A Seed Saver's Garden

heirloomgal

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
1,629
Reaction score
4,944
Points
175
Location
Ontario, Canada
Cauliflower? Nope, the rhubarb clearly did NOT like the week of HOT weather we had, up to 31 C/87.8 F. It was just getting started and then got hit with the heat. The 'Canada Red' variety seemed to get hit harder by it than the English 'Victoria'. 'Victoria' stalks stay rather small compared to CR, but it seems to handle heat better though.

20220519_165437_resized.jpg


'Cookstown Orange' eggplant, whoa, it's a thorny beast. Got poked with one of the thorns yesterday and it definitely made me jump. Thankfully, this turned out to be the only one with thorns. Some of those nightshades really bean business! 👹

20220515_141820_resized_1.jpg

'Petch Siam' is much more domesticated, and is doing better thanks to the alfalfa, kelp and granulated chicken manure. I didn't have those amendments when I planted Cookstown.

20220519_172338_resized.jpg



My ever growing and out of control 14 year old compost pile has finally met it's end! It had become such an eyesore and we really had no idea what to do to get it manageable, and with all the refuse we had at the end of the year we basically had to keep adding to it, being in the suburbs. However, this year I drove a pitchfork in and to my amazement it was mostly broken down. There was still some stick material in there, but nothing too bad. The kids & I raked off the surface debris and started shovelling it into a wagon to start transporting loads wherever we thought we needed some compost. Shortly after though we realised the magnitude of the job, distributing a 14 year old compost pile. So we ended up just joining it with the main garden! This has been such a relief from our shoulders as we really were confounded on how to deal with this pile, which had not been created properly in the first place. We did not realise just how much garden debris would be deposited onto it as the gardens increased, and the years moved along. Anyway, here is our new 'garden' addition, a compost garden X 2. We divided the pile into 2 parts with a walkway between. I planted the corn into one side, the other (empty on the left) will be for the watermelons. Hope there aren't too many bugs in it!
🤞
20220515_135942_resized.jpg


Fava babies -

20220519_175412_resized.jpg

Cucumbers, watermelons, West Indian gherkins, cucamelons, all waiting for good weather to go in. Had some dampening off with the cucamelons, which was a surprise. Then again, it been darn 🥶 lately.
20220512_172918_resized.jpg


Lupini beans, hope they don't attract aphids like the lupine flowers did!


20220519_175437_resized.jpg


When I transplanted the nicotiana plants from the itty bitty sour cream container I had planted the seeds in (unsure of germ rates) I really had no hope they'd make it. Way more sprouted than I thought would, and then they were WAY too crowded and so tiny as a result; as I pulled them from the soil the roots were breaking from them. It didn't look good. To my shock, they all survived , even the ones with only one root left. (The transplants were very tiny.) If anyone wants to try this flower, don't worry about transplanting it, it's very tough! The scent is heaven too!
20220515_141856_resized.jpg



@ducks4you This one is for you, it's how I've planted my potatoes and had the best success yet, compared with when I planted and then hilled them. First I rake up a ridge, shovel out a hole and then use a bulb digger in there to put the seed potatoes in. I find they grow great above ground like this, and like the extra warmth. I'll run a small trench across the top of the ridge once I cover the potatoes so the water can pool in it, and go straight in (& straight down) and not run off. No fuss potatoes. 🤠 AND they are EASY to harvest!! NO rooting around deeper looking for spuds, FAST and simple.
20220512_173147_resized_1.jpg
 

heirloomgal

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
1,629
Reaction score
4,944
Points
175
Location
Ontario, Canada
I love to grow leaf lettuce, but it is always bitter. Does anyone have a reliable variety that isn't bitter?
I think the bitterness may have more to do with heat and dryness than variety? Black Seeded Simpson is a fast growing one, and the faster it grows, and the earlier, the more sweet and tender it is. The leaves are a bit light I find though with that variety. I honestly find the sweetest lettuces are ones like Ice Queen (Reine de Glace) or Great Lakes because they handle heat so, so well. And they really only bolt at the very end of the season. Head lettuce has a bad reputation because of grocery stores and fast food restaurants, but it is totally different when home grown. Delicious!
 

