Monday, December 26, 2011

Harvest Monday - December 26, 2011

This is the last Harvest Monday of the year, which normally means posting my yearly totals. But this time I also have a harvest. I picked the rest of the Shanghai bok choy in the garden. All that is left of my Asian greens is some tatsoi. The tatsoi is pretty hardy, but the bok choy is much better quality if picked before too many deep freezes take place. The outer leaves slowly turn to slime in the cold weather. The inner ones hold for much longer. In addition I wanted to bring bok choy to the Christmas party, so it had to get picked and sorted beforehand.

The biggest of the choys was this pretty one. The outer leaves were a bit banged up but the inner ones were beautiful. It was over four inches in diameter and weighed 14 oz. I think it didn't know it was a baby bok choy and wanted to be a full sized one. All in all I harvested 4lbs and 3.3oz of bok choy. Not bad for the end of the year.

Now on to the year end round up. This was a decent year. I have about 560 sqft of raised beds and got about 590 lbs of vegetables from the space. I always hope for at least a pound per square foot. Also the solanums weren't weighed starting at the end of August. So I'm guessing I had at least 20 more pounds if not more.

Next year will be harder for me as I won't grow as many of the solanums. None if I still can't eat them by then. Right now I've eaten dips with hot peppers in them and not reacted. I'll very very slowly add more in over the winter and spring. I had a full three beds in solanums, so next year I'll need at least two beds in other things. I'm thinking more squash would be good. More corn and beans would be good. I might split up my three sisters and grow full beds of things. And I might do both. Have some mixed and some not to see what grows better.

In addition, I'm going to have to figure out a rotation for my brassicas. I my last garden I didn't have to rotate the beds during the year. So I would grow them in the spring and in the same place in the fall and then rotate them in other years. But in this garden there is more rot diseases and I lost my whole fall bed in less than a week. So the spring brassicas will have to be followed by something like carrots and the fall brassicas will have to follow the peas, favas, and carrots. This year the kale followed the onions and that worked out well. To help with the issue I'd like to get a row cover that lets the air flow better. They sell them in Australia, but sadly not here. Shipping is a b*tch. But I think it will be worth it.

Yearly totals for 2011:

  • Alliums 46.49
  • Beans 28.06
  • Broccoli 7.08
  • Carrots 42.31
  • Corn 11.66
  • Cucurbit 88.06
  • Eggplant 5.77
  • Greens 121.19
  • Herbs 7.45
  • Peas 18.82
  • Peppers 15.76
  • Potatoes 24.46
  • Radishes and Turnips 7.48
  • Tomatoes 168.30
  • Yearly total 592.99 lbs
  • Total spent $673.98
  • Veggies were worth $2008.98
  • Fruit 1.87 lbs $7.81
  • Net $1342.81

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

The biggest problem with growing dried beans is cooking them. Before I grew my own dried beans I always had cans on hand to make things. I could whip up my winter soups so quickly that way. Now it takes planning. The best planning is the night before to soak them. But you can cheat and get them to boiling then take them off the stove to let them sit for an hour and it works about as well. The beans from my garden take about an hour to cook until they are soft. They are so quick because they are so fresh. But still I need a full two hours at the least of planning to have fully cooked beans. Some days that is fine. But some I need a quicker bean or I lose out on eating them.

I'd been drooling over a pressure canner for years. I finally broke down and bought it for myself for Christmas. As my husband says, we have a weird way of getting gifts. We tell our spouse what we want for the holidays then we go out and buy it. Hey it is quick turn around and you get to pick what you want. No one in our family has been big on surprises. Since the kids have grown we end up with very very few gifts under the tree. But I digress.

With a pressure canner I could can some of my beans. The issue I ran into is that I don't have a lot of any one type of bean. I have lots of little containers of beans. So I had four pots of beans cooking on the stove to try to get enough parboiled beans to fill up the pressure canner.

My canner is an All American. It can can 18 pints at a time which for me is an awful lot of pints. I managed to fill up 12 of them.

8 of them were successful; 3 didn't seal; and 1 was pretty questionable since it had lost a lot of its internal liquid. I put the last four in the fridge for immediate use. I'm guessing they didn't seal because beans really foam up when cooking. There could have been some leaking which can mess with the seal. If anyone out there has any tips for canning beans I'd appreciate it. 1/3 with bad seals is not a good number. I probably won't can any more beans this year as 8 jars will fill in the gaps for when I forget to start my beans early enough.

