Seed Saving Network Meeting Sunday December 8

macmexDecember 5, 2013

I don't know if the weather will cooperate. But we're planning to meet again this coming Sunday, at Napolis Italian Restaurant, in Tahlequah. Here's a copy of one of the press release drafts. It has more info. Would love to see anyone here...there!

Tahlequah, OK

Press Release 12/3/13
Contact George McLaughlin (918) 457-8284
Pam Kingfisher 918-868-3727

The local Seed Saving Network will meet at Napolis Italian Restaurant this next Sunday, December 8, between 2 and 4 PM. This is an informal time for asking questions and sharing (either of plant material or of information). The network started as a project of the Cherokee County Food Policy Council, with George McLaughlin coordinating the network. George is a well known and long time seed saver and producer who is posting some of his knowledge on the networks website. Everyone is welcome to come out and learn from George McLaughlin and everyone else who attends our first two meetings have been very interactive and lively. It's about local foods, free and sustainable living!
NOTE: If the roads are bad on Sunday, we'll move to the next Sunday, December 15, same time, same place!

At our kick off meeting last August 11, we learned to save tomato seeds with a live demonstration from George McLaughlin. Other growers chimed in with information and the group included folks from every skill level and interest. The rule of thumb for farmers is 1/3 seed saved, 1/3 for me and 1/3 for the animals.

October 6, we met at the creek behind the Armory and traded seeds. We were joined by Dorothy and Glen Brown from Stilwell, who brought a lot of beans to share.

Coleen Thornton shared Hull-less Oats, which have about 50% germination. She planted them in February about one inch deep (if it is wet, plant about an inch, go deeper the dryer it is) and they came up in March (she plants by soil temp of about 45 degrees), then at harvest you strip it up and off with your hands. Then she threshes them by banging them in a pillow case. The Country Life Grain mill has a separate stone for grinding oats. These make good oat flour. They are 15% protein and very low in gluten (gluten is what makes the bread rise). The packets we received will cover about two square feet of garden space.
George McLaughlin shared some open pollinated Heidi tomatoes, which originated in Cameroon Africa. They are really good for making sauce. He also shared stories about Black Cherry tomatoes and big yellow Sunray tomatoes that grow well here and are very tasty. He brought Old Timey Cornfield Pumpkin and Mesquakie Indian Corn. You can purchase seed from Sandhill) and some other squash for show and tell (see photo album). George discussed planting some crops in blocks for better seed purity. During drought there is more cross pollination among beans and legumes as the flowers open up fuller to attract the thirsty insects. It is also good to rotate your areas of crop growing over the years and if you want to have pure seed, limit the varieties of each crop that you plant. You decide which plants to keep for seed and let the seed mature on the plant until it is brown and dry. Store seed in a marked container in a cool dry place. Many people store their seeds in the freezer, but it is important to freeze all your seeds for at least 2-3 days in order to kill any weavel eggs. The colder the seeds are the longer they will last.
Other good crops for this area included fava beans, Fowler snap pea, cow peas, lentils, mung beans, black turtle beans, amaranth, kidney beans, Moschata (most varieities which belong to this species or Seminole (which is also moschata) butternut squash along with Cherokee dent corns, both white and blue.
We were reminded that, "corn remembers where it was grown, and it will have different traits in another place".
Join the ongoing conversation and topical learning on the website:

The mission of Tahlequah Eats- The Cherokee County Food Policy Council is to promote the supply and benefits of a healthy, robust, local food system". The two primary goals of the Cherokee County Food Policy Council are to understand and support the development of the five sectors of the food system (production, processing, distribution, consumption and composting/recycling; And to Support the Creation of a Cherokee County and Regional Food Hub in Northeast Oklahoma. You can join us on Face Book at "Tahlequah Eats" where we post our updates and news.

Here is a link that might be useful: Seed Saving Network announcement

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hope to see you there, George, depending on the weather of course. We had a bumper crop of Jerusalem Artichokes this year--grown in an 18 gal feed tub--so will bring some of those.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 11:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, looks like we're not going to have very good weather. We've decided to put this meeting off until December 15 (Sunday next week). All the other details remain the same.


