Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Staving Off The Winter Blues – My Latest Seed Stash

A few days ago, I spent my online survey payments on an order from Salt Spring Seeds.  I do not need more seeds, but browsing seed sites and placing the occasional order helps me get through our long winters and focus on the Spring weather to come.  Healthier than Prozac, and cheaper than a Caribbean holiday!

My latest seed stash arrived today.  Some I will grow this summer:  Bloomsdale Spinach, Ruby Frills Red Mustard, and the Heritage Bean Mix (containing their earliest dry bush beans of 2013: Navy Bean, Green Hutterite, Swedish Brown, Purple Gnuttle Amish, and Mitla Black).

Some things I bought more for my SHTF collection (Google this acronym, if you are lost…).  They include Bronze Amaranth, 6-Row Purple Barley (apparently, quite easy to thresh), and Multi-Hued Quinoa.  My SHTF selections will go with a few other grains, beans, and unusual herbs I’ve bought over the last few years, into a large jar with a few oxygen packs.

If I have space, I might try to grow some of the quinoa this summer just to see what it looks like.

Field of multi-coloured quinoa plants - by Johanna Bjork

Some things I bought just because I wanted to have them, whether I grow them or not.  Rational?  No.  These include Munstead Lavendar (I have had trouble growing lavender here, not for lack of trying) and Bayberry.

I also bought Garden Asparagus seeds.  I am not sure what I was thinking when I did this.  I was probably feeling very optimistic and imagining how wonderful it would be to cut fresh asparagus from one’s yard and steam it for lunch.  Now that I have it in my hands, I’m thinking, “Neat!” and “How the hell do I grow this?”  I have heard it is a tricky vegetable to grow, very finicky about location, sunlight, and temperature.  I’m sure it will love zone 2.  Asparagus and eggplants.  I must be out of my mind.

What I wished I had bought, after the fact:  the 20 Lettuce Blend pack, Buttercrunch, and Epazote.


As I was about to take a picture of my new seeds, Karl hopped up on the gutter outside the plantroom window to see what I was doing.  We have a length of gutter underneath the window in which we grow herbs and lettuce.  In the winter, it is Karl's favourite place to sit outside.

I'm pretty sure Karl is looking forward to summer days, green grass, and butterflies, too.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Storing and Organizing Seeds

There are countless videos and articles online describing different ways to store seeds.  Here are a few I've found helpful.

The seed spreadsheet mentioned in the above video can be downloaded HERE.  

This is how I currently store most of my seeds.  (That is not my binder, though!)   It took a while to organize, but now it is so much easier to quickly flip through what I have and find what I need.  Larger seeds, like peas and beans, are stored in their original packets in a shoebox.  Large amounts of any given variety of bean are stored in plastic tubs or glass jars with an oxygen absorber or two.  Many sites recommend storing seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.  I don't - we simply do not have the room!

This is not a particularly scintillating video to watch, but it gives you the idea...  

Here is a simple method for long term seed storage.  Unfortunately, the video will not embed.  Please click HERE to view it.  

And Martha Says...

A great article from the Homestead Revival blog illustrating the author's favourite way to organize seeds.  I really like the form she created to keep track of the varieties of vegetables she grows.  The form is downloadable and available HERE.

Other ideas...