We meet on the first Sunday of each month between 8.30am - 10.00am. Venue: 145 Ilkley Road, Ilkley, Sunshine Coast.
All welcome to come along for a chat, cuppa, local organic gardening tips, seed saving and plant swap! Gold coin donation.
If you have any seeds that need processing or you'd like to contribute to our community seed bank, bring them along.
Follow us on Facebook @ facebook.com/eudloseedsavers for regular updates.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Seedy Sunday Workshop Summary

Here's a brief recap for both the participants and those that weren't able to join us for the October Seedy Sunday Workshop. We had a group of nearly 40 enthusiastic people coming from as far as Victoria and Brisbane and the northern Sunshine Coast.

Some of the attendees at the workshop
We asked everyone to introduce themselves, where they were from, what method of transport they had used to get there and why they'd come. This made for some very interesting and entertaining brief introductions! We had two groups carpool up from Brisbane (include Tim Searle and his companions from newly formed Turnstyle Seed Exchange); quite a few bike riders including Greg and Sophie (who are bike riding from Victoria around Australia blogging and writing a book about people living simple lives) and Bruce who donated our initial seed bank stock in 2009; Jane who walked 20kms from Mooloolah and many others who drove. This facilitated some thought provoking conversation about the need for cars and resolutions for some to carpool, ride or walk next time!

Plant material was shared around including herb cuttings, ginger, yakon, tumeric, sweet potato runners and many others. There was a great energy and generous community spirit of sharing, swapping and pooling of ideas.

Greg spent time interviewing a number of longer term Transition Town members for their book which is being launched next September. Should make an interesting read.

Sophie and Greg enjoying breakfast inside the cafe after a hot ride from Maleny showgrounds
We discussed them possibly returning back to visit us during the book launch. They are now heading off on the final leg of their journey towards Cairns before the rainy season.

As part of the Seedy Sunday Workshop, there was lots of hands-on learning and jobs to do so everyone could pick up new skills from processing seeds (separating seed heads from the seeds) to winnowing (blowing chaff off on trays), using pastry or artist's brushes to clean seeds, crushing seedpods in calico bags to measuring and labelling each packet. 

Sieving seeds from chaff into the mulch bag

Rather than waste the seed heads and chaff that remain after we've processed the seeds, we tip our 'mulch bag' into the Sweethearts Cafe pot plants as a layer of organic mulch. If we've missed any seeds during the process, free herbs pop up and grow!

Many hands made light work of the huge number of seeds we had to process on the day. Visitors from Turnstyle Seed Exchange helped process herb and flower seeds using different techniques in a nice shady spot under the trees.

Blowing chaff from tiny mustard seeds

Flat plates and shallow trays are useful for winnowing to remove chaff

When processing seeds, we used plates, trays, sieves and strainers of different sizes, spoons, calico and paper bags and pastry and artist's brushes.

Using a pastry brush to clean fine chaff off seeds before packaging.

Once the seeds were cleaned, they were ready to be measured for packaging.

Clean green mustard seeds ready for packaging.

The Seed Saver's Handbook provides a guide as to how many seeds to add to each packet.

Justin doing some finer cleaning of seeds

Below shows Tim Searle separating marigold seeds from chaff. He ended up with a huge bowlful of flower seeds and these were shared back into Turnstyle's Seed Exchange seed bank. A little 'cross-pollination' between groups!

Separating flower petals from the seed

Due to high humidity on the day, we had to work quickly. Mould is a seed saver's enemy!

Measuring nasturtium seeds out for packaging.

Labelling seeds for the seed bank - one of the most important jobs to do! We include the name of the seed, the source if known, date and when to sow.

Paper envelopes, self seal bags and pens are also important in the seed saving kit

Finished packets were added to the seed bank ready for distribution.

Finally, we shared some seeds with the Turnstyle Seed Exchange seed bank so they could return to Brisbane with some new varieties of locally grown seed to share in their community.

At the end of the workshop everyone went home with free seeds to plant and share. Many of the participants were so engrossed in their tasks that the time slipped away and the last of us left around 1.30pm! The cafe had been kept busy serving up local food and coffee and Greg and Sophie were ready for the next leg of their journey. We look forward to our next meeting and welcoming new visitors to join in the fun!

By Anne Gibson

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