Class Day 4 with Mr. Jeavons: Seed Saving and Insect Control

To start class John threw out this list of books as worthy reads:

  • — “Dirt”
  • –The Starch Solution
  • –Eat to Live
  • –How To Build Your Own Greenhouse
  • –Herbal Remedies
  • –101 Foods That Could Save Your Life
  • –Pure Vegan
Also you should check out the Bibliography

Seed Saving

John’s short list of “wonderful” seed resources:

  • -The Vegetable Garden 1885
  • -Cornucopia II
  • -The Garden Seed Inventory

We spent a lot of time with Booklet #13 and the logistics of seed production but here’s a few other highlights/helpful tips I took down:

  • John LOVES a cantaloupe called the “Navajo banana cantaloupe” as he calls it exquisite.
  • Every 5 yrs for the last 25 yrs, 10% of total varieties go extinct …
  • The 3 places where agriculture is most vulnerable are 1) seeds 2) tools and 3) fertilizer
  • As little as 0.002 sq. ft. can grow all cabbage you need to plant a 100 sq. ft. bed
  • John recommends everyone save seed in the next year and that you start with the easy ones like Tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, wheat
  • Big Question: Are you going to coddle the plant your saving for seed or let it tough it out … John says let it tough it out … But a combination is probably the reality ..
  • Too much nitrogen or water inhibits seed production
  • 100RULE — You want to save the seed so that the humidity is 5-10% and temp is 55 degrees, if possible . You don’t want humidity and temperature added together to exceed 100.
  • TIP: Order your seed day after Christmas -sometimes you’ll get last years prices and you’ll get your seed faster .

Pest Control

John’s favorite book here is “Rodales Complete Garden Problem Solver, instant answers to the most common questions.” He went on to offer this acronym AWOMB of the most important aspects for a healthy and effective soil – like “a womb” in which to nurture your plants – if you do not provide well for these elements, you are to have pest and disease issues:

  • Air
  • Water
  • Organic Matter
  • Minerals
  • Biointensive

He mentioned several other details but summed it up by “know the life cycles of your pests, know that most insects are beneficial, 90% of attacks are on vulnerable/sick plants, and most pests can be controlled pretty easily.

John talks about the utility of planning all 52 weeks of your garden. Each crop is a row, each column is a week and in the cell is what happens.



A graph that shows how over the years, for the exact same yields, Fertilizer needs have increased 6 fold and pesticides 33 fold.


John tells the story of how a a gopher ate 25% of his beans and another insect kept ea ting all the leaves off the plant and the plant kept growing more leaves. Rather than fight the pest, he did nothing and got 3.9X the US average yield from 75% of the bed.


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