Anyone with a garden knows that you don’t always use all the seeds in a particular packet. You also know about the free seeds with online plant orders and stocking up on clearanced seeds for the next year. With all these seeds not in the ground, you might be wondering the best way to store them.
There’s a seed vault in Norway, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, where scientists have stored as many different varieties of seeds as they can. Why in Norway? Because if the vault ever looses power, the seeds will still be cold. Seeds need cold to stay dormant and survive until you plant them in the ground. It is estimated that some of the seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault could stay viable for thousands of years. These seeds are supposed to help secure the future of agriculture and plant diversity on our planet. If, say, a particular variety of zinnia falls out of favor with the public and companies and individuals stop growing it completely, the hope is that that particular variety of zinnia is stored in the seed vault so when people realize they want that particular variety of zinnia back, they still have it. The seeds in the vault could also be used if a disease or catastrophic event wipes out all of a particular plant in the world. I just hope they’re better at sprouting seeds than I am.
The best way for you to store seeds, outside of moving to Norway, is in a glass container in your refrigerator. The fridge will obviously keep the seeds cold, and the glass jar will keep them dry. That part is important because humidity can be a problem in refrigerators. I save glass food jars for my growing collection of seeds. I was even able to grow some watermelons this past year that were from seeds my dad had saved from the year I was born. They were delicious! Moral of the story- save your seeds carefully and they will be there for you for years.
Eating in season produce is a good idea whether it be from your own backyard, a farmer’s market or the grocery store. If you’re growing it, seasonal certainly makes sense, it’s much easier. If you’re buying it, seasonal produce is cheaper. You know, because it’s easier for the actual farmers to grow it and it doesn’t have to be trucked in from quite so far away.
I saw this great sign in the produce section of a local grocery store, but I know not every grocery store or market has something like this. Therefore, I’m starting a series where I’ll list what’s in season for each month. It’ll be slow-moving, after all it’ll take a year, but eventually, we’ll have a list for each month. Keep in mind though that my list will be for Georgia, USA. Depending on where you live, your seasonal produce might differ from mine. Look for my November’s list coming soon!
Everybody knows that fresh produce is the healthiest form of produce for you. I don’t mean potatoes over french fries, but fresh versus frozen of canned. But at your typical grocery store, everybody might actually be wrong. Lots of produce, especially out of season produce, is picked too early so that it will look ripe when it finally gets to the store from the far away farm.
Canned food has added salt and sometimes oils and fats. But frozen food, straight frozen produce, not prepared meals, are actually healthier than out of season produce. Frozen produce is frozen sometimes as soon as a few hours after being picked at the peak of freshness.
Just something to keep in mind when you have a craving for broccoli in the middle of summer.
We had another food swap this past weekend. I brought a bunch of figs and a TON of a variety of peppers. All this healthy food, I traded for lots of desserts! It’s interesting how different each swap is. This one was definitely dessert based. My bounty included a slice of cheesecake, a cinnamon roll, a bunch of oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate peanut butter balls, and caramel popcorn. I also got some slightly healthier things, pickled crabapples, earl grey peach jam, rose peach jam, a kombucha scoby, and a bulb of garlic. Yum!
This makes me think of the song, Istanbul (Not Constantinople), by Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon.
Coriander was cilantro
Now it’s coriander, not cilantro
Been a long time gone, cilantro
Why did cilantro get the works?
That’s nobody’s business but the gardeners
Wow, that was really bad. Sorry. Anyways, when I first was looking at planting cilantro for salsa making I was interested to find out that cilantro is the same plant as coriander. The leaves are called cilantro and the seeds, coriander. My little patch of cilantro has become a little patch of coriander as the plants have gone to seed.
If you have your own little patch of cilantro you can let it turn into a patch of coriander at the end of the growing season. It will slowly start to die and you will see little green seeds start to form at the end of branches. Then the plant will dry and turn from green to brown. Once the plant has completely dried out, you can harvest the coriander.
You can pick each seed by hand or you can pick larger clusters and hang them upside down in a paper bag. Shake it and they will fall off the branches and into the bag. I decided to only harvest some of the seeds and hope that the rest will re sprout cilantro next year. They absolutely should, my only hesitancy is if the patch gets taken over by weeds.
I got a cutting from an existing rosemary plant and put it in a cup of water on our front porch. It took about a month but it did finally sprout roots. I took the sprout to the backyard. I was planning on putting it next to the peppermint and cilantro to start creating a herb area. Of course, that space was already taken by grass. My old nemesis. I had some cardboard that I have been using to prepare space for my winter garden and I figured out a way to use it to help me plant my rosemary. I pulled the grass and weeds right around a small hole that I put the rosemary in. Then, I planted the rosemary, you know, like you do and put the cardboard over it with the rosemary leaves peeking through a slit. Like so:
I had to weigh the cardboard down with rocks to keep it in place against wind and also to compact the grass underneath so it was low enough for the rosemary. Hopefully it will take and soon I’ll have a front of rosemary to battle my front of mint. Oh expansive plants…
I harvested the garden and got three tomatoes, four chili peppers, 7 banana peppers, a cucumber, and (as the hero and his limited French would say) beaucoups of onions. We’ve been using the onion greens throughout the season, but they have started to die back which is a signal that the plant is putting more energy into making a bulb to use during the winter. And it’s that bulb that we eat. So I pulled up some and just kept noticing more and more ready to be harvested.
If you’ve ever had onions from the grocery store, you might think we could just put these onions in a cool dark place and they would last for a long time. But with homegrown onions, you have to cure them first. To cure them, place them on a tray with space in between each one. Place the tray in a sunny spot (preferably outside) for a few days. If you do leave them outside, you might want to take them in overnight to avoid the moisture from dew. You are trying to dry out the outermost few layers of the onion. Once they are dry and the roots are brittle, you are done and ready to store the onions. And braid them if you want and have the right type of onion.