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Seed Saving 101

So last year we saved a little bit of arugula and spinach seed. This year we went all out and let an entire planting of spinach and arugula (about 45′ each) go to seed for next year. I wound up with 4lbs of spinach seed and almost 5lbs of arugula seed… that’s a lot of seed. It should carry us through next year, and we’ll save more for the year after. On top of all that, we also saved about a pound of red mustard seed, accidentally. I forgot about the little planting that was in the middle of the new asparagus and it went to seed before we got to it… oops.

And then there are the beans! Oh, I love growing dry beans. Despite the low return per bed foot, they are incredibly satisfying to clean and then to eat. I may not hunt, but damn can I grow some protein. We wound up with almost 50lbs of dry beans total, including black beans (not pictured here), Jacob’s Cattle beans, and Golden Beans. We be eating these for a few years, and won’t have to plant them next year, leaving more room for something else!

The seed saving process for seeds that develop in some sort of pod (eg. NOT squash or tomatoes or peppers) is simple. If it’s dry outside, let the plant go to seed and allow the seed to dry and harden in their pods in the field until you can hear them rattle when you shake the plant. If it’s not so dry, make sure the seeds have grown to complete maturity and then hang the entire plant in a barn, garage, or other well ventilated and dry space. Once dry, simply pile the plants on a tarp and stomp on them until most of the seeds have fallen out of their pods. Shake and pile again. Repeat as necessary. Remove the plants and compost them (aware that they will still have some seeds in the pods which will likely germinate next spring).

Dump the seeds on the tarp into a large bucket. Get a large box fan. Turn it onto high for things like dry beans which are really heavy, and medium or low for little seed like arugula and spinach. Put an empty bucket in front of the fan and slowly pour the seed from one bucket to the other, allowing it to pass in front of the fan so that the chaff and dust blows away and the seed drops directly into your empty bucket. (Photos for that part of the process next year). And voila. Seeds for next year and/or dry beans for eating.

Baby Cedar Waxwings

This nest appeared in one of the apple trees this summer and before we knew it, the chicks had flown the coop so to speak. They were super cute while they were around, though. I think we all checked on them every day as we walked by for fear the dogs/cat/predatory birds/dinosaurs had gotten to them. Luckily, mother nature was kind… we think.

Harvest Party Pics from Cassie James

We didn’t get many pictures of the work portion of our party, but Cassie did… Thanks for sending these over, Cassie! They’re awesome.


Work Crew!


Harvesting Potatoes.


Tracy with a bucket of dry beans.


Dry bean pickin’. Instead of cutting off the entire plant, we decided to use our massive help crew to pick dry bean pods individually. It made sorting the beans from the chaff just that much easier.


Shelby listening to the band.


Picking edamamae! This would have taken us a full day if we didn’t have all of this help. THANK YOU THANK YOU!


Coda helped with the potatoes by digging. DIG DIG DIG DIG DIG.

Family Photo Shoot September 2012

After harvesting and packing up all our pumpkins, we decided to take a little photo shoot. Caryn, Diego, and Sarah were visiting and helping that day. A real occasion!

Tracy, Coda, Sarah, and Sophie.
Dylan and Steve
D-Money and Steve-o
Caryn and Margaret… again.
Caryn and Margaret
Family: Margaret, Tracy, Dylan, Steve, and pups.
Family: Tracy, Margaret, Dylan, Steve, and pups.
Tracy, Margaret, Coda, Sophie.

Harvest Party 2012 Photo Shoot!

We had an awesome time on Sunday! Thanks to everyone who came and worked, came and ate, came and danced. An enormous thank you to Caroline, Brian, and Jeff for their tunes – y’all made the night!


Sophie in her party wear.


Mmmm potluck. Thanks for amazing food, y’all!


Steve at the cider press, and Dylan showing the kiddos where he hiked St. Mary’s peak.


Shelby, Kiatlin, Achillea, and Tracy eatin’ the good stuff.


Emma and Margaret


Tracy and Margaret (photo credit: Shelby)


The South Paw Band! Brian, Jeff, and Caroline.


Rotten tomatoes for the tossin’


Adelle at the tomato toss, trying to avoid her brothers’ aim.


Henry and Adelle at the tomato toss.


George threatening to throw at the camera (he didn’t).


Cassie hit the bulls-eye.