Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

February 5, 2013

Sowing the seeds

TAHLEQUAH — As food prices climb, more people are tilling up corners of backyards and other property for gardens.

Seed-saving can be about plant roots as much as people’s roots, said a speaker Saturday at a Seed Saving workshop.

More than 40 people attended a workshop Saturday to learn more about successful gardening. The event, sponsored by the Tahlequah Food Policy Council,  featured Michelle Moulton, registered dietitian for Reasor’s Inc.; seed saver George McLaughlin, engineer and dietitian Rita Bergman; and Sandy Mueller, horticulturist.

McLaughlin, a retired pastor, now farms near Moodys. He has farmed in New Jersey, where he grew up, and in parts of Mexico, where he served as a missionary. He learned the value of hard work and producing for himself early on, having 23 types of trees, bees and a garden on one acre.

“Mom was never still; she was always peeling, washing and canning,” said McLaughlin.

He charmed his audience with his soft-spoken comments, sharing stories and food facts.

“Seed-saving is any kind of propagation by which one reproduces plants for future use,” McLaughlin said. “You can have a cycle of production forever by saving seeds.”

McLaughlin has kept seeds from batches he got 40 years ago, heritage seeds from family and friends. He even gardened while he was in seminary.

About 1984, he joined the seed-saver exchange, in which he still participates by making seed available to others.

“I spread seeds around, give them away, and when I have a crop fail, I ask for some back,” he said.

Seed-saving appeals to McLaughlin on a number of levels.

“The economy [is one reason],” he said. “It’s not cheap to buy seed now. It allows for self-sufficiency and curiosity. It’s so interesting; I like it, especially rare seeds.”

Variety is another reason.

“There’s probably 1,000 times more variety if you have the ability to get a hold of something and reproduce for the future,” he said. “I’ve gotten seeds before that I couldn’t get again now.”

He cautioned gardeners about genetically modified organisms.

“There are agrochemical companies planting genetically modified crops,” said McLaughlin. “We don’t know what all they’re putting in them, and there aren’t studies about their effects.”

He told a story about a farmer who was growing a crop, and nearby agrochemical crops eventually contaminated his crops. When the culprit company had the farmer’s crops tested, they sued him, when it was actually their seed that had done the deed.

“It’s getting harder to keep pure seeds and crops, and to maintain purity and prevent cross-pollination,” McLaughlin said.

He isolates by distance, time and barriers.

“I plant in different gardens, at different times of year and with tall plants, like corn, separating some varieties,” he said. “My garden looks like a cross-work quilt.”

His vision is for people all over the world to grow and save some seeds.

“People need to keep in touch with one’s own roots, for a sense of stability,” he said. “I grow stuff I’ve been given for 20 years.”

One variety he’s proud to have kept growing is Cherokee squaw corn.

“It’s pretty much what they brought on the Trail of Tears,” he said. “Corn can be a vegetable or a grain. Large varieties can be used to shade out Bermuda grass, and many varieties work as support for vining crops.”

Michelle Moulton, dietitian for Reasor’s, said her goal is to help people get involved in healthy lifestyles.

“I do individual consulting and store tours,” Mounton said. “I love my job. I like educating people and helping them make good choices for a longer and healthier life.”

Reasor’s has a new NuVal Nutritional Scoring system that helps customers determine the nutritional value of their selections.

“NuVal is nutrition at a glance,” Moulton said. “The numerical rating 1 is bad for you; 100 is the highest it can go, like fresh foods. The higher the score, the better the nutrition.”

NuVal scores are posted next to the product price.

Wayne Gourley, one of the workshop attendees, always plants a big garden every year and came to get more ideas.

“For about 20 years, we’ve had a big garden,” said Gourley. “We’ve started using barrels, too, with water in the bottom and the plant on top,” he said. “This workshop is a good idea. There’s a lot of talent here today.”

Janice Keeley, master gardener and member of the Nasturtium Garden Club, said she was interested in just about every topic covered.

“I wrote some varieties down I’m going to try, like PacMan broccoli that was spoken highly of,” she said. “The NuVal at Reasor’s sounds helpful for people who don’t take the time to read labels.”

