Friday, February 28, 2014

Seed Saving...a first for Us!

Let me just start off by saying we are
an experimental family.
We dabble, we attempt.
Occasionally we have a success!
Normally that's just the result of trial and error.
Often a lot of error.

I like the idea of saving seeds.
I really had no idea where to begin.
To be honest, the whole concept seemed too big to grasp.
It was intimidating.

Husband and I started researching on the web...
in newspaper articles and books.

We took it one seed at a time.
Each plant requires a different plan.
Some plans are as easy as separating seed pod from plant 
and then drying the seeds.

Other plants require a much more thought out process.

Ches was much more ambitious than I was this past year.
He decided to try tomato seeds.

Tomatoes keep their seeds in a gooey substance that actually inhibits the seeds from growing!
You have to force the seeds to germinate by making them start to mold.
Separate seeds from fruit and place in a mason jar.
Fill partially with water and place a porous cloth (or in this case coffee filter)
and secure with elastic band.
Let seeds stand in liquid for a week and then a mold will form on the surface of the water.
When ready to dry the seeds, remove from scummy water and discard the mold.
Dry seeds as per normal.

I'll be sure to let you know if this well researched method pays off in the spring...

All in all we did a great job last year in seed saving.
Peas, jalapenos, broccoli seeds, white corn kernels, purple, yellow and green beans.
Other jars in the above image show dried herbs (not seeds) like lavender, thyme and oregano.
Very important spices in our household!
The lavender is used for tea and respiratory ailments.
The thyme and oregano are staples in our cooking.
We even dried chunks of jalapeno flesh (the red stuff on the right)
...still haven't used it for anything...
but you never know...

We have a couple of black walnut seeds from a past neighbour's yard.
We also have a couple of peach and plum pits (the wild plums I wrote about previously)...

I finally found some rose hips in Pres-Quile Provincial Park in Brighton.
I dried them for tea making purposes...they contain obscene amounts of vitamin C.

The above picture shows something we never did before...
Broccoli seeds!
They form a bizarre little pod with tons of small black seeds inside.
We dried the pods on the screens,
then removed the seeds by hand.

See how small the pods are???

The seeds are totally tiny!
We've never let a broccoli go to seed this past year was a treat.

I'm sure as the seasons go on,
we'll learn more about seed saving.
This past year was more fluky than anything intentional.
I feel it is important to be able to save your own seeds.
Food self sufficiency becomes more and more important as our 
food supply continues to let us down in terms of safety.

Speaking of seeds!

I plan on bringing the some of my seeds to the seed swap on Mar 4th in Tamworth.
The Tamworth and Erinsville Grassroots Growers Assoc.
featuring local celebrities like 
Karen ten Cate of Bumblerock farm, 
John Wise of Wiseacres organic farm in Centreville 
and Brian Burt of Burt's Greenhouses!

Nothing gets me going more than gardening talk in the middle of winter!!!!
Plus we'll be planting our "tropical" seeds this tomatoes and peppers.

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