Tag Archives: Seed Saving

This past fall my husband met a young woman who had created a product called Seeds in a Jar. In the jar were corn seeds, bean seeds, tomato seeds, sunflower seeds and butternut squash seeds. It was her desire that she would be able to introduce others to the joy of growing a garden and providing for their family.

 

My husband was given one Seeds in a Jar container for me to giveaway to one of my lucky readers! There is also a booklet that goes along with the Seeds in a Jar that has good information on choosing a garden spot, feeding your plants, saving seeds and much more. She even includes a cute print out of how far apart to plant your seeds. Along with the Seeds in a Jar I am also going to giveaway 4 of my Gete ohosomin squash seeds!Seeds In A Jar

 

If you are a seasoned gardener or someone that is planning a garden for the first time these are all wonderful seeds to plant this year. At the same time you will learn about raising chickens, plant basics as well as some information of goats.

 

The giveaway will run for one week which will give me plenty of time to mail your seeds to you in time to plant this gardening season! To enter click on the Rafflecopter below!Seeds In A Jar

 

At the same time be sure to enter the Rise and Shine Giveaway currently going on by clicking HERE. That giveaway is going on until April 7th!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winter Reading: Seed Catalog Time

 

The weather outside may be frightful but my favorite thing to do on a cold winter’s day is sit by the woodstove and enjoy some seed catalog time. It’s the time of the year when the seed catalogs are arriving in the mail and it’s so much fun to look through them and plan a garden for the spring. I love to garden and if I can’t actually have my hands in the the dirt planning a garden is the next best thing!seed catalog time

 

My all time favorite catalog is Solstice Seeds. This is put out by local seed saver Sylvia ?. You may remember that I took a seed saving class from her several years go. She is meticulous in keeping track of her plants and growing conditions etc. Any seed I have ever purchased from her has a great germination rate and will do well in my garden. Sylvia’s seeds are all heirloom and her hope is that you too will begin saving your own seeds! This will be her last year of putting out a catalog. She will be moving on to other things and sincerely hopes that everyone that has purchased seeds from her in the past will now begin to save their own seeds. I have to say that Sylvia’s seed catalog, Solstice Seeds is by far my most favorite catalog. I know that all the seeds offered in this catalog were grown less than twenty miles from my home! Sylvia does not have a web site but if anyone is interested I’d be glad to send you a pdf of her catalog. Just contact me!seed catalog time

 

Another favorite Vermont Catalog is the High Mowing Organic Seeds catalog. I just love shopping local and supporting other Vermont businesses. I haven’t received this catalog yet this year but I’m expecting it any day!seed catalog time

 

Fedco is also another favorite. A company in Maine puts out this catalog. They carry a wide assortment of seeds some heirloom, and some not. The catalog is printed on newsprint and the only pictures you’ll see are drawings. If you want to see what an actually plant or vegetable will look like you will have to look elsewhere.seed catalog time

 

Baker Seed Heirloom Seeds Catalog is the catalog I spend the most time reading. All the seeds are heirloom and each seed has it’s own story! I was so excited to see that this year they will be carrying the Gete okosomin seeds.Gete okosomin If you haven’t had a chance to check out their catalog go online and request one. You’ll be glad you did their photographs are amazing!Gete okosomin

 

One last catalogs worthy of mentioning is the Seed Savers Exchange catalog, although not local, it is a catalog full of heirloom and open pollinated seeds. For 40 years the Seed Savers Exchange has been in the forefront of the heirloom seed movement, working with gardeners and seed savers to preserve our garden and food heritage.seed catalog time

 

Usually I start my own seeds but this year I will be relying on a local farmer who has a wonderful selection of heirloom seedlings. img_8238 As we continue to de-clutter and get ready for an eventual move there are some things I am cutting back on. I look forward to the day when life resume a more normal routine and I can go back to starting my own seeds once again. Are you a gardener? What are your favorite catalogs?seed catalog time

Saving Gete okosomin seeds is very simple, like any winter squash in which you plan to save the seeds the squash must be grown to full maturity, which is best determined by examining the stem of the fruit. A squash that is ready for harvest when the fruit’s stem changes from green to brown or yellow. Although mature, squash at this stage still contain large amounts of water and should be placed in a cool, dry location with good ventilation until completely dry.gete okosomin

 

I harvested the only two Gete okosomin squash I had and allowed them to sit in our cool garage. After a month I decided it was time to cut them open and access the number of seeds. I was pleasantly surprised! I did not expect to find any mature seeds in my small squash but there were about a hundred seeds that all look viable.gete okosomin

 

You may have read my post last week that my harvest was not what I expected. There were just too many gardening challenges this year, voles and chipmunks creating damage in the garden and a wide spread drought! Unfortunately my yield was only two squash, much less than I expected from three plants! Perhaps I’ll have better luck next year saving Gete okosomin seeds!gete okosomin

 

Unlike tomato and cucumber seeds, which require fermentation, the seeds of the Gete okosomin do not require fermentation. The seeds only need to be separated from the pulp and allowed to air dry.

 

Once the squash were cut open I removed the seeds and separated them from the pulp the best I could. saving Gete okosomin seedsThe seeds were then paced on a paper towel and allowed to air dry. Once the seeds are dry I will store them in a jar. I have about 100 seeds to share. Not nearly enough to fill all the hundreds of requests I’ve had but I will be contacting the folks that requested seeds and work my way down the list until I run out of seeds!saving Gete okosomin seeds

 

To read more about my Gete okosomin harvest click HERE.

