Minutes of the 6th Meeting of SLOLA
(Seed Library of Los Angeles)
May 15, 2011
Executive Committee present: David King, Lucinda Zimmerman, Sarah Spitz, Cheryl Noda
Absent: Ledette Gambini
Chairman David King called the meeting to order.
Treasurer’s Report was not distributed but we are carrying a modest balance from membership fees and the only upcoming expenses are related to the transfer of SLOLA.org from GoDaddy (which we no longer will patronize due to unethical big game hunting practices of its founder) to FatCow, a green service provider. We will soon be able to use slola.org email addresses for SLOLA communications.
Minutes of previous were distributed by Secretary Sarah Spitz; all meeting Minutes are (presently) housed at our blog slola.blogspot.com. Last month’s presentation was by Megan Bomba on cucurbits. Notes on the presentation are in the minutes of the April meeting.
Best practices co-chair Albert Chang was unable to make this month’s meeting. Report by David King. Last month’s first major seed distribution went well.
Database: Linda Preuss said thanks to Shelley LaRocca the database of inventory is moving along and will as soon as possible, be posted to the website for people to peruse. Questions such as, should we keep Garden Notes that would help us “predict” how well a particular variety reproduced, germinated, yielded, etc…We should do a training session on record keeping: 2 sets of records, tags on plants and notebook or computer file.
Search function is coming, down the road. First we need to get the fundamentals of the website up and running.
One video made at the April meeting, “What is SLOLA,” is almost ready for viewing. Should be on the website when it is ready.
David mentioned that the database work is not just technically proficient but aesthetically pleasing. Congrats to the committee!
Membership: We have 85 members, 8 new members from the last meeting alone. All are in the member database.
Suggestions were made that we produce an article for Horticulture Society magazine.
Lucinda Zimmerman donated 2 SLOLA Banners, and made a bonus mug for David…
In stock: approximately 250 varieties of seed, 130 are logged in.
Notes: Winter seeds still need to be inventoried. DO WE HAVE ANY VOLUNTEERS to help?
Volunteer librarians need to be found and trained and regular hours should be established for seed distributions. David suggested that we establish regular shifts, perhaps weekends, 10 am to 1:30 pm; 1:30pm to 5 pm. We would like to shoot for starting this regularly in mid-August.
Also, we are trying to establish SATELLITE INVENTORIES, with other community gardens across LA. Bettina Gatti and Albert Chang, for ex., could head up a San Fernando Valley branch. The eventual goal would be to have only two meetings a year, a Spring/Fall dichotomy, and the main work at these meetings would be big seed distributions. The executive committee can meet before, and committees would continue to meet on their own.
We would like to try to have a version of the bylaws ready by the next meeting, if possible.
David gave a presentation on PEPPERS:
Go to Organic Seed Alliance website OSA.org for complete details, free download, and distance charts.
Eggplant and peppers are in the same family. Tomatoes have male and female parts, they self-fertilize so seeds can easily be saved.
Eggplants and peppers are trickier due to cross pollination. If you have two varieties of peppers, for example an “early jalapeno” and a “healthy” planted closer then 1600 fee apart, they can cross and then the seed that comes out will not breed “true” to the original.
But you can accomplish keeping them apart by planting at different times, so that one set flowers before the other, and they can’t cross. You can also cage them: frames stapled with remay or other row cover material that allows water and air to come in but keeps pollinating insects out. Seed savers uses screen instead of remay. Move cages over the plants when they are flowering.
For ex: week 1, you see the first flowers, you put 4 cages over each of your 4 “healthy” pepper plants. Week 2, take them off and cover the early jalapeno. Then week 3, again cover the “healthy” pepper, and week 4, again cover the “early jalapeno.” This way, only one set of flowers will be pollinated each week.
All of the chart distances were established based on agricultural stations in areas without buildings or trees. Sometimes mere separation on a property in an urban environment can keep the plants from being pollinated. You may want to consider whether neighbors are also planting peppers/eggplants and plan accordingly.
When you are saving seed, remember you are saving if for the next generation of growing, so know what you are selecting for – take peppers off to cook with, but leave some on the plant for seed. Green peppers are immature; they will change color. So leave it on till it changes color, red or yellow…allow the pepper to “senesce” – that is, wrinkle, then scrape out the seeds and dry them.
Do not package the seeds until they are completely dry. An easy test for moisture is to take a hammer and if the seed shatters, it’s dry.
Best way to dry: food dehydrator, or a secure location that is bright and warm (top of fridge), inside oven (with only pilot light going), or sit and try in a paper bac.
Test the seeds by putting 10 seeds on a moist paper tower, second paper towel on top of that, roll up, put on fridge (or warm spot) and if 5 germinate, your germination rate is 50%...8 – 80%, 4 – 40 %...etc.
OUR NEXT MEETING HAD TO BE RESCHEDULED DUE TO CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS AT VENICE HIGH SCHOOL
Sunday, July 10 at 2:30 for General meeting. Exec committee and committees should be there at 1:45.
UPDATE TO MINUTES: Tim Smith has accepted the post of Membership Committee Chairperson.
Submitted by Sarah Spitz