Collecting Seeds in My Seattle Summer Garden 2012…

Today my husband found something I thought we had gotten rid of, it was a box that was a little bit bigger than a shoebox that was FILLED with baby food jars. I remembered carefully saving those, it was painful because at the time he thought I was nuts…I remember trying to explain that they would be SO handy for things like saving seeds from the garden.

As you know we lost that house last summer and unfortunately a whole lot of the seeds I wanted to save kind of went with it. Fortunately though certain things that I did plant last summer have gone to seed after bolting (mustard greens in particular!) and there is a massive amount of seed pods to be collected in the garden I’ll be leaving behind… So far I have a paper bag of pods half dry and half green still from Black Kale, Regular Kale, Mustard Greens, and the “Asian Greens” that bolted before I was able to collect more than a few leaves…they were yummy though!

I was torn about the mustard pods…there is enough that I am not even done collecting but I have filled two large paper grocery store bags with them so far…my plan is to let these all dry out and separate the pods from the seeds once they naturally dry and pop open. I asked Geoff for a sanity check because I wasn’t sure if I should save that much. I can’t help but think about the mustard seeds being used to make some mustard at some point and so wanting as many as possible, but after filling close to two bags I wasn’t sure. He said go for it though! I figure that my mustard seed gathering habits might be crazy but as long as my partner agrees with the intentions behind it then we are in good shape saving massive amounts of mustard seeds. I think it is most important the he and I are on the same page, so I was really happy he felt that it made sense rather than agreeing that it might be a bit crazy. Mustard, lettuce, and all the other seeds I am collecting are all so so tiny I don’t think it will make a dent in the room we have for storage so might as well! Worst thing that might get wasted is time since I’ll be taking time to do all the separating and whatever comes next be it crushing or planting even more.

I am hoping that some of the chard and other kinds of kale that I have in there will give me some seeds before we go too…I would love to grow more of these in particular for juicing and I’d also love to have enough kale seeds and chard seeds that I can sprout enough to support my juicing habit and also give some sprouts or seeds to my friends or even sell some starts for other people to use. I have had really good luck with using the seeds that I save and I would love the opportunity to help people who haven’t seen as much success starting foods from seed.

I also found a few seeds that I have saved from yummy organic squash we had last year, I see two piles and I don’t know what kind they are, only that I liked them so it will be interesting to see what if anything those turn into!! I don’t think I’ll start those before we move though…I’d like to be able to keep better track of the plants that I have.

Speaking of keeping track of my plants, I would say that is definitely my biggest challenge. Both girls recently got to pick out a squash plant and then we also went and got some zucchini and I did NOT mark them…so I have probably about 14 plants, counting about six or seven cucumbers (three kinds) that are going to be surprising us, I know they are squash and I pretty much know which are cucumbers but I have not come up with a system for marking these plants that works for me yet…I’m thinking a sharpie and a Popsicle stick will work best though I rarely have those handy…maybe if I do it via a numbered tag system and keep track of it online. I think that will probably work best for me since I’m most organized on the computer.

So I’ve started the seed collecting process here in my Seattle garden by getting all the ripe pods (mostly…it started raining so I stopped for now) and put them in paper bags…once those dry out I’ll separate the seeds from the dried pods and put them in my old baby food jars and be SURE to mark them. Depending on what time of year it is by the time that happens I either will..or won’t try and start some of the seeds. Lots of things grow through the winter I’ve learned so I might just go for it, especially if I am able to get a little greenhouse started!!

My Tomato plants have all together about 11 or 12 green little baby tomatoes so far. I am very excited to see if any of these grow into full blown beautiful red (or yellow!) tomatoes for me…I will definitely be learning about saving seeds from those as well if they do mature well!!

I love growing food that my family can/will/does actually eat…organic food can be so expensive sometimes and this little bit of therapeutic gardening helps a lot to supplement our diet…most of what we spend in the store is on fruit and meat at this point.

Looks like it stopped raining, I think I’ll go see if it is dry enough to go collect some more of those lovely ripe pods out of my Seattle Summer Garden!!!

I think I’ll finish off this evening with some renewals and new domain purchases at GoDaddy…I am a bit of a domain junkie…I confess!! Hopefully I’ll have some fun projects to share soon…

About Kristin

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