Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall planting & saving seeds

I wanted to make a note here that I planted our garlic bed (just over 100 cloves) a few days ago. I've also cleared up the garden beds for the winter, doing one final harvest of peppers, eggplant, green tomatoes, beans, basil and chard just before the first frost came (Oct 21). I prepared two coldframe grow tunnel beds, which have been planted up with winter greens, spinach, lettuce varieties, mache, chard and kale. I still want to add Asian greens like tatsoi but haven't been able to find seeds at our local OSC. May need to mail-order these from a supplier that has a greater variety of greens available (Vesey's, William Dam, Stokes). I also harvested seeds, saving tomatoes, hot peppers, bean varieties (french filet, cherokee cornfield), lettuce, and various annual herb seeds (fennel, dill, coriander, calendula, marigold), all to be planted again next year.

A few suggestions on saving seeds:
- "wet" seeds like from tomatoes, zucchini, squashes, and peppers can be washed free of pulp and dried on papertowel or newspaper
- hot pepper seeds like cayenne can be dried in the pod itself (I usually lay out cayennes in a large wicker basket to dry, then store in glass jars for cooking during the winter months and planting in the spring)
- annual herb seeds can be picked when they have dried on the plant itself (it will be obvious that the seeds are ready, as they will be completely dried and the stalks will break off easily from the plant stem)
- beans also need to be left to dry on the vine, then picked in their pods and shelled (either for eating as cooked beans in winter, or storing to be planted again)
- garlic is harvested in the fall, and to replant separate out the cloves and let air-dry for 24 hours, then plant out before frost if possible as you would other bulbs

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