Now is a good time to go through your saved seeds

I finally decided to tackle a job that I’ve been putting off for quite a while — sorting my old seeds. This is a good time  of the year to do it since things are on-hold out in the garden.

I have a large storage tub full of seed packs that I’ve been accumulating for years. At one time they were pretty well organized. However, during the past few gardening seasons, I’ve rummaged through the tub looking for particular seeds and was not very careful putting them back in the right place. Now they’re getting disheveled again.

There are quite a few packs that have never been opened. Many of those are professional-grade packs that have the original factory seal and are air-tight. Some of those contain hundreds of seeds.

I knew that this project would need a lot of space, so I set up a sheet of plywood on a pair sawhorses to use as a temporary work table.
I knew that this project would need a lot of space, so I set up a sheet of plywood on a pair sawhorses to use as a temporary work table.

I know many of the seeds are too old and are no longer viable. I’ll have to toss them out. Others are still OK so, those will go back into storage.

As for the seeds I’m not sure about, I plan to do a simple germination test. Here’s the way I do it: 1) take a set number of seeds and roll them up in a damp paper towel; 2) put the rolled up paper towel inside a plastic zip-lock bag; 3) place it in a warm spot and check them once a day.

If the seeds are good, they will usually sprout in a several days time. Then I count the number that germinated and calculate the germination percentage. That gives me a rough idea how well the seeds will perform this spring.

Once this project is done, it will be a lot easier to keep track of my surplus seeds in the future.

Bob

 

Picking Kale From the Garden This Winter

I’ve been harvesting kale from the garden since fall and there is still plenty left to pick.

Even after the those cold nights in December, when the temperature dipped down to the single digits, my kale still is green and fresh with no signs of freeze damage. I knew they were very cold tolerant, but I’m still pleasantly surprised how well they’re holding up this winter.

There are 11 plants left. They are almost three feet tall with a deep green top of curly leaves. I don’t know what variety they are.

The lower leaves are gone from the plants. I picked those as they matured.

It was obvious early on that we were not going to be able to eat all of that kale ourselves. So, a lot of  the crop went to feed the chickens. They love it —  especially now in the winter when no other leafy greens are growing.

The chickens in the background are hoping I toss them a few leaves as a treat.
The chickens in the background are hoping I toss them a few leaves as a treat.

Kale is more than just a garnish for the buffet table, it’s probably the most nutritionally dense vegetable we grow in the garden. I like to add it to vegetable soup. I don’t eat it uncooked very often but I know many people that do.

I look at kale as the easiest way to greatly extend the gardening season with the least amount of cash expense.

Bob