    Bookmark   December 6, 2013 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, we finally met on December 15. Dorothy asked me to post something about the meeting, as, due to a personal matter, she and Glenn could not come. Here's the write up which should be coming out in the local paper.

Dorothy, I dug some sunchokes on the 14th, and just to be safe, I brought a couple with me. So I handed out a few to those present. Hopefully we can meet again, say in February, though I will already be teaching an introductory beekeeping class, by then.

The Green Country Seed Savers Network met last Sunday to swap seeds and provide information on heirloom varieties that do well in our area.

Coleen Thornton with Heaven Sent Food and Fiber offered seeds of the following varieties:

Hulless Oats
Hulless Barley
Chowder peas
Pinkeye Purple-Hull Peas
Black Sesame Seeds

Homesteading and agricultural magazines were offered for anyone who wanted them.

George McLaughlin then offered a mini-workshop on staple crops featuring sweet potatoes as the highlight, telling participants that without the sweet potato many southern families would not have survived the depression in the 1930s. He offered samples of Red Wine Velvet (George's favorite), Ozark County which was often passed from generation to generation as a wedding gift an Appalachian tradition, Cordiner Red and Brinkley White. George also indicated that Grand Asia did very well this year. Some varieties do better with long dry spells while others seem to do better with milder weather as we had for the 2013 growing season.

George indicated he will be offering sweet potato slips for sale next spring for people in the community who want to grow their own. He encouraged everyone to eat more sweet potatoes for their excellent nutrition and cost effectiveness, as well as the sweet taste. Historically Americans ate up to 60# of sweet potatoes a year in the 1930s and 40s. These are a staple crop that grow well here and should be a part of everyone's garden.

George also indicated that he grew this year's crop under black plastic and mulch with irrigation reducing the weeds and likely increasing the yield. He will be growing next year's crop the same way to get a definitive result on using black plastic in the garden for increasing production and reducing labor.

Instead of what many of us know as "Irish" potatoes, George is growing Peruvian potatoes, small and very tasty, he is working to grow them from seed rather than from cuttings due to the disease issues many potatoes get here. This can be a challenge as our hot summers don't allow the potato seeds to ripen well and the seeds are not true to type as the divisions ("seed" potatoes) are.

Corn, too, has historically played a key role as a staple crop, but it is very hard to keep from becoming contaminated with GMOs through wind pollination. The Tahlequah area is lucky in the fact that there is little GMO corn grown here so the 1/2 mile isolation distance that corn needs is a bit easier for our community. Unfortunately, the plant population size for saving seeds also needs to be high. Seed savers need at least 200 plants planted a minimum of 12" on apart on all sides, in a block formation (rather than rows).

There are no GMO varieties of white or blue corn and these two colors are recessive genes, so by planting them, one can always tell if there's been any cross pollination with a neighbors corn plantings. If the cob has any yellow kernels, its been hybridized by wind or insect pollination and shouldn't be used for the following year's plantings. To save seed from corn, use cobs, completely dried on the plant from the middle of the planting area to reduce the risk of cross-pollination. George grows dent corn for meal rather than sweet corn, as he developed a preference for this corn in Mexico when he was a missionary there. Corn is very easy and cheap to process, older varieties tend to be much higher in protein in the range of 10-12%, rather than the 8% in modern corn varieties. It is therefore more nutritious and better for feeding livestock as well.

George also offered growing instructions and divisions for Jerusalem Artichokes a native plant to this area, another staple crop option and a member of the sunflower family, therefore a pollen producer for honey bees.

For more information or to join the group and garden discussions go to

Everyone is welcome.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 4:56AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Classic Armadillo Thread From 2005-2013
I mentioned the thread linked below in a different...
Okiedawn OK Zone 7
Seedy Saturday Seed Swap
Seedy Saturday Seed Swap. February 28, 2015 When I...
Zone 7 Ranunculus???
Does anyone in 7a have any experience growing ranunculus...
chili peppers
I am totally confused what is a chili pepper. this...
Anyone ever read the Soil forum?
Hahaha, I went over to go check out how they were doing...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™