Seed Saving with Shiloh Maples

February 26, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some easy plants to start saving seeds from?

The general process of seed saving depends on letting the flower of the plant fully mature and then harvesting the seeds from the flower head. Plants that are easy to save from are generally self-pollinating, annual plants – think of plants where you regularly observe the plant creating a flower (flowers, tomatoes, beans, or herbs and lettuce when they “bolt,”). Those plants can be easier because you have already practiced observing them go to their natural seed producing state! Reference the attached guide for some easy starting places, and make sure to check out the Seed Savers Exchange Seed Saving Chart for help identifying plants that are annual, self-pollinating or have small isolation distances, or other factors affecting ease of seed saving!

Tomato seeds – to ferment or not to ferment?

We shared a bit on the episode about the process for fermenting tomato seeds. Essentially, you are mimicking the natural process of rot and breakdown that happens when a tomato falls to the ground. This helps break down the protective barrier around the seed to allow for a higher germination rate. That being said, many people save tomato seeds without following this protocol! You will likely still get germination, your rate might just be lower. If that process is what is standing between you and saving tomato seeds – skip it and see what happens! You can do a simple germination test before planting those seeds to see what your germination rate is, and then determine how much you need to overplant to get the quantity of plants you desire!

What is the general process of seed saving?

Step 1: Plant enough plants that you have more than what you need for eating and can save some to allow to go to full maturity for seed production

Step 2: Let plants mature! Wait for the flower to be produced and then die back slightly, you generally will be able to observe the seed pod that has been left behind

Step 3: When the flower heads have died and the seed pods have started to dry, that is an indication that the seeds are fully mature

Step 4: Harvest the seeds, allow them to dry fully (spread out on a screen to allow for air circulation for large seeds or on a paper towel for small seeds), separate from the seed pod or other plant matter.

Step 5: Store seeds in cool, dark, dry places. You can store seeds in plastic baggies or coin pouches, in old jars or glass jars. Consider leaving a slight opening to allow for any residual moisture to escape. If you are storing them in a damp area (like a Michigan basement!) allow seeds to fully dry and seal them tight so no additional moisture can enter.

Step 6: Use them! Seeds have varying storage lengths, but generally can last a few years before experiencing significant decreases in germination rate. If stored properly, seeds can last much longer!

 