Alasgun

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 11, 2021
Messages
481
Reaction score
1,638
Points
145
Location
S. Central Alaska
‘Grow it fast“ helps a bunch And you can push lettuce pretty hard. This year we added a dedicated lettuce/spinach bed and before populating it i’ll load er up with several nitrogen rich additives. Comfrey and feather meal as slow release and fish hydro slate for “results by morning”. Previously we grew it in long low tubs and struggled to keep the “successive” going.
Sure hoping for some stability this year. We vacillate between several Johnny’s varieties but always wander back to coastal star.
 

meadow

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
517
Reaction score
1,416
Points
145
Location
Western Washington, USA
What does the 'TIL' stand for @meadow? Did he also breed Brown Dutch Winter? I'm growing that one too, which is one I've always wanted to try. I'd love to be a lettuce aficionado, but I'm too terrible yet as saving the seeds. I'd grow a bunch of them if I was confident. But because I still need to figure it out better, I'm sticking this year to only a couple; Tennis Ball, Feuille de Chene, Cocarde, Amish Deer Tongue and Jester & BDW. Really want to try Brown Goldring!
TIL = Today I Learned

I'm also growing Brown Dutch Winter this year (for the first time). It was one that Thomas Jefferson grew. The shop at Montecello mentions: Brown Dutch Lettuce was the most frequently planted of the approximately seventeen lettuce varieties documented by Thomas Jefferson in the vegetable garden at Monticello. Seed was sowed 27 times between 1809 and 1824, primarily in the fall for a winter harvest. Mentioned as early as 1731 by British botanist Stephen Switzer, Brown Dutch is a loose-headed variety with large, floppy, blistered outer leaves that are tinged reddish-brown. Jefferson-documented: This plant was documented by Thomas Jefferson in his Garden Book, Notes on the State of Virginia, or other writings.

Frank Morton is down in Oregon. He supplies seed to a bunch of places, but also through his own site at Wild Garden Seed.

I didn't realize saving lettuce seed might be tricky! (ignorance is bliss) I did pick up some paint strainers to use as a means of isolation and catching the seed though (they are mesh fabric bags that are large enough to line a 5-gallon bucket). The photo/info from the Seed Savers Exchange "lettuce bags" was my inspiration.
 

heirloomgal

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 17, 2021
Messages
1,629
Reaction score
4,944
Points
175
Location
Ontario, Canada
TIL = Today I Learned

I'm also growing Brown Dutch Winter this year (for the first time). It was one that Thomas Jefferson grew. The shop at Montecello mentions: Brown Dutch Lettuce was the most frequently planted of the approximately seventeen lettuce varieties documented by Thomas Jefferson in the vegetable garden at Monticello. Seed was sowed 27 times between 1809 and 1824, primarily in the fall for a winter harvest. Mentioned as early as 1731 by British botanist Stephen Switzer, Brown Dutch is a loose-headed variety with large, floppy, blistered outer leaves that are tinged reddish-brown. Jefferson-documented: This plant was documented by Thomas Jefferson in his Garden Book, Notes on the State of Virginia, or other writings.

Frank Morton is down in Oregon. He supplies seed to a bunch of places, but also through his own site at Wild Garden Seed.

I didn't realize saving lettuce seed might be tricky! (ignorance is bliss) I did pick up some paint strainers to use as a means of isolation and catching the seed though (they are mesh fabric bags that are large enough to line a 5-gallon bucket). The photo/info from the Seed Savers Exchange "lettuce bags" was my inspiration.
This is awesome! I love historical information about heirloom/OP varieties 🤓

Looks like you and I have some overlap in our gardens this year @meadow, between the peas and the lettuce ☺️

I've read that lettuce mostly doesn't cross, do you worry about crossing in your seed?
 

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
12,217
Reaction score
14,943
Points
357
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
Funny though, when dry it's grey as ash, when wet its nearly black.

the mostly clay garden soil here looks really bad at first glance when it gets dry on the crust, but underneath it is quite a bit darker. it is fertile but it does take some getting used to. almost 15 years now of gardening with it.
 

meadow

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jan 2, 2022
Messages
517
Reaction score
1,416
Points
145
Location
Western Washington, USA
This is awesome! I love historical information about heirloom/OP varieties 🤓

Looks like you and I have some overlap in our gardens this year @meadow, between the peas and the lettuce ☺️

I've read that lettuce mostly doesn't cross, do you worry about crossing in your seed?
I've not actually collected lettuce seed before. For this year, there will only be one variety allowed to flower (Mottistone) so crossing won't be an issue.

I picked up some new books about seed-saving practices, most notably the one by Seed Savers Exchange and also Seed to Seed. I've only read the bean sections so far though! lol! 😅

Haha! I thought I'd bookmarked a nice video about saving lettuce seed, but turns out it is for carrots! It's so good that I'll link it anyway, in case you ever want to watch it 🤓 (John Navazio explaining how to save seed from carrots):

 

Latest posts

Top