Funny how a long weekend can seem so short. All it takes is rain. And more rain. And more rain.
I’ve been meaning to plant my fall crops for a few weeks now, but you know how that goes…earthquakes, hurricanes, rain, more rain, birthday parties, work, more work, and so on…..it just gets away from you.
But Saturday morning, I found some time and some clear weather to prepare some beds and plant some seeds. Here’s what I intended to plant:
In the end I only planted eight out of eleven: beans, spinach, turnips, carrots, mache, and 3 types of kale. I felt it was too late to plant the peas, and I wasn’t really into planting chard this year.
Here’s a 4×6 bed of carrots, with a Black Icicle tomato plant in the corner:
I’m excited about the mache. I’ve never grown it before. I’ve never eaten it before. But from what I’ve read, we might be eating it well into winter.
I am also very excited about my turnips. I planted turnips last fall, they overwintered and went to seed late this spring. This is my first real venture into saving seeds. (See my earlier blog posts about turnips).
I will refrain from posting pictures of the beans, spinach and kale—after all, how many pictures of dirt do you need to see? I think three is plenty.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I hope all this rain hasn’t washed my seeds out.
So far my turnip seed saving adventure is rolling along smoothly. As you may remember, I gathered and bundled a bunch of turnip seedpods and let them hang out to dry for a couple of weeks in the sun. This past weekend, I took the bundle up to the deck and crumbled the dried bunch in my hand and to my amazement, a shower of tiny turnip seeds rained upon the table.
I’m not sure why I found it so amazing. It was similar to the excitement I experienced earlier this spring when the seeds I started in my basement began to sprout. I guess I’m excited to be playing a bigger role in the cycle. It’s easy to buy a pack of seeds at the store and stick them in the ground, but it’s a whole-nuther feeling to know you have been with these seeds through several seasons. On some level, it’s a lot like parenthood.
I wished I had crumbled the seedpods onto a smoother surface. The table on my deck is textured which made gathering the seeds a little challenging, but I made creative use of the dust pan and brush and was able to get all the seeds into a little manila envelope.
Of course my experiment in seed saving is not over. The true test, of course, will be to get the seeds to germinate and grow into more turnips. Stay tuned. I’ll be plating them late summer for fall harvest.
Late last summer I planted turnips, and by the fall I was harvesting them, delicate and delicious. I covered them in late fall with a heavy layer of alfalfa and straw, and by early spring I was harvesting some very tasty turnip greens.
And then the rain started. I feel like it rained for weeks. Maybe it did. All I know is that when it stopped, the grass in my yard was knee high, and my turnips looked more like wild mustard than turnips. That’s when I decided to let them go to seed and see if I couldn’t save the seeds and grow another crop of turnips this fall.
The tall flowers attracted lots of beneficial insects, but I had no idea what to expect from these plants. What would the seeds look like? How would I know when they were ready? Will they be viable?
After a few weeks it became clear that seeds were developing. I left the turnips alone for a while and when the flowers began to fade and fall away, I pulled out the plants. Then I cut a random sampling of the seed pods, tied them together and hung them from my trellis, figuring that they should dry for a while. And that’s where they are now.
Have you ever grown turnips? Have you had luck saving seeds? I’d love to hear your tales of turnips.