Resources

Video Transcript

So we're gonna get started. Hi everybody and welcome to the fourth week of cabin fever conversations. We're really happy to have all of you joining us. I hope for those of you that are in Michigan, you're getting some sun. I certainly am in Lansing. I've got some toasty cheeks from it coming in my windows. I'm totally, totally celebrating that sunshine, even though it might be a bit chilly outside. So so I will pass things off to Abby, who is going to introduce our speaker today, who we're really excited to have joining us. Hey, welcome everybody. So good to be with you on this Friday. Today we're joined by Shiloh Maples. We're really excited to have Shiloh on to talk about seed saving. She is the upper Midwest Regional Coordinator for the Indigenous Seedkeepers Network and the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance. And I had my notes here because it's a lot of words to remember, but we like to name things real long at MSU Extension too. So welcome, Shiloh. We're really excited to have you! Thank you, I'm so glad to be here with you today. So we wanted to start out just kind of generally asking you about your seed saving practice and what initially sparked your interest in seeds. Or what brings you joy when you think about this practice and incorporating it into your growing. So I first... it's part of a much longer story of me reclaiming or remembering what it means to be an indigenous person of this place. Which has been a lifelong process for me. But part of that, about nine years ago, I started working at a Native Health Center in Detroit. And I started off doing some... My first role was doing some nutrition education that was culturally based. And then a few years into doing that work there, I applied and received a five-year grant from the CDC to do policy systems on an environmental level. So a larger level change to address some of the underlying factors with chronic illness in our community. And so I took the first six months or so to survey and talk to the community about what their priorities are. And what came out about was they wanted greater access to traditional foods and they wanted support in growing and eating these foods. And so we started working together to try to come up with a plan of how to do that. And in that first early stage of our work together, it became really apparent that the foods that people wanted access to no longer existed in our communities because of colonization. And the way that resources have become really concentrated. In the food system and in society in general. It had really disrupted our ability to practice our food ways. And so I sent a letter out to other native food programs that I had heard about and let them know, asking them for donations of seeds so that we could start a seed library and let them know the larger program that we were trying to start in Detroit and that I let them know, I would try my best to take care of the seeds and share them with people and whatever information was shared with me, pass it along, but part of that too was that I had no idea how to seed save when I did this. And so I, I kinda laugh, looking back at that, what I was inviting into my life and I had to learn really quickly and build my own skill set to support our community in this work. And so I started weaving in what I was learning about seed saving into our cooking classes, our garden workshops like everything we did, was pointing to other parts of your relationship to food, whether it was growing or cooking like seeds were always a part of those conversations. Yeah. I love that. I was just going to ask you for those of our community that aren't super familiar with seed saving, if you can explain what a seed library is for them. Yeah, so it looks different in each setting, but it's essentially a place. It could be a card catalog, it could be at your public library. It could be with a community organization. For me when I first started, it was just a couple of plastic tubs above my desk and a spreadsheet that I put together. But it's really a place where people can exchange depending on the setup of it. Sometimes there's an exchange of seed and sometimes it's just a place where, as organizations have access to access seed we'll make that available to communities. So it looks different in each setting, but that's the basic premises to help facilitate community distribution of seeds and get that those community systems re-establish so that we're not relying on seed companies to provide seed to us. Yes. Maybe that might relate to, to why seed saving is significant to you and could you talk a little bit more about that as well? Yeah. So as I was mentioning, this has been a much longer lifelong process for me. Without going too much into it. on my maternal side, which is the Anishinaabe or indigenous side of my family, I'm a first-generation in over a 100 years to be raised by their parents. And so because of the social policies and assimilation Things over the last several 100 years have interrupted our traditional family systems; Community systems; how knowledge and skills are passed on related to food. And so I grew up in Michigan and in a society and community and family that was not able to give me a sense of my own indigenous identity. And so it's been a thirty five-year process of coming home to myself. And so my professional training is in social work and specifically community organizing. And I first came to social work with wanting to gain a better understanding and contexts of what had happened to indigenous communities. How we got where our communities are at today and think how could I help change the trajectory that we had been put upon and also answer this question for myself of What does it mean to be an indigenous person of this place? What does indigeneity look like? And so I started filling in those gaps of personal history and the social contacts. And more and more as I was going through my college studies, I realized that land access and food were fundamental to what had happened and to the things that we were, we are still experiencing today. And so this is very deep personal spiritual work for me. And I've learned a tremendous amount about my cultural identity and over the last several years, throughout my food systems work and especially related to seed. Seed sovereignty and seedkeeping, Because our cultural teachings are like our original instructions of what it means to be a good human in our culture. How do we relate to plants and animals and the rest