Monday, August 4, 2014

Saving Seeds: Never Need for Dill Again

The garden is plugging right along.  Even if it isnt producing enough to make a 3 gallon crock of pickles without supplementation from the farmers market, it is still churning out enough heirloom beefsteak tomatoes, long beans, squash, and cucumbers to keep us fed at dinner time.  In addition, the garden has already been worth its time and effort in seeds.

This is about 1/3 of what
 I have already harvested
Some of the dill heads have dried enough to begin seed harvest.  Rather than let them strew their seeds all over my carefully (right!) planned raised beds, I cut off the umbrella shaped heads and put them in a brown grocery sack. The sack is large enough to allow the heads to continue drying and serves to catch those that are ready to fall off.

When I see the seeds are no longer green and appear to be splitting in half, I grab each mini umbrella of seeds and run my thumb over them, letting the aromatic seeds fall into the bag below.  There is something peaceful and meditative about that sprinkling sound of seeds falling against the brown paper.  Without much effort at all, I have enough seeds for all the pickles I plan to make this year as well as enough to save and share for seed starting next season.  I still have half my dill in the garden too!

The other plant that I am happy gathering seeds from already is my Marvel of Peru or Four O'clocks.  These bright green colored plants grow easily from seed and form 2-3 foot fall loosely branched bushes.  The flowers of the particular type I am growing are a cheerful peachy, salmon color.  Although they dont only bloom at 4 o'clock, the flowers do close at the heat of the day and open in either the cool morning hours or in the evening.  Each flower seems to form a seed once its extinguished so each day there are many tic-tac sized seeds to pick off the plants.

The Marvel of Peru seems to be great at attracting bugs of all sorts.  Brown marmorated stink bugs (I never noticed them to be stinky) like to hang out on their leaves and Japanese beetles seem to like eating the leaves of the plant.  I dont have any other bug consumed plants in the garden and even the Marvel of Peru seems to bounce right back from being lunched on.  In my opinion I would rather supply the bugs with a tasty flowering plant than let them munch on the veggies I intend for my own table.

Marvel of Peru/Four O'Clocks - Salmon Sunset
I have enough seeds from the Four O'clocks already that I am thinking of packaging them as gifts for fellow gardeners.  Feel free to drop me a line if you are interested in a seed exchange!  You can never have enough beetle deterrents around, especially ones so pretty.

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