A Seed Saver's Garden

heirloomgal

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I sat down last night with some of my dead flower heads. I watched a movie and spent a good 2 hours gathering seeds. It was very pleasant. I think I will need more places to plant see this spring though...
When the seed shelling is done for the season, and there is no more pods to open, or seed heads to break apart while watching a movie at night, I actually miss it. It' so relaxing, yet it's a productive activity. Radish pods are the only enemy. lol

Bachelors Buttons, so cute! When I've grown them though they are floppy, almost 'grassy' flowers. Long wiry stems. In Europe long ago they called them hurtsickles, because their grassy, tough stems would dull the blades of thier sickles when they worked their fields.
 
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Branching Out

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My floppy bachelor buttons were indeed growing in poor soil, in an area that I am working on rejuvenating-- so that may have contributed to the ground-hugging habit that they developed. Just checked my 'Cool Flowers' book, and they recommend removing the central stem to help control the height of the plant (which they site as one of the reasons that the plant flops over). I will try that this year-- with sharp pruners Heirloomgal. Thank you for the tips!
 

digitS'

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Radish pods are the only enemy. lol

Bachelors Buttons, so cute! When I've grown them though they are floppy, almost 'grassy' flowers. Long wiry stems
I have had no problems saving radish or seed from other brassicas in my limited experience.

The dried pods, even with some stems attached, go on a tarp. I check my shoes, then off I go - walking on the pods. Thoroughly treaded with the #13's, everything is gathered in a bucket. Clean the tarp and climb the ladder above it. I need a breezy day ... dump the bucket slowly back down on the tarp. Repeat ... maybe repeat again.

Give the lawngrass a few hours to recover then mow the lawn to disappear all the scattered debris. Done.

:) Steve
 

Zeedman

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I have had no problems saving radish or seed from other brassicas in my limited experience.

The dried pods, even with some stems attached, go on a tarp. I check my shoes, then off I go - walking on the pods. Thoroughly treaded with the #13's, everything is gathered in a bucket. Clean the tarp and climb the ladder above it. I need a breezy day ... dump the bucket slowly back down on the tarp. Repeat ... maybe repeat again.

Give the lawngrass a few hours to recover then mow the lawn to disappear all the scattered debris. Done.

:) Steve
I do that when breaking open all of the garlic, just before planting time. Mowing all of the skins reduces the chances of them being blown EVERYWHERE at the first strong wind.. I don't see as many mouse runs in that part of the lawn either... they must not like the aroma. :idunno

Winnowing is a good method of quickly separating light debris from large amounts of dry seed. I've done something very similar to what you describe @digitS' , when separating membranes from cowpeas or winter squash, and for cleaning dried corn. A couple of the yardlong beans that I grow have very tenacious clinging membranes, repeated brisk agitation & winnowing is the only way to clean them.

In combination with screens, winnowing makes seed cleaning easier & more practical. I prefer to use a fan for small seeds though (such as dill) rather than wind, since wind gusts can be unpredictable & can scatter some of the seed (as I found out at the edge of my patio the following Spring).

When you think about it, the "float method" of cleaning & processing wet seed is more or less like winnowing - but with water instead of air. Minnowing? :lol:
 

heirloomgal

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I have had no problems saving radish or seed from other brassicas in my limited experience.

The dried pods, even with some stems attached, go on a tarp. I check my shoes, then off I go - walking on the pods. Thoroughly treaded with the #13's, everything is gathered in a bucket. Clean the tarp and climb the ladder above it. I need a breezy day ... dump the bucket slowly back down on the tarp. Repeat ... maybe repeat again.

Give the lawngrass a few hours to recover then mow the lawn to disappear all the scattered debris. Done.

:) Steve
I used a pillowcase and a stick, and then feet and hands to shake, stomp and shimmy it. I did it indoors because the weather was miserable. Turns out that you need a certain level of dryness in the atmosphere for that method to work, and we're adjusting to our newly extra insulated house which we did this summer. Our windows were sweating too as a result. Plus the fall rains were on. By coincidence though, I had a fan blowing over some bean pods on my coffee table and the radish pods were under that table so got some of those breezes, inadvertently. After that they had some crunch! Before that, they were too pliable and wouldn't shatter no matter what I did. One of the benefits of seed saving in your climate is the dryness. We've since installed a de-humidifier for 24/7 use and hopefully next year the atmosphere will be less humid so I can do jobs like that in much less time!

In a dream world, my own garden barn with full temperature and atmospheric controls would be fantastic.💡

All the pods I had from the beans, peas, radish, flowers went into the new chipper. It all made FANTASTIC mulch for the rhubarb plants! So I put every plant I grew in the chipper too - tomato plants, peppers, kale, potato leaves, lettuce stalks. More mulch! I love that the plants came out of the garden, and now they're going back in.
 

heirloomgal

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The precious arrived yesterday
20230110_162219_resized.jpg
20230110_162432_resized.jpg


I've always wanted to try these. But that price :sick

They are selling 'British Basil' - more adapted to northern locations with better tolerances for coolness & humidity. Think I have to try that one! I might bump the other Ocimum basilicum I had planned ('Napoletano') for this one so I can save the seeds.
 

flowerbug

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... Radish pods are the only enemy. lol

i crunch them with my hands a bit and then let them go where they will as they seem to keep sprouting easily from wherever the whole pods land. so something or somehow the seeds are getting it figured out without me doing any other specific actions. i've even just let the plants fall over and lay there and had plants come up without me doing anything else. rake in the spring, leave a few plants where i want them. same for turnips.

as for debris, if i bring it in the house then i hope it eventually gets fed to the worms. not all bags of bean pods go through the worm bins, but a large percentage does. i think the worms do much better with natural roughage than shredded paper. garlic and onion anything is prime worm food.
 
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digitS'

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One of the benefits of seed saving in your climate is the dryness.
Yes. A TEG gardener once pointed out that a good amount of spinach seed grown in the US comes from the Columbia Basin, responding to me complaining that spinach is difficult for me to grow. I responded that this is why it is difficult for me - it bolts to seed.

Early September must normally have the driest weeks of our year. From wheat to chickpeas to canola, that climate feature is very important for seed harvest.

Steve, who found the Richters catalog in the mailbox this week, also :)
 

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