Sunday, 14 July 2013

The magic of seeds, cleverness of mankind


Many of you are gardeners; some may even be grander persons working a small holding, a farm.  There are  indisputably many who know so much more than I do on the usefulness of seeds.

I fell in love with this particular magic quite late in life, back in the late 70s after having already fulfilled my first grand ambition in life of travelling around the world.  I had come home determined to grow some herbs and create beautiful soap -  don’t ask, another tale altogether - my parents were gardener’s but more of the plants-man type than the seed growing ones. In fact they mostly cursed seeds , the most likely offenders being those prolific weeds which seem to pursue personal vendettas against plants-men.(please do not respond with PC speak - man/men as in human kind)

I opened a packet of lavender seeds - tiny insignificant seed and scattered them forth onto small pots of earth. I followed instructions - I am good at written instructions - and waited impatiently.

Everyone warned me they may not all grow, maybe I’d be disappointed.

I am willing to swear they did all grow, dozens and yet more dozens of tiny lavender bushes peeped out at me.  Seeds, earth and water - now if that’s not magic I don’t know what is.  Yours truly was hooked on a line stretching to the next century.  Flushed with success I threw seeds at every available patch and pot of earth, they grew, they grew. Not all with the 100% of those first but they hustled and bustled their way to the sunshine. I am still indulging.

I needed to know more, I read everything I could find on the seeds, the growing the tending. It led me of course as all my wanders appeared to do down the path of the world, the globes, the planet.  Seeds I found were the staff of life not bread, as I had always been led to believe. 

No seeds, no life.

Well of course it isn’t that simple I know, I know, no need to chastise me.  After I could say it about water

No water, no seeds, no life
Or oxygen and carbon dioxide and warmth and. . . . and . . . and. . . but you get my drift.

In the wonderful way time elongates back into the mists of caves and bearskins I discovered those wonderful heroes of mine (early man) knew all about seeds, all about the tending the harvesting the use of them. 

Clever, clever, early man.

When did the apes notice the effect of seeds and the next meal I wonder?
When did early man suddenly decide to crush some seeds, leave them lying around and then cook the rising concoctions  and slice their bread, I wonder?

         When were we ever so clever again, as early man was?

So we have a magic seed to rival Jack’s - happy and content in which ever patch of land it had opened roots. Bathed in sunshine and just enough warmth to suit whatever plant it is destined to become.  Stop for a bit, think about it, a tiny seed with the whole of the grown plant within it.  Magic.

But we know the climate has changed many times, so those warm lands may be icy one day, those icy wastes of now may have been tropical forests at some time.  Now here’s the real magic, those insignificant tiny cases of life are not just that - they have more magic hidden within those casings than we can ever dream of.

They can adapt, they can change their DNA to suit themselves. 

Well, yes, we can do that, but we are big, we are supposedly sapient - although I do have my doubts on that point:)  Seeds are just things to curse because they have decided the rose garden is the correct place for them

They adapt and early man noticed this, they gathered the strongest of their early crops each year to sow again the next and over millennium the plants being grown for food changed almost beyond recognition, always suiting their conditions.  The magic of the seeds and the cleverness of early man combined.

Now, I fear, the cleverness of man has begun to tamper rather than go with the flow.  Now it is not enough to take those best suited to conditions but to take them and ensure their ever changing seeds can no longer change.  Infertile food crops? What is that about?

Apart, of course, more money for huge companies who control the seeds. As weather and soil conditions change, where are the generations of seeds which magically adapt. 

To breed super crops to feed the billions seems like such a good idea.
To deny farmers the ability to find the new stronger generations is not.

To cut costs to the farmer and thereby supposedly the cost to the billions sounds laudable but
To create miles of mono-culture, which can be devastated in one new disease is not.

Late, very late in the day, seed banks are being set up as insurance against the worst, however, they are climate controlled by man made means - if the lights go out what then? Small voices sounding sense, warning of trouble ahead, battle against company’s greed and self righteous mantra of feeding the starving millions.

At the moment there is more than enough food being grown in the world to feed everyone. 
The millions starve because they have no power
They starve because those that have, waste/throw away over half the food produced
They starve because of our ignorance and greed.

Let those magic seeds feed the world, they can do it, if inherited and learnt wisdom are allowed to tend them. Let man’s knowledge help but it should always be partnership between magic and man. 


  1. Let those magic seeds feed the world. It is beautiful magic isn't it. Beautiful.

    1. Indeed it is:)so much magic in the world:)