Bzzzz November 20th, 2009

I recently ordered a copy of Ken Druse’s Making More Plants. I wasn’t 10 pages into reading this beautiful book when I experienced serious pains. It was gardener’s guilt.

How many years have I gardened and failed to over-winter plants, start new plants from the ones I have, save seeds or pass along plant cuttings to my gardening friends? Druse makes it all seem so…so…natural. And worthwhile. And beautiful.

scarlet runner beans and pods

So this week during my fall garden cleanup, I made a particular effort to make a deposit into my ever-growing seed vault.

This is a scarlet runner bean, beautiful as much for its lovely vines and flowers as for its long bean pods. In fact, truth be told, I never ate the first bean because they became intricately intertwined with the malabar spinach that re-seeded itself and grows like kudzu in my garden.

But I did save the pods and now have seeds for next year. I easily have four times as many seeds as there were in the stingy seed packed I purchased last year. My plan is to try growing the vines up the clothesline poles and perhaps on a section of my white picket garden fence.


With all the news stories on Americans saving more, I must ask: Are you saving your seeds?

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Bzzzz October 26th, 2008

Here it is the end of October and the garden is still pushing out things we can eat—red peppers, Swiss chard, lettuce, lots of herbs. I just harvested the last of the lima beans. I also have a beautiful and abundance lemon grass plant, so am seeking recipes that use more than just one stalk.

The garden is still a lovely place to visit. I believe that my habit of mixing vegetables, herbs and flowers contributes to the garden looking rather nice even now since there aren’t large bare patches where summer vegetables have been ripped out. Also, we haven’t yet had a killing frost, so there are flowers blooming on the ice plant, Miss Huff lantana, cock’s comb and cat mint, among others.

I have planted broccoli, but decided to forego the collards and Brussels sprouts this year, since I am the only one here who really eats them. In my enthusiasm for winter productivity I managed to buy 2.5 pounds of different types of garlic from Seeds of Change. They all got into the ground today, so I’m patting myself on the back for completing that big chore.

Last week I planted more spinach and lettuce in a coldframe and am keeping my fingers crossed that we can get a good enough harvest in the winter to avoid buying a few of those fancy salad greens my husband favors at $4 a bag. I am also keeping my fingers crossed that the whole coldframe doesn’t sail away with a good gust of wind. I have it anchored on all sides, of course, but I can’t help envisioning the worst—coldframe flying away in the dark of night and leaving my baby greens exposed to the elements.

I am interested in hearing your fall and winter strategies for keeping the garden going. Any ideas you can share?

Keep warm!

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