If you are interested in learning more about saving your own seeds I highly recommend the book Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth.seed saving

This summer I grew some amazing heirloom cucumbers and I was interested in saving cucumber seeds. The cucumber seeds were called Athens and they were true to their description. About 9 inches long, this uniformly slender slicer has smooth, deep dark green skin, dense, firm, crisp flesh and a small seed cavity. Very productive over a long season on vines that want support.

 

There was one cucumber that didn’t get picked while we were away so I let it stay on the vine. Cucumbers that are being saved for seed must be grown to full maturity and allowed to ripen past the edible stage. The cucumber will be large and beginning to soften. Depending on the variety the fruits may change from green to white or deep yellow or orange. My cucumber was soft and yellow!saving cucumber seeds

 

Carefully cut open the cucumber and scoop the seeds into a large bowl.saving cucumber seeds Each cucumber seed is encased in a gelatinous sack that is most easily removed by fermenting the seeds.saving cucumber seeds Add about as much water as seeds but not too much or fermentation will be slowed. Set the bowl away from sunlight in a protected location to ferment. Depending on the temperature, fermentation will take from one to three days. During this time the aromas coming from the bowl will be less than pleasant and some mold may form over the top of the mixture. Stir the mass twice a day. Fermentation is complete when most of the seeds have settled to the bottom of the bowl and the seedcases are floating on top of the mixture.

 

Stir the mass while adding as much water as possible, this allows the clean seeds to settle to the bottom. The debris and hollow seeds will float and can be gently poured off with the excess water. Repeat this procedure until only clean seeds remain.saving cucumber seeds

 

Pour the clean seeds into a strainer, wipe the bottom of the strainer with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible and dump the seeds on a cookie sheet or other non- stick surface. Allow the seeds to dry.saving cucumber seeds Cucumber seed will remain viable for ten years when stored under ideal conditions. Saving cucumber seeds is quite easy and now I now I will have seeds to plant next year.saving cucumber seeds

As you know we spent the month of October in Keystone, South Dakota. We met a lot of interesting people including a man named David who works with Native Americans. He had a wonderful story to tell us about a squash called Gete Okosomin.Gete okosomin

The seeds of the Gete Okosomin were discovered in 2008 during an archeological dig on a Menominee reservation near Green Bay, Wis. The seeds were found in a clay ball, used for storing seeds. These squash seeds eventually were given to Winona LaDuke, a longtime advocate for native food sovereignty. She called the squash Gete-okosomin, an Anishinaabe word that roughly translates to “really cool old squash”.  Gete okosominThe White Earth Land Recovery Project grew fifty of them, and now have seeds to share with Native communities across the North Country. Now the squash is served to elders, children, and used for ceremonies at White Earth.Gete okosominThe vines of the squash can grown to over 25 feet long and the squash themselves can grow up to three feet long and 18 pounds.

David was given some of the seeds and had to opportunity to grow them himself.

Gete okosomin

Gete okosomin

He had brought one of his squash with him to Keystone. The squash was cooked up and shared one night. This pre-Colombian squash is delicious: hints of melon, terrific texture, and abundant flesh.Gete okosomin There was plenty for all to enjoy and the seeds were dried and shared with everyone who attended the Keystone Training.Gete okosomin seedsStories of seed savers are so interesting. I love hearing how certain varieties of seeds have been saved for hundreds of years. I am so honored to have been given some of these special seeds and will grow them carefully to preserve the purity of the seeds. I have only six seeds but I can’t wait to try growing them in our Vermont garden next year.

For those that are interested there is an update to this post HERE. As well as this article which was sent to me.

This year I grew some amazing little yellow tomatoes, called Snow White Cherry Tomatoes.Cherry Tomatoes They were an heirloom cherry tomato and so tasty. I decided to save the seeds. Did you know that Tomato seeds are one of the easiest seeds to save other than beans! Most tomato plants will not cross with another tomato due to their retracted styles. (Remember those plant parts from Biology?)

The first step in saving tomato seeds is to cut the tomato in half.Cut the tomatoes in half.

Squeeze the tomato into a container, I used a pint size mason jar.

To aid in the seed separation I added about a cup of water to the tomato mixture.tomato seeds

Each tomato seed is encased in a gelatinous sack. The gel in these sacks contains chemicals that inhibit seed germination. This is why the seeds don’t sprout while in the tomato! In nature the tomatoes fall off the plant and begin to rot. Eventually the fruits totally rot away leaving the seeds on the surface ready to sprout when the conditions are right.

In my cup of tomato seeds and water a layer of fungus will grow across the surface.Fungus on surface Once the mold is growing across the surface I pour the seeds, liquid and fungus into a strainer. The seeds are washed clean by rubbing the mixture against the strainer under running water. Once the seeds are washed clean place them in a coffee filter or on a paper towel. Tomato seeds tend to stick to paper towels, the coffee filters work better at wicking away the moisture and allowing the seeds to completely dry.drying tomato seeds

Once the seeds are dry store them in a container in a cool, dark place.Be sure to label your seeds! In the spring you will have your own tomato seeds to grow!The tomato seedlings are doing just fine.Linked to many of my favorite blog parties (see side bar). Also linked to:
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