More Birds and Beans

Foster Richardson, from The Birds and the Beans talked to the Seed Savers about growing Corn as a staple crop. Corn is very adaptable, especially the short tough native varieties, that also have more protein and so could be an important staple crop in spite of corn’s reputation as ‘evil’.

  • Very tolerant to poor conditions like drought and rain at maturity.
  • Easy to harvest and process by hand.
  • Avoid long season varieties – no good for our local climate.
  • Avoid contamination with GMO corn.

Natasha talked about growing quinoa. Quinoa is related to spinach, beets and chard, so not a true cereal. Its high in protein and tasty. In South America it grows form the Andean mountains down to the Chilean coast. We need to grow the low altitude varieties. Pros for Quinoa are

  • drought tolerant
  • germinates with little water (seeds sprout in a few hours)
  • tolerant to saline soils and poor soils
  • source of complete protein
  • gluten free and easy to digest

Problems with quinoa are

  • rain at harvest time will get sprouting seeds on the plant
  • suceptable to high temperatures at the wrong time
  • downy mildew
  • Lingus bug eats the seeds
  • slow growing in the beginning.
  • low yields

Pictures on their way…..

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