Sustainability > Gardening > Surplus & Seeds
This post could easily be called Closing the circle, part 2. It is the same principle in that we seek to supply the needs of the farm here on the farm. In this case we are talking about the start and the end of the gardening process.
Seeds: Garden seeds are life, energy, and valuable.
I am a firm believer in the fact that we can’t buy our way to sustainability and that we should not commodify (or trademark) what should be free. The current seed and nursery market is dominated by just those things. Seeds that are trademarked (or otherwise held by private companies) just seems wrong to me.
Rather than spend money on something that I believe is morally /ethically objectionable — I save seeds and perennial plants that can be transplated. And I share. I share freely with those who asks for a start of a plant or seeds. There are a few plants that with my climate I can’t easily save seeds from. For those I buy a yearly packet from Victory Seeds.
Each seed or plant is a life, a source of renewable energy, and valuable. Each year I make sure to save enough seeds for the next year. Seed saving is pretty easy. You let the plant/fruit of the plant come to full maturity. Then you harvest the seed pod or the overly ripe fruit/vegetable. The seed pod is really easy; break it open and collect the seeds. The fruit/veg is still pretty simple; break open the fuit/veg, scoop out the seeds, let dry, and then store. I store my seeds in prescription bottles. When the bottles are new they are washed out really well, sterilized as best I can, and then left in the sun to dry.
Surplus: The gardens nearly all produce more than we could possibly eat. The way we handle it is to eat all we want of that day’s harvest. Then we freeze, can, or dehydrate what is left. One day a week we invite others to come harvest for themselves. We are careful to teach them how to harvest properly. Occasionally we will harvest for another and take it to them.
An example: The start of the raspberry/blackberry season. We harvest early in the morning and have berries with breakfast and lunch. Then the remainder are put on a cloth lined baking pan and covered with a cloth napkin. Then they are set on a freezer shelf. The next morning, I scoop them off the tray and into a freezer bag or glass jar.
An example: I also keep “Chicken Bags” going. This is a ziplock bag where all the little bits and pieces of harvest go. Not enough basil to run the dehydrator, put it in the newest chicken bag. Too much watermelon, put in the chicken bag. Just a few blackberries, put them in the bag. A bit of zucchini left, shred it and add it to the bag. Just a scraping of rice, into the bag. A few beans, into the bag. You get the idea. The chickens get their fair share of the harvest when it is first picked, so this is seconds. If left on the porch rail for a bit before feeding, it will have flies, wasps, creepy crawies, ants, and other things in it.