Got Seeds?

Grow them. Grow your own. One tiny seed can produce more food than you can imagine.

One tough Swiss Chard that keeps coming back every year.

It’s not easy and includes a big learning curve. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes they are viable, sometimes they aren’t. Guaranteed germination rate like store bought? No. But it can be done. Even by accident. That is how much of our learning takes place. We find there are times we learn more from our failures than our successes.

The small salad bed on the east side of the house.

Spinach going to seed.

Around here in the late spring spinach and lettuce go to seed. I will let the spinach seeds drop right in the bed where they are growing. I will harvest the lettuce seeds from the pot on the front porch and broadcast them into the “salad bed” where the spinach is growing. 

Back in February I spread some old spinach and lettuce seeds in this bed not expecting anything to grow since they were older. We received a nice surprise of an extended ‘salad’ season. I will remember this and broadcast seeds next February in hopes this will replicate.

This lettuce is growing on the porch in the same pot as some sweet potatoes.

Surprise spinach
Surprise lettuce and parsley

Last years sunflowers seeds have germinated very well and are growing great.

Turnips planted last fall went to seed and provided this seed harvest. We dried them in the greenhouse.

Last year’s sweet potato plants probably aren’t considered seeds, but we’re hoping this experiment, planting them in a large pot, having them in the greenhouse all winter, and now on the porch, will show us if they will continue growing potatoes. The few potatoes we harvested last year gave us half a dozen sprouts that have been planted in the garden. They are growing well, so we hope to have replacement plants from year to year. Kind of like seeds, right?

You can grow some type of food almost anywhere with a sunny window, a porch, a sidewalk, with a bucket, a large tub or other container, a flower bed, the edge of a yard along the fence. You can plant nutritious, calorie rich foods just about anywhere, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, any type of cowpea (purple hull peas, black-eyed peas, etc.), to name just a few. If you can find them, buy a bag of pinto beans at the store, they will grow vines you can train on a fence or trellis. The potatoes you can store and eat over the winter, the beans and peas you can dry for cooking later. Neither has to be canned, so no need for canners, jars, shelf space, etc.

The Seed Starters Handbook is a great resource. I bought our copy back in the 1980’s and still use it regularly. It’s part of our resource library.

Got seeds? Got food? Grow some. Any amount you can provide for yourself will decrease your dependence on others, be it the grocery store or the government. It will increase your self confidence and determination to maintain or regain a small portion of independence for you and those you love.

Until next time – Fern

9 thoughts on “Got Seeds?

  1. library nut,I would suggest that you go to the Wood Prairie Family Farm website and click on to the organic potato growing guide and print it off. They are located in Maine.We depend on potatoes as an important part of our food storage. Good luck.Bluesman

  2. I've never had any success getting potatoes to grow. Would any of the experts on here be willing to share their secrets with me? I live in Maryland, if that makes any difference.

  3. I\”m just back from one of my community garden beds. Earlier in the week, I noticed that there was a flowering curly kale plant in a neighboring plot. Today, that plant was gone. Sure enough, it was in the waste bin. I harvested enough seed pods from it to use for myself and share with others. From my own plot, I've already harvested pods for flat leaf kale. And I have a rainbow chard plant almost ready to flower. Last year, I saved some seed but not as much as in prior years. Only pea, tomato, and pumpkin. At least that's something.Hope you two are well and enjoying your gardens and animals.CheersSJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  4. Fern, I've nearly lost count if this is my 9th or 10 generation of slips from my very first try at raising sweet potatoes; but another generation of sweet potato slips are sitting in water in front of the window waiting until our ground is warm enough to plant. Even after I use the slips I take the potatoes from which they came and plant them in my flower garden. The leaves are beautiful AND they always give me 5-6 potatoes each at the end of the season. I have a couple Swiss Chard from last year in my little hot bed that I'm going to let go to seed as well as some lettuce. These two I've never collected seed from but am really looking forward to trying. Gardening is so satisfying when things are growing well, until it's not, huh?! LOL!! I still love it though. Hope you have a wonderful planting season!!

  5. Thanks for the gardening thoughts. I hadn't really become a serious gardener until about 11-12 years ago when after looking at the world happenings ,my thoughts turned toward a self reliance lifestyle.We save many of our own seeds and often find it challenging,but also very rewarding to eat chemical free food that we have grown ourselves. A garden can be no larger than a pot or two on your deck or it can be many acres in size. As you mentioned Fern, it does instill confidence and a degree of independence in a person . I urge everyone to give it a try and get started .It is no secret that our country is experiencing food shortages and food rationing right now . That in itself should be a wake up call to everyone. Bluesman

  6. We saved seeds from squash, tomatoes and peppers we grew two years ago. They were planted and are coming up. Anything that is planted this year will have the seeds saved. The more a person can save for the future means people will eat. Red

  7. Another excellent book on the topic is \”Seed to Seed\” by Suzanne Ashworth. Not only does it show how to save seeds from a huge variety of plants, but it is like an encyclopedia of growing tips.

  8. Thank you for sharing ways we can grow food that we may not have though about. This may not mean a lot at this time but if (when) food gets scarce we will be looking at every avenue to put food on the table. Your sharing these ways to grow food may well be a lifesaver. These ideas are stored in our memories and will be remembered when we need them most. Or, they will encourage us to throw out some seeds now to see what will happen in our garden. As for me, I’ll be throwing out some seeds next week. BJ in GA

  9. I am so glad that you are encouraging people to save seeds. The price goes up every year, and it can really add up. We've been seed savers for 35 years, generally buying just heirloom seeds to start with, not the hybrids. You get much better germination by using your own seeds as well, because they are fresher.

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