Welcome to my "all things plants" blog. These are my own personal observations, thoughts, and things I've found beneficial to me. Please comment and contribute.

“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” -Gandhi

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Saving Seed

I tend to be a lazy seed saver and it shows.  lol!

I will go out and pick seed heads or shake them into paper towels or whatever I happen to have.  Then wrap them up and stick them in the fridge.  Until it's time to plant them.  I don't have a LOT of success in this so I go out and and buy seed every year...even if I don't plant them... extra goes in the fridge.

Why do I stick the seeds in the fridge?  Because I DO have more success with those from the fridge than those NOT stuck in there.

Have I ever mentioned I have two brown thumbs?

Yes, despite my love for plants, they don't love me like I love them.  And that may be a good thing because if they did, well, I'd be overwhelmed with plants..... literally.

Plants tend to do better without my loving attention.  Case in point, I have a few tree saplings and grape vines that grew like crazy this year because I ignored them.  So I'm going to figure out where I want my Ginko; Pecan; and Oak trees in my small yard or maybe over in my extra lot.  I'm hoping that one of the trees is an Almond tree which sprang from me throwing a bunch of the nuts from the grocery store into a pot and covering them.  (yes those from the big bin during the holidays..... I was trying for an English Walnut... but I have not given up on that since I have several in the .....you guessed it.... FRIDGE!)

Anyways.... back to saving seed.  Well, I've read several books on it and it seems that as long as you keep them dry and cool, they should stay viable for a least a year... germination rates go down each year.  I had one book tell me that I should just throw out all my "last year seeds" since they would not be worth the effort or work trying to germinate them..... WHAT????  I've had TEN YEAR OLD bean seeds germinate for me!!!  And these were from the bags from the grocery store!!!  (yes those one and two pound bags of dried beans you find on the bean aisle of every grocery store there is.... hey, cheap seeds and good beans! )

And guess where those beans were kept?  Yep, the FRIDGE, some had been in the FREEZER part for years.  sigh.... I never throw seed away, if anything, I toss it in one of my garden beds and see what happens.

So the two most important things to remember about saving seed.... dry and cool.

And don't trust any book that tells you to toss last years seed!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Do You KNOW It?

In my most humble opinion (snort), I feel it important that each and every person have some basic knowledge of plants.  Now it could be just because I happen to LOVE plants...after all, they "make" the air I breath, fed my belly, and sooth my soul with their beauty.

All over this earth, since man has been here, he/she has used plants to survive and thrive.

And yes I know how "many" opinions there are out there.... everyone has one.  And that is great since it allows us to have an exchange of ideas and thoughts.  Then each of us can glean out of this immense and vast pot of knowledge for those things WE feel are important for us and our family.

My suggestion:  do a inventory of what your family NEEDS.  Are there health problems?  If so, what is used for the care of these?  How much do you use?  How hard would it be to GET these if society fell apart?  Now think about and do some deep research on what plants these things FIRST came from.  Most pharmaceuticals are around because plants were used first.  Plants were the guides.  Not all, but most.

Now learn all you can about those plants.  Where do they grow?  Can YOU grow them?  How would you use them?  Exactly how would you PREPARE them?  In other words, get to know them.  Intimately.  Do try to grow them or see if you can find them in nature.... or find them in nature first and when they make seed, snag a few and then try to grow some.  (Use care for any endangered species, huge fines can be placed if laws are broken....this should be part of your research)

If you have time and patience, learn how animals use it....what pollinates it?  what scatters its seed?

Now if you do decide to try it, go slow....only a little.  You can see if may be allergic by rubbing a bit on the inside of your arm.... a LITTLE!  Use some common sense.  Pay ATTENTION to any WARNINGS you came across in your research.  Talk to people who have used it.  There are some great groups on the internet that can give you their experiences.  But don't expect YOURS to be exactly the same.  We are unique individuals after all.

Once you get to really KNOW one plant...move on to another plant.

I HIGHLY suggest you keep some sort of notebook, where you record everything you learn about the plants you research....and I mean everything.  From online research to the day you plant a seed (or transplant a plant) to all the end results.  It can be in some sort of online notebook but I suggest you go "old school" and keep it all recorded in good old pencil and paper.  (pencil will not 'run' like ink does if it gets wet, btw) Do both online and hard copy!

Then PASS YOUR KNOWLEDGE ON!  Leave a wonderful "library" for your offspring.  Share with others in those groups you learned from.  Start a facebook (or other) page and talk about wonderful plants!  Even if you do not feel comfortable posting actual "advise" about plants, and don't feel bad, many of us feel the same way.... encourage others to get to KNOW plants.

This does not mean you have learn all hundreds of thousands of plants in the world.... just start by getting to know ONE that will benefit YOU or your loved ones.

Have a great day!