the seed company

grimreaperblog  asked:

is there a difference between Jack Be Little and Munchkin pumpkins?

Good question, let’s check it out! I haven’t grown either, but it would seem that Jack Be Little and Munchkin pumpkins are pretty much indistinguishable in appearance, and I hear both are fairly good to eat. So if you’re asking exclusively about the pumpkins themselves: not really.

Jack Be Little:


In cases of needlessly similar looking pumpkin varieties, the difference likely lies in characteristics of the plants rather than the fruit. Sometimes it’s that, although two plants will give you an identical end product, one or the other has a growth habit, disease resistance, speed/earliness, etc. that better suits your growing conditions.

Looking up seed pages for both right now, the only difference I see is the advertised yield. Although it varies from company to company, on average it looks like Munchkin tends to be claimed to yield more pumpkins per plant. (Getting honest figures on yield is another matter though. Rule of thumb: the companies with lower figures are prob being more honest.) Interestingly, the seed companies seem to consider them similar enough to be redundant - I can’t find anybody who sells both kinds. 

So if you’re growing them: yes, there are likely some differences (but possibly so minor that you’d have to be a serious commercial farmer / giant nerd to notice). If it were me, the decision would basically boil down to which I could get cheapest!

The rise of Africa’s super vegetables

Long overlooked in parts of Africa, indigenous greens are now capturing attention for their nutritional and environmental benefits.

Just a few years ago, many of those plates would have been filled with staples such as collard greens or kale — which were introduced to Africa from Europe a little over a century ago. In Nairobi, indigenous vegetables were once sold almost exclusively at hard-to-find specialized markets; and although these plants have been favoured by some rural populations in Africa, they were largely ignored by seed companies and researchers, so they lagged behind commercial crops in terms of productivity and sometimes quality.

Now, indigenous vegetables are in vogue. They fill shelves at large supermarkets even in Nairobi, and seed companies are breeding more of the traditional varieties every year. Kenyan farmers increased the area planted with such greens by 25% between 2011 and 2013. As people throughout East Africa have recognized the vegetables’ benefits, demand for the crops has boomed.

This is welcome news for agricultural researchers and nutritional experts, who argue that indigenous vegetables have a host of desirable traits: many of them are richer in protein, vitamins, iron and other nutrients than popular non-native crops such as kale, and they are better able to endure droughts and pests. This makes the traditional varieties a potent weapon against dietary deficiencies. “In Africa, malnutrition is such a problem. We want to see indigenous vegetables play a role,” says Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, a horticultural researcher at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Juja, Kenya, who is a major proponent of the crops.

Scientists in Africa and elsewhere are now ramping up studies of indigenous vegetables to tap their health benefits and improve them through breeding experiments. The hope is that such efforts can make traditional varieties even more popular with farmers and consumers. But that carries its own risk: as indigenous vegetables become more widespread, researchers seeking faster-growing crops may inadvertently breed out disease resistance or some of the other beneficial traits that made these plants so desirable in the first place.

“It is important that when we promote a specific crop, that we try to come up with different varieties,” says Andreas Ebert, gene-bank manager at the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), an agricultural-research organization based in Shanhua, Taiwan. If the increasing popularity of these vegetables limits choices, he says, “the major benefits we are currently seeing will be lost”.

Ed’s Note:  Listen to granny, clean your plate

What do you do?

The question I’m asked most frequently, other than how to start growing, is: what do you do?
That’s never a simple question for I have many “jobs”. First and foremost I am a photographer, I take stock photos for cannabis related companies, and I also sell prints of my photos when I have them on hand, which, to be honest, isn’t often because I seldom like a photo enough to print it.
I write articles on various methods of rolling joints and information on the cannabis plant.
I am a grower, both indoor and out, and am just starting to make my own concentrates.
I roll joints professionally, for dispensaries or events.
I run MassRoots’ tumblr, posting my own original content and content for its’ users and from its’ blog.
I help my boyfriend manage his several businesses, including his custom woven wraps and custom creative joints, and his seed company.
And lastly, I am a social media marketing consultant, helping companies when they want to increase their social media reach.
So you see…. My job title is a quite convoluted… and can often change several times throughout the day.

There are a lot of variety in the pepper family and what you decide to grow may depend on your region. Some seed companies provide a map of all the regions and you will need to find yours in order to choose the best variety for you. Do you want peppers that are sweet? Like bells and bananas? or hot like jalapenos or habaneros? What ever you choose you may want to stick with the smaller varieties. It is generally recommended that the smaller fruits (hot or sweet) are easier to grow. If your summers are unusually cool or extremely hot (or if you’ve just had trouble growing good peppers in the past), the smaller kind may be for you.


When Virginia farmer Charles Martin first got into the pumpkin game a decade ago, he started small, with a half-acre plot of traditional round, orange jack-o-lanterns. Today he grows 55 varieties of gourds, squash and pumpkins, and he’s always looking for something new.

As he walks through his half-harvested patch, Martin points out an orange pumpkin covered in green bumps — the Warty Goblin. A few feet away there’s a white-and-red-striped pumpkin called One Too Many. “It’s supposed to resemble a bloodshot eye,” Martin says, laughing. Then he spots a striped gray squash. It’s a new variety a seed company is toying with, and it doesn’t have a name yet — it’s Experimental 133.

These colorful gourds aren’t just a hobby for Martin: They’re big business. In the last 30 years the amount of American farmland devoted to pumpkins has tripled, and most of those big fruits aren’t filling pies. As the weather turns, the Pinterest-loving sorts among us increasingly look for odd, eye-catching pumpkins, gourds and squash to decorate homes and offices.

