Save Your Garden Seeds

How to Save Seeds

There are two categories of plants in terms of seed saving, those with wet seeds and those with dry seeds. When you save wet seeds, you need to wash them to separate them from the surrounding pulp of the fruit. This can be accomplished by putting the pulp in a bowl of water. The seeds will sink while pulp and any dead seeds will rise to the top. The seeds will then need to dry thoroughly before storage. Some wet seeds will also need to be fermented before saving, such as tomato seeds. Fermenting removes substances from the seed that inhibit germination.

Dry seeds are harvested from the plant when their husks or pods have dried. The seeds then have to be separated from the chaff. When the seeds are dry, you can crumble them up and place them in a dish. Swirling the dish will cause the larger pieces of chaff to rise to the top where you can remove them by hand. To separate out the smaller pieces of chaff, you can use screens. One screen will let small pieces of chaff fall through, leaving the seeds behind. The next screen will allow the seeds to fall through, while larger pieces of chaff remain behind.

To separate dry seeds from the chaff using an ancient method called winnowing, you need a breeze or a fan. Put a sheet or bucket on the ground and drop seeds onto it from a height of a few feet. The breeze or fan will blow the chaff away, while the heavier seeds collect below.

There are some tricks and techniques for saving seeds from different plants. In many cases, a plant or two will need to be sacrificed to get the seeds. Vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli will need to be allowed to bolt, while for others you will need to allow the fruit to dry or over ripen in order to get the seeds. Account for this when you plan your garden and grow extra plants for the purpose of collecting seeds.

Certain plants will need to be isolated from each other to avoid cross-pollination. This is only important for plants from which you hope to save seeds. For instance, if you have two different varieties of peppers from which you hope to collect seeds, you need to keep them from mixing pollen. These plants can be bagged or surrounded with wind-proof caging. If the plants that are bagged normally require insects to pollinate them, you will have to lift the bag and use a small brush to hand-pollinate the flowers.

Beans

To harvest bean seeds, let the pods dry on the vines before you pick them. Shell the beans and let them dry thoroughly before storing. You can harvest most of your beans for eating and leave just a few pods on the vine to dry for seeds.

Beets

If you are growing beets and Swiss chard, they will need to be surrounded by wind-proof caging or bagged. They will easily cross-pollinate, even at distances of a mile. Allow your selected beet plants to over-winter. They will flower and produce seeds in the spring. When the seeds are mature and dry on the plants, simply rub them off of the stems. They can be stored as is for up to five years.

Broccoli

To get seeds from broccoli, you need at least ten plants to make sure there is enough of a genetic base. You can harvest the broccoli’s central head to eat and let a secondary shoot on each plant over-winter. Collect seed pods in the spring before they split open naturally. Dry them upside down in paper bags and the seeds will fall from the pods and into the bag.

Cabbage

Cabbage should be isolated from broccoli, collards, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Like broccoli, you need ten plants for a good genetic base. The cabbage plants will need to over-winter, and you will not be able to harvest any for eating from your seed plants. In the spring, collect the pods when they are dry but not yet split.

Carrots

Carrots can cross-pollinate with Queen Anne’s lace, so they need to be isolated for the purpose of seed collection. Only a small area is needed to let carrots remain in the ground for seeds. Pick the seed umbels when they have dried on the plant. Let them dry, and the umbels will easily crumble away.

Cucumbers

To get seeds from cucumbers, let the fruits over ripen on the plant. When fruit is removed from the plant, let it sit for three weeks before removing, cleaning, and drying the seeds for storage.

Garlic

It is not common practice to collect seeds from garlic for future use. Instead, save a bulb or two and plant the individual cloves to get new plants.

Lettuce

Lettuce produces many flowers throughout its flowering season. Collect dried seed heads from the plants every few days. Hang them upside down in a paper bag or over a tarp. The seeds will fall out as they dry.

Melon

Melons are a wet seed plant. Allow melons to be harvested for seeds to ripen on the vines until their skins are very hard. Pick the fruits and let them sit for three weeks. After this time period, you can remove the seeds, clean them and dry them.

Onion

When flowers form on the onion plant, you need to let the seeds ripen and dry before picking them. However, you need to watch for this carefully to avoid losing seeds. Harvest them as soon as they are dry. You can only store onion seeds for one or two years before they go bad.

Peppers

Some varieties of pepper will cross-pollinate, but you can safely grow one sweet pepper and one hot pepper without worrying about separation. To collect seeds, let the fruit mature and fully dry before picking. The seeds can be easily removed from the inside of the fruit at this point.

Squash

Allow squash fruits to remain on the vine well past the stage at which they can be eaten. They are ready to be harvested when the skin is hard and leathery. Store the squash for three weeks before opening them for the seeds. Remove the seeds, clean them, and dry them before storing.

