Archive for the ‘Seed Saving’ Category

Snake Beans (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis)

Snake bean is the best performer out of all the beans in summer at the Subtropics ~ At least in my experience ~ This bean is also known as yard long bean, or asparagus bean, and are generally eaten as green beans when they’re immature.

I’ve been growing the brown and black seeded climbing variety in previous years, and saved seeds from them. Last year, I’ve saved seeds that were neither brown nor black, but mottled kind of pattern …

Snake Bean Seeds

Snake Bean Seeds

The image is showing brown seeds on the left, and black seeds on the right. In the middle are the mottled seeds I planted this year ~ There were about a dozen of them. I’ve split them into two successive sowing about a month apart. The first sowing was done in mid September, which germinated very quickly, within a week if I remember correctly, but were very slow growing in the first month.

They were so slow to start off with that I thought these seeds were going to be dwarfs…but they’ve been growing very quickly all of a sudden in the last couple of weeks. I have even noticed a couple of flower buds forming ~ I don’t think it’s got anything to do with weather though, because the second sowing is still growing very slowly. I think it’s taking its time to grow roots, and forming nodules with nitrogen fixing bacteria in the soil (I hope) ~

Guerrilla Gardening

I have first attempted guerrilla gardening by burying some winter melon seeds on the communal land next to the townhouse I’m living in last year, but they didn’t germinate. It’s always been a difficult one for me to germinate, so I wasn’t very disappointed.

There are a number of gum trees on this land, and the soil is rock hard covered with pine chip mulch, and there’s a drainage path covered by large pebble rocks for the runoff from the neighbouring acreage property. However, it is poorly designed, so the water drain next to rather than in it, washing away some of the mulch when it rains ….

This year, it appears the strawberries I was growing have done some guerrilla gardening on its own by sending runners through the tiny gaps on the fence, despite the winter was so dry and we still haven’t received much rain at all, two strawberry plants have survived!

So I’m trying guerrilla gardening again by planting some butternut pumpkin, and Moon & Stars watermelon seeds. The pumpkin seeds I’ve saved myself a few years ago, but the Moon & Stars watermelon seeds were purchased, and have expired. The last time I attempt to grow it, it rained so much the only one watermelon on the vine split and burst… The pumpkin seeds have germinated after about a week, and it’s been two weeks since they were planted, but there are still no signs of watermelon germinating…..now I wanted watermelons so much that I might go and buy some more seeds!

Strawberry

Strawberry

Butternut Pumpkin Germination

Butternut Pumpkin Germination

Volunteered Mustards

After I was satisfied that I’ve got most of the seeds off them in my seed saving exercise I’ve left the bunches of ’empty’ seed pods in the polyethylene box for a month to see if any more seeds would come off, but I only got about 1/2 a teaspoon more over that month, so I’ve given the bunches of Chinese mustard seed pods a few last shakes above the garden bed then popped them the compost bin ~

Apparently, I didn’t do a very good job seeing how much seedlings are growing where I’ve given the pods a shake…

Anyways, I’ve prepared a dozen of salted eggs on the weekend, and they should be ready in about a month’s time.  Hopefully, I’ll have lots of Chinese Mustard greens to make this soup

Volunteered Mustard ~

Easiest seeds to save ~

The easiest seeds to save are probably peas and beans as these plants are self-pollinated ~  and self-pollinated even before the flower opens, so unless you’re growing different varieties right next to each other, and their vines entwined together, chances are the seeds are pure.

To make it even easier, seeds of peas and beans are large and easy to handle ~  All you need to do is wait for the pods to mature and dry on the vines, pick and split the pods and there you have your seeds ~

I have purple king beans growing very well at my mum’s garden, and it’s the only beans there right now.  My sister don’t like beans, and my mum had been busy and didn’t have time to harvest, so there’s a big batch of beans already matured and dried nicely due to the sunny days we had recently.  I picked a whole shopping bag full, and split the pods while watching TV.  Easy!

The pods can be used as mulch too!

Purple King Seeds

Purple King Seeds

Seed saving Chinese Mustard

We’ve grown Chinese Mustard over winter at my mum’s place, these veggies are a tiny little bit bitter when mature, and a bit peppery when young.  I like to use them to make soups with pork and salted eggs.

We’ve been harvesting the outer leaves rather then the whole plant, and the warmer weather in late winter have triggered them to flower.

Chinese Mustard Flowers

Chinese Mustard Flowers

The flowers grew into seedpods and were dried over the last few weeks, I’ve then harvested these seedpods still on their stalks, and put them into a clean polyethylene with lid.

Mustard seed pods in polyethylene box

Mustard seed pods in polyethylene box

The box is very light, and I just pick it up and give it a few shakes every time I walk passed it.  The seed pods splits and the seeds and some of the broken seed pods falls to the bottom of the box.  I then tip them into a small colander in a container with lid, and give that a shake as well.

Mustard Seed pods inside colander

Mustard Seed pods inside colander

Mustard seeds falls to the bottom

Mustard seeds falls to the bottom

The seeds falls to the bottom of the container with the colander catching the broken seedpods and larger chuffs.

Mustard Seeds

Mustard Seeds

The smaller chuffs which fall through with the seeds can be lightly blown away as they’re lighter than the seeds.

The seeds can then be collected into ziplock bags for storage until ready to plant or seed sharing with other gardeners ~~ pods and chuffs can be used as mulch ~

Mustard mulch & seed packets ~

Mustard mulch & seed packets ~