Wednesday, 14 October 2015

09:29 – Yesterday, we packaged up samples of each of the seed types we have on hand for freeze-testing. We’re still awaiting delivery on six of the seed types. When those arrive, we’ll package up test specimens of each type and then freeze all of the specimens. We’ll then allow them to return to room temperature and run germination tests on each. I expect that most of the specimens will survive the freeze/thaw cycle and germinate normally. Any that don’t will require additional drying and retesting before we can package them.

I’ve gotten several emails about the decision to include Stevia seeds, all of them critical. Most are concerned about the taste/aftertaste of the stuff and its usability as a sweetener, but a couple mentioned something that concerned me as well. Being native to tropical/subtropical regions, Stevia is extremely cold-sensitive and is quite difficult to grow in temperate latitudes. Germination rates are also very low, so you’d need to grow quite a few plants if you wanted to save seed while maintaining genetic diversity. The kit already includes two species that are good sources of sugar, beets and parsnips, so I’ve decided to drop the Stevia from the kit. (We’ll do small test plantings ourselves to get some experience with it, and I may revisit that decision in later years.)

In its place, I’m going to add amaranth. You’ll see amaranth variously listed by seed vendors as an herb, a vegetable, or a grain. It’s actually all three, but my main interest in it is as a grain (actually, a pseudo-cereal). Before the arrival of Europeans, amaranth seed was a major staple for Meso-American natives. Its seeds were used as a grain, as we now use wheat, which was unknown at that time and place. We’ll include a half ounce of amaranth seeds. That’s 20,000+ seeds, sufficient to produce literally tons of yield.

Substituting amaranth for Stevia won’t affect the price of the kits, which remains at $181. My earlier offer remains open to regular readers. For the time being, we’ll ship one or more of these kits anywhere in the 50 states for $100. If you want to order a kit or kits, go to paypal.com, choose the option to send money, and transfer $100 for each kit you want to orders (at) thehomescientist (dot) com. Make sure to include your mailing address, either street address or PO box. Orders will ship sometime next month.