Harvesting Spinach Seeds

Grow your own Heirloom Seed

Since I grow only heirloom or open pollinated seed, I try to save some of the seeds from this years harvest, so I can have some to plant next year. Saving seed is quite easy to do and it saves a lot of money. It also gives me a feeling of security knowing that I have viable seeds for the following year and don’t have to rely on ordering them.

Here’s a few pictures of how I harvest Spinach seeds. The theory works the same for pretty much any leaf crop.

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When you harvest your Spinach, be sure to leave a few plants alone and just let them grow. If you can, pick your healthiest best looking ones so that you will have the healthiest best seed for next year.

 

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As the season carries on, those Spinach plants will get larger and larger and then start sending up flower stalks from the middle of the plant. Just leave them be and sit back and enjoy the flowers.

 

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Let the flowers dry on the stalks and eventually you should see seeds setting. Once they are dry (or mostly dry) then carefully snip the stalks and put them into a paper bag large enough to fit all the stalks.  Tie a string around the bag and hang it up or set it out of the way. Now leave it alone!

 

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After a few weeks, you can thresh out your seeds. An easy way to do this is to reach inside the bag, grab a stalk and then move your hand down the stalk, removing everything which will then fall to the bottom of the bag. You can see the threshed stalks in the picture; there’s nothing left on them.

 

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Here you can easily see all the seed. The leaves have withered to almost nothing, but there are a lot of seeds on that little portion of stalk. Save them all for next year.

 

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Just one handful of seed that has been saved to use next year.

 

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A bowlful! All I need to do is separate those leaves from the seeds. An easy way to do that is to stand on the porch with a breeze going and pour the seed from one bowl to another, letting the breeze catch those leaves. The seeds are heavier so they will fall into the lower bowl. After that, I can put them in an envelope and save them in a cool dark place.

How to Transplant Tomatoes

More Room to Grow!

Jaime got some cherry tomato seeds started awhile ago. They’ve had a great start, but now it’s time to transplant them into larger containers. See how tall and spindly this plant is?

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I brought the plants downstairs to the seedling room and got started.

 

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I had scrubbed out all the 1 gallon pots I would need. It’s really important to wash your containers out before you put another plant into them. Even though we don’t use fertilizers, they all still need a good scrubbing. By far, it would be best to do this outside in the warmth, and then let the sun dry out the containers. That’s not happening here, at least yet. I have far too many plants (and other things) on my plate right now.

I put some soil into the new pot, give it a bit of water, then turn my tomato seedling upside down. I make sure to splay my fingers on either side of the main stem in order to protect the seedling from splitting. When the plants are this tall, it is really easy to have the seedlings topple over and split their main stem.

 

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A nice looking root ball with some roots going all the way to the bottom (or the top of the picture). I should have watered all of these just before transplanting and you can see that the soil is dry.

 

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I like to very gently pull some roots apart so that as soon as they get soil packed around them, they are ready to start growing outwards instead of downwards.

 

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Once I set the plant in the pot, I pinch off one or both of the first leaves. This means I can bury the stem deeper which will really benefit the plant.

 

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Ready to be tied. I’ve just pushed a tall bamboo stake into the pot next to the stem. It’s tall enough that it can stay with the plant.

velcro plant ties How to Transplant Tomatoes

 

Here’s what I use to tie my tomato plants. I love using these Velcro plant ties. I can cut a tie as long as I need and then carefully wind the tie around the stake and the plant.

 

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At least two ties to a plant this tall.

 

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See how easy it is to attach the ties? You just wrap the Velcro over itself! The last step is to give each pot a good watering. Remember that plants go into shock when they are transplanted, so do all you can to get them comfy as soon as you can.

 

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A few of the transplanted tomatoes, back upstairs sitting in the dining room. You can see in this picture how tall those plant stake are. All that’s needed now is light, warmth and water. These plants won’t go out to the greenhouse for another 3 weeks at the very least. It pays for us to get a good start on them indoors!

I am running out of room to keep moving things upstairs from the seedling room. We’ve taken over half of the dining room table now. Several flats of flowers and cabbages are hardening off on the porch.  It won’t be long now, and I can start transplanting into the garden and greenhouse.