July 31, 2014
I planted pinto beans, black beans, and sunflowers this year in order to save their seeds.
We do not eat much meat but instead get our protein mainly from beans. And, per usual, our area does not have many (any) organic options. So, even though dried beans are incredibly cheap I knew this would be healthier. Also, I always want to try new things (striving towards self-sufficiency, as much as possible) in the garden.
My black beans never did well. They flowered but I did not get a single bean. The pinto beans did pretty well. I was able to pull them last week. I shelled the ones that were completely dry. And laid out the rest that needed a bit more time. I don’t think that is bad for one seed packet. It wasn’t great but, better than the black beans, that’s for sure! I think I’m going to just save these as seed for next year. I’ll have to grow a lot more to cover all of our pinto bean-eating needs. We probably go through 15-20? pounds of pinto beans/year. We use them in refried beans, taco soup, sloppy joes, rice and beans, and we eat them plain, as a side dish.
The sunflowers are doing well so far. Some yellow ones were starting to droop and my son pointed out that some red ones were being eaten by birds. So, one day last week, I cut two yellow sunflowers to dry inside and left my son (5) to show my daughter (8) which ones the birds were eating so she could cut those while I went inside to feed the baby. She cut the ones he pointed out…and then some. The ‘and then some’ red sunflower heads had not even formed seeds yet Not sure what she was thinking. Thankfully, we have many, many more. We are growing these in order to supplement chicken feed this winter.
Over and above those three seeds, I decided to save other seeds as the spring season progressed. It all started with some carrots that I accidentally let go to seed. I decided to save that seed…until my daughter accidentally picked the carrots. She thought I wanted her to pick those, not the ones right next to them (not going to seed). Ah, well. I didn’t like that type of carrot anyway.(She even took pictures. She was so proud.)
Around the time the carrots went to seed, I noticed a patch of spinach that outshined the rest (growing under the apple tree). I decided to let that go to seed so I could save them. It turned out to be mostly male plants (only one female) but I was able to get plenty of seeds to plant this fall 🙂 This is what was left of the plant after the seeds were saved. (A cereal bowl with spinach seeds)
We LOVE spinach! It was going to be the only seed I would need to order for fall planting so this not only saves on the price of seeds (minimal) but also on shipping!
Lastly, I decided to save some tomato seeds. I used up the last of my tomato seeds this year…and most did not do well anyway. I had to buy starts from the local farm supply store. I bought mainly heirloom varieties so I decided to save some if they ended up doing well.
The first tomato variety saved was Black Krimm. I saved seeds from the first tomato to ripen from the plant. It had no blemishes and was able to ripen on the vine. Hopefully, I can grow my own Black Krimm tomatoes from seed next year 🙂 I followed Mavis’ tutorial. My mold was disgusting!…but this was the day my husband was gone with all of the cameras so you’ll just have to take my word for it.Are you saving seeds this year? Are you a pro or just dabbling, like me? 😉
I am linking up with Green Thumbs Thursday to see what other homesteaders are up to 🙂