Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Seed Saving

Arugula seed pods are like tiny pea pods. Surprise. Each pod is full of seeds.

Saved seeds be free food, maties. I've been seed saving for a few years now and am genuinely shocked that it is so easy. Plants are programmed to make seeds if Big Seed Companies doesn't get hold of them,  genetically modify them,  and patent them. Give the plant time which means holding space in the garden or pot longer. This is hard when you have a small garden.
The Mammoth Swiss Chard I saved last year is case in point. It took time for them to bloom, more  time for them to make seed, then more time for them to dry out. Substitute patience for time. It takes that too. There were surprises along the way. The flower stems were twisty, curvy three foot long curls with hundreds of teeny, tiny not-showy flowers tightly packed on each stem. They were incredibly, pleasantly fragrant. Bees loved them. The seeds matured from the bottom up and were identical to beet seeds. In one important way they differ from beets: I am successful with chard. Ah, yes. It germinated when planted and grows beautifully in my spring garden.
I am currently working on saving arugala seeds. The flowers were delicate, dainty, white, single-petaled, single flower beauties held upright  on long stems. It is taking forever for them to mature. I check them daily hoping they will be the kind that pop from their pods when squeezed. Soon, very soon. Patience.

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