of creation? And so, as I had been learning more about that, you have to ask yourself, what does that look like on a daily basis? What does being in a good relationship to seed look like? I don't have a straightforward answer. I'm learning from my mentors still, and I always will be. But I like to think of myself as an elder in training or an ancestor in training And what do I need to be doing right now so that I can store this knowledge and the seeds for future generations like previous people did for me, even though they didn't know my name and I don't know theirs. So it's multi-tiered But I think with that, you can kinda see it's, it's very personal spiritual work for me. Yeah, that's so powerful, Shiloh, I really appreciate you sharing that I had. When you were talking about that initial seed library that you created that was in just a couple boxes. I was thinking, you know, seeds are so tiny and they can fit in such small spaces. But I feel like you just gave them such, such a connection to that deeper power in that ancestral lineage. And it's really incredible that, that comes from something that fits in the palm of your hand or sometimes much smaller than that. Yeah. Just one more thing I'd like to add to that too. It's like I really see myself in the role of seed keepers as being cultural memory keepers. So when we extreme seed from hand to hand, community to community along our both historical and contemporary trade routes at seed exchanges were sharing information about how that plant prefers to grow, what it needs to thrive. There's food processing knowledge that's shared. And so seed saving, I feel like is at a really unique position to show how this is seed to table work. And I loved that because I love cooking, I love gardening. And just as I've been saying, it's been equipping me as an individual to integrate these practices into my everyday life. And now I have a better sense of who I am. Now I'm in a position regionally with my work to support other families and communities in doing the same thing. And that feels like an incredible honor and privilege to be in this position. Yeah. So that kind of goes into what we are going to want to talk about next, which is how, how are you sharing this with your community? What, how does this process change from digital exploration to your ancestors and kind of stewarding that cultural knowledge to sharing more broadly with their community? So as I kinda moved from the work I was in Detroit into more of a regional role. So my position is part of this larger national network of indigenous seed keepers. And my role is to give technical assistance, either agricultural assistance to our growers in our network or capacity building support. And, you know, being local leaders and really they're already local leaders, but seeing that in themselves and helping them feel empowered to lead this work in their communities, in their families, and for them to lead conversations about what does seed sovereignty or food sovereignty look like in your family and your community because it's going to be different for each of us. Similar but nuanced. And so, you know, some of the things I'm involved with in my role right now. We're rolling out toolkit to do seed census work. And so communities are in the process of doing right now listening sessions, surveys. To understand the state of seed in their communities. So how, where are they getting seeds from? Is it from people in our community, from seed companies? How much see do they need to really feed their community or their family? And this information will ...they're going to write reports for their local community based on their findings. And then I'm going to compile a regional report of what is the state of seed in the upper Midwest. And this will help inform both at a regional level and local level where we go from here. Where do we need additional support with each other? Where are our assets, what's working well and try to leverage those things. And that's part of my role is, actually our national program director, Rowan White, And my seed mentor has a saying that our work is to be the mycelium, the thing in between the root system and to help nurture all these relationships. And so we're just facilitators and supports of all of this. So that's kind of where I'm positioned at now and like how my work kind of looks in the region right now. But looking later this year. We're also in the beginning stages of doing some assessments to try to establish a regional seed cooperative in our network. And not for the sale of seed but to make sure our seed systems, so to speak, are more resilient. So decentralizing seed from the seed companies and putting again those assets and that cultural inheritance back with community members for them to steward and just preparing them to do that. And so I don't know what shape that cooperatives going to take quite yet. But that's something that they've been talking about previous to me joining and that it's going to be my task to support. And then Rowan, our national program director, is finishing up right now a toolkit to help with seed rematriation projects. For anyone that's not aware of seed rematriation. It's kind of re-framing of repatriation. So the returning of sacred objects and cultural items to communities of origin. And so how that looks with seeds is around the 30s and 40s. There were anthropologists that went into communities, collected seed and brought them back to museum archives. But in some communities these varieties don't exist in those communities of origin anymore. And so the seed rematriation process is really a reconciliation process for indigenous communities and non-indigenous entities. To return those seeds to their communities of origin. So she's putting together a toolkit to help support that work. I'm involved with Initiative Rematriation an initiative with University of Michigan, what they're doing with their museum studies and at the Botanical Garden. And it's just such a beautiful relationship that is taking shape between a large, mostly white led institution and allowing indigenous people to lead the decision-making of how this all unfolds. Hey, I really appreciate that metaphor of your role as the mycelium because that just puts this visual to this work you're doing and how it's lifelong work and important for the whole system as a whole. So I'm taking that piece with me. (Shiloh) I mean, thanks for saying that. I'm glad that and I hope that everyone carries that. You know, for me whether we're talking