Thursday, January 2, 2014

Seeds and Seeds

 It's nearly time for the annual Seed Swap (in it's fifth year now--wow, how time flies...) so I've been busily figuring out which seeds I've got in store and which ones I want to trade.  Take, for example, this tray of drying Costata Romanesco zucchini.  This is the best zucchini I've ever tasted, and it is the one variety that I've decided to grow forever and evah.  Seriously, it is that good.  So, given that the seeds can be slightly hard to find, I've started saving them.  My criteria for saving them is (1) pick a large fruit and let it grow until it turns yellow and hard, then (2) pick it and store it in a cool spot for a while.  Whichever fruit starts rotting last, is the one I save seeds from.  In theory, it should produce offspring that make fruits that stay on the vine without rotting for a long while...well, in theory.  Anyway, once the Final Fruit is determined by Nature's decomposing process, it's a matter of scooping out the seedy flesh and squishing it between my fingers in a bowl of water.  The good seeds sink, and then I can skim off the flesh and "bad" seeds, drain and rinse like mad, and spread them to dry in a dim area.  In a week or so, they should be completely dry and then I can store them in a glass jar until planting time.

 I've also got a stash of other seeds I've been squirreling away.  Various sunflowers, hot pepper seeds (note: use gloves and a mask when seeding them, particularly if you have a head cold and are prone to sneezing), purple cone flower, peas and beans...even some parsnips of uncertain type that made it overwinter with no effort of mine.  Now there's something to try to cultivate onward.  I even have a little envelope of Pink Brandywine tomato seeds that I saved from last summer's prolific crop.  Tomato seeds take forever to get really dry, and then you get to rub-rub-rub them to take off the fuzzy layer before you store them.

It is so satisfying rummaging through an armload of seeds while the snow falls and the cold winds blow.  It is almost as good as a vacation somewhere warm...and when you can't afford a vacation, I'll take a trip amongst my seeds any day.

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