I have dried out two batches of tomato seeds and I am fermenting a third batch. After all 3 are ready, I will make sure they are viable by sprouting a sampling in a wet paper towel. Then it will be time to pack them up and ship them out!
Sorry I haven’t had much to say lately, but life happens from time to time.
I have been seeing some Cabin tomatoes that are much larger than the last 3 years. I guess when they get full sun they produce at a better size!
I saved seeds from these two tomatoes. They are fermenting in this jar on my counter. Soon I’ll clean them and dry them.
Only 4 of the 8 people who said that they wanted to grow Cabin tomatoes next year have sent me their mailing address. If you are interesting in growing Cabin and you didn’t reply to my e-mail last week, please comment here.
Most of the tomatoes have reached 5 feet high already and all are loaded with green fruit that (thankfully) just keeps getting bigger. These are the best plants I have ever grown, so I must have found the optimal location in my yard for them this year. The Cabin tomato plants (on each end) have some fruit that seems to be in the 8 to 10 ounce range, and I’ve never gotten bigger than 4-6 oz. from them before! I imagine that the plants have NOT set any new fruit in the last week or so, because we have had 100 degree temperatures every day. Tomatoes supposedly won’t pollinate their flowers at temperatures over 90.
The square white pot in the left bottom corner of the photo is the peanut plant that my son and I planted from a bag of raw spanish peanuts several months ago. It’s doing ok, as long as I remember to water it often in this heat. It feels like August to me.
I harvested my garlic this week. Mrs. Jimmy helped me get these 100 bulbs out of the ground.
After a little online research, I have discovered that the variety is named “Chamisal Wild.” It was found by Kristen Davenport Katz from Boxcar Farm near Santa Fe, New Mexico. After describing it to Kristen, she told me about the recent history of this purple-stripe hardneck:
It was named by us… and the story goes that the postmistress in our small village of Chamisal, NM, told us to go look by the little ditch that ran through the village. The village has been settled since the 1600s by the Spanish, a small Northern New Mexico mountain town. So the postmistress, Noami, told us where to go look because she knew we grew a lot of garlic. So one afternoon in early spring we went wandering down by this creek near an old adobe (hardly anything left of it, really) and I was walking around thinking, gosh, there’s no garlic here … then the scent hit me in the nose and I realized I was walking through a FIELD of garlic that looked like a thick-bladed grass. We went back in August after the bulbils were set and harvested below-ground bulbs and planted it… within 3 years the bulbs were as big as fists. Plus, it tastes great. I think this was 2004. So we’ve been growing it eight years now. Glad you enjoy the garlic, it has spread wide because it’s such a lovely variety.
Many of these garlic bulbs are in the 2 1/2 inch range. A few are 3 inches across. The ones that I left the scapes on are only 1 to 1 1/2 inches in size. That does seem to matter.
For now, the garlic is resting on my back porch picnic table. This weekend I will have to get it hanging up in the garage to cure for a few weeks. The garlic is done curing when you can cut the bulbs from the stems and there is no moisture, no juice dripping.
The biggest of them all will become my seed garlic. I’ll plant next year’s crop in a few months.
Above is the flower from an open-pollinated heirloom variety of tomato that I have grown every year since 2009. “Cabin” was the name on the list I chose from at Wintersown.org. This tomato was listed as RARE on their listing that year and has been absent from the list ever since. It’s by-far my favorite tomato and it’s a personal project to continue this fruit, as I could be literally the only person growing it anywhere right now.
Cabin tomato has shown itself to be resistant to the blights that my tomatoes end up getting eventually during most growing seasons. Where my other plants have already died in August or September, Cabin has continued to grow until first frost around Halloween. Cabin provided me with a red tomato (picked green) on Thanksgiving one year. That’s pretty good for Illinois.
The green tomatoes shown in this post should ripen to a nice dark pink tone within 2 weeks. They are usually 3 to 8 ounces, with the average more towards 4 ounces.
Many of my Cabin tomato flowers were multi-blossoms this year, so I might get a couple of fused fruit that are larger than normal. As you probably saw from the photos, Cabin is a potato-leaf type tomato. Oh, taste! Cabin is excellent eating. It’s meaty, average in acidity and works equally well for eating raw or cooking into sauces.
Finally, I don’t want to be the only grower saving seeds for this tomato. If you are interested in also growing Cabin next year, and will save seeds from it to keep this heirloom around for the future, please let me know. If you have trouble with blights and want a plant that will grow along while others struggle in the same spot, please consider Cabin.
I’m a bit late planting the garlic, but it’s now or never. I’ll get it planted today and cover it with some straw or leaves. It should just begin to grow roots before going dormant for the winter.
This should be enough for a sparsely planted 4 x 8 bed, which might mean a bigger garlic harvest next year!
Drying chili and tabasco peppers really could not be easier. Thread them on a string and hang them up to dry. Break off the dried peppers as needed for seed planting or to crush into a powder to spice up cooking.
I’m sure you already knew that you can’t save seeds from green peppers? The green ones are immature and haven’t ripened their seeds yet.
We had an old tin of popcorn that we bought from the Boy Scouts fundraiser a couple years ago that was almost gone. This spring I planted a 2×2 square with a bunch of the kernels and was very surprised by the germination rate. I pulled out 5 or 6 for each one I kept.
Now they are getting close to being ready. The ears are a nice size, and most of the stalks have two ears. I peeked inside the husks of one ear, and I can tell it needs a few more weeks. We will dry this and have enough popcorn (and seeds) for another year.
The eaves of the garage in this picture are over 8 feet high. This is pretty tall corn.
Normally you want to pick all of your lettuce either before it gets bitter from days that are too warm or before it sends up a seed stalk (bolting). To save lettuce seeds, you need to let the plant grow flowers.
The lettuce has bolted
Partially dry group of lettuce flowers.
I cut the whole head of flowers off the lettuce when some of the seeds began to drop onto the ground and took it inside. I let it dry out a bit more in a paper bag.
Find a dry flower
Break open the dry lettuce flower
Here are your seeds!
More lettuce than your family could eat.
One bolted lettuce plant could easily yield enough lettuce seeds for your whole next year.
Here is an update to my previous post about saving radish seeds.
Dried radish seed pods
I let the radish growth die naturally and dry outside to a nice tan color. I picked off the stems with the seed pods and had what you see above.
Green pod has turned light brown
Just like a pea or a bean, each dry pod contains a few radish seeds. Let’s open one up, shall we?
I expect the nice round ones are probably more viable than the flat wrinkled ones, since the ones I originally planted were all nice and round.
The verdict is that, yes, I can save radish seeds. And until I absolutely need to, I won’t. It’s a lot of extra work to get these seeds from a plant that would otherwise be picked in 25 or 30 days. I’ll consider it knowledge tucked away for a rainy day.