World Vegan Day – Everywhere
Grow your own food – Intro to urban permaculture, 24 Somer Street, Surrrey from 9:30am to 4:30 pm on 5 November. (2 day workshop). Tickets R350
Grow your own food workshop continued – Details in link above.
Lions Head Full Moon Hike, Signal Hill from 6pm to 9:30pm. Entrance free. Essential information here
Ban The Bang Protest – outside News Cafe in Milnerton from 6:30pm to 9pm.
Food Gardening – Why and How at Permaculture Research Cape Town, 9 Cockburn Street, Glanncaire Heights from 10:30am to 15:30. Price R350. More information here
Low Tech Shrooms – Mushroom Cultivation at 24 Somer Street, Surrey.Tickets R350
A Compassionate Footprint at Ubuntu Wellness from 6pm to 9pm. More information can be found here
Make it Ferment – Culturing Gut Health at 11 Wade Street, Claremont from 9:30am to 3pm. Tickets R300
The following article offers some guidance on how to collect, preserve and store these seeds.
Collect your heirloom seeds after the morning dew has dried preferably on a dry and sunny day. This usually occurs around 10:00 a.m. Make sure that your herbs, fruits, and vegetables are completely dry.
Always save more seed than you think you may need and save equal amounts of seed from each healthy plant. Saving seeds from each plant ensures that all the traits of the type of herbs/fruits/vegetables are preserved and saving equal amounts of seed from each plant ensures that the original balance and range of traits is preserved.
Fruits that have seeds in their pulp are best picked when the fruit is fully ripe and turning soft (but not rotting). These include tomatoes, eggplants, melons, chillies, and passion fruit. However, some fruits are best picked when the seeds have had time to plump up, that is, just after maturity. These include red and green peppers, butternut, gem squash, pumpkin, and marrows. Some fruit seeds need to fully mature before being harvested. This excludes a further 3 weeks before the seeds are ready to be picked. These include cucumbers, zucchinis, okra, and sweet corn.
Broad beans, runner beans, bush beans and maize should completely dry out on the plant before being harvested. If rain is forecasted, the seed heads and pods should be removed and placed in a well-ventilated, dry area until the seeds are hard.
Note that some plants scatter their seeds as they mature. These include, carrots, parsnips, lettuce, onions, and celery. As these seed heads approach maturity, they should be placed into paper bags and shaken daily, that way the released seed falls into the bags rather than on the soil.
How to clean Heirloom Seeds?
Plants that scatter their seeds do not require need any attention. They are clean and dry and just need to be harvested and stored. However, some seeds are fleshy, that is, they surrounded by pulp that requires removal. For example, with tomatoes you would need to scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place it in a bowl of water. Subsequently, you would need to separate the flesh and seeds by rubbing the flesh vigorously with your thumb and forefinger. Finally, you would drain the water through a sieve to catch the seeds and allow them to completely dry out on a plate (±10 days).
The genetic material of heirloom seeds can still change or be lost in storage even after proper collection and sanitation. Seeds may die if they are stored for too long or if they are stored under unfavourable storage conditions.
The viability of heirloom seeds preserves their integrity. Some seeds remain viable for a long period. For example, peas, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts last for at least 3 years, while tomatoes squash, cucumber, and melon lasts 5 years or longer. However, other seeds are only viable for a short period. For example, corn, onion, leek, parsnip, and salsify only last for one season.
You can place harvested heirloom seeds in paper bags and store them in a dark pantry or cupboard. Keep in mind that the enemies of seeds are heat, light and humidity. In addition, label your seeds indicating their type and time of harvest. Alternatively, you could store them in dark glass jars or plastic. However, seed transpiration can cause moisture build up in these containers ultimately spoiling the seeds. Thus, when storing seeds in these containers, you run the risk of your seeds going mouldy.
If you use glass or plastic, then a layer of silica gel must be placed at the bottom of each container and the gel should subsequently lined with paper towels. You may then fill your jars with your seeds. The silica gel will turn from its normal blue colour to pink when the seeds start to transpire. When this happens, you will have to remove the seeds, and replace the silica gel until your seeds need to be planted.
Saved heirloom seeds should be stored at a cool temperature (below 10°C/ 50°F). If you are unsure as to when you will plant your seeds again, you can store them in the fridge (in glass jars) at 5°C/41°F.
After following all these tips, a germination success rate of 50%-80% can be expected when you replant your seeds. Please note that this is also dependent on the type herbs, fruits, or vegetables you are growing, climatic conditions and soil viability.
When using grey water for the garden, it is important to change the products in the house to biodegradable alternatives. Biodegradable cleaning and beauty products are becoming more available in grocery stores and health shops and it’s nice to see lots of different types to choose from. Making soap is also very easy and there is no reason why you cannot make your own soap for half the price.
It is important to follow this recipe carefully, measure out the required ingredients and take heed of safety precautions. It is also imperative that only glass and stainless steel is used and use gloves when working with caustic soda.
You will need:
- 1kg of coconut oil
- 153g of caustic soda
- 380ml of water – distilled is best depending on the quality of the tap water
- Plastic shopping bag
- Wax paper
- 3 Glass bowls
- 1 Stainless steel pot
- 2 Stainless steel spoons
- Small kitchen scale
- Stick blender
- Moulds for soap
Line the moulds with wax paper
In a well ventilated area (preferably outdoors), gently pour the caustic soda into the water and mix. The water will look murky and will immediately start heating up. Put the bowl down with the spoon in it and leave for a few minutes while you heat the coconut oil.
While the caustic soda is dissolving, heat the coconut oil on medium in the stainless steel pot until it is liquid. Ensure the coconut oil does not get too hot. Aim for 70 degrees.
Check your caustic soda solution, mix any remaining solids in to make a lye.
Check the temperatures of both the lye and the heated coconut oil.
If there is a difference of no greater than 15 degrees between the two substances, then the lye may be added into the coconut oil and mixed with a stainless steel spoon first.
Use a stick blender to thoroughly mix lye and oil at intervals of 10 seconds blending and 10 seconds mixing using a spoon. This is to ensure your stick blender does not overheat.
The mixture will reach trace which is a pudding like consistency that you can observe when pulling out your spoon or blender and any mixture that drops sits somewhat on top of the rest of the mixture.
Pour the trace mixture into the moulds and wrap the moulds in the plastic shopping bag and hot box it by wrapping it up in a few blankets or storing in a box filled with material.
After 36 hours, remove the moulds from the hot boxes and cut into desired shapes if necessary.
Place the soap in a well ventilated area and allow to cure for 6 weeks before using.