Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Seed collecting

As the season gives way to fall, my mind moves toward seed collecting, fall gardening, & winter gardening.

My fall garden is not much to speak of. Due to conflicts of weather and spousal scheduling (neither of which I have much control), the fall garden is currently at "failure to launch". Some days it feels like a conspiracy such a today when my wife can watch our daughter, but it starts pouring down at a quarter after four, just before my office work day ends.

I can talk about a couple seed saving successes.

1. The leek flower that was so pretty earlier has turned to seed. I can see why Alliums (onion family relative) are so popular as they a very pretty from bloom to seed.

2. My fall plated carrots yielded seed this year!!! A biennial, producing seed only in it's second year was tricked to providing seed in under twelve months. These carrots were planted late last September and given only enough time to get a few inches high before winter hit. The ones that survived our -8 degree F unprotected in the soil, grew up this spring to greatly shorten the expected seed to seed time frame.

Watching the seed heads develop definitely reminded me how close the relationship is between cultivated carrots and Queen Anne's Lace.

3. My heirloom lettuce also produced plenty of seed. The plant sends up a stalk with many little flowers per stalk that will dry like tiny dandelions to be carried on the wind.

All three of these examples were pretty straight forward involving drying the seed on the plants before harvest. More to come soon.

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