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The Exponential Nature Of Seeds

  • The Exponential Nature Of Seeds

    Posted by Mike on January 3, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    For most of us, grasping the full meaning and effects of exponential growth, is difficult. Here is an extract from a fairly famous fable regarding a chessboard and a requested payment which started with a single grain of rice. “For the most part, this fable is used as a lesson in the power of exponential growth. From the one grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard, the amount increases to the point that by the time you get to square 64, there are over 18 quintillion grains of rice on the board. In mathematics, it’s a demonstration of extreme growth.” Here is a run-down of the fable.

    Next I am going to share a real example of this as it pertains to seeds and our growing, saving and storing seeds in 2023. Before this though, I think sharing how the Cascadia Seed Guild evolved is good to know.

    • Back in 2017 someone kindly gave me a 32ozs jar of dried Fava beans, what followed, cemented in my mind the fact that some seeds are edible and also could be a local staple in times of food-system challenges. When I saw the yield increase when I planted some of these beans over-Winter in 2017-2018 it blew my mind. The zenith of this was a harvest of almost 8 gallons of dried Fava Beans in 2022.
    • So it was in 2017 that the seed collection began to build and gradually seeds were added, initially by purchases and gradually news spread around the city of Eugene OR (where I am based) and donations came if and we formed an alliance with Eugene Public Library where they maintain a seed-library.
    • It became obvious that we needed to have an organization system. as the seed collection grew and became more dispersed. So after looking around we found an open-source initiative called “farmOS”, there is more information on farmOS here. We made a couple of small changes to farmOS, including adding QR Codes for every listing and launched it as the Open-Source Perma-Ledger. We made a video featuring Perma-Ledger, here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2D4TN-nXTI
    • Next, as our seed collection grew (literally) we needed to evolve an efficient way to safely store the seeds, we iterated through several methods and eventually found that waterproof ammunition cases, the case shown below shows the case where we store our bulk-seeds. We now have 1,140 seed varieties in our collection and this continues to expand.

    Now, back to our point on the exponential nature of seeds, with a simple and actual example from 2023. We grew a new pepper, quite simply in face in the sense that it was grown in a pot, in a garden. This was a Siling Labuyo Pepper.

    • We planted one plant.
    • This produced 18 fruits (peppers).
    • We got 27 seeds per pepper.
    • This gave us 486 seeds total.
    • In 2024 we will plant at least 240 seeds.
    • If only 60% of these seeds germinate and produce fruits like the 2023 planting we get 4,320 fruits in 2024.
    • If we get the same number of seeds per fruit as 2023 that is 116,640 seeds in 2024 from one plant parent in 2023.
    Mike replied 3 weeks, 5 days ago 1 Member · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • Mike

    Steward
    January 25, 2024 at 6:07 pm

    Here we are looking at the potential germination yield increase by using a combination of a 25ft x 10ft greenhouse combined with air and soil heating and soil blocks. The internal design is quite simple, at the base level we have two 25ft x 3ft raised beds, one of which has in soil heating to aid both germination and eventually transplanted plant growing. There are then 4 x 10ft x 3ft (removable) shelves at around 3 ft from the base which each can accommodate around 11 trays each. Starting with 3/4″ soil block cubes, then transitioning 50% of those to 2″ soil blocks (the other 50% are planted into the ground directly). We will share the projected numbers, per greenhouse, soon.

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