Monday, November 26, 2012

You know you might be a gardener if you.......

Are sitting here on a late November morning waiting for the mail to come, thinking you might have some seeds in the mail today. .....(only AT LEAST 4 months before you can do anything with them.
So seeds have become my world as I wait for next spring.

I have become a seed saver and since I grew many heirlooms this year, I am starting to accumulate quite a collection of seeds in my seed box.  As is everything in my life I have taken this on as, just short of an obsession. (that might be a matter of opinion though, I am sure that there are those who see my approach to things as stark raving madness) As I write, I am watching the time knowing that the mail comes at about noon. I have just discovered that several of my pumpkins are actual open pollinated and as such are worthy of saving the seeds, and using as currency for next years seed exchanges. For some reason the concept of hybrid VS heirloom, or even open pollinated has taken me years to really understand. For the benefit of anyone who does not already know the difference I will explain.
Hybrids are what many of the seeds you buy from regular seed companies. Someone has discovered that when you cross  X pumpkins with Y pumpkins you will get Z pumpkins.  As long as you make sure that the X and the Y are true to form, you will likely always get Z.
However if you collected the seeds from Z and then grow them you will not get offspring that is the same as Z, the children of Z would have some features of X and maybe none of Y, or a weird blend. I am sure if it MUCH more complex than this, but this makes it easy for me to understand.
So if you are a gardener and interested in saving seeds to make it so you do not have to buy seeds every year, you could save seeds from a hybrid, but would never really know what you might get.

Since heirlooms have been grown year after year with no purposeful crossing, as long as you keep them from cross pollinating you will get the same  "product" year after year.

So I have a few heirloom tomatoes I have saved seeds, as well as a few squash, and black turtle beans. Fun to sit by the fire and break up the pods and get the seeds out.  Oh and there is our wood stove, I have been practicing putting text onto pictures.

I have really enjoyed the carrots this fall, I basically ignored them all year and lo and behold they turned out to be HUGE
Today I am saving seeds from my pumpkins and making pumpkin soup.  HOWDEN pumpkins.  I have joined a seed exchange group, which is a bit like christmas goodie exchanges. I make up several packets of the basic seeds I have saved, and they are exchanged for several other seed varieties. I am also planning on attending the seed exchange in the spring in a town about 60 miles from here, so packaging up all my little seeds. :)

This particular squash is a Galeux D' Eyesines better known as bumpkins, I picked this one before it has too many warts

This one is called Thelma Sanders sweet potato squash.

and this one is Australian Butter squash incredibly tasty for pumpkin pie

So I have seeds for all of these.

Looking forward to next spring to get them going earlier than I got these going this year.