2015 Message from Carol Deppe

February 1, 2015 · Filed Under Friends and Foes, Recommended reading, Seed Saving, Seeds · Comment 

Hello Gardening Friends–

My 2015 seed list is now posted and can be viewed on and downloaded from my website www.caroldeppe.com. (I’m posting the list instead of sending it as an email attachment so I can update it if we run out of anything.) There are a number of exciting new introductions as well as new listings. We are accepting orders now and will start shipping in mid-February. The ordering deadline is May 31.

The Tao of Vegetable Gardening: Cultivating Tomatoes, Greens, Peas, Beans, Squash, Joy, and Serenity (Chelsea Green, Jan. 2015) is now available. For a table of contents, reviews, and slide show see www.caroldeppe.com. I ask two favors of you. If you plan to order the book on-line, please order it using my link to the vendor of your choice so I can get a referral fee. If you use my link and the associated discount code and order directly from Chelsea Green, you’ll get 35% off on everything at their website. And you’ll be supporting an independent, employee-owned publisher-the publisher that started specializing in organic and sustainable everything 20 years before it became popular, and that has the most extensive and best list in the field. The second favor I ask: If you like the book, please post a review on Amazon. Even short reviews of just a sentence or two really help. (And I read every one.)

Upcoming speaking events: I’ll be speaking at the February 7 Insights Into Gardening event in Corvallis (OR) on The Eat-All Greens Garden. June 6-7 I’ll be giving four workshops at the Mother Earth News Fair in Albany (OR) on The Eat-all Greens Garden, The Do-It-Yourself Seed Bank, Gardening in an Era of Wild Weather and Climate Change, and Growing Your Own Cornbread, Polenta, and (all-corn) Pancakes, Cakes, and Cookies. I’ll also be speaking at the Northwest Permaculture Convergence in Eugene (OR) in August.

Please pass this announcement along to your garden list and to anyone else you think might be interested.

Wishing you a great 2015 gardening season,

Carol Deppe

I am not Charlie

January 10, 2015 · Filed Under Political · Comment 

As someone who publishes controversial material, and has even been threatened for doing it, I was really quite shocked and saddened by the events in France the last few days.

Of course violence and threats of violence are always wrong.  It’s also very important to stand up for freedom of speech, and the free expression of ideas and opinions.

At the same time, together with free speech comes responsibility for self restraint.  We all know for example that showing hate for Jews, or blacks, eastern Europeans or promoting Nazism, is nearly universally unacceptable, even illegal in many countries.  We sometimes forget that Muslims are people too, and deserve the same respect as everyone else.  No one benefits by the frequent publishing of racial or religious slurs, and the sort of anger these can generate puts us all at risk.

Abbie Hoffman once said:

Free speech is the right to shout “Theater!” in a crowded fire.

Free speech can’t always be about pushing every boundary possible.  Free speech has to be about criticizing ideas, politicians, corporations or societies at large, but not attacking ethnic or religious groups.  It’s up to all of us as a society to enforce this, and not to fan the flames of intolerance.

My thoughts are fully with the people of Charlie Hebdo, their families and friends, the other journalists and political satirists, that put their own safety on the line in their jobs, but not the intolerance that lies behind them.

Light Bulb Review

January 9, 2015 · Filed Under Pat 'n' Steph, Political, Science · Comment 

I guess some of us knew it would happen eventually, but normal light bulbs are legal once again in Europe, and becoming more available.  I just bought some the other day from De Gloeilampen Winkel here in the Netherlands, and I thought I would write a review.  I paid €1,65 per bulb, with a minimum purchase of 10 per wattage, and free shipping over €50.  I hope they come down in price soon!

bulb1

There is an exemption in the EU light bulb ban for ‘rough service lamps’, bulbs built to operate while vibrating.  This is a Reinforced Construction or RC lamp.  Some of the bulbs are labelled that they are intended for a marine environment.  None of them have a brand name.

Here’s a closer view of the specifications.

 

bulb4

Notice they are rated for 3000 hours, which is 3 times longer than the bulbs commonly available here just before the ban came into force.  This makes the price a little more palatable, and similar to the price per hour of pre-ban bulbs.

bulb2

Manufacturer Energy Rating: E

bulb3

Real Life Energy Rating:  A++

  • Since mostly the bulbs are to be operated in a space warmed by central heating, the bulbs are 100% efficient.  Energy is given off in the form of light and heat, and any heat given off reduces the load on the central heating by a like amount.
  • No energy needed for recycling, and it’s not necessary to take them to a recycling center — possibly even by car.  Bulbs can be discarded in normal household waste.
  • Bulbs can be manufactured locally, and it’s not necessary to transport them from China.
  • Manufacturing process is simpler and less energy intensive than ‘low energy bulbs’.
  • Longer life means less frequent replacements are needed.

Functionality

It’s a light bulb, and does everything you might expect a light bulb to do.

Long Life

Historically, manufacturers of light bulbs have had the problem that long life bulbs mean loss of profit.  This is because they stay in service too long and consumers don’t need to keep rebuying them.  Singer, the sewing machine company had a similar problem, because the products they built were too reliable.  In the case of Singer, they had to buy back some of their older machines, so consumers would have to buy some of the newer less reliable ones.

In the case of light bulbs, manufacturers have been building them to glow brighter, so they would burn out faster.  This is the motivation for the energy efficient bulbs, followed by the complete ban.

Leading up to the ban 1000 hour bulbs were common, and these are 3000 hour bulbs.  10.000-20.000 hour bulbs are very feasible, and 100.000 hour bulbs are not out of the question.  As consumers, this is what we want and should look for.  They should not necessarily cost more.

Some Final Comments

  • No flickering, slow warm up or fading with age.
  • Fully dimmable
  • No toxic components
  • Pleasant light spectrum
  • This bulb was not labelled with country of origin.  Research your bulbs and buy locally!  Unlabelled should be assumed to be from China.
  • These bulbs are rated for 235v, but the power in Europe is 230v.  This probably means the bulbs will withstand voltage spikes better, have a longer life, but also probably give off slightly less than the rated number of lumens.  I consider this a good thing.
  • It’s obvious in other ways the consumer energy ratings are intended to mislead consumers.  For example here, diesel cars often get lower ratings, even though they get better mileage and have lower carbon emissions.  Electric cars often get better ratings, even though energy used in manufacture and disposal are much higher.  Use your head instead of trusting energy ratings!

Vandana Shiva’s 2015 New Year Message

We Are All Seeds

EU Commission Abandons Current EU Seed Law Proposal

December 18, 2014 · Filed Under EU Seed Legislation · Comment 

The EU Commission announced yesterday their intention to abandon the proposed new seed law regulation. This means short of a specific request from the EU Parliament for a return of the proposal, it’s unlikely to resurface.  This leaves some uncertainty, but it seems likely the proposed regulation is now dead.  Here is the announcement and Annex II, the so-called ‘kill list’.

The EU Commission probably now has to come up with another proposal.  For the time being, it leaves the existing EU seed law directives unchanged.  Since there is pressure for returning decision making to national governments, and reducing administrative burden, there is hope that a new proposal will go much further towards a straightforward repeal of existing seed laws rather than just a simple rebranding and otherwise strengthening of industry control.

Parliament

The EU Commission informally consulted the Parliament before this decision was taken.  The answer back was very unclear, and did not indicate a clear preference one way or another.  Some independent and informal polling of MEPs suggests quite a lot of disagreement between the different factions.  The chances are it will be more of a fight to stop the proposal the next time around, and the situation will be more complicated.

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