Gardening: The Treshing Floor

Part of the harvest isn’t just fruits and vegetables.  It is seeds as well.  These seeds are the foundation for next year, and first we must save, then we must eat.  It is a dire circumstance indeed when we don’t have enough to lay by for next year, and have to eat out seed stock.  Fortunately this year we have plenty to save and plenty to eat.

Today was the day to remove the cilantro from January and thresh out its seeds for next year.  I originally had left the whole row in place to mature, but I found that cilantro takes a long time to dry and I needed the space.   So I trimmed out all but one.  It turned out to be a good move, one plant gave me all the seed I can use for sowing and for cooking.

When it came time to thresh, I used my good ‘ol Stone Age seed beater for the job.  I whacked the heck outta that dried plant until the seeds fell to the table.  It worked pretty well, although I did need to finish off the inside of the dried plant with my hands.  At the end of it all, I netted a half of a brown lunch bag of seeds.  Not a bad return from one starter seed in the first place.

I am happily building up my seed collection for 2012.  So far, we have lettuce, beans, and cilantro, and hope to add tomato, bok choy, zucchini, pumpkin, peter peppers, and sweet peas.  It will be the first true generation of SSA plants, and that’s pretty special.

The old cilantro plant, my Stone Age seed beater, and the harvested seeds.

The seeds have been winnowed from the trash and are ready for storage.

 

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie Simko August 8, 2011 at 9:40 am

Hey There~ Sooo glad I found your blog thanks to that GREAT article in the Star….you must be so proud! So were neighbors, I’m guessing, I back up to Lynn between Capitan and High (sp) streets. We have 3 chickens and am NOT in the unincorporated area and the city guy came out re re-assess our property and made a note we had a chicken coop- I’m scared they’re gonna come back and tell us to get rid of them! Anyway, I have big plans to finally rip out our grass in the back and turn the yard into my FARM!!! I am loving your blog and hope to get many tips and tricks and MUCH inspiration! Thank you, again! I’d love to come by and visit sometime!

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Rebecca Simpson August 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

Hi there! Thanks for your comment, I am glad you enjoyed the article! Please keep us posted on your chickens, I know that is a big concern for many people. I am delighted to hear about your project to replace your lawn with farm. Slowly but surely, we’re doing the same. I figure if you’re going to irrigate, you may as well irrigate food. I am still not sure what the best way is to remove the lawn en masse, I’d love to compare notes if you find a way. Keep up the good work and we’re excited to have you along on our adventures!

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Carol Gravelle August 8, 2011 at 9:19 am

Thanks for this info – I ‘m letting my cilantro seeds mature on more than one plant but the plants are huge and I need the space as well – since you say they take a long time to dry I will plan to remove all but one. Appreciate the tip!

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Rebecca Simpson August 8, 2011 at 9:25 am

My pleasure, and thanks for your comment! I was astonished at just how many seeds came from one plant. I think next year I will plant some both in the garden and in containers. That way, I can remove all the cilantro in the garden and let the container plants go to seed.

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