Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Seed Saving and the Potager

Byron built two more beds for my dream potager. It is slowly taking shape. We are doing it in increments as Byron has the time and cash dictates. This is the first third of of the garden. It will have a six foot wide center axis, and two more sections going back as large as the first section with six foot paths dividing them. All other paths will be three feet wide. There will be a round herb garden where the black post is sticking up. Hopefully this week we will get the stone materials to build the herb bed. When all the beds are completed, we are going to put crushed limestone for the paths. In the future we would like to fence the entire area in so we can allow our chickens to patrol for pests at times. My dream is that this garden will supply all of our fresh vegetables and herbs. From left to right you can see a fig tree, a guava, and an olive tree. The guava and the olive are experimental. On the right side of the garden is the mini citrus orchard, on the left is going to be our permaculture experiment. We already have pecan, pear, persimmon, cypress, oak and mulberry trees planted. There also is a large purple muscadine (wild grape) vine growing on the fence that borders the permaculture garden. I am going to quit mowing the perimeter to allow wildlife to encroach. We have squirrels in our trees again. Our neighbor on the other side had shot them all to preserve his precious citrus. Now he is growing landscape palms. I guess squirrels don't bother them.
This book "Seed to Seed" by Suzanne Ashworth goes into detail on saving seed. How far to grow certain crops from one another to keep them from cross pollinating, exactly when and how to gather seed etc.. Knowing how to preserve and use seed is essential in a sustainable lifestyle, and having books is an invaluable resourse to the sustainable lifestyle. My goal is to buy heirloom variety seeds. I bought these from Baker's Creek Heirloom Seeds. This ensures that the seed will produce offspring like the parent. Many of the modern seed varieties are crossed to get the good qualities of several varieties. When the seed is saved and planted, it may bear inferior fruit showing the lessor qualities of any of the parents used in producing the hybrid. Today in my new bed I planted a Southern heirloom "White Cushaw". It's an old squash very similar to pumpkin. I also planted a French heirloom called "Musquee De Provence". It is a beautiful light orange pumpkin that is short but broad with large deep ribs. It reminds me very much of the old drawings of the pumpkins used for Cinderella's carriage. In the top corner is a container of broccoli seeds I was picking to save. Here is the broccoli gone to seed.
This is Arugula gone to seed.
Here is a green onion allowed to go to seed. I will save all these seeds and use them in next year's garden.


Anonymous said...

Ooooh! I love it! I am already learning so much. This is great since I don't get to read much right now. What you are doing with your sustainable life is very dear to my heart, although I am just now beginning again. Thank you so much for sharing your insights!
Joanna RawTn

JeanSkirtGirl said...

I love what u do! Keep doing what u do!

Egghead said...

This is so interesting. I might just have to get that book. It is so great watching your progress.