about seed sovereignty, or food sovereignty. It's a balance of protecting and exercising our treaty rights and also our spiritual cultural responsibilities. And they go hand in hand. And oftentimes, a lot of the conversations focus on like, what are, what are my rights. But part of that also, this is something I think that everyone can think about is what are my responsibilities as a part of this larger kinship network. In other words, our ecosystem or food system. And so these are some things that we can all reflect on, no matter what our cultural ancestry is, is what is our relationship to place and how are we relating to other beings that are part of this ecosystem. Yeah, definitely. Thanks for that. And so we were wondering Shiloh, if you could possibly walk us through your process of seed saving, and the process of seed saving and some of the technical pieces to it for maybe some new seed savers So you'd say people yeah, interesting. Yes. So it depends a lot on what you're growing and what you want to save seed for. There are some differences between different crops, but basically, when you're planning your garden, in selecting what varieties you want to think about, what things can cross-pollinate with each other, do, and what are different isolation strategies if you need to prevent that. So if you're growing multiple corn varieties that might cross with each other, which is really likely with corn. That there are different strategies, either through distance or sliding. Bags over the tassels and the cell to prevent cross-pollination. But you'll want to plan some of that before you actually start planting so you don't accidentally cross something that you don't intend to. For someone that starting, I would say start with self pollinating. Varieties like beans are excellent. They're really easy to, especially if you're doing dry beans. Because you can leave them out in the garden until they're completely dry it out. And then just sit on your, your porch or at your kitchen table and crack them open and it's kind of a therapeutic exercise to do. But some other things to think about. You know, I always encourage people to think about like, what are your priorities in growing? What's the size of your space? So you don't want to get a really vigorous bean or squash plant if you have a small space. Also think about it, varies on the type of crowd. But how many plants do you need to plan to have healthy genetic diversity? Because if you have a very small population of seed over several generations, they can develop some vulnerability to certain things. But there are also ways if you're on a small scale of avoiding that. So finding other growers that are growing and working cooperatively in exchanging. So if they're going the same variety of corn, you exchange some of their corn at the end of the year, their seed for your seed. So you're getting some of that genetic diversity still. And then, you know, but a lot of it, I think, comes down to preparation and just thinking about what your wants and needs are. And if you're looking for something that will store for a longer period of time that you need less energy to preserve, like just through being a longer storage crop or not needing refrigeration or canning. That will influence what varieties too. But there is a really great resource, a book called... I think it's "The Seed Garden" from Seed Savers Exchange. I should have brought it here with me and... (Abby) I'm looking at it on the other side of the room. so I'll grab it to show folks. (Shiloh) it is like my seed keeping Bible, because it goes through all these different crops and gives you specific considerations, both for planning how to care for that crop and specific. Approaches to saving the seeds. So depending like tomatoes are a wet seed and so you have to go through this fermentation process to save that and get the gel off the seed. But something like squash, which has typically a bigger seed. You can just clean out, rinse in your sink , but you really want to make sure they're super dry because if you put them in an airtight space before that inside is dry, they might mold. So it really just depends on your crop. But I'm a big proponent of the three sisters as starter. So corn beans and squash. And they're also great for saving space because they can be planted in a companion arrangement. Very close together and supporting each other. Yeah, I love that. Beans are where I started too, in part just because I wasn't picking them fast enough. And when you don't pick them fast enough, they naturally produce seed so it's kind of the, the lazy gardeners intro into seed saving. And then also through that I think I learned just the diversity and the beauty of bean seeds, right? There's, I don't even know how many varieties, but the colors that exist there and the patterns are just really, really incredible and inspiring to want you to learn how to save other things. Yes, and there's... back to the preservation side of things like you have your fresh green beans that you'll eat during the season or maybe you'll want to preserve and can in some way or freeze. But then the dry bean varieties, you don't need to do anything besides just let them dry and then store them. And so by planting a more diverse set of crops, it's kind of an insurance policy the way I look at it, because you don't really know what the weather is going to be like this season. Certain varieties are going to do better than others. And that goes back to some of our ancestral knowledge. There is also, that's part of the reason why we have multiple varieties is because they do different or thrive in different conditions. And so we would plant multiple varieties in a year of these different crops. But also there are specific cultural uses for different varieties. Like some communities have certain corn that's needed for coming of age ceremonies or wedding ceremonies. Some of our traditional foods are considered your first and last food in your life. And so it is another reason why preserving these heritage varieties is so important. Yeah, I really appreciate that. And I think so many of those are not necessarily what seed companies are prioritizing when they're choosing which crops to grow out and produce for seed to make commercially available. And so it's really building that into the community practice. That's how you keep some of those cultivars continuing, right? So there, there's a couple of questions about some specific crop processes of which we can get to later. But do you have any