Cottage Gardening forum: 2014 Seed Swap Chatter #4

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Dec 11, 2014 7:49 PM CST
Ontario, Canada (zone 6a)
For storing seed I reference seed bank sites.

The jist of it, for long term storage, is to have the seed DRY, and at a constant cool temp (the colder the better). Theoretically the dryer and consistently cooler the seed the longer it can stay viable.

And plastic does let moisture in. fine for short term, no good for long term....but most of us are not saving seed fordecadesarewe?

And I hate my new keyboard...may be retuning it... Thumbs down
Dec 11, 2014 7:50 PM CST
Ontario, Canada (zone 6a)
And forgot what I came on tosay: My package is on the way! Hurray!
...except for the part 2 BotB...found those on the floor when I got home.Doh (need a headslap emicon)
Dec 11, 2014 8:31 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
LOL, Brenda -- about the keyboard and the BOTB seeds !

I think I'm going to need a bigger freezer now, as well as a garden expansion... Whistling
"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Dec 11, 2014 8:31 PM CST
Name: Joseph
Cache Valley Great Basin
Landrace: locally-adapted diversity
I've planted potato seeds that are older than I am...

I store seeds most typically in glass bottles, after cycling them through the freezer. That keeps out mice and bugs.
Author of Mother Earth News Blog about Landrace Gardening: Lofthouse
[Last edited Dec 11, 2014 8:32 PM CST]
Quote | Post #1107358 (4)
Dec 11, 2014 10:22 PM CST
Name: aka GardenQuilts
Facebook, NGA
and the beloved Winston the pug
Sorry to have disappeared. We hare having wintery mix and heavy snow. The trees in front of my place are hitting the service lines. I keep calling about it as I can. I hate to have to talk to and email machines to try to get a human being to fix something. Reaching a live person is a challenge these days. I finally got my computers working, I don't want to risk a power spike taking them out.

I haven't tried to grow whole heads of lettuce like iceberg or romaine. I grow rows of leafy "cut and come again" type greens both in the ground and in window boxes. I started with a couple of envelops of "mixed green" lettuce and saved separate seeds from my favorite green leaves to grow alone. I don't know what that type is called. It is the rounded, smooth green leaves like my grandmother grew. This is the first time I have had enough room for a traditional vegetable garden. I plan on trying different kinds of lettuce and greens this season.

My climate has wet springs and falls, so it is probably a better climate for growing lettuce than Utah. The same varieties may taste different in different climates and soils. When it is hot and dry, lettuce gets bitter and bolts. I let it bolt, and save the seeds.

I love mixed greens salad, but I am not a fan of iceberg lettuce. Maybe I have never tasted any "properly grown" iceberg. I think it is bland. It can make a nice salad mixed with other stronger flavored greens. However, I don't like iceberg alone. It is the perfect compliment to commercial salad dressings of corn oil, high fructose corn syrup and the ubiquitous artificial colorings and flavorings. I loved mixed greens and home made salad dressings. Salad can be more than iceberg and kraft dressing.

Basic salad dressing is easy - three parts oil, one part vinegar or lemon/lime juice and seasonings. I throw everything in a jar and shake it up.

As a person who has spent most of her life watching her weight, lettuce is the one thing that I could eat as much as I wanted. It is also a good source of minerals and fiber. I am trying to grow mixed greens in a window box inside. They germinated, but look a bit leggy. Obviously I need more light.

When I was an exchange student in France, families and restaurants frequently served salad after the meal (but before desert or cheese) to "aid the digestion". I try to eat raw veggies daily - sometimes before the meal, sometimes after the meal, sometimes as the meal. American style supermarkets didn't exist at the time. Many cooks picked up the ingredients daily for their meals. Many homes had dorm size refrigerators.

Funny story. Two of my friends were driving with their host family. The car hit a rabbit. The father stopped the car, grabbed the rabbit, threw it in the back seat with the kids and drove home. Guess what was for dinner the next day.
Dec 12, 2014 12:39 AM CST
Name: Flinter
The Netherlands
That story about the rabbit sounds very familiar. I know a lot of people here do the same. Once my husband hit a hare with the car. When he wanted to picked it up, he saw that the hare had a thick belly. The hare was pragnent. My husband took a knive and saved the young hares. He brought them to wild care. And the mother hase? She ended up in a stew.
Dec 12, 2014 7:30 AM CST
Name: Promise
Zone 7a Tennessee
Greeting Piggies!