Tomatoes

Most tomato plants will not cross-pollinate and do not need to be isolated. Pick tomatoes for seeds when they are very ripe and just past the eating stage. Once the seeds are removed, they need to be fermented to remove the germination-inhibiting gel that surrounds each seed. Put the seeds and pulp in a jar and leave it in a warm place. When you see bubbling in the jar for a day or two, remove the seeds and clean the pulp from them. The timing is important. If you allow the seeds to ferment for too long, they will begin to germinate. Watch the jar carefully. The process should take between one and a half and five days.

Original text from http://www.heirloomsolutions.com

People Food For Your Dog & Cat

You share a lot with your pet: your home, your affection. To help build strong muscles, bones and a shiny coat, you should also share home-cooked meats, veggies and whole grains. Here’s how to do it right.
1 Work with your vet. Design a home-cooked diet that’s right for your pet’s breed, age and size with advice from your vet. Have your pet’s eating plan reevaluated at annual check-up time, or sooner if you notice health changes like lethargy or a dull coat.
2 Serve a variety of foods. About 30 percent of your pet’s diet should consist of food you make yourself, and should include meat (ask your vet whether meat should be raw or cooked), grains, vegetables and fruit.
3 Don’t overfeed! More than 45 percent of dogs and 55 percent of cats are overweight due to overfeeding. Any homemade food you feed your pet should be part of their normal diet, not in addition to it.
4 Teach good table manners. Incorporating people food into your pal’s diet doesn’t mean you should teach him to beg for table scraps. Serve meals in a bowl he’s used to eating from, away from your table and on a regular schedule— two or three times a day depending on activity level.
5 Avoid these toxic foods. Some human foods contain ingredients that can harm dogs and cats. Never feed them grapes or raisins, choco­late or caffeine, onions or garlic, processed food or raw eggs.

Cranberry-Port Pot Roast

Cranberry-Port Pot Roast

1   beef eye of the round or rump roast (3 1/2 to 4 Ib.)
1   tablespoon salad oil
1   can (14 1/2 oz.) regular-strength beef broth
1 3/4   cups port
1/3   cup firmly packed brown sugar
2   packages (10 oz. each) frozen petite onions
2   cups fresh or frozen cranberries
6   cups hot cooked egg noodles
2   tablespoons cornstarch
Parsley sprigs
Salt and pepper

Rinse meat, pat dry, and rub with oil. Place in a 10- by 14-inch roasting pan. Bake in a 450° oven until meat is well
browned, about 45 minutes; turn often. Add broth and port. Cover tightly; re­duce oven to 400° and bake l’/2 hours.

Mix sugar and onions into pan; cover and bake 1 hour. Add cranberries; cover and bake until meat is tender when pierced, about 30 minutes longer.

Put meat and noodles on a platter. With a slotted spoon, ladle onions and berries onto noodles; keep warm. Skim fat from pan juices. Mix cornstarch with 3 tablespoons water. Bring pan juices to boiling over high heat. Stirring, add cornstarch mixture until sauce is as thick as you like. Pour sauce into a small bowl; serve with meat and noodles. Garnish with parsley sprigs. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 10 to 12.

Per serving: 363 cal (20 percent from fat); 33 g protein; 8.0 g fat (2.3 g sat.); 38 g carbo.; 87 mg sodium; 98 rag chol.

Lamb Shanks with Couscous

Mideastern Lamb Shanks with Couscous

4   lamb shanks (about 4 Ib. total)
2   large (about 114 Ib. total) onions
2   tablespoons paprika
2   teaspoons dried thyme leaves
1   teaspoon pepper
1   can (28 oz.) tomatoes
1   cup dry red wine
1/3   cup calamata olives
1   package (10 oz.) frozen petite Brussels sprouts
About 4 cups hot couscous Salt

Rinse shanks; place in a 4- to 5-quart casserole. Bake in a 450° oven for 30 minutes. Chop onions; mix with lamb juices. Sprinkle shanks with paprika, thyme, and pepper. Bake 30 minutes.

Add tomatoes and their liquid, wine, and olives. Cover tightly. Bake until meat is very tender when pierced, about l/2 hours. Add sprouts, cover tightly, and bake until sprouts are hot, about 15 minutes. Serve with couscous and salt to taste. Serves 4.

Per serving: 638 cal. (17 percent from fat); 60 g protein; 12 g fat (3.8 g sat.); 72 g carbo.; 584 mg sodium; 145 mg chol.

Southwest Bean and Corn Salad

1 can Red beans, drained 1 can Great Northern beans, drained
1 can Black beans, drained 1 can corn, drained
1 small red onion chopped (or 4-5 green onions)
1 green or red pepper (or both), chopped
In a bowl combine all the beans with corn and peppers. Mix well and set
aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the following:
1/3 cup oil 1/4 cup tomato salsa
2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
Pour dressing mixture over the bean mixture , mix well. Let stand at least
30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Just before serving, garnish with
the cilantro.
NOTE: is is so good with BBQ, hamburgers, hotdogs or anything
done on the grill.