Seed storage in wet tropics
Does anybody know about or have experience in the processing of
vegetable and fruit seed and their storage in wet tropical conditions?
We have a permaculture-based village garden agriculture project in the
Solomon Islands, a little north west of Papua New Guinea in the South
West Pacific. That's the wet tropics.
The project aims to achieve food security, introduce new garden
agriculture methods and where appropriate to incorporate traditional
garden agriculture methods such as the TUKU garden system derived from
traditional Solomon Islands slash and burn gardening.
There is no refrigeration (often no electrical power) available to run
a refrigerator to store seeds.
The project has set up the Planting Materials Network (newsletter
available via post) which acts like a seed bank or seed exchange with
the aim of distributing useful food plant seeds and other planting
material and to establish a base of supply for these materials to
support subsistence village garden agriculture.
Our need is to store seed through the seasons.
A method for doing this is to hang seeds over the kitchen fire where
creosote in the smoke preserves the seed. This, obviously, can handle
only small, domestic quantities of seed. What the project requires is
a somewhat larger - but not too large scale - method where a greater
quantity of seed can be processed and securely stored.
In the wet tropics, there's spoilage due to moisture related causes
such as fungus. To some extent this has been dealt with by packing
seed with either wood ash or silica gell.
What we need to hear about are methods which utilise the appropriate
technology approach, which avoid the need to import hi-tech industrial
equipment, which use local materials and which are manageable by local
Any advice gratefully received.
If you want information about the Planting Materials Network or the
Kastom Garden Project, email me and I will post it to you.
PERMACULTURE EXTENSION SERVICES
Russ Grayson and Fiona Campbell
PO Box 446, Kogarah NSW 2217 AUSTRALIA
Phone 02-9588 6931 (IDD-61+2+9588 6931)
Fax 02 330 2611 (Mark fax: ATTN: RUSS GRAYSON - APACE)
Permaculture education, publishing, design.
NSW co-ordinator, Australian City Farms and Gardens Network.