Sunday, June 22, 2008

Collecting seeds

We had an awesome crop of lettuce this spring. We ate green leaf, red leaf, romaine, spinach, kale and chard for several months without buying any from the store. That says a lot for this family. We each usually eat at least one salad a day plus put it in our sandwiches and in other cooked dishes. Now that it is too hot and all of the greens have flowered and gone to seed we are trying to save some of them for this fall's planting. It was hard to leave the plants in the ground long enough for this to happen. They were taking up valuable summertime space and as they go to seed they get tall and start to look a little messy. I wanted to just pull them up and put in a tomato plant or something. Well, anyway, we are hoping that our patience will pay off as we have finally pulled up all the greens and are collecting some of the seeds. I am posting some pictures of the process.
In back of this picture you can see some of the lettuce that has flowered . This is some of what we pulled up and brought inside.

Each lettuce plant had tons, I'm guessing (but I may be way off) 100+ flowers and in each flower I counted about 8-10 or so seeds. At first we thought it was going to be a tedious process. I spent an hour one night pulling the flowers off and pinching groups of seeds out of each flower head. I thought it was kind of fun:) But then Daniel discovered a more efficient way by just tapping or pounding the flowers. Soon the girls joined in on the fun! So, here Arianna and Ellen are first tapping then squeezing the flowers. The seeds just fall out.

You can see how tiny these lettuce seeds are compared to the letters of the comic strip we were using to catch the seeds.

Here they dumped the seeds into the bowl.

Then we dumped the seeds into a labeled envelope that we'll save for the fall. I put the potato harvest from this morning behind it. Daniel pulled out about 5 plants. We still have lots more in the ground.

I took some pictures of the girls with the zinnia flowers we planted. They are such a beautiful bright red. E and A loved getting to cut and bring them inside. Girls just love fresh flowers!


William Kruidenier said...

Beautiful pix of your "flower children" -- reminds me of the Sixties!

Ya'll probably tried sticking the lettuce stalks upside down inside paper bags and shaking them real hard to dislodge the seeds into the bags -- not as much fun as sitting around the table together and preparing seeds for the fall lettuce crop. Nice work.

Anna Morrison said...

We learn so much from the way you all live. Thank you for taking the time to share such a simple yet rich experience.

The zinnias are beautiful, not as gorgeous as your girls. We planted some of those, but they have been slow to grow. Our petunias have done really well but we don't really have any more flowers at the moment.

Claire said...

Wow, nice photography! I especially like the potatoes with the seed pack...and "girls with flowers" of course. You have quite the gardening blog to complement your lovely garden. Can't wait to see it in person one of these days!

love you,