I've got my bag packed to send to Ella. It's on my to-do list today. Sounds like USPS is having a hay-day with packages.

I've bought huge bag(s) of potting mix to begin my first attempt at winter sowing. Now the challenge is to cut all the jugs and fill them. Thank God I have little helpers!! If anyone has input for a beginner winter sowing, I'm all Ears perked up! ... hehe

Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Thumbs up Promise :)
Dec 12, 2014 7:42 AM CST
Name: Promise
Zone 7a Tennessee
Ok - Question already.

Penstemon - I've never grown it, heard it's hard to grow from seed. Read that Rocky Mountain is one of the easier to grow, but it is Zone 4 hardy. Does that mean it wouldn't do well here in Zone 7? Does anyone know what Penstemon does well here in the south? Dave's garden said Penstemon doesn't like compost, but I have compost everywhere that I grow. I'd like to grow Penstemon that attracts hummingbird. (Penstemon eatonii 'Firecracker' Zone 4) Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Blue Springs’ Zone 7 is gorgeous too, that is the one I'd really like to grow. Help please?
Dec 12, 2014 7:45 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA
Promise, maybe try Jonna's sowing in vermiculite? Super easy! Any finicky seeds i use the vermiculite method because the results are better. You should be able to grow penstemons but you may need to dig a hole and replace the soil with 'leaner' soil, i.e, sand, gravel mixed with regular soil.
Dec 12, 2014 8:18 AM CST
Name: Julianna
Victoria, BC USDA Zone 8
Good morning piggies -

Today is yard waste pick-up day, so I'm hoping that is indeed a reality. Duane spent a few hours last night shovelling and he's not done - about 2/3 of the driveway still needs to get shovelled. I've tried to shovel, but I'd be flat on my back for a few days. I'm going to try to get the parcel mailed today. The salt trucks have not been through yet, so it may be tomorrow.

I, too, could use some advice on seed storage - more the organizing side, less the containers, I've got that part down. The little office where my computer is used to be a bedroom and it's not really set up for office space apart from the desk where I do most of my work. I've got a little bookcase in here that I'd like to convert to seed storage. It's one of those IKEA shelving things with plastic bins that pull out.

Andi, Duane's been the primary salad dressing concoctor in the family, but he showed me what he does the other day when I needed a dressing and he had very little time. Like you said, the proportions are about 3:1 oil:vinegar. I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Tarragon Vinegar that I made this summer from the herb garden. I added 1/4 cup Blue Spice Basil Jelly (another thing I make with my basils) and 1/8 tsp Lemon Drop Pepper Powder from Duane's stash. The thing with this type of dressing is to continually whisk it to keep the emulsion and taste it after several small additions of jelly until you get the desired flavour. We also use re-purposed jars for this and then I put a label on it with the type of dressing and the full date.

I make a lot of different vinegars from the garden and they keep very well in the cold cellar for years even if we don't use them up. Other ones I've got right now use various basils, nasturtiums, and chives. There are also two blackberry vinegars, one with Christmas spices using white vinegar as the base and the other with Lemon Thyme and white balsamic vinegar as the base. I also make jellies with most of the herbs I grow. Because we're huge salad eaters, we've got a nice selection of dressing ingredients to choose from all the time. Making vinegars and jellies is extremely easy and doesn't take a ton of time. Nasturtium flower jellies are particularly fun to make because there is a chemical reaction when acid (lemon juice or rice vinegar) is added to the extracted pigments in the infusion made by pouring hot water over the petals. The sugar further brightens the pigments, so the resulting colour of the jelly is really quite wonderful.
Grazie a tutti,
Dec 12, 2014 8:45 AM CST
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana

I picked a spot along a fence that's otherwise difficult to water for most of my pents. They're growing in mostly unamended clay, but once a season (during bloom) I do give them a light dressing of compost and a trim. Some of them bloom all summer long this way. I'd guess that most pents would be worth a try in your zone/area, since zone designations are just guidelines to keep in mind. I've been pleased with the results I've had here...even with the types that aren't supposed to be able to handle water-retentive soils and humidity. If you don't have a place that's compost-free, you might even try sowing some along the south-facing root zone of a thirsty tree. I also have several growing this way, but they would likely grow less lax in a more open (sunnier) spot.
Dec 12, 2014 10:37 AM CST
Name: greene
Savannah, Georgia, USA
Sorellina, can you please tell us more about Duane's Lemon Drop Pepper Powder, It sounds interesting.

As for salad dressing I have been eating the salads naked *Blush* ...without dressing Crying ...that's still not right. Blinking Okay, I dress myself in clothing and I put no dressing on the salad. Whew, finally!

But sometimes I use olive oil/lemon juice/salt/pepper/pinch of sugar and that tastes good.

Also I found an excellent item which I put on many foods including salads; Colavita Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar Glace...yum; it's a bit expensive but a little goes a long way. I would love to replicate it at home using my own ingredients.
Dec 12, 2014 11:25 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
Jonna.. Running off memory here. Wasn't it you that said you wanted bulbing onions?

Dec 12, 2014 12:05 PM CST
Name: Jonna
Belgium, Europe
Starlight Yes, it was me who wanted bulbing onions too. I forgot to mention it on my wish list. Joseph tossed some seeds in my bucket, but I won't mind to get some more
Dec 12, 2014 12:09 PM CST
Name: Jonna
Belgium, Europe
Some Penstemons are very easy to grow, others very hard.
Usually the seeds stay viable for only 2 years, but 2 years ago I got seeds of a few very rare Penstemons that were already 3 and 4 years old. The sender told me to be patient. Well, I winter sowed them in vermiculite and the first year nothing happened, but last year I had germination Hurray!
I really don't know whether this will work for all Penstemons, but it might be worth keeping the containers for another year if you have no germination.
Dec 12, 2014 12:11 PM CST
Name: Sandy B.
Michigan UP (Zone 4b or 5a)
My package of seeds has been sent! Surprisingly, the line at the P.O. was quite short today... Thumbs up

Sending Ella a C-mail with the tracking info.
"I am still learning"~~ Michelangelo
National Gardening Association
Dec 12, 2014 12:19 PM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
critter I would think your Lonicera sempervirens seeds are ripe by now. Most of mine were two seeds per fruit, they look like one round ball but it splits in half into two seeds. If the fruit isn't all the way black and hard, I would take the seed out to dry before sending. Shrug!
Shine Your Light

Dec 12, 2014 1:01 PM CST
Name: Promise
Zone 7a Tennessee
Sorellina - Do you use store bought vinegar as your base? Your ideas are wonderful!! I'm going to have to try this. What about your Blue Spice Basil Jelly? How do you make this? Would you please share with me? Your posts always make me salivate!

Arlene, Chelle and Jonna, thank you for the advice. I will get the vermiculite and try that method too. I'm sure I can find a neglected area in the yard for Penstemon.
Dec 12, 2014 1:12 PM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
Jonna Ok, will toss some more your way.

Piggies!!!!!!!!!! I goofed. The one night when I was watching my dancing show I was removing chaff from out of Echinacea Cheyenne Spirit yellow blooms. I always freeze for a bit, Echies, Rudbeckias and Hibiscus, as they are famous for harboring teeny tiny , itsty bitsy pests.

Well I pulled all the packages I had of the echies out and when I had them all cleaned and in a nice pile, I realized I had mixed two flower heads of a really pink and hardy echie in with the mix.

I know alot of you don't like mixed up or unknown seeds, but if somebody wants some of my Echie mix, holler out. I would say it about 97% Cheyenne Spirit Yellow and 3% Hardy gorgeous Pink Echie.

You'll be able to tell easily which is which as the Cheyenne Spirit doesn't get very tall and will bloom way before the pink one does.
Dec 12, 2014 1:52 PM CST
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5a
Truth is worth finding
I like surprise mixes, may I please Smiling

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