USF Garden Project

Botanical Gardens Write-Up
February 27, 2008, 7:29 pm
Filed under: Activities, organic gardening

Botanical Gardens

Our visit to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens taught me both about the Botanical Gardens itself and much about the intricacies of seed-saving. Even though at times what the curator had to say about seeds seemed a bit more intricate and in-depth than I was prepared for, overall it was a good overview of what we will need to know to collect, store, and plant our own seeds.

Much of what the curator told us about the Botanical Gardens could be directly applied to our own garden. He said how July and August had no sun at all, only fog. The Botanical Garden grows very little food, perhaps because its main purpose is to educate, or perhaps because it is very difficult to grow most food in San Francisco. The curator stressed the importance of sun for many plants. He said that in the case of tomato plants, one-half the sun would yield one-half the amount of tomatoes. He said that here in San Francisco we are in a Mediterranean climate, and this climate is many other places, including Chili. He said that the types of plant that grow here are also seen in places like Chili, where the environmental aspects are similar.

The curator stressed the importance of seed saving, since so many types of plants are disappearing. For example, in Chili, much of the land is being turned into grazing land for McDonald’s cattle and diversity is being gravely threatened. The curator gave a large amount of information about seeds. I became aware as a result of his talk of how each seed needs to be treated differently. I was not aware that each seed requires such unique circumstances. For example, some seeds must remain wet at all times or they will die. Also, some seeds need the nitric oxide in smoke to germinate. I thought it was interesting what the curator said about 90% of the battle with seeds is keeping them sterile. The other 9% is keeping them safe from snails and slugs, 1% keeping them safe from larger creatures. The main piece of information that I retained from this presentation is that we will need to thoroughly research each seed that we want to collect and store if we wish to be successful seed-savers.
-Austin Clark


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