9.18.2013

Seeds, Saving, and Snipping

Fall Harvest has begun. Those who have planted vegetables from non hybrid seeds have the luxury of choosing whether or not to save seeds from their veggies for planting next year's garden from. Isn't that fun? A garden for free, sort of.

Peppers are my favorite seed to save. They are also the easiest. Yes, that is why they are my favorite. Simply remove the seeds, place on a glass or ceramic plate, stir every day to circulate air, and leave out until dry enough to break rather than bend. Once seeds have reached dryness, place in storage container and label.

Pumpkins and squash are pretty much the same as the peppers except they require cleaning first. Ugh, I can feel the slimey fibers on my fingers from the pumpkins already. Shudder. Oh well. It's still fun to plant them using last year's seeds.

Tomatoes. Well, this is our first year to save tomato seeds. Want to know why? Because I think this is gross. Real good reason, huh? I know. It isn't a great reason at all. That's why I am doing it anyway this year, gross or not. Squeeze the seeds from the best tomatoes into a jar, cover with approx. half as much water as seeds and allow to ferment until foam and/or mold covers the mixture. Once the seeds and the mold have separated from each other, with the seeds being on the bottom, carefully remove the mold/foam and floating seeds. Strain out the remaining seeds, the ones that did not float, into a strainer and gently rinse until clean. Place the cleaned seeds onto a glass/ceramic plate stirring daily until dry. Oh wait! Gently pat the clean seeds dry before placing on plate. Tomato seeds germinate very quickly. If excess moisture is not removed as much as possible, they will sprout before drying. Once the seeds are completely dry, place in  storage container for use next season.

Fun, right? Oh yes! I forgot to mention herbal seeds. Basil and cilantro are some of the very easiest to save. Allow some or all of the plants to go to seed. Collect the seeds from the plants, dry, and use when desired. Viola! My basil seeds from last year have given me several new starts, and I still have some left. Cilantro seeds can be replanted or used as coriander in cooking.

One last tip on the seed saving: label. Label. Label. Label. Including this year's date is helpful as well. Store in cool, dry place.

Please feel free to pass along any of your own seed saving tips & techniques in the comment section or email me at amothersrewards@gmail.com.

Now for an extremely quick and quirky craft. Denim coasters. Coasters are something we use almost constantly at our house. With eight of us, there are multiple glasses of water, iced tea, coffee, or My Beloved's favorite soda sitting around somewhere. Most coasters only come in sets of four leaving several of us without a place to put our drinks. Recently when needing a coaster for my sweating ice water, Horsegirl threw down a back pocket she had cut out of a worn pair of denim jeans for me to use. It worked great! I loved it! Even though denim pockets sitting around my living room really isn't my usual decorating style, they worked so well as coasters that I asked her for more. She obliged and we now have our favorite coasters ever.

Not only are these pocket coasters functional, they are quirky and fun too. A set of coasters tied together with ribbon or twine could easily be tucked in with drink mix for a custom gift. Not feeling the coaster love? Go ahead and cut out those back pockets. They can be stitched onto pillows, blankets, or towels for a rustic chic charm. A red gingham apron with a denim pocket stitched on exudes a sweet coziness sure to touch the heart of its receiver with the warmth of home. Gather some red tea towels adorned with pockets, an apron with its own denim pocket, and a recipe book filled with recipes for homemade favorites for a gift of personalized homemade goodness. Want to include a little something extra in your gift? Be ready for future posts featuring homemade jellies and other canned goods. You are going to want to make some. These jellies from Not of This World look like beautiful jewels sparkling on the shelves. I'm not sure you will be able to give them away as gifts though, they are so pretty.

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