Join Robin over at The Gardener of Eden for more Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard posts.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Harvest Monday - December 19, 2011

I was gone all last week. Though on last Monday I did get a harvest. While I was gone very cold temperature were predicted. I pulled out all the white stemmed bok choy. About a pound and a half. Then I covered the rest of the green stemmed bok choy and the tatsoi. They are more cold hardy. I put on some plastic. Before they just had a row cover, but while I was gone the lows were predicted to get into the teens. I'm not sure they would survive without plastic.

I also picked some Fun Jen. I didn't cover it with plastic as the plastic I was using was too small to cover both and I haven't been eating it so don't really care if it lives right now. I like it in salads, but recently salads just don't appeal. I've been eating lots of soup but not a single salad.

The whole harvest totaled just over two pounds. I sent it to my townhouse mates since I was leaving the next morning. I didn't get photos as the camera had already been packed up.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Harvest Monday - December 12, 2011

I'd tell you all the wonderful things I picked, but I've got nothing. I've been away. And will be away again. My time between trips was short so I didn't go out picking. Plus with parties and going out I had only one meal at home. I did eat some frozen veggies. Carrots, chard, and corn. And some frozen soups for lunch that were made from my garden veggies.

I'm hoping some things did get picked while I was gone. I told my townhouse mates what Asian greens they could pick. But honestly I didn't see much gone. Maybe they will do better this coming week.

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Harvest Monday - November 28, 2011

All that I have to show you was picked earlier in the week as I'm on vacation right now. My townhouse mates have the garden for quite some time. But I will be scheduling Harvest Mondays so you all can play without me when I'm gone.

I said, "All I have to show you". But "all" is quite a lot this week even if it is only two things. The kale I picked through. I've noticed the lower leaves turning brown. So I got rid of them and picked a couple of the next leaves up. Hopefully I won't lose leaves that way. Better to have them eaten. I gave them all to my townhouse mates to eat this week as I still hadn't finished my Asian greens.

First Batch

Then came the carrot harvests. I had to pick all of them that were ready to eat as the carrot flies had hatched again and they were really starting to damage the carrots. Luckily most of the damage at this point was skin deep. None of this new damage was there before Thanksgiving so the little grubs didn't have time to dig very deep into the carrot.

Second Batch

I had over 18 lbs of carrots that I picked. Most were blanched and frozen as I didn't think the carrots would hold up as long stored. The few undamaged carrots will be eaten raw. I'm storing them in the fridge as there aren't' a lot. Any cooked carrots will now be from my froze stash. Most of the carrots I eat in the winter are cooked so it isn't a big deal that I had to process most of them.

I took a photo of some of the longer ones. It is so easy to grow good carrots in this soil. at my last house I had heavy clay and I was happy when I had my soil amended well enough to grow 8" carrots. At the start of that garden I couldn't grow carrots at all.

My favorite carrot of the bunch. I call it "The Lovers". I had one I named "Running Man" but the photos just didn't show it off well.

  • Carrots 18.28 lbs
  • Kale 2.04 lbs
  • Weekly Total 20.33 lbs
  • Weekly Spent $0
  • Yearly Total 587.01 lbs
  • Veggie Garden was worth $1305.09
  • Fruit 1.87 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

I actually preserved something this week so have a post for Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard over at Robin's blog. I figured with the carrot fly damage I'd better get some of my carrots frozen since I wasn't sure how long they would store. So I thinned out the patch by about half and sliced them. It filled up my big colander.

Then I blanched them for a few minutes and tossed them in a bowl with ice water. Then came the decisions. I often freeze them on a cookie sheet and then put them in a ziplock bag to freeze. That way I can pick out however much I want. But I had a lot of carrots (and will have more) and they will last quite some time in the freezer.

So I elected to freeze them in batches and vacuum seal them. I haven't used my vacuum sealer I think since my Grand Canyon rafting trip in '99. My mom (our trip leader) asked me to dehydrate a lot of things and I vacuumed sealed it all in the portions we would be using. During the move I tried to give away things that I hadn't used in over a decade. That would have qualified, but I kept it thinking it might be useful again with a huge garden. I was right. Sadly it is very old and the middle wire which cuts the bags apart is not working all the time. But scissors worked OK. Two of the bags didn't seal right. I didn't redo them. I figured I'd just mark them and eat them first. So now I have 13 bags of carrots, all a cup each.

But I'll have more. There are lots of carrots still in that bed. I was going to leave them there and pick them slowly as I had plenty of them frozen now for when the ground froze solid. But there is starting to be more carrot fly damage. I think those that were in my carrots hatched and put out a new group of flies. The new damage is extensive on the surface, but it is only on the surface right now. Just peeling the carrots with one swipe of the peeler. removes it all. If I wait any longer it will become deeper and I'll lose most of the carrots. So I'm going to get the rest of them up and process them now. Any undamaged carrots will be stored but with over eight pounds of carrots in that first batch, only two carrots didn't show signs of damage. So I need to get them out of the ground immediately.

The weird thing about processing that many carrots is that my hands got stained. It doesn't show up well in that photo but my hand is really orange. I hope it wears off soon.

Addendum: I finally got all the carrots done. I have a few saved that had no carrot fly damage. Mostly ones that were small or short and stubby. The last of the carrots made 14 cups. Two were made into three cup batches which is good for a dinner party. And 8 were made into one cup containers for me. So now I have 21 single cup pouches. I'll probably use up about one a week. That will get me through April, which isn't too bad at all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I sent out all the seeds today. You all ought to get them in the next week or so. 36 people were sent seeds, though one bag of seed packets was just tossed over my back fence. I caused them to open a second window at the post office. Now I'm done with that for the year. Whoot! I confess to getting sick of sorting seeds and closed my offer of seeds. So that was my gift to you all.

My gift to myself was a garden shed. I had dithered all summer and fall about whether to get a wooden or plastic one. I just got the cheap plastic one. I figured it would be smaller. Small is good.

It doesn't hold much but the shed is perfectly made for a small garden. One side for tools and one side for fertilizer. My old plastic fertilizer boxes fit perfectly side by side on the shelves. Now if I just had one more of them. I really ought to label those boxes too. I had labels on them over a decade ago, but they have long since worn off. I've got to put the Sluggo in there too. The slugs are having a field day in the garden this fall. Luckily there isn't much for them to eat anymore. But I'm sure they are breeding up a storm.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Harvest Monday - November 28, 2011

My weeks so far seem either to be feast or famine for my harvest Monday posts. I have so much for times that I clear the garden. And so little when I'm trying to eat it all up. I still have a ton of Asian greens in the fridge. I've been eating them in just about everything.

I did pick some carrots and fresh dill for Thanksgiving. I had pounds of carrots in the fridge, but some were small and I wanted some larger ones. They don't look big in that photo to me, but the longest was a foot long. And they were over and inch wide at the top.

I had some minimal carrot fly damage on all of my carrots. It is simple to cut out, but I'm thinking they won't last long out there with the freezes and thaws. So maybe this coming week I'll pick a lot and freeze them. I do want to try to save some of the undamaged ones for fresh storage, but many of the carrots I eat are cooked so it is simple to store them frozen.

  • Carrots 0.94 lbs
  • Dill 0.13 lbs
  • Weekly Total 20.15 lbs
  • Weekly Spent $0
  • Yearly Total 566.68 lbs
  • Veggie Garden was worth $1263.82
  • Fruit 1.87 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

Ah Thanksgiving. The holiday that celebrates the harvest. I've certainly been thankful for my harvests this year. Our family goes to friends for most Thanksgivings. This year there will be somewhere around 30-40 people there with about 12 different families. In the past it was smaller, but over the years it has grown.

Trying to figure out who brings things with that many people is always hard. But we break things out into colors. My family has been assigned orange along with another person, Lori. In fact I asked for orange. I like to try to incorporate things from my garden on Thanksgiving. I knew I had lots of squash and carrots, so orange it was. I also asked to bring some cranberry ice as it is a family tradition. My son elected to make some crepes with peach sauce for dessert and Lori is bringing pumpkin pie, so I'm not making any dessert. So here is what I'm bringing:

  • Pumpkin beer
  • Maple Sugar Carrots with Dill
  • Daphne's Squash Casserole
  • Cranberry Ice

As to the pumpkin beer, I had a pumpkin beer tasting with nine beers at my house a few weeks ago. I saved all the left overs. After our friends voted it turns out that Pumking is the best of the pumpkin beers. Sadly we drank it all at the party, but I do have some of the number three beer, Shipyard Pumkinhead. And I have a lot of the lower ranked ones as well.

The Maple Sugar Carrots with Dill is a take off from an Allrecipes dish. I make mine as follows:

  • 3 cups carrots in slices
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 1/2 T chopped dill
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper

Boil the carrots until soft. Drain. In a pan add maple syrup and butