On the left is the disaster that was how I’ve stored my seeds. For years. So, whenever it was time to plant something, or to replant I had to dig through the mess to find what I was looking for. I know. Not so bright. I determined this year that I would organize this mess as soon as I had a chance. Continue Reading
One of the advantages to growing heirloom tomatoes, as opposed to hybrids, is that you may save the seeds and count on them producing true in the next generation. There are a few steps to saving tomato seeds, but it is an easy process. Tomato seeds are encased in a gel which contains growth inhibitors to prevent the seed from sprouting inside the tomato. This gel needs to be removed through a fermentation process in order to save the seed. Choose a quality tomato that is fully ripe. Cut it in half so that the stem end is on one side and the blossom end on the other. You will easily see the seed cavities when you cut the tomato this way. Using a spoon, scoop the seeds into a glass container. Add a small amount of water so that the seeds are floating in liquid. Cover the top of the container with cheesecloth or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band, to keep insects away. Allow this to sit for 2 – 4 days so that the mixture can ferment. Don’t forget to label each variety carefully to avoid confusion later on. A layer of mold will form on the top of the liquid. When the layer is fully formed across the top, and the seeds have settled to the bottom, the process is complete. Skim the mold from the top. Strain the seeds and rinse well under running water until all the pulp is removed and only seeds remain. Spread the seeds onto a plate or a coffee filter and allow them to dry thoroughly. They tend to stick to paper towels, so it is best not to use them. The seeds will take several days to dry. Spread them around occasionally to prevent them from sticking to each other. Once they are completely dry, store them in an envelope that is marked with the date and variety. It is best to store your envelopes in an airtight container such as a jar or a plastic bag. This simple process is an easy way to save money, and to share or trade seeds with friends.
Here in the northeast region of the US, spring is in the air and gardeners are eager to begin the yearly process of planning their gardens. Truthfully, many of us have been pouring over seed catalogs for months now and have our seeds in hand. Continue Reading
I’ve begun to gather supplies I will need to start seeds for my garden. Mike was busy yesterday hanging plant lights while I made little pots from newspaper. I have some plastic starting trays, but not quite enough for the seeds I plan to start, so rather than purchase more plastic, I recycled newspaper into pots. I made 8 dozen pots in under an hour. Here’s how it’s done:Continue Reading
Toasted nuts are so flavorful. I generally use mine on salads to add crunch, but they are great in baked goods as well. I use a heavy, cast iron skillet, preheated on medium. Add a single layer of any kind of nut, or even seed. I toast walnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Stir occasionally and cook until the nuts just begin to brown. In a cast iron skillet which holds the heat, the nuts continue to brown a little after being removed from the heat. It generally takes 5 – 7 minutes to brown them. I cool them slightly before adding them to salads – I really like them slightly warm in the salad. You may also cool them completely and store in a plastic bag or glass jar. I generally make mine fresh for each use. And because no oil is added to the pan, toasting them adds no calories to the nuts.