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • sr-Sherman-Alexie.jpg Native wit

    Sherman Alexie Jr., self-professed “res” American Indian, dislikes casinos, mascots and Oklahoma for stealing his favorite basketball team.
    Northeastern State University welcomed the celebrated poet, writer and filmmaker to campus Wednesday, and the audience was treated to 90 minutes of witty and unblinking observation from the perspective of an American Indian all-too-familiar with life on a reservation.
    Alexie, named one of the 21st Century’s top 20 writers by The New Yorker, delivered what was essentially a standup monologue to a packed house in the auditorium of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center. Some of Alexie’s best-known works are “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven,” a book of short stories, and the film “Smoke Signals.”

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • rock-jodi.jpg Woman serving time for burning baby seeks judicial review

    A Cherokee County mother sentenced to 17 years in prison for burning her 14-month-old baby with an iron is asking for a judicial review.
    Court records show Jodi Leann Rock, 21, requested a copy of her judgment and sentence, and this week filed an application for a judicial review. Copies of her request have been submitted to a judge and the District Attorney’s Office.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-SchoolCharter.jpg Concerns expressed as SB 573 awaits House vote

    With an Oklahoma Senate bill now awaiting a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, some parents are voicing concerns about the futures of rural K-8 schools in Cherokee County.
    Senate Bill 573 calls for a commission to establish charter schools throughout the state. A charter school receives taxpayer funding, but functions independently. They can be founded by an array of interests, including teachers, parents, universities and nonprofits. In Oklahoma, tribal entities can establish charter schools.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man gets suspended sentence for possession

    A 37-year-old Webbers Falls man has been given a suspended sentence on drug-possession charges.
    Dusty Kayl Skaggs was charged with endeavoring to manufacture methamphetamine earlier this year after he and 43-year-old Misty Hayes Paden, of Muskogee, were arrested during execution of a search warrant.

    April 24, 2014

  • sr-NSU-Earth-day.jpg NSU students observe Earth Day

    Students and members of the community converged on Northeastern State University’s Second Century Square on Tuesday to spend an afternoon celebrating Earth Day.
    The event featured tables sponsored by campus organizations, prizes and music by Chris Espinoza. NSU’s Earth Day theme was “Gather Here. Go Green,” and was organized by the Committee for Sustainability and the Northeastern Student Government Association (NSGA).

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-smallholders-courtesy.jpg Rural smallholders host annual show

    More and more, many people are showing growing interest in learning the sources of their food, including meat. As such, interest in farm-to-table living is increasing.
    Saturday, the Rural Smallholders Association held its annual spring show at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds, promoting the farming of sheep and goats, along with giving the general public a sample of their products.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • pitts-hurley.jpg Wanted man nabbed during traffic stop

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a wanted man this week after a traffic stop near South Muskogee and Willis Road.
    Hurley D. Pitts, 40, was being sought by authorities on a motion to revoke a previous sentence.
    Sheriff’s Deputy Jarrick Snyder said he stopped a car after it ran off the road a couple of times. A woman was behind the wheel, and Pitts was sitting in the passenger seat.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SR-Wikafile.jpg Communiversity Band performs Sunday

    Musicians from on and off the Northeastern State University campus have made their final preparations for an upcoming performance of the NSU Communiversity Band.
    The ensemble performs Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m., in the NSU Center for the Performing Arts. The conductor is Dr. Norman Wika, associate professor of music and band program director. Guest conductor is student Kameron Parmain. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors.
    “Everything has come together very well this semester,” Wika said.
    “We have about 40 musicians, and everyone who started the rehearsals has stuck with it. This could be the best Community Band concert yet.”

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Council concerned over reports of land contamination

    Negotiations involving the purchase of nearly 20 homes on 7 acres of land near Basin Avenue hit a snag Monday night when concerns surfaced over potential contamination of the area.
    Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols had proposed the city purchase the homes and duplexes as a large step in a greenbelt project, which would establish a solid park and trail system from the downtown area to the site of the city’s old solid waste transfer station.
    Until Monday, details of the negotiations had been mostly discussed behind closed doors, though Nichols confirmed the list price for the property to be $480,000.

    April 23, 2014

  • Council tables cell tower permit apps

    Tahlequah city councilors on Monday opted to hold off on approval of two special-use permit applications that would help AT&T install a couple of 150-foot cell towers within the city.
    Branch Communications is asking for the permits as it attempts to construct two monopole cell towers – one on Commercial Road near Green Country Funeral Home, and another at the Tahlequah Public Schools bus barn on Pendleton Street. Other towers are being built outside of the city limits.
    Members of the city’s planning and zoning board gave their OK for both permits last month.

    April 23, 2014

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Stocks