With less than a month to go here is a round-up of what’s happening on 4th February.
Venue: BHASVIC, 205 Dyke Rd, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 6EG
Gardener’s Question Time Returns to Seedy Sunday
Once again, we are also hosting BBC’s Gardeners’ Question Time with a panel of the best brains in horticulture. Bob Flowerdew, James Wong, Anne Swithinbank and Eric Robson. Tickets available from 10.30am on the day – first come, first served. Price £4.
A Host of Interesting Talks
We have a great line-up of speakers talking about no-dig gardening, butterflies and the biosphere, the Brighton and Hove citizen science pollinator project, potatoes and the latest in seed regulation and policy.
The Giant Seed Swap
At the heart of Seedy Sunday is the giant seed swap table. Bring seeds to swap that you have saved from last year’s crops. No seeds to swap? Simply make a donation at the seed table. Volunteer seed saving experts and gardeners will be on hand to offer all the advice you need to choose and grow your seeds.
A World of Discovery in the Market Place
Visit more than 50 stalls from growers, seed merchants, charities and community groups and more.
For more information visit seedysunday.org
Seeds from plants that do well in your garden, vegetable, flower, shrub, herbs… Ideally more unusual plants are sought after.
Seeds from healthy plants. They should be collected when ripe, as mature seeds contain more food which ensures vigour and viability (potential for a high germination rate). The larger the seed, the better.
Seeds that you have collected to preserve the genetic variety. It is best to save equal numbers of seeds from each healthy plant, rather than only saving seeds from the best plant. The latter is done if you want to develop your own varieties. Seedy Sunday is about preserving heirloom varieties .
As a rough guideline, envelopes should contain enough seeds for a small crop, for example, a short row of peas, or beans, or a square metre of salads. We advise 5 to 10 seeds per pack for tomatoes, 5 seeds for squashes, 20 to 25 seeds for peas and beans.
Labelling the pack should include name (common or Latin), variety (if applicable), year and place of collection. Example: Tomato – Rose de Berne – 2017 – Shoreham-by-sea.
What about F1 Hybrids?
We aim to avoid F1 Hybrids, because seeds saved from those plants do not subsequently breed true to type, and it takes a long time to get a stable variety from F1 plants. Therefore we do not use them as our starter stock, nor do we wish to swap them. If you have some F1 seeds, you can experiment with producing your own varieties, but it is a complex and lengthy process.
I do not have any seeds to swop. What can I do?
You can select any packets you want from the Seed Table, and give us a donation of 50p per pack instead. The money will be used to buy some fresh new starter stock for next year’s Seedy Sunday.
Each year, we replenish our basic starter stock with open pollinated varieties from reputable suppliers, the main one being Moles Seeds. Some seeds are organic. We avoid treated seeds.
Do you have any tips for seed saving?
Some seeds need to be fermented before being dried, for example tomatoes. This process ensure germination. Keep them in a jar of water for a few days. Rinse well and dry.
All seeds to be dried should be thoroughly cleaned first, the chaff and the unviable seeds sieved or removed before proper drying. In the case of broad bean seeds, they should be visually inspected for holes, and later stored in a freezer in order to kill any possible insect infestation.
During ripening and drying on the plant, the seeds prepare for dormancy by converting sugars to more stable fats and starch. After that they can be safely dried and stored
Drying should be gradual and thorough, shady spot, airy, dry (20%-30% relative humidity), for a couple of weeks, and depends on the size of the seeds. One easy way is to place the seeds in a jar of dry rice for a fortnight. The rice will gradually dry up the seeds. Dry corn and beans will shatter when hit with a hammer.
Storing should be in dry, constant temperature and moisture, in an insect-free environment. You can store them in the fridge, or even a freezer, but gradually bring them back to room temperature before sowing.
Any more questions?
Some seeds can keep for several years, under favourable conditions, however, some, like parsnips, only keep for a year. So it is best to use seeds collected this year. Old seeds can always be used for a spot of guerilla gardening.
Best not to swop squashes and pumpkin seeds (Cucurbits), unless the plants have been well isolated, as they cross-fertilize very easily, being a promiscuous lot! Use new stock of seeds instead
Oh what fun we had foraging in the forest with Vera! But as over-picking has now fungally impoverished many areas we mostly refrained from gathering them to eat. It wasn’t just about the fungi; lots of common weeds like nettles and ground elder are amazingly nutritious in spring and autumn, in particular the fresh young growth of the top 6 leaves.
We learned about the symbiotic relationship between many aspects of the environment with special focus on how saprophytic fungi help to break down dead wood, mycorrhizal fungi help to feed trees by extending their root systems and making minerals available to the host plant, whilst parasitic fungi (like the almost edible honey fungus) actively kill trees.
Vera encouraged us to only pick well under 50% of those that were plentiful and easy to identify. We had a great turnout on a pleasant autumn day and had a lovely walk in the woods with friends old and new.
NOTE: Do not handle, pick or eat any fungi unless you have sufficient training from an expert to do so. Some fungi are poisonous, even if touched. If in doubt, do not pick.
For more information about Vera and the Brighton Food Partnership click here.
BHOGG’s Urban Gardening group at the Phoenix Community Centre is getting involved with this community celebration. The event is the culmination of the ‘Maps and Lives’ exhibition showing 11th November to 3rd December 2017 (Wed – Sun 11am – 5pm). The celebration will be held in the gallery, in the community centre and on the streets in between.
This will be free to organic group members & local residents; £3 donation non-members
Phoenix Art Gallery and at Phoenix Community Centre, 2 Phoenix Place, Brighton, BN2 9ND.
Phoenix Community Centre, Thursday 16th November, 7pm-9pm
Scientists from the University of Sussex will be talking about how pollinating insects are vital to the production of many of the foods we grow in our gardens and allotments. Team Pollinate are looking for allotment growers in Brighton & Hove to volunteer to become ‘Citizen Scientists‘ and help us learn more about which insects are pollinating the food we grow. The data will help scientists understand more about pollinator behaviour and how best to protect these important insects.
Events are free to members, £3 donation to non-members
Meet at Phoenix Community Centre, 2 Phoenix Place, Brighton, BN2 9ND.
Fungal Forage in the Forest: An autumn foraging workshop with Vera Zakharov
Sun Oct 15th 12-3 Stanmer Park
We will wander with Vera in the woods. She will show us which fungi are ok to pick, and which are not. Whether they are poisonous or whether they are part of a fragile ecological web needing to be conserved, not disturbed.
Meet at Stamner house. Wear study shoes bring a mac and picnic.
Phoenix Community Centre, 2 Phoenix Pl, Brighton BN2 9ND
Join us on the third Saturday of each month:
May 20 (Open Day 11-4); June 17; July 15; Aug 19; Sept 16; Oct 21; Nov 18; Dec 16;
Come and join us [rain or shine] from 2-4pm for fun, fellowship and fruitfulness. Help us restore and maintain the secret garden for the benefit of Community Centre users, members of the local community and ourselves.
Come and meet fellow gardeners, both experts and novices. Bring your enthusiasm, wisdom, ideas and company; hone and share your skills, make new friends, and grow good food.
Over the next couple of months we are planning to plant some bulbs for early spring colour, pot up some seedlings of seasonal salads, happily harvest, tidy up, and make plans for the year ahead.
Do you have any unwanted small shrubs or climbers: shade tolerant and preferably evergreen and/or winter flowering that you would like to donate to the project? Ring Ruth 01273 681120.