Last year, the only seeds we saved were from a handful of sweetpea pods that lived in Chris M’s jacket pocket all winter long (incredibly, they were viable and grew into beautiful, fragrant, long-living sweetpea plants!). This year, although far from perfect, we did a little better. As plants in the garden began going to seed, we gathered some of them up and left them hanging in the garage, under balconies, and poking out of the top of old planter pots and sandcastle-making buckets. This afternoon, Chris M, Kai and I decided to pass some time separating the tiny seeds from their dried husks and pods. We made DIY seed packets (and a big mess) while covering the kitchen table in bits and pieces of dried plant material. It’s a slow-moving process, separating dried seeds from their pods, but that’s one of the benefits that our farming ‘style’ allows us – lots of time to experiment and play around with back-to-the-land-type activities. We packaged up seeds from dill, radish, mustard greens, tatsoi, lamb’s quarters, onion and tobacco plants; as well as snap peas, beans, and magnolia tree seeds. Goal for next year: to keep the seed pods better organized so we don’t end up with DIY seeds packs that read ‘mustard greens and/ or tatsoi’ or ‘1000 year old tobacco from Harold Steves OR Salt Spring Seeds’ :)
Possibly our only successful ‘seed’ saving this year, I’m spending tonight splitting some of our harvested garlic bulbs so that I can plant the cloves tomorrow for next year’s harvest. We had good intentions of saving other seeds, but limited time and prioritization means that it hasn’t happened yet. So many things to do! It’s a juggling and learning act, this whole ‘grow your own while working and socializing and accomplishing everything else you want to in life’.
Despite not fulfilling most of our good seed saving intentions, it’s satisfying to look back at one of our earliest blog posts from last year, ‘Garlic! (and more fall planting)’ and know that exactly 13 months later, we’re planting garlic again – not from the nursery, but from our own harvest surplus. We’re getting a few things right :)