Seedy Saturday

I have been saving seeds for over 35 years. I always looked forward to seeing the descendants of my plants growing. The long line of repeated generations became like old friends. Recently I found out that there is a whole cult of seed saving going on out there.

What a great discovery! Besides planting my own saved seeds this year, I will plant seeds from other seed saving gardeners.

Just look at the crowd of gardeners looking for something special at Seedy Saturday in Qualicum on Vancouver Island.

Seed companies offer their time-proven seeds each at their tables set up in the big hall, but off in a smaller room are the seeds that other seed savers (local gardeners) have packaged up for sale. At 50 cents a package, it is a bargain.

On my wish list, were two plants that I wanted to find seeds for, but I really didn’t get my hopes up too high. I knew the chances were slim. I was looking for seeds of poblano peppers. These dark green medium hot peppers are  popular in Mexico but outrageously expensive to buy here.

I was also looking for seeds of a dark-skinned (black) tomato like the ones I had eaten for the first time last summer after a friend gave me some as a gift.

 

I was thrilled to see that the first two packages of seeds I came across were poblano peppers and black-skinned tomatoes. What are the chances?!

Then a local gardener gave a talk, and although I had been gardening for many years, I was happy to learn several new gardening tips.

I also learned of a new (to me) type of potato (Sieglinde) that I will try this year, along with my tried and true Norgolds, Kennebecs, and red Pontiacs.

Here is my happy stash of purchases all for a grand total of $10. I’m a cheap date!

Now where is that warm weather?

Winter Apples

As it snowed heavily all around today, the Captain brought in some of this fall’s apples we had stored in our workshop. How bright they look against the snow. I think the smaller red one on the left is a MacIntosh, and the other three are called Wilmuta, which is a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein. The Wilmuta is a great winter apple. It matures in October and keeps well in a cool place. What a treat to see them today in a January snowfall. The rest of my garden is asleep under the snow, but the apples are still edible after a sleep in the workshop.

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What sleeps in winter garden beds?

Some kale and wilted lettuce heads,

Carrots tasty, shriveled chard,

In soil that’s frozen very hard.

The chives are shivering with cold,

But in the springtime they’ll be bold

And send up shoots that say to me

Your salad’s where I’d like to be.

One day the sun will warm the soil

And Anne-li will go out and toil

Turning over weedy dirt

While working in her short-sleeved shirt.

She’s anxiously awaiting spring

So she can go and do her thing.

 

 

 

Harvest Moon

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A full moon in the autumn of the year can have many names (full moon, hunter’s moon, and others), but my favourite is “harvest moon.”  Something in that name appeals to the farmer/gardener in me.

I have always loved the feeling of  bringing something in from the garden (besides the dirt on my boots), whether it’s fruit or vegetables I grew, or a few eggs my chickens laid, or some blackberries that grew wild in the backyard. It’s the same feeling I get when I find mushrooms in the woods, or catch a trout for supper.

I think I would have been a good pioneer, but I’m thankful that I don’t have the hard life they had. It’s much easier to enjoy my modern-day hobby gardening and then sit back in my comfortable home and be content.

Here is the kind of meal I appreciate: squash, carrots, potatoes, and chard from my garden, and a lovely trout given to me by a friend. This meal was enjoyed out on the patio near the end of summer.

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May we always remember how fortunate we are, give thanks, and help others.

 

The Birds and the Bees

 

Like mini Viking trolls, these skinny  guys with blond beards and orangey-red helmets are the sentinels guarding my veggie garden.014The reddish helmets are loaded in something the birds and the bees find irresistible. I have no idea what it is inside those round petals, but it seems to make for good slurping.

What’s keeping this hummingbird from having his breakfast smoothie?

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Should I risk it?

Maybe it’s the little fellow who is already at the breakfast table that is giving our hummer pause.

017aA gaggle of curious redheads leans out of bed, trying to see what’s happening around the corner.

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“Do you see anything?’ “Well, maybe I could if you’d get your big head out of my way.”

But cooler heads will prevail.

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“Stay in your bed, Dah-lings. I’ll be the judge of who has the right-of-way – the bee or the hummingbird.”

How hungry is he? Will he risk being stung? Or maybe he’s not worried at all, since he’s pretty fast and so much bigger than the bee. Oh look! I think he’s going for it.

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Looks like it was worth the wait.

 

 

A Plague of One?

Far from being a plague of locusts, one lonely grasshopper had the whole meal to himself. I was deadheading the phlox when I noticed this fellow hanging onto the flowers. He didn’t move in the slightest and after a while I thought he might be dead. I had a closer look and he wiggled an antenna to wave “hi” to me.

I ran for my camera and asked him to smile. He did, and he held very still while I played with my macro setting and tried to focus.

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Hard to see but he’s on there.

I wouldn’t want him landing on me or getting tangled in my hair, but just to look at, I don’t mind him.

??????????Actually, he’s kind of beautiful in design and patterns. Looks like he could do a number on the flowers though if he brought all his relatives.

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How do you feel about grasshoppers? Are they as scary to you as other insects might be?