TexasEscapes.comTexas Escapes Online Magazine: Travel and History
Columns: History, Humor, Topical and Opinion
Over 1800 Texas Towns & Ghost Towns
NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : ARCHITECTURE : : IMAGES : : SITE MAP : : SEARCH SITE
HOME
SEARCH SITE
ARCHIVES
RESERVATIONS
Texas Hotels
Hotels
Cars
Air
Cruises
 
 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Preserving garden seed important

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

A wise man once stated: "A person will do a lot of things he wouldn't ordinarily do if he is taking up a hole in his belt occasionally." Hunger and the fear of hunger has always had a way of leveling the various classes of the population and changing their habits.

One of history's most famous hunger catastrophes was the Irish potato famine where 2.5 million people either died or were displaced in the 1840s. At that time only a few varieties of potatoes existed for planting and all were subject to the potato blight disease. Today, most potato varieties are resistant to the disease, and such famine could easily be prevented.

This and other historical famines are the main reason for the establishment of the new "doomsday seed vaults" being built above the Arctic Circle to store the millions of varieties of world stock seed both old and modern.

Before modern transportation methods made distributing foodstuff easier, the U.S. government made an attempt to bridge the gap between surplus and unsold foodstuff raised on farms and the needy urban people in the cities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture started the first relief (welfare) program on May 16, 1939, in Rochester, N.Y., issuing blue and orange colored food stamps to exchange for surplus farm items like eggs, butter and dried beans. The original program ended in 1943 after serving about 20 million people. The surplus was needed for the World War II effort.

Most old-timers who survived the Great Depression and Dust Bowl will tell you, "Our garden produce and home-canned foods pulled us through." Cellars and pantries with shelves of home-canned fruits, meats and vegetables kept hunger at bay though few had money to spend.

Take a trip today through the small towns and communities, and you will see countless gardens growing food for the families. Evidently garden seed is in great demand as we hear gardeners complaining of lack of supplies to choose from and the high prices. A small envelope containing a dozen or more seeds can cost many dollars.

This is a long way from the old days when all gardeners selected seeds from prize varieties to dry and store until the next spring planting. My grandparents kept seed in coffee cans, small glass jars or used envelopes. A day or two before planting time, the seeds were soaked in water with Garrett's Snuff added hopefully to keep the worms and birds from eating the seed after being planted.

The early settlers, lacking today's handy containers, raised gourds of various size, harvested, dried and cleaned them to make seed containers. Somehow the gourds kept the seed dry, insulated and prevented mold. By hanging them from the rafters of a cellar or barn, the rodents were kept at bay. Some plants, like dill, were hung by the stalks until needed.

I imagine the elders of that time slept a lot better each winter knowing the next year's garden seed was safe and sound and ready for planting.

Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"
July 28, 2009 Column
E-mail: trewblue@centramedia.net.

More on
Gardening
Related Topics: TE Online Magazine | Features | Columns | Texas History | Texas Towns | Texas |

 
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | TEXAS HOTELS
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | MAPS

TEXAS FEATURES
Ghosts | People | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Black History | Rooms with a Past | Music | Animals | Books
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Stores | Banks | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Drive-by Architecture | Old Neon | Murals | Signs | Ghost Signs | Then and Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | HOTELS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Recommend Us | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright 1998-2008. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. All Rights Reserved
This page last modified: July 28, 2009