“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. In our mad rush for progress and modern improvements let's be sure we take along with us all the old-fashioned things worth while.” Laura Ingalls Wilder

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Seed Saving, Ginger and Garlic

This is our first year saving our garden seeds.  We purchased organic and or open pollinated seeds and used some given to us by neighbors.  I was amazed to see that our bush beans (the seeds were burgundy red) have produced speckled white-ish-pink seeds.  We have our tomato seeds soaking in little jars of water to help get the 'slime' off of them.  Peas (bush, sugar snap & sweet) are packaged .. along with a host of other types.  It will be interesting to see what they produce next year.

Last spring I planted a small 'finger' of organic ginger in a small pot with potting soil.  It was kept indoors and produced a two foot palm-leaf looking green shoot.  I watered it once in a while .. and last week dug up the ginger to see what was growing.  It was double in size with several small nubs growing .. and roots.  The biggest portion was broken off and two nubs replanted in the pot.  It tasted amazing added to some cooked apple topping for our French toast this morning.  I will store it in the freezer and use a fine grater as needed.

Last fall I planted Spanish rojo garlic bulbs.  They produced small heads of great tasting hardneck variety, and is a good choice for cold climates.  They are supposed to store well, too.  After reading a blog post at Down To Earth last week about imported garlic from China, it's nice to have our own supply.  If you are concerned about eating healthy AND love garlic, it's a must read article.  If you don't grow your own garlic, buy organic or garlic from California.  I was shocked to read that my large jug of sliced-dehydrated garlic from Costco (McCormick brand) says product of China in fine print on the back.


The Younger Rachael said...

I've read the other benefit of saving seed is that then the plants are better adapted to your plot. The down side is that they can get cross-pollinated.

When I read that about the Chinese garlic... I thought, well, duh, yes the Chinese fertilize with human manure. But the key is that you can peel the garlic... anything peel-able is okay, as the germs, etc are on the outside. leaf greens are the scary veggie there... I lived in China, I am familiar with the risk. But then, I also understand why that grosses some folks out.

Felisol said...

Dear Mrs. Mac,
This is so interesting.
You are doing the most amazing things and fulfil all your projects. I'll try that tomato seed trick as soon as I can get gold of Norwegian grown tomatoes. I heard on the radio that there is not a person left in the USA, who hasn't eaten gene modified tomatoes.
I know for certain that I have eaten both tomatoes and other vegetables which have been tampered with.

And those chlorine bleached garlics; that article gave me the chills.
As consumers we should have the right to know.
Now I do. I have tried planting our own garlics some years ago. Now I'll try again. Four weeks in the fridge first, I must remember that.
I wonder if that goes for all bulbs, for instance growing hyacinths indoors for Christmas. I'll give it a go.
The special prepared ones are so expensive.
Ummm, I'll have to plant ginger too, on my terrace, perhaps.
What an inspiration. I must return to this site in February.
Your Thanksgiving table must be a sight for soar eyes.
I'm looking forwards to that picture.

Mrs. Mac said...

Rachael .. It's more that human manure that the garlic is 'treated' with. Bleach and other unapproved (in the USA) chemicals are applied as well.

Felisol. We plant our garlic in the fall before the ground freezes about 6 inches deep and well mulched on top. It will come up in the spring and be ready to harvest late summer (next year). Be sure to use 'organic' or untreated that is meant for planting.

I think the hyacinth bulbs for Christmas are 'forced' blooms. I use a bulb vase .. one that allows just the root end of the bulb to get wet .. and depending when you plant it/them .. they bloom around the holidays.

Dani said...

I have just grown and harvested my first ginger too :) And I agree with you, there is nothing to beat the flavour of home grown ginger. I too, shoved a couple of pieces int he ground again - for the next harvest.

Did you know that you don't have to harvest all the ginger when the leaves die down? Every time you need some, just dig in the ground near your original plant and harvest/ It keeps better / longer in the ground too ;)

Mr. H. said...

Even the garlic comes from China...pretty sad.

Sounds like you have a good selection of seeds saved. It is always fun to be able to plant seeds that you saved yourself. Love what you are doing with the ginger, I'll have to try that sometime.

Laurie said...

This was our first year in growing ginger too. A friend gave us some mid-summer, & his directions said to leave it the first year. We transplanted it in a pot & brought it inside last week. Now, I think I'll have to try a bit of it! I appreciate all the information you post here.

David said...

Yuck, Chinese garlic! Can't help myslef but it tastes dull compared to our garlic... and I wonder what might grow out of the top of the pineapple, we've planted recently.