heirlooms from baker creek

So I am new at this whole concept. I will be honest, I have been a “lazy man’s gardener” for the past six years – meaning I have mostly bought pre-started seedlings from the local nurseries. Though, about three years ago, I started going to the Farmer’s Market to buy some special starts called “Heirlooms.” (I know, that is crazy, huh?) From there, the whole thing just snowballed. I got sent a catalog from Baker Creek Seeds, and in those wonderful pages (100+ full glorious color) I was introduced to a variety of plants that I never thought existed. So what was the next logical step? Well, I bought some packets of seeds and began to grow my own plants from seed. I have now been doing this for two years, and I have to say – it is really one of the coolest things there is. But, you know how these things go…. There is always a new level to reach. This year, my family and I, went  into the overgrown patch of ground that contains our Aquaponic system and toiled away to keep the unending vines of tomatoes, melons and cucumbers from expanding to cover the entire yard. It was great fun for the family and for me.

Tigger Melon

Tigger Melon (Photo credit: Campobello Island)

But, there was a little change this year. I didn’t just plant seeds that I had bought. I got to experiment a little bit with something completely new to me. In order to really explain what I mean by that, please let me back up a little bit to give you the full story. So this began about eight months ago, right around the middle of April 2013. My family and I went to the Farmer’s Market in Galveston, TX. It is organized by a friend of mine, Tyler Hall, who also happens to operate Island Aquaponics. There at the market, we were able to get an amazing little melon from one of the vendors. Sadly I do not remember who this vendor was. But this little melon had the most intoxicating aroma that my wife or I had ever smelled. After a five-hour drive home to Dallas, we couldn’t wait to eat it, because we had been traveling in a car with this amazing smell and were literally craving fresh melon. When we finally had it carved up and were able to taste it, well there is simply no other word to describe the flavor other than SUBLIME!!! Absolutely amazing. Unbelievable. (After careful researching, I am pretty confident that what we ate was actually a Tigger Melon, but I am not 100% sure.)

But, the only problem was that it was a tiny little thing and it was gone way to fast. My wife asked me if I thought we could get another one, and I said that I didn’t even know the name of the variety. Before I could even think of a possible next step, my wife came up with the solution (as she usually does). She pointed to the trash can and said, “Well, there are a bunch of seeds in there. Can you just grow some more melons?”

kg33-saving-bean-seeds-02With that simple little question, my journey to learn how to save seeds began. It turns out that it is incredibly easy to save seeds from most plants. Realistically speaking, all you have to do (in most cases) is let the last few fruits on the plant get the that “over-ripe” stage and then you simply take the seeds out and then save them in a little paper envelope. But, some seeds take a little more work. These melon seeds, for instance, needed to be rubbed between two paper towels to remove the sticky tissue covering from around the seed. Once this was done, I simply dried the seeds on the kitchen counter and then transferred them to a paper envelope with a name and a date on them. Since I began saving seeds earlier this year, I have now harvested seeds from Lettuce, Broccoli, Kale, Okra, Tomatoes, Melons and Cucumbers. One of the benefits — I now have seeds coming out of my ears… I think I am going to join a few more of the local gardening groups and see if I can trade some of my seeds for some cool new varieties.

 

 Here are some great links to informational resources on how to save your own seed from a variety of vegetables:
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