suggestions? I know you said corn, beans and squash is one, of any others that are kind of like pretty hard to mess up the first year you do it. Or are pretty guaranteed to get a crop that's going to grow the next year. What are some kind of easy plants for seed saving starting? I mean, those ones are my first recommendation. Yeah. And there are so many more varieties than people are even aware of like regionally adapted varieties. And I mean, maybe the folks on this call are more aware, but there are so many different types of corn and I don't just mean varieties, but there's sweetcorn, flint corn, popcorn, dent corn varieties. And a lot of people think that these low sugar, dry corn varieties are just decorative, but they're not. An indigenous people still today are using our ancestors cooking methods to process these. And so again, when you're thinking about sustainability, low energy storage, I would plant a sweet corn variety and probably a dent corn variety or a popcorn that I can store differently eat at different times of year. And not all of those corn types are going to cross with each other. So again, I would say start small with it though. And I highly recommend this is something I do is keep a garden journal so that you can take notes about what the weather is like that year and specific observations with the different varieties are growing. Because part of this is re-familiarizing ourself with these plant relatives and their life-cycles and the condition in which they thrive. And it's much easier to do that when you're only focusing on a few and really getting to know those ones rather than trying to do a lot all at once. Yeah, and I love that image of familiarizing yourself with their natural life cycle. Because I think often if we just pay attention to nature and try and mimic it and some way, right? Like somebody asked about... And maybe you wouldn't mind explaining a bit more about the fermentation process for tomato seeds, but when I think about what tomatoes do naturally, it's that fall to the ground and they rot. And so you're really just manipulating that with human hands. Yeah, and so I actually haven't done this. I watch other people do it. So if anyone else would like to answer that... But you can clean out the seeds, all the gooey gel mess into a... well you can rinse them off to get some of that off, But then like the pulp or the fruit, and then put them in like a mason jar with a little bit of water and cover it for a few days and it will start to grow a film through national fermentation. And then you just I believe from my observing people doing this, they just clean it again and that gel something happens where that gel part breaks down. So do you have anything you want to add to that? I actually, I'm a little intimidated by tomatoes. Yeah, when it comes to seed saving. So I haven't ventured too much into that yet. (Abby) I did ferment my tomato seeds as last year, and I have some pictures, I can share it with the group afterwards...but it's smelly. It's a smelly layer of like mold that forms on the top. basically you just kinda put them in a sieve and rinse it off as much as you can and then let them dry again. What you said about drying to make sure they don't germinate before you want them to germinate. And I was very intimidated by it and we can maybe do it together some time because it wasn't it... I kind of think about is in nature, it rots, it falls on the ground. And the next year if you haven't picked that tomato, you come back to all of these tomato starts right? So I think that's a helpful thing when, when the panic of like "am I doing this right? Am I going to have anything that grows" comes, Is that nature has been doing this for a very long time and they figured it out enough that hopefully I can't mess it up too much. Right? (Shiloh) And the seeds are very resilient. (Isabel) Where I used to work. We would harvest seeds from a bunch of tomatoes and put them in little paper cups. But it was my favorite thing to walk around and look at each one because there were so many different colors of that goo and the color of the tomato, and it was just like this rainbow of tomato seeds in these little tiny paper cups. It's like magic. It is really magic. Going back to something that you said Abby, about observing their natural life cycles. Our plant and animal relatives have so much to teach us. If we really de-center the human perspective and really try to observe how they live their lives. I'm constantly in the garden reflecting on like watching how something grows and reflecting like what it's telling me. Like with the three sisters, corn is this older sister. She's the first one that is planted when you plant them together. And she stands tall, she creates a trellis. She, she's like the backbone of things. And then you have middle Sister Bean, who climbs up the corn. And she's very ambitious, in that way, and too ambitious she could pull the corn sister down. So it's a good lesson for us to identify with bean energy out there to be mindful not to pull others down when we're when we're getting excited. But at the same time, bean sister is adding nitrogen to the soil and squash sister with her broad leaves are shading the soil to hold in moisture and her prickly vines are keeping out pests. And together I think they're a beautiful example of interdependence. In our larger society, there's an emphasis on independence, but indigenous cultures really prize interdependence. So how can we offer gifts to each other so that we all thrive? And I mean, again, that's just look by observing how these plant relatives grow with one another. They can teach us so much about how to live in better relationships with everything else. So for beginners, there was a question that came in about what to look at for, for specific seeds. Are there any sort of, I know you touched on self pollinating, but are there any other sort of qualities to look for? Well, I think self pollinated are easy. My mentor also sounds like open pollinated. You know, I personally don't get anything that's been treated. No GMOs, but that's part of my personal ethics around seeds. And maybe following this, I can share, I have some PowerPoint slides that in preparing today, but I have him from another presentation about, there are probably three or four slides about different considerations that I think of when I'm selecting my varieties from year to year. And it's both from a technical aspect, but also just like examining your personal preferences and priorities. Yeah, because