Good Gourd! What’s With All The Weird-Looking Squash?

Photos: Ariel Zambelich/NPR


Parks open come shred. @christi666n making some moves. 🐉🏇🃏🌗#Shoplocal #shopbend #shopbendoregon #localyowned #centraloregon #centraloregonlife #redmond #sisters #madras #bendoregon #bend #skatepark #keepskateshopsinthehandsofskaters #skaterowned #howtobend #flippytricks #skateboard #longboards #mobber #cruser #bombhills #skatejam #miniramp #skateshop #indoorminiramp #skateshop #skatergirl #skaterboy #diy #solsk8s (at Seed of Life Skateboard Company)

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Plant of the Day

Friday 29 July 2016

Brassica ‘Cavolo Nero’ (black kale,Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, dinosaur kale, flat back cabbage, palm tree kale, black Tuscan palm) was used to promote an Italian seed company at the RHS Hampton Court Show. This cultivar is a loose-leafed cabbage from Tuscany, Italy. The leaves are a very dark green, almost black, hence its name, which translates as 'black cabbage’. It has a pleasantly tangy, bitter flavour, with a sweet aftertaste. Here the foliage contrasted well with the cheerful yellow flowers and bright green foliage of Tropaeolum (nasturtium).

Jill Raggett

Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds'

Klint Finley

NPR reports:

A group of scientists and food activists is launching a campaign Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. They’re releasing 29 new varieties of crops under a new “open source pledge” that’s intended to safeguard the ability of farmers, gardeners and plant breeders to share those seeds freely. […]

These days, seeds are intellectual property. Some are patented as inventions. You need permission from the patent holder to use them, and you’re not supposed to harvest seeds for replanting the next year.

Even university breeders operate under these rules. When Goldwin creates a new variety of onions, carrots or table beets, a technology-transfer arm of the university licenses it to seed companies.

Full Story: NPR: Plant Breeders Release First ‘Open Source Seeds’

As the article notes, seed companies also often sell hybrid seeds, which don’t produce identical offspring — think of it as a biological “DRM” system for seeds. It’s sad that “open source” isn’t the norm in agriculture.


Smart Camera Uses Sensors, AI to Automatically Edit Video

For many amateur video shooters, the fast-forward button is a valuable friend. It could be, though, that sorting through long minutes of footage when not much is happening for the few seconds of gold is about to be a thing of the past.

The creators of a new high-definition camera called Graava say the pocket-sized device uses its GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope, microphones and image sensor to mark the most interesting moments in video as it is being recorded. It can also take heart-rate readings with an attachable third-party monitor to note exciting moments for the user. Then artificial intelligence pieces those moments together into highlight clips with only the good stuff, which is immediately available to share on social networks. Learn more and see a video below.

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karis-the-fangirl  asked:

How did you discover your career/passion?

This moment, right here, was my real epiphany. When I transferred home from my first college in 2011, I knew I wanted to study native plant conservation. I worked under an ecologist at a seed company that helped me realize that you can’t just look at the plants- you have to look at their pollinators too. No conservation effort for either species will work unless you look at the complete picture- both plants, their pollinators, and the surrounding ecosystem must be set up for success.

In this photo, I am up in the mountains, holding an endangered Western Bumble Bee (Bombus occidentalis.) My boss and I had just found one of the first healthy populations seen in Colorado in decades. We were beside ourselves. Holding that tiny creature, I knew that I never wanted to study anything else.

So here I am, living the dream, studying pollinator ecology and native plant and pollinator conservation research. (it’s a mouthful I know.) I am blessed.

FYI: Western Bumble Bees are/have been used commercially to pollinate crops like tomatoes in greenhouses- they are the most efficient pollinators for that purpose. Unfortunately, captive populations can get stressed and sick, and if they escape, can spread disease to wild bees- the wild populations this side of the Rockies were decimated.

Seraphi Abrasax: Monster or Martyr?

Seraphi Abrasax casts a very long shadow over the events of Jupiter Ascending, which is really quite remarkable given that she is only ever seen as a statue. Along the same lines, Seraphi has already featured in 30 stories on Archive of our Own - quite the achievement for a character we know very little about.

We know that Seraphi was nearly 91,000 years old when she died an indeterminate period of time ago; the implication is that Abrasax Industries existed before she was born, since we’re told that the company seeded Earth 100,000 years ago (it seems unlikely that Seraphi has been dead for more than 9,000 years). This interpretation is also supported by Balem’s comment that “my mother never cleaned a toilet in her life” - she was born into privilege and presumably grew up in unquestioning acceptance of harvesting, just as her own children did.

She was clearly business minded, since she passed her ruthless philosophy (which rationalised harvesting) onto Balem. However, Kalique’s reference to her mother’s love life implies that Seraphi has a sentimental side as well; she clearly had relationships she was burned by. She also wanted company, since she chose to have children when there was presumably no such need (if you can live indefinitely, you don’t need heirs).

Having said all that, the most interesting characteristic of Seraphi is that she changed - she had a change of heart and wanted to end harvesting. However, she failed - we have no idea what steps (if any) she took, but it’s clear that she ended her life in despair. She hated her very existence and (we’re told) begged her own son to kill her.

With the title I refer to the two facets of Seraphi’s character that are evident to us: she is monstrous because she raised three absolute horrors (interesting horrors, but horrors all the same) and perpetuated a system that made humans a currency; she is a martyr because she seems to have died on account of her new-found belief in the abhorrence of the system that she was once a major player in.

How do you see Seraphi? Do you consider her despicable on account of her role in the harvesting industry, or do you feel any sympathy for her in light of her change of heart?