Thursday, 1 October 2015

09:01 – Yesterday was Barbara’s last day of work at the law firm. As of today, she’s working for our own company. Now that she has control of her own time, she’s heading over to the gym this morning. This afternoon she’ll be doing science kit stuff, starting with filling a bunch of chemical bottles.

I called Amazon yesterday about the problems I was having with my Fire HD7. They’re sending out a replacement, which should arrive tomorrow, along with a return label for the old one.

Science kit sales are down. Not a single order so far this month.

I started work yesterday on the heirloom seed vault we’ll offer in the book. So far, we have maybe 2/3 of the final lineup, including high-nutrition and/or flavorful vegetables like beans, beets, carrots, corn, onions, peas, sweet pepper, tomatoes, and turnips. For herbs, we have basil, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme. We’ll be adding several herbs, including perhaps stevia (a no-calorie sweetener, although it’s hard to grow outside the far south), St. John’s wort (a natural anti-depressant), tobacco, and so on. We’ll also be adding peanuts and sunflowers as sources of oil, and perhaps poppy.

There’s a lot of work to be done. Obtaining suitable seeds is the least of it. We need to dry the seeds to 7% to 8% moisture before packaging them, and I need to write detailed instructions for planting, harvesting, preserving, and seed-saving.

The varieties included will be suitable to grow in temperate climates, including all of the continental US. Hawaii and particularly Alaska have issues all their own, but most or all of the varieties should do acceptably well in those two states as well. We’re also focusing on reliable varieties with reasonable disease resistance, which is to say ones that are easier for inexperienced gardeners to succeed with. The quantities included–at least 100 seeds of each variety, and often several thousand–are intended to be sufficient for a family of four to six people, with allowances made for newbie mistakes, crop failures, reduced germination rates after long storage, and so on.

One of the annoying things about a lot of similar products is that the packaging could almost intentionally be designed to encourage people to put them on the shelf and forget about them rather than actually plant some of the seeds to check viability. You open a #10 can and find a bunch of paper envelopes inside. There goes your seal.

We’ll use a foil-laminate Mylar bag as an outer container, which can be resealed with a hot clothes iron. We’ll use various sizes of plastic vials, tubes, and bottles to contain the individual seeds. We’ll encourage people to open the bag when they receive it and plant at least a few of each type of seed so that they can get some experience growing them. The package can then be resealed with a clothes iron and stuck in the freezer, where it’ll remain useful for many years to come. This is what we ourselves will be depending on if we’re reduced to growing our own food, so you can be sure we’ll be making this kit as reliable a source of food as we possibly can.

Our target price for this kit is $150, shipping included, although it may end up higher than that. We intend to begin shipping the first batch of these kits next month. If any of you regular readers/commenters want to order one or more of these kits, you can do so for $100 per kit if you place your order in the next few days. To do so, 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.