Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bean teepee

Our bean (and gourd) teepee is gorgeous with lots of greenery, but so far not much in the way of beans. The gourds seem to be doing fine but I think they may have shaded out the beans. The scarlett runner beans really took off and had lively bright red flowers but not a single bean to be had. I get a little crazy when planting seeds into the bare earth, more is better. Then I have a problem thinning out those precious little seedlings and I keep putting it off until finally they are a tangle of plants way too close to tell what's what. Next year I will plant with restraint.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Surprise Garden

In my quest for the the perfect organic garden, I started raising heirloom vegetables which in previous years I purchased from City Floral. But this year I decided to take things a step further. In March, while snow still covered the ground, I started my precious little seeds indoors, lightly covered them in beautiful organic seed starting mix, and began putting them outside in cold frame. I had saved many of these seeds from last year's crop of Brandywine, Beefstake and San Marzanos, and then to increase my chance of a good yield I bought a few packets packets of Beefstake and Brandywine seeds to plant. Though, in my usual style, I didn't really bother identifying which seeds were which.
I had done a little research into seed saving, getting books from the library and going to on-line sites. I knew heirlooms plants or "open pollinators" are able to produce a "true" seed or a seed with the same traits as the parent seed, rather than F1 hybrids like Early Girl or Celebrity which are crosses of 2 different parent plants, and produce seed will not produce the same plant if replanted.
I figured that I would grow heirlooms and save my seeds, reducing costs and also producing a plant that over the years adapts to its specific garden conditions. What could be better? Unfortunately I didn't ready further, to the part that says heirlooms or open pollinators do produce a true seed IF they are isolated from other open pollinated tomato plants. If they cross you can end up with a very strange tomato. Since my garden is slightly bigger than a postage stamp, my tomato plants are planted one on top of the other, with the branches intertwined like Medusa's hair. I am certain that the seeds I saved last year are not true seeds, and I have no idea whether the plants growing are from my "saved"seeds or from the true store-bought packets.
This years garden should be interesting. Surprise!