Tag Archives: Seed Saving

Inch by inch. Row by row. Gonna make this garden grow.

 

MUD. I’ve been playing in that stuff since I was a kid. Each year, during May long weekend (or shortly thereafter) the doors were wide open to have fun with mud! Out came the shovels, the garden beds were dug up, and on hands and knees my Mom would carve small paths in the newly broken soil. She’d pour small piles of seeds from seed packages into the palm of my hand. My job was to sprinkle them in the paths she’d created, giving space between each seed, and gently cover them with a blanket of mud. Then came the water.

In those early years I remember my young self worrying that the huge waterfall coming out of the garden hose would destroy those precious seeds, but within a week or so I saw little green shoots pop up from the ground. Seeing this I learned that seeds were incredibly strong and also that they were different from each other. I was in awe of the new shapes that formed in front of me. Some of the plants had wispy, soft leaves and others had prickly leaves. Some of their stalks stood tall and others swirled and wound their way around things. Several decades later, I’m still in awe.

Gardening can be a little intimidating. After you understand that the water from the garden hose isn’t going to kill the seeds (comes with age apparently), then you wonder: What’s a gardening zone? What type of soil do I have? How much sun is needed when a plant label says “part shade”? I won’t deny that these are important things to know, but I’ve never let my lack of knowledge get in the way. What I witnessed with my Mom was simple, tried, and true, and it’s what stuck with me: put a seed in mud, water it regularly, make sure it gets sun, and enjoy watching it grow. With that basic knowledge, you can garden with one container full of mud and one seed or you can dig up an entire lawn and create a food and flower paradise. Anything goes.

Whether you’re new to gardening or have been playing in the mud for years, here are some things to check out from us:

Gardening eMagazines

Manitoba Gardener 2

Eye candy. Tons of tips and visual inspiration are available in the gardening eMagazines that we offer through RBdigital and PressReader. If you have a mobile device and haven’t yet set it up to access these free goodies, check out our eMedia Guide for how to get set up or sign up for a 1-on-1 eMedia session and we’ll help you get set up. You don’t want to to miss out on this stuff!

 

Gardening Books

WE HAVE SO MANY GREAT GARDENING RESOURCES!!! I can’t even curb my excitement. Here are some that I’ve recently borrowed:

100 Plants that won’t die in your Garden by Geoff Tibballs

When new to gardening, sometimes the goal is to build confidence! With that in mind, this book will help you do that. Tibballs describes many perennials, shrubs, vines and more that you most likely won’t be able to kill. Yay!

 

 

The Urban Wildlife Gardener by Emma Hardy

I love the thought of having more birds, butterflies, and bees in our yard, so we plant things that’ll attract them. This book shares a variety of ways to attract them through plants, birdbaths, and bee houses. It lists plant varieties too – very useful!

 

 

One Magic Square Vegetable Gardening by Lolo Houbein

This book gives all the tips and tricks to creating and maintaining a small garden plot. What’s really neat about it is that it includes ideas for theme plots. Enjoy making stir-fries? Grow a Stir-Fry plot. Love pasta and pizza? Grow the Pasta/Pizza plot. Want to make hearty soups in the fall? Grow a Soup Plot and Essential Herb Plot. So many plots, so little time!

 

Pot it, Grow it, Eat it by Kathryn Hawkins

From aubergines to zucchinis, you might be amazed at how many vegetables and fruits can be grown in a pot. If you’re looking for easy, grow your veggies in a pot. Hawkins shares how to do it, including how to harvest, store and freeze what you grow.

 

No Dig Organic Home and Garden by Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty

Who loves the back-breaking work of digging or has a back that can actually handle the back-breaking work of digging? Well if you do, I’m jealous and you’re lucky. We have a combination of in-ground and raised garden beds in our yard and the raised ones are very kind to me. This book gives the basics about raised beds, composting, and includes an important section on seed saving. You really get the full circle experience if you save seeds from the plants that you’ve grown and it’s surprisingly easy to do. Plus, you can save a lot of money!

 

Get Social (if you want)

Gardeners love to share: tips and tricks, seedlings, seeds, and in-progress pictures of their gardens of plenty. Gardening doesn’t need to be a solitary effort, although if you’re craving some “me” time it’s so awesome for that. If you want to get social there are some great Winnipeg groups to tap into on Facebook: Winnipeg Gardeners, Winnipeg Garden Trading, and Winnipeg Urban Container Gardening. The people on these groups are friendly and helpful. Check them out. Plus, keep an eye out for gardening programs in the At the Library Guide. As an example, we have a couple coming up on tree care on June 18th and June 21st.

And with that, I’ll end this off with how I started it: “Inch by inch. Row by row. Gonna make this garden grow.” A beautiful line from Garden Song, written by Dave Mallett, and sung by many, including Pete Seeger and one of my favourites, John Denver. (I admit to serenading my family as a child with one particular John Denver song.) Here’s John Denver singing it with The Muppets as his back-up singers. The Muppets. Come on. So cute.

 

 

May your garden bring you much happiness and mud under your fingernails.

~ Reegan (A kid from the 70s who still loves to play in the mud. Love you, Mom.)

The Wonder of Seeds

“Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.”      ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

Seeds are truly amazing. After many years, I still find gardening to be very magical – you plant this little seed and in a few weeks a beautiful plant is growing! August is the most rewarding time of year for the gardener. All of the planning, planting, weeding and watering are finally paying off with fresh veggies. We’ve been enjoying arugula, cucumbers, eggplant, beans, bok choy and kale from our small garden and are looking forward to all of those tomatoes ripening on the vine. There’s nothing as satisfying as being able to walk into your own backyard and pick your dinner! And the magic doesn’t stop there – let some of those plants go to seed and you’ll have enough seeds for next year’s garden, as well as some to share.

Winnipeg Public Library has hosted several seed swaps in the last few years and now we will have a Seed Library at the Osborne branch, in partnership with The People Garden of Sustainable South Osborne. All you have to do is save your seeds from your healthiest plants and drop them off at Osborne Library in November. Not sure how to save seeds? Come to one of our Seed Saving programs at Osborne or Henderson Libraries and learn how: seedsaving. The seed Library will re-open in February and gardeners will be able to come and pick up packets of seeds.

These plants are great for beginner seed savers: peas, lettuce, eggplant, spinach, dill, beans and arugula:

beans

arugula

arugula – notice the yellow seed pods

Winnipeg Public Library also has some great books on the subject:

The Manual of Seed Savingseed saving bk by Andrea Heistinger provides a good overview on the subject.

 

Seed Libraries and other means of keeping seeds in the Hands of the Peopleseed libraries by Cindy Conner is a wonderful resource for anyone thinking of starting a seed library and gives a lot of background on the importance of saving and sharing seeds.

Seed Sovereignty, Food Security  seed sovis an anthology compiled by environmental activist Vandana Shiva and focuses on the work of women from around the world who are trying “to preserve small-scale farming, seed sharing, and local indigenous knowledge.”

The Triumph of Seeds: triumph seedsHow Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, & Pips conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History by Thor Hanson – The title says it all!

 

 

For more information on the Osborne Seed Library click the link below:

Seed Library – Instruction Sheet

Happy Gardening!

Carole