when I think about it too, it's like, the things that might be important to me, or the tomatoes that I find the tastiest are often not the same tomatoes that other people find the tastiest, right? We all have individual preferences for that. And making sure you're saving things that you also enjoy eating is probably a good way to make sure you keep wanting to save seeds. There was another question that came in earlier when you were sharing about some of the traditional foods that you were sharing had been lost to communities in Michigan because they were no longer available from commercial seed producers. And I'm curious if you could share a little bit more about what some of those are. So some of the first ones I notice when we are starting the seed library in Detroit was some of our flint corn varieties. So things that people process. The traditional method is using hardwood ash to process the dry corn into something that's edible. It removes the hall, the outside to make it digestible. and that's how hominy is made. And so that hominy is used in a lot of different dishes in our region. And it's a real staple food. And for someone looking to eat a traditional diet like that's an example of like the non sweet corn varieties that people usually see are usually "Indian corn" that you see at Thanksgiving time or in the fall for decoration. But all of those are edible. And so that's one example. But it expands beyond annual crops too. Like our wild rice, which is a wild plant relative to the Great Lakes and plays a very significant role in our migration story and spirituality in a lot of ceremonial practices. The actual word in our traditional language for wild rice actually translates to "good berry or "good seed" depending on the translation. And so, you know, part of this is also stewarding and looking out for our wild plant relatives. The ones that we usually don't think about in the garden. But I would encourage people to think about those too, because that's from a sustainability perspective. That's things that need very little input. The perennial foods. After you get them established, it's more diversity to bring in beneficial insects and all sorts of things and look into food forests. You know, that food forests were something practice of indigenous people all throughout the world. For their bioregion. And so there's a lot of ways with landscaping at your own home, you can mimic that. Create less labor for yourself and create more diverse and healthier little ecosystem in your yard. But, you know, part of this tending to the wild relatives is important. And that's why I brought up the edible landscapes. Because they're part of it too. We can't just, we live in such a mono crop. That's what we see so much and not diversified growing. And even when we are talking about diversity in growing, It's usually just annuals that we're talking about. So I'd really encourage people to think about and consider what are especially native plants that you can add to your yard or garden. And there are so many, a lot of the foods that you know today I'm like blueberries, strawberries. These are some of our ancestral foods from this region. And so. Related to that, I love to direct people to Professor Martin Rinehart at Northern Michigan University. For the last probably close to ten years, has been working on an initiative called "Decolonizing Diet Project" Where he did some research with his students to find out what plants, both annual and perennial. were hear in the Great Lakes region before European contact. And basically part of this. After they did that research, participants pledged to eat a certain percentage of their diet of indigenous foods. And they took all sorts of bio-metric stuff about their A1c. So for diabetes, looking at their blood sugar, their BMI, blood pressure, they did journaling to talk about some more mental and emotional impacts of that. And so he's continued to promote that conversation about because that's something that all people, whether you're indigenous or not, to this place, that we all can do is eat a more local seasonal diet. And so if you search Decolonizing Diet Project Online, he has a master list, a spreadsheet with different tabs of like the plants, the mammals, amphibians, the fish, all sorts of things that you probably wouldn't think about eating. But there are historical records and so people eating those foods today. And he does have a column on the spreadsheet that says whether something is threatened or endangered. So that's another piece of it too, is when we reorient our relationship to these foods. If you love something, you're more likely to protect it than if you just values something put a monetary value on it. You might look out for it but you're not going to protect it. in the same way as something that you love. And so cultivate a loving relationship with the place you live and with all the other beings that you share this place with is my advice. At first I thought you said all the other beans. And I was like, Yeah, I will say that my relationship to beans and my garden has changed me. Since being able to be a part of that entire lifecycle, right? And making sure that it also has that connection. So every bean I plant i now am connecting it back to three or four years of that plant kind of being a part of my life and it is. But you said "being" so... I'll just pretend that I didn't just compare my beans to... It's all part of it though. And, you know, something related to this that I'm kind of looking forward to. So I'm moving next week, as I mentioned to both earlier. And I'm going to have more acreage than I had before. And so some of it's wooded some of it is tillable And so I'm going to be able to expand my seed keeping efforts. And something I'm really looking forward to this year. It's just observing everything happening at our farmstead. And I plan on doing a tree census. in our wooded part to know which species of trees are in our woods. So I mean, hopefully I'll be able to tap some trees in coming seasons or maybe a plant some other native plants to rebuild some of that food forest. But that's something I'm really looking forward to is it's ... I shared that there's all these personal and historical layers to why I do this work. But it's great medicine for my heart. to have access to land, especially within my, in my ancestral homelands. To now, in a position where I can put these things into practice for myself in a much deeper way than I've been able to do before. And so I'm really looking forward to that. Yeah. And I think I always appreciate the reminder of the time it takes and I think we're all eager and we want to jump in to it but it takes time. It takes time and it takes thought and it takes engagement to mindfully take care of their surroundings. Just like with our human relatives, like relationships take time. You, everyone has to think about their boundaries and the terms that we come to in the relationship, like whether that's spoken or not, like that happens in all of our interactions, right? And it's the same with the places that we live in. So that does take a long time and it can take a lifetime and hopefully it will be a lifelong relationship that you're building. So we did have a few questions about people are curious about drying seeds and then how to store them. So I was wondering if you could speak to that. So there are seeds screens that you can purchase for the drying process, which helps the air circulation into speed up the drying process and so that they get really thoroughly dry. Again, it just depends on that particular crop. Larger seeds are going to need a larger time to dry out and smaller seeds. Some seeds prefer to be stored in cooler things or what's called scarification, which is basically just roughing up the outside before you plant them. And so those are some things to consider. But for me, my seeds are... before I had seen screens, I use old screens from the windows after we've replaced or screens on our house. I just laid them between something so there was some airflow underneath and then put the seeds out until they were dry. And every few days go by with your hand and kind of move them around. They might be sticking together to make sure that they get dry. And then, you know, probably three or four weeks to thoroughly dry depending on the seed. And then some people will put, I think they're silica packages. Like you see. Sometimes in packaging is when you order things or purchase things and some people will save those and put those in the like a jar with their seeds to ensure that they stay really dry and pull out any moisture there are, if you want to get really serious about that and want to make a little investment there are humidity gages you can get to make sure like it should be below a certain humidity percentage to safely protect them. But generally, if you think about what a seed needs to grow, you just need to think about depriving those things to help to spur storage. So for growing, really good advice is water, sunlight, and a little bit of heat or warmth, right? And so if you can, cool, dry dark places are recommended. But I mostly keep mine and mason jars after they're dry. I love seeing them and like my kitchen has open shelving and so I just have them sit out there not over the stove because that's too warm. but in other places where they can be with me and I can be reminded of them and I'm cooking with them too. So it's nice having them there in that space for me. Yeah. And then they double as art. So you don't need to purchase as much art. Maybe just look at your beans. Now with conversation starters to people are like I've never seen a bean that looks like this. Or I've never seen a corn this color. I'm going to go grab the cover of "The Seed Garden" real quick because I see it right over there. That book has been a recent addition to my collection as well. So this is the book that Shiloh referenced. I believe it's published by Seed Savers Exchange, which is also a wealth of knowledge and we'll share out a lot of resources from them. You know, I really appreciate Shiloh for sharing some of the nitty-gritty. And a lot of it depends on what crops you're trying to save as far as how to, how to get it to flower and produce seed at the time that you want it to. So.... Yes, Seed Savers Exchange has a lot of free downloadable resources on their website too. All right, well, we're just about out of time, but we just wanted to end Shiloh by asking you if there's .... actually I'll let Isabel asked this question. So if there's anything in the coming growing season that you're really looking forward to. So I'm actually a part of Rematriation Initiative with Seed Savers Exchange this year. They're working with myself and a few other indigenous growers in the Midwest. And they've opened up their inventory to us of seeds that are believed to be indigenous varieties. And we get to pick which varieties we would like to grow. And they're giving us a stipend to help support us in doing that. That's partly some of their reconciliation work to make sure that they're good relationship to indigenous communities. But my friend, who some of you might know, Rose Bud Schneider, shout out to Rose Bud, who's up at little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, the farm manager there, her and I are both involved in that project this year. And we're trying to coordinate which seeds. We want to grow the same varieties and take different notes because of the slightly different season. And so we want to compare notes about how these varieties thrive in different parts of the state. So I'm super looking forward to to to that when we cool process and just having space at my home to grow and continue cultivating this work in a deeper way. And I love that even, even during this time, it's a way to connect with somebody, you know, not super far, But Traverse City to where you are is quite a distance. And so even an opportunity to build some of that connection and collaboration and cooperation is really beautiful. Well, thank you so much. Shiloh we will send, we do this every week where we send out a list of resources, some of which Shiloh shared, some of which are some "how to"s for learning about specific crops. A lot of them tend to be Seed Savers Exchange resources because they have just such a wonderful library. But so appreciative of you sharing your wisdom and knowledge and joy with us this morning. So hope that a lot of you have taken away some practices and some inspiration for learning more about seed saving this year and bringing that practice into your gardens. So thanks! Thank you so much Shiloh and thanks to Rachel too! Our interpreter. All right, have a great week. We'll see you all next week. We're hosting Allen from Root of the Vine Garden and to showcase some of the work that he's been doing to build in gardening and new communities in Lansing. So we're really excited for that one as well. So thanks Shiloh and we'll see you all next week.

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