Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Garden share collective September - all about seeds

This month is all about seeds.  Connect with others at the Garden Share Collective.
I must admit I am not always very good at saving seeds.  Last collective I showed a lovely photo of my bok choy flowering.  I have been keeping an eye on the seeds as they began to form, last weekend I looked for my little paper seed collecting bags, and then got distracted.  Ooops - now they seem to have scattered with the wind.  A lot of my seed saving is like that, and next year I will have bok choy coming up in that same spot.
A while back there was a competition to grow oats and my grand kids got quite excited about it.  They are now ready to harvest (I think!)
 I pulled out the plants and lay them over the compost, then cut most of the seed heads off.  the remainder of the plants went straight into the compost tumbler - lots of lovely greens (and probably a few seeds I missed!) The seeds are now in a paper bag pegged on the washing ling line under the eaves.  That is what I do with most of my seeds to finish drying them.  I am going to have to research how to process the oat seeds - we will probably have enough to make one granola bar each lol!  It is good for children to follow the process from farm to plate though.

 Here is some more bok choy - the seeds seem to explode really fast - I would normally wait until after the flowering has stopped, but I might be waiting too late.  When do you cut the seed heads off?
My coffee bush is full of flowers.  Last year I got a few coffee beans but didn't process them as I had so few.  I think I will have a few more this year!  I noticed ants climbing up the main trunk, and I am not sure what that means.  I sprayed the trunk with a garlic chili spray, but need to do more research on that too.
 This Darwin lettuce was good, so I will be saving the seeds from that as well.
 My main crop of rocket is going to seed, so I planted a few more seeds next to the tatsoi - both of my favourite greens.  this was where the oats were.
I decided to try some microgreens in a polystyrene tub - this time of year when it get so hot and humid most people don't grow greens as they shoot up and go to seed too fast.  I thought if I grew them intensely and then harvested them as microgreens that might be the answer for this time of year.  I have so enjoyed eating salads out of the garden these past few months.  There are still lots of cherry tomatoes so I need something to go with them!
 The purple king beans didn't do too well - neither did the radishes, so I dug in lots of compost and a mix of manures.  The soil is friable for at least a spade depth down so it should be good for below ground crops.  I planted some jicama against the fence and bok choy in the front. Does anyone have any suggestions why I cannot grow beets or radishes - they just do not form a bulb.  Last time I grew jicama it was the same thing, so I am giving them another go.  In the central bed the sweet potatoes are lovely - I keep harvesting them and then planting out another section so that I have a continuous crop.  This is also the bed where I grew ginger last summer.

I had a seed swap with Liz at 8 acres a while back and received some of her tatsoi seeds.  This introduced me to a wonderful green that I might not have tried otherwise. It is amazing - lovely dark green and it lasts washed in the fridge or out in the garden where I can just snip off leaves as needed.  In fact looking back my best plants have come from seeds that other gardening bloggers have sent me.  Amaranth from Kate at Vegetable Vagabond.  Bok choy from Tracy at Sunny corner farm. I have sent out quite a few seeds in exchange - hope they have also become firm favourites.

To do:
Save bok choy seeds
Save tropic tomato seeds
Research how to process the oats
Research how to process coffee so that I am prepared
Research about ants on coffee trees.


  1. I have never seen oats growing before so this I found interesting.
    You have inspired me to track down some tatsoi seeds.
    Your garden continues to do well....good for you.
    Our drought and heat are so bad this year, I dared not attempt to plant any salad greens.

    1. Hi Virginia,
      Yes the oats was an interesting experiment, and still is as I work out how to process them! I hope you do find some tatsoi as I really enjoy it. some years are like that arent they?

  2. your garden looks great
    never heard of those tatsoi before
    thanx for sharing

    1. thank you for your comments. It is very much like baby spinach, but grows will up here in the tropics.

  3. It just might be too warm for the radishes and beets, they like it pretty cool. I planted radishes in late spring once and it got really warm, most of the radishes went to seed but luckily the young seed pods were delicious stir fried, the ones that formed a tiny bulb were super spicy.

    Your coffee bean plant is so beautiful with its flowers. I wonder if the ants are pollinating your coffee plant, some flowers offer really sweet nectar that lure ants. I've had ants do that to fava/broad beans and yard-long/asparagus beans which ended up setting bean pods really well compared to the ant-less plants. Hopefully they're not farming aphids on your plant.

    1. well that is interesting - I never thought about that - that just might be my excuse now! Yes the green ants pollinate my long snake beans, but from my reading I dont think they do the same with coffee. I hope it is not aphids - I dont see any!

  4. This will be my first year at attempting to seed save. Your garden looks like it really gives back to you what you give to it. Mine is so new, I look forward to when it is nice and established like yours.

    1. Clarissa,
      I dont feel as though my garden is established - I am forever changing things around! Good luck with the seed saving!

  5. Lovely you still grow the amaranth I sent you!!

  6. Just found your blog and am loving it! Thank you.


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