Planting the First Seeds of the Season Today

It has begun. Although my garden will be quite a bit smaller this year (although honestly, it’s still a pretty big space), I still need to get a lot of transplants started indoors. Want to read about our past seeding adventures? For this year, half of the main garden has been planted in garlic, so I have half the space I normally do for growing our food.

 

Peppers and Flowers

Peppers from last year above….

Jaime’s gone off to college so it’s back to the two of us…so we will use less fresh greens than last year. I do want to stock the cold room up with home canned food though. We are out of green beans and I will want to store carrots again. Some things can be started in the garden, like all the leafy greens, carrots, beets and lots others. Some need a head start inside where it’s warm. Tomatoes, peppers, cabbage (yes really), broccoli, cauliflower etc get started inside either because they need the warmth or they need the head start due to our shorter growing season here in the Cariboo.

I got started today and seeded all the peppers – here’s what I have going:

 

Yolo Wonder Sweet – 8

Long Red Cayenne – 4

California Wonder – 6

Marion’s Red Hots – 4 (named for Marion, because none of us remember what they really are!)

Habanero – 4

Sweet Green Bell – 6

Jalapeno – 4

Instead of using the little 4 packs for my seeds, I like to start them in either Styrofoam cups or red solo cups. I can let them start to get rootbound before I have to transplant them into the garden. I use the regular seedling trays with drain holes (important!) and they hold 18 cups. I have the covers used as the bottoms so that any water that runs out of the tray holes ends up  in the covers below.

As an aside, if you haven’t yet signed up for Tsu, the hottest thing in social media, here’s an invitation:  https://www.tsu.co/AnnieCoombe  You can’t get in without one! Come and sign up! It’s growing daily and a lot of fun.

 

 

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.

Grow your own Heirloom Seed

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.

 

Heirloom Spinach Seed

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.

 

How to save your own seed

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!

 

Threshed Spinach Seed Stalks

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.

 

Spinach Seed

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.

 

A Handful of Spinach Seed

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

 

Heirloom Spinach seed

 

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.