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June 21st, 2011

DIY Turnip Seeds Continued….

So far my turnip seed saving adventure is rolling along smoothly. As you may remember, I gathered and bundled a bunch of turnip seedpods and let them hang out to dry for a couple of weeks in the sun. This past weekend, I took the bundle up to the deck and crumbled the dried bunch in my hand and to my amazement, a shower of tiny turnip seeds rained upon the table.

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Dried Seedpods

I’m not sure why I found it so amazing. It was similar to the excitement I experienced earlier this spring when the seeds I started in my basement began to sprout. I guess I’m excited to be playing a bigger role in the cycle. It’s easy to buy a pack of seeds at the store and stick them in the ground, but it’s a whole-nuther feeling to know you have been with these seeds through several seasons. On some level, it’s a lot like parenthood.

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Tiny Turnip Seeds

I wished I had crumbled the seedpods onto a smoother surface. The table on my deck is textured which made gathering the seeds a little challenging, but I made creative use of the dust pan and brush and was able to get all the seeds into a little manila envelope.

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Safely stored for late summer planting.

Of course my experiment in seed saving is not over.  The true test, of course, will be to get the seeds to germinate and grow into more turnips. Stay tuned. I’ll be plating them late summer for fall harvest.

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April 4th, 2011

Feeling like a gardener again

OK, I admit that this is the first year I’ve ever tried starting my own seeds. I even made my own little newspaper pots. Iris and I had a good time filling them with the seed starting mix. Anytime you get to play with a bucket of dirt at the kitchen table is a good time, whether you’re a toddler or a dad.

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We planted seeds and set them up under a low hanging fluorescent light in the basement.  We planted basil, parsley, zinnia, squash, and marigolds. And now to keep them moist and wait.

I’m worried that maybe I should have filled the pots to the brim with potting mix, but as with most things in my life as a gardener, it’s a learning process.

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Iris and I planted our pre-sprouted peas yesterday. She was more interested in filling up her bucket with water and letting some of her worms go for a swim, but we managed to plant 3 different varieties. I planted spinach and radicchio during her nap time.

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January 21st, 2011

A Gardener’s Optimism

It’s just about the dead middle of winter. I’ve been paging through seed catalogs, dreaming about planting peas, wondering how I’ll do my potatoes this year.

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My Garden in January

But here’s the thing: We’re looking to buy a house, my wife and I. We have a daughter who’s 2 and half, and we’re expecting a baby in May. Our house, however nicely situated in the world with its privacy and open space, is about to get too small, and it’s already too expensive to heat.

So my where does this leave my garden? Do I start seeds, do I prepare myself mentally for the spring, knowing full well that we might move and leave it all behind?

Yes. Of course I do. I’ll order my seeds. I’ll start them in the basement. I’ll plant my peas on St. Patty’s Day, I’ll plant my taters on Good Friday (actually, I just looked at the calendar and Good Friday is really late this year, so I’ll get the taters in sooner), and I’ll get things ready the way I always do. It’s part of who I am. I garden.

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