Former Intern Reports In

Tue, 09/02/2010 – Jude Fanton

Former intern, Matt Brown from Kentucky, made contact with Jude by email in January 2010
‘I watched the videos of you putting Davidson plums to use and Michel bashing the Bunya nut! Ha! It reminded me of when Michel climbed a palm tree to cut out the fruit (growing in the ginger garden at that time) because it was not a native or desirable and he was worried too many seedlings would pop up everywhere.’

IMAGE: Matt, with our son Julien’s dog, Malina, at Seed Savers in 2000
Anyway, I waited below and braced a wheel barrow as he chopped off a 25-kilo heavily-fruited infloresence. What an interesting adventure.

IMAGE: Michel Fanton up a Cocos tree cutting down huge bunches of heavy seeds so they won’t propagate
My only regret is that I was not more adamant about you not calling Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) Kentucky grass (or something like that). I can speak for those of us in KY who can identify that grass (running pest!) and we disapprove of it in our gardens as much as you! And, I don’t believe it is native to KY.
It brought back so many wonderful memories to see you in the kitchen, where I washed many a dish and Michel on the porch where we ate ‘Old Women Sit around and Gossip’ cabbage for lunch.
I have put my horticulture degree to good use doing landscaping with an emphasis on native plants and organic pest control. I also have a small aquatic plant nursery where I use native mosquito fish (Gambuzia) to control mosquitoes using little to no organic pesticides. We did not spray once this past growing season and had only one insect problem. My specialty is installing water gardens and koi ponds. I built a ‘Renewable Energy Garden’ for our state fair several years ago. With the help of some photovoltaic guys who did the wiring, we built a solar powered waterfall that turned a water wheel. We also had a wind mill to represent wind energy and switchgrass to represent energy obtained from biomass. The whole project was full of native plants. Once the fair was over I installed the ‘Renewable Energy Garden’ at a local elementary school to serve as a teaching tool. I was just back there recently and the kids love it. In fact they had loved it a bit too much and we had to repair it a bit, but nothing major.

IMAGE: Matt with Seed Savers friends, relatives and interns: from left, our second son, Zephyr, friend Jerome Marchand, intern Amy Glastonbury, Matt Brown at back, Jude Fanton, our first son, Julien, intern from Japan, Michel Fanton, intern Nikki Warwick.
I don’t mean to take your time tooting my horn, but there was so much I learned from my time at Seed Savers and I will never forget those lessons. I look forward to the time I get to return!

Postscript from Jude: We have cut out all dozen Cocos palms as they are a real weed in our area and produce thousands of seeds each year. We cut down only the tops and ate their hearts in salads – delicious! The trunks are standing as tall compost heaps for vines to climb over.