A Seed Saver's Garden

Pulsegleaner

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I have always wondered what 'cat grass' really is. I've been told it's usually oats, but I guess the green sprouts can be a lot of different things. Funny how much the kitties do seem to like it.
Oats work, wheat works, barley works, rye works. I think ANY reasonably soft grass works (after all outdoors, cats will eat whatever grass is around, regardless of species). People just pick ones that grow fast and don't have sharp edges (so, no sawgrass, no bamboo, no reeds)
Kitties like it because it helps their digestion. Probably gives them some vitamins as well.
 

heirloomgal

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The high bush cranberry saga continues; I guess these can be cold pressed but we went with adding water & boiling them for 5 before we pressed them. Being the first time I've ever attempted any kind of preserve, I'm a bit skittish. I'll probably still store them in the now frozen dry room for the winter just in case I do anything wrong.

We had two soup pots of berries. DD and I used a soup ladle and two large mesh strainers to take out the pits, the size and volume of seeds was wild. The size of these 'pits' seemed like a full 3rd of each berry, and they looked exactly like big lentils. By the time the straining was done we had a full pot of cranberry juice, which was not totally liquid. There was a surprising velvety, slightly thick quality to the juice. I though the smell was rich and tangy, DS hid in his bedroom from the smell, DH was not thrilled about the aroma either. 🤷‍♀️ There is a musky fragrance especially when they're boiling, but I don't find it bad - I find it smells like potent vitality mixed with sour candies.

I went and bought a bag of sugar, which was weird, and totally forgot the pectin. So now I'll have to wait until tomorrow to boil again, skim, thicken and then jar. Nervous & excited!
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Looking back on the choice to boil then crush, or crush then boil I should have went with the latter. I could have saved all these seeds and offered them on the seed exchange if I had done that. This is a few pounds of mush, I would have collected a lot. Oh well, next time.
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heirloomgal

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@Zeedman Good fortune smiled upon me and the Rimpaus Green Viktoria peas. 👇 In the end only about 6 peas in total sprouted, so I babied them & pinched them a few times in the hopes that the branching would multiply the pod numbers. It worked. I think I harvested just over half a cup of peas at the end of the season. I'm looking forward to growing it again in 2024.

RGV
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Ampillisom Viktoria Ukrainskaya is another pea that did really well in 2023. It doesn't grow as tall as other dried peas I've grown, but it still produced well and it dried down in plenty of time before frost hit.
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@jbosmith I'm not sure if you still peek around here, but the Goroh peas did great! Interestingly, when I shelled them they had funny little blonde tadpole tails! These were fully dried and are not sprouted, it's just a quirk of this variety I guess. Another dried pea which had very nice production. It's also another pea that I didn't give a tall enough trellis for, but I was able to get them to finish flopped over.
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Alaska pea, an oldie but a goodie. I think in truth this more of a soup pea than a shelling pea. Sort of nice that it's a low growing variety. I like to have a mix of all the growing types. I did buy a commercial packet, and the germination was not great; none of the commercial peas I grew in 2023 had great germ rates - probably sitting around for too many years. At least now I have a fresh supply of all the varieties to try again. Little Purple and Sugar Daddy had poor germ rates too.

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One thing that I find about peas, by the second year you're planting them (from seed stock of year 1) they really go BOOM. They seem to have some kind of rebound. It could be that the seeds were old to begin with, but I've just seen it so many times that I'm more inclined to think they acclimatize to local conditions really quickly. I planted Gravedigger peas this year, from a fair year one grow out in 2022, and collected more than 10X the seed I got in the first round. And this was a very hot summer too.
 

Zeedman

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@heirloomgal , you must have perfect pea growing weather, all of your peas are beautifully filled out. I'm really glad RGV did well for you, it is a great pea.

If there are any of my soup peas that you don't already have, I should send them to you (I'll PM a list). With the reduction of my garden area, chances are that I won't be growing many soup peas in the future, and the seeds are getting old.
 

ducks4you

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I wrote about my volunteer Redbud. I managed to collect seed pods earlier this month on a dry day. You touch them and they fly off of the ends of the limbs. I don't think I collected even 1/4 of them, but I believe I have about 100 pods, which are totally dry and can wait for a cold winter's day to be broken open for seeds. This is a compromised food storage container, so no waste here.
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heirloomgal

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@heirloomgal , you must have perfect pea growing weather, all of your peas are beautifully filled out. I'm really glad RGV did well for you, it is a great pea.

If there are any of my soup peas that you don't already have, I should send them to you (I'll PM a list). With the reduction of my garden area, chances are that I won't be growing many soup peas in the future, and the seeds are getting old.
I would love that! I can send you some in return, if I have anything your interested in.
 

heirloomgal

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I wrote about my volunteer Redbud. I managed to collect seed pods earlier this month on a dry day. You touch them and they fly off of the ends of the limbs. I don't think I collected even 1/4 of them, but I believe I have about 100 pods, which are totally dry and can wait for a cold winter's day to be broken open for seeds. This is a compromised food storage container, so no waste here.
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Will you plant the seeds in spring?
 

ducks4you

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I think so. It looks like each pod has about 3 seeds. I would be willing to give away seeds bc I don't need very many. They cannot be difficult to plant bc I KNOW that a bird dropped the one that grew My tree, AND I love that they are native.
I am betting that if they get a good start with a heat mat, they could suffer growing by a 2nd story window indoors.
I should probably put this container down in the unheated basement, close to the back door, which is the coldest part and give them a cold treatment.
I could remove seeds maybe late February. This article suggests growing them and transplanting when small.
It is certainly a better prospect than growing an apple tree from seed.
Tree sites advertise a tree size of mine, but comments suggest that you get a 14inch bareroot. Dunno how long that takes. I have a few places I would like to plant some in my yard.
Btw, mine has purple flowers in the spring. That is how I identified the tree. There is a property 2 blocks away that has a large Redbud and I'm pretty sure that they are related.
 

heirloomgal

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Winter blooms. I don’t do houseplants, but I’m happy to enjoy DH’s and DD’s. I prefer to put my winter plant mental energy into thinking about next year’s seed acquisitions.
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@Alasgun I think I’ve finally defeated the chiltepin aphids, yay! So I might just get it thru the winter. The Wiri Wiri plant seems to be putting on new growth too and I don‘t see aphids on it either. A new bottle of neem and I think I may have this overwintering pepper thing worked out.
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Outside is brrrrr
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Beanmad Nanna

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I believe my seed orders bred in the postvan. There are twice as many tomatoes as I remember ordering!
Oh brother, that site is amazing! I hadn’t come across it before. Any other hidden gems in Canada (or ships to Canada)?
@jbrobin09
not really a hidden gem - https://heritageharvestseed.com/collections/all Heritage Harvest ( carries Russ's Blue Jay :D. ) which you probably know of anyhow.
I have looked at some of the french heirlooms on what I guess was a Quebeccois site - which I can't find right now.
And another useless bit of info - a Saskatoon nursery, as I was looking at short summer adaptations.

Certainly have looked at some canadian nurseries in last few weeks, with enough interest to try work out if we could import to UK. (Gave up - but was good to see what is about and compare with what has come back into Europe as North American heirlooms , ex - emigre/ diaspora) . And what are still travelling eg via Real Seeds ( Wales, and wonderful suppliers )
 

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