Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hand-Me-Down Seeds

It's my first time to save seeds from my little garden. The little garden that could. I ordered heirloom seeds and a book on growing and harvesting seeds. When they arrived in neat little packets with old fashioned sounding names like, "Outhouse Hollyhocks" or "Grandpa Admire's Lettuce" I was dazed. Pretty!


Some had stories about the family that had preserved the seeds from an ancestor's beloved vegetable patch, etc. I felt like I would be stepping back in time, sowing a little bit of history with these seeds, nourishing my family like previous with the same wholesome foods of yesteryear, enriching my soaps with more traditional goodness, and feeding our bees the best nature had to offer. So, I settled down in the car to really focus my cool new how- to book in snatches as I drove to pick up my children from school.


I was overwhelmed by the amount of plants and space needed to ensure pure seeds. There was info on a bagging technique, alternate day caging, and roguing. I saw everything I could ever want to know about long term freezer storage and how to set up screens,cages, taping and other such torture devices to prevent cross-pollinating. I'm sure my face took on the "glazed look" with all the scientific overload. By the time I got home, I knew I was about to wing it with my shiny,pretty new seed packets.

How I longed for the wise counsel of a relative who'd carefully saving seeds in the past. I remembered how we found jars of seeds in Adam's grandfather's garage from the large garden he'd given up in his later years. If he were here today he could probably tell me about seed saving. But he passed away a few years ago and other than my grandfather growing transplant tomatoes, there's no one to pass on gardening wisdom. I guess I'm going to have to become that someone in my family.


So, I blazed on, uninformed, planting too late in the season, and fascinated with pretty packet designs. This is what I got. Not horrible, right?

Maybe I just needed to wet my feet in this whole garden thing because now I find the book an easy read and really helpful for growing, even if my yard isn't suited to heirloom seed harvesting. I can still harvest tainted seed, right? And I am straight into empty flour bags to dry out and be separated fully from petals and whatnot.



I can't help but think of all the jars of seeds in Papa's garage. Why did I throw them away for him? I wish I had a few to grow a Papa plant with my children and tell them how it had come from his garden before he died.
Now that would be an awesome hand-me-down.

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