Crofting – Seed Sorting

Crofts at Durness

It is too early in the year to do any gardening. We still have a foot or more of snow in most places, with just the grass around the house showing. (Which means it is time to clean up after the dogs, too. It is one of my least favourite homekeeping chores, but I hate a dirty yard, so it will be done next week, and steadily after that!)

I had to order new seeds this year. I also received some seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, a gift from my friend Margret. We have not been seed saving, as we haven’t had room for a garden in three years. Grocery store produce is most likely hybrid, so there is no use in saving seed. I ordered mostly heirloom and open pollinated seed, so we can save our seeds. I got a few hybrids for farmers’ market sales, because people prefer hybrid type corn, colourful carrots, and pretty radishes. I hope to have a good start on an herb garden, too, this year, and will add more seeds and plants as they become available and we make more room. I have an idea for a Celtic cross garden, with elder trees in the center, three of them. My friend Sandra knows where I can dig some elder saplings down by Woodstock, so when the weather turns good, I will venture to do that. Another friend, Bernadette, has raspberry canes for me. There are two rosebushes here, and I would like to get an apothecary rose as well. I may try three blueberry bushes.

I do not have onion or garlic sets, or potato eyes, but will get those when we start the seeds indoors. We will buy our peat moss, perlite and clean soil this year, mix our starter, and give it a bit of a bake to kill any fungi, mold and weeds. I plan to make our own starter pots, and I am saving every disposable container I can find – yogurt tubs, empty soup cans, coffee take-out cups. We will invest in a grow light too. Our kitchen is big, bright and warm, so the baby plants will go in there, then get moved to the shed as they start to harden off, then spend nice days out on the doorstoop. I am planning to grow some potatoes in  half barrels, so I am scrounging up suitably sized containers. (Really Milli, I am not a hoarder! All this stuff will get used within weeks and then disposed of/cleaned and stored/recycled.  Milli is my landlady, and a dear woman who doesn’t care for clutter!) We are saving cardboard boxes to cut apart for mulching the garden paths.

I bought a pretty garden journal. Always have a garden journal! I am saving seed packets, shipping and store receipts, and enclosed information in a scrapbook/notebook for future reference and to track how much the garden will cost us. This also gives us the opportunity to track what does well, what failed, what produced a lot, what isn’t  a heavy producer. I will get another notebook for recipes I use with our garden produce. I am already collecting recipes to print on cards to hand out at the market. Recipes encourage people to buy more, buy new things, and come back to try more.

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10 thoughts on “Crofting – Seed Sorting

  1. I use all kinds of containers too, I do not buy starter kits and so on. I use milk cartons which I cut the top off and cut the inner roll of toilet rolls in half and plant in them. That has worked for me every year this far and will continue to do so for a long time I think.

    • Due to illness and resulting exhaustion, I did give in and bought some starter pots for the things that need planting this week! There is still more to plant, so I will get to my recycled containers as well. We’ve saved a lot of cardboard for mulching garden paths, as well.

  2. I dunno if it’s available up there in the hinterlands, but coir (blocks of coconut fibre) are prolly a more renewable option than peat. Here in FL it’s pretty easy to get as you might imagine. You soak the block in water for a bit and it expands like one of those compressed sponges you can get at the grocery. Burpees did a Green plant starting kit last year and I was impressed at how good a growing media straight coir was, as long as you hit it with a bit of organic fertiliser (which was included in the kit). Can’t find the kits this year, unfortunately 😦

    m.

    • Yes, I was able to get coir pots although not the blocks. I am quite pleased with that. New Brunswick is a source of peat, and yet our peat bogs are incredibly important to the wildlife habitat. I’m surprised that there isn’t more available here right now, but I did go to a big box store and not to the co-op, which is a hike down the road!

    • Kate, I expect to be headed your way this spring for elder saplings – I’ll be in touch. Blackberry is my husband’s favourite! Thank you!

    • And I hope you are improving as well. It looks like you’ve had some obstacles lately, too. I know your part of the province fairly well – we are friends with Chris and Christine Hayes, who were at the Anglican church there. My aunt, Beatrice Bragdon Carson, lived in Debec. She and her husband Harry
      had a small dairy herd. Heavens, that was decades ago – am I getting old?

  3. I have not ‘baked’ my soil and now I have mold in three of the pots… A lot of mold. It is lucky I do not have your mold allergies. I will try the baking for the next lot I think. I have never gotten this much mold ever before so I do not know what.

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