Friday, September 18, 2009

Garden Sprawl Friday

This Cos lettuce that I let grow,

has spent itself completely,

giving all these seeds:

It gave out little yellow flowers, and the flowers turned to these white fluffs,

at which point I simply plucked the seeds out by grabbing each fluff ball (the seeds are attached to the fluff) with finger and thumb and putting the clumps in a bag. That way I usually lost a few seeds each time, so I also tried plucking the stem off then shaking it in the bag.

Once I had all the seeds in the ziplock bag I gently shook it around and the fluff would gather together, and I could remove it in bits. Then holding the bag open, and while shaking it, I gently breathed into the bag, and all the bits of fluff and chaff would come out, leaving the little seeds behind.

Today I cut one of the sunflowers. The inside of the stalk looks and feels like styrofoam.

I put it up to hang and dry and do its last ripening in the kitchen. So far the birds have not been going after them, which means they are not yet at their peak of ripeness. But you can still harvest them a bit before that, when the backs of the heads have turned a light lemon yellow colour and the seeds can be somewhat loosened without much effort.

These seeds are delicious by the way. These sunflowers are called 'Russian Mammoth'.

The muskmelons that I was growing did not even reach half the size they normally reach. Two of them reached the half way point - like really large golf balls. But all of them ripened well and were sweet, with the exception of a few bland ones. Taste-wise they were fine, it's just they were small. Next time I'm going to grow them in beds and not pots. I'm pretty certain it was the pots that prevented full size.

Nonetheless, I collected seeds from some of them; the best ones, not all of them:

You just wash them in a strainer and put them on a sheet to dry indoors. Don't put them in the oven.

The pole beans have been very, very productive. You just keep picking and they just keep producing. I tagged one pole to save seeds from. You just don't pick from the pole you tagged and the vine will put all its strength into the beans already on it. They've already become dried husks with the seeds inside and I'm still debating whether I should take the seeds now, or wait even longer.

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