G Gingerly Germinating Ideas for Growth – The Seed Swap 2.0

Grow! Part of the effort to create a wildlife garden full of bird feeding, seeding producing, flower-popping, goodness, is to grow some seedlings from scratch. From seeds.

Label This

 

Red3. Red4. Red5, Standing by.

 

 
Mrs. SF Daddy wrangled a large collection of seeds this year. Almost every year for a few years now, she’d started trays of seedlings, popped them into the ground and bam, we have tomatoes, daisies, bachelor buttons, echinacea, peppers, cucumbers, blah, blah, munch, munch, munch.
 
Plant this.
This year, she decided to start, not just a seed swap, but a seedling swap. She conned–I mean–enlisted her friends to start their own trays of seeds. They’d return to their own homes with trays of seeds ready to sprout. In a few weeks, they all return to the scene of the crime and trade little baby plants. Then instead of 20 or 30 of the same plants, they all leave again with a wide variety.
 
The plan was fool proof. Almost. The first batch of seeds was shipped to the wrong address and the seed starting party had to be postponed. (And all the way to the next full moon, if you’re following along with the posts.) 
 
While the first batch sprouted, we had a few intrusions! Ants in the trays!
 
Now that things have calmed down and we’re in April, we have lots of little babies almost ready to share and pop into the ground around the tulips. Surprise! Red2 and I planted tulip bulbs and they’re almost ready to pop!
 
This video will walk you through the seed starting process. Join us as we prepare to plant some seeds.
 
What’s growing in your garden?

F Ferments and Krauts

Kraut This

“It’s a full moon, have to start the kraut.”

Those really aren’t words I thought I’d ever hear. I didn’t see them coming. I didn’t really think about sauerkraut very much. I knew that I liked it, but that was about it.

Paying attention to the moon apparently helps fermentation  As the moon is “born” or grows, you plant or start things that grow. Otherwise, it’s the opposite. Things just don’t grow as well.

This kraut is a mix of purple and green cabbage. Together it ends up being pink. The green bit at the top is just a leaf to keep actual cabbage below the water. It’s not mold.

It’s really tasty on its own or on a salad. We throw just about anything in a salad these days. Hold the sauce though, with enough wet things, you don’t really need it.

Below we have some samples of the other ferments. These are what the smaller batches of mead look like.

If you think you’re interested in fermentation, there’s a way lot of information out there. We had a link to a few sites and other books. The ladies met up with, Sandor Katz, one of the authors of these books a while back and he actually inspired our current adventures in krauting.

Ferment This

B Boozy Botanists

Fill This

Part of the fun of being able to identify plants as you walk by them in the forest is knowing which ones might poison you and which ones are mighty tasty prepared in a mixed drink over ice or fermented and bottled.

Last year the ladies got really interested in squishing fruit. They combed the neighborhood and delivered letters to our especially fruity neighbors inviting them to some free labor. In exchange for cleaning up around their fruit trees, we’d bring home a few large buckets of apples, pears, persimmons and muscadines. Over the course of several weeks during harvest season we accumulated many “carboys” (large glass containers) full of squeezings. They’re naturally doing their thing and now we have lots of bottles to fill. Pretty tasty pear wine, honey wine, cyser, mead, and more, I’m sure. I’m trying to stay at arm’s length. (Yes, with a glass in hand, though.)

Identifying the plants while you’re walking next to them is pretty impressive, but what really wowed me was driving around, even on the highway, hearing, “Pear! Apple! Persimmon!” Red2 identified a pear tree hiding in front of a grocery store. She’s 9, kiddos.

Their mom and I did share. It wasn’t all booze. We had persimmon cake, apple and pear butter, and pear preserves using as recipe from the tree owner who feels like she’s all done making preserves herself. She was very happy to have some help.

The last thought here is about where this all leads. The natural ingredients that used to be found in things like Maraschino cherries and grenadine. Amy Stewart’s book, The Drunken Botanist, is good read full of stories about what’s really supposed to be in the bottles. Read the labels, folks. Red1 wants a field trip to a liquor store to find real grenadine made with pomegranates, not colored up corn syrups. I think she’ll have to wait a bit for that. Do you think the shop keepers will let us in to read the labels?

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