A Bountiful Summer leads to Several Seeds to Save

I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered and near a good market for the production of the garden. No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. Such a variety of subjects someone always coming to perfection. The failure of one thing repaired by the success of another, and instead of one harvest a continued one throughout the year. Under a total want of demand except for our family table, I am still devoted to the garden. But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”
~Thomas Jefferson to Charles William peel Poplar Forest, August 20, 1811.         
It’s hard to believe that we ushered in the fall of 2015 this week. Our business celebrated its third growing season and the busy season of that!
Mark working at a client’s garden we revamped this season
One of the best things that I love about gardening is that each season brings something new and different. We began seeding early in March as the snow ebbed and as soon as we were able to work the top few inches of soil. The peas are always the first things we get into the raised beds. Temperatures remained cool throughout spring and into early summer. It took a while for things to finally heat up which is why I still have plenty of tomatoes, beans and peppers ripening in the garden right now.
I reviewed the data on AccuWeather the actual temperatures that we experience this growing season I wasn’t too surprised to confirm what I thought was a cooler than normal season here in zone 6. This may seem contrary to report this being the “warmest summer on record” or the “summer of 2015 was earth hottest on record “. But explains why we still have plenty of green tomatoes and peppers growing in our garden right now couple that with less than average rainfall and you have a recipe for a slower than average season.
Highs and lows
temperatures
March
0
57
April
23
75
May
37
84
June
41
84
July
51
91
August
51
90
September *
49
94
 
Number of days about 90 degrees
July
3
August
1
September*
2
  
Number of days temperature was above 80 degrees in New Canaan, CT
May
13
June
10
July
24
August
26
September *
14
Number of days temperature was 75 degrees or below
March
31
April
29
May
12
June
13
July
2
August
0
September *
4
 *up until the 24th
The slower season doesn’t necessarily mean less productive however. We have had a tremendously productive season bringing pounds of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and beans. 
  
The cucumbers keep coming in, we have had such a good season I was able to put a platter full to share with our neighbors. 


The Barnside sweet runner beans and Blauhilde beans, a beautiful purple being that turns green when cooked coming in so fast I have to freeze them since we can eat them fast enough.
 
September 23rd harvest
As the growing season winds down it’s the time of year to start collecting seeds for next year. Ultimately one of the best seeds to use in our garden are the seeds harvested from your own plants.  It’s an age-old tradition that’s extremely rewarding on many levels.  Preserving your heirloom, open-pollinated varieties, you help plants adapt to your local conditions thus increasing yields
Heirloom tomatoes
Understanding the difference between Heirloom and F1 Hybrid seeds 
“ Heirlooms have naturally evolved over the years and have been passed down over the generations from gardener to gardener.
F1 hybrid plants are not genetically modified but have been developed by gardeners and farmers for centuries. By cross pollinating two related varieties, breeders strive to take the best of both worlds from most plants characteristics such as disease and pest resistance, high-yielding and greater taste.
For the seed collector, the drawback to F1 seeds is that they don’t reproduce a true second generation. What this means is that the second-generation may not have the same characteristics as the first generation. 
It is for that reason that we do not collect seeds from F1 hybrid plants. F1 seeds have their place in the garden but when it comes to collecting seeds turn to your heirlooms. 
By collecting and preserving heirloom varieties, we help pass along to future generations delicious varieties that gardeners of shared with one another for over 50 years. Heirloom vegetables are open pollinated and remain stable in their characteristics from year-to-year.
 

A few do’s and don’t to remember when seed-saving
  • “ Don’t save seeds from f1 hybrid plants.

    • “ These seeds can be infertile or produce different traits from the original parent, which are less favorable

  • “ Don’t save seeds from the squash family and sweet corn

    • “ They can cross pollinate and hybridize, difficult to keep variety pure

  • Tomatoes, peppers, beans and peas are the best seeds to start with

    • They are easiest to harvest and require little attention before storage.

  • Save your seeds from your strongest plants with the most delicious fruit
    • To collect seeds from the vegetables simply look to take the seeds from a beautifully developed plant that is fully mature. Look for plants that have grown vigorously and have shown resistance to pests and diseases. 

  • Store seeds in airtight containers or individual envelopes kept in a dry place

  • Label clearly with name, variety, date collected

I prefer the airtight container since envelopes get wet and dirty in practice ultimately – hard to reseal – seeds fall out end up at the bottom of my purse…
When we save our seeds, it helps to preserve and promote genetic diversity. In turn this helps to strengthen and make more pest-resistant future generations that will thrive.

How-to collect seeds
1.    Slice open your vegetable to carefully remove the seeds with a spoon or a knife.
2.    Then place the seeds on cardboard or a piece of paper towel to dry out
a.    Tomato seeds are covered in the mucous membrane and it can be easier to use a cheesecloth
b.    Rinse the seeds out with water to release the membrane
c.     spread seeds out on a piece of cardboard to dry.
3.    place seeds in dry place
Have fun saving your seeds!
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