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Seed Collecting


 

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Seed Collecting by Sarah Latimer


The fall season has arrived and so have the cool, or downright cold, night temperatures that go with it. The garden has not only past its peak but mostly “petered out” with relatively little left in the garden. Though you may feel inclined to clear or burn the garden and till the soil in preparation for winter snow, I encourage you to wait. There may be a treasure to be snatched from it first, if you dare engage in the adventure of seed collecting.

      If you have grown plants that are a heirloom variety or at least are a variety that is not a hybrid or GMO, then you can collect the seed and, if handled, stored, and planted properly, expect the seed to grow the same kind of plant and to produce the same type of leaves, flowers, and fruit/vegetables as the plant from which the seed came. Now, I know, there are a lot of “ifs” in that previous statement. I will try to deal with those in the following article to increase your success. There is some skill required, but there is an enormous reward, in my opinion. Not only does a seed collector save money by not having to purchase new seed each season, but they also gain confidence in their inventory of seed for the next growing season and their knowledge of how to procure more seed for the future no matter what circumstances they face. 

     An experienced seed collector could venture into any garden, even in the spring thaw, and find a great deal of seed that they could take with them to plant elsewhere for their family’s sustenance and/or for barter. After being left out in the winter weather, the germination rate of these seeds may be reduced for some plants, but there will be some viable seeds. Many seeds require a freeze in order to germinate later in the garden. Seed collecting is not difficult, and it is something that children can help with. Make it a treasure-hunting adventure, but know that it has it down side, too.


Read more of Seed Collecting, Part 1


Seed Collecting, Part 2


Seed Collecting, Part 3


News

Summer Food in Wintry February

 

16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.


more such winter gardening from Off the Grid News