Seed Sharing Gone Bad

From our local paper today (not sure what accounts for the several-week delay on this news being reported; perhaps there was an attempted hush-up):

A spring party intended to be an opportunity for friends to exchange seeds landed one woman in the hospital after she ate some of the seeds.

Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies were called at 12:10 a.m. March 22 to the 9300 block of East Woodview Drive. The 30-year-old homeowner told police she was hosting a spring solstice party where about 15 people got together to exchange seeds for planting in their gardens. The hostess said numerous types of seeds were in a party-style bag which each guest received.

As the partygoers socialized, someone noticed the 34-year-old victim take a handful of seeds out of her bag and swallow them. Police said others began telling the woman that it wasn’t a good idea to do that since some seeds are toxic. Other partygoers were able to learn that the woman had swallowed purple moonflower seeds. After a few minutes, the woman became intoxicated and began to fall unconscious.

When the deputy arrived, she found the victim was lying on the bathroom floor. According to the report, the woman appeared extremely intoxicated, was incoherent and appeared to be having hallucinations.

The best part:

Police said the woman kept picking at things on her shirt, the deputy’s clothing and out of the air that were not there. She was taken to Bloomington Hospital where she was treated and released.

According to the report, purple moonflower seeds are very toxic and can lead to coma or death.

This is hilarious b/c Sarah has actually been involved in some seed-sharing parties… Little did I suspect what kinds of danger and bad behavior can be involved in such illicit gatherings.  That “party-style bag” should’ve been a tip-off.


We are practicing Hugelkultur — we are hugerkulturists. Our garden is hugelkultural. Actually I don’t know much about it, it’s Sarah’s doing. Hugelkultur is a kind of ‘permaculture’ (‘agro-ecological design theory’) that is basically all about using wood as compost. So, as I quipped, someday our descendents will enjoy rich, fertile soil. No, apparently it can work relatively quickly.

Sarah’s explanation: “you make a pile of sticks and dump dirt on top of it, and plant on that. The twigs rot and release nutrients. Also, the area with the twigs acts as a big sponge.” Our whole back yard can become somewhat sponge-like (see previous post about the flood) so moisture-management is important.

You can also see that we made a stone barrier for our vegetable garden — these were stones we found buried in the ground, presumably left over from some older garden. This is where I came in, doing some garden-golem labor. The beans have started to come up.

One effect of our hugelkultural mindset: Sarah now is always looking for promising sticks to steal from peoples’ front yards. She’s previously done this with bags of leaves — in our old neighborhood she used to drive around filling the van with peoples’ bags of yard waste to use as compost. But now sticks too have emerged as valuable garden fodder. Hugelkultur is, according to Wikipedia, also called ‘Magic’ Mound Composting.

That’s Iris with a wiffle-ball bat in the hugelkultur area. Celie took the middle photo.