families – and we are taking this action on their behalf to protect that right to choose. Organic farmers have the right to raise our organic crops for our families and our customers on our farms without the threat of invasion by Monsanto’s genetic contamination and without harassment by a reckless polluter. Beginning today, America asserts her
right to justice and pure food.
Read the Press Release and follow developments
at Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association: OSGATA.org
Our Non-GMO Policy and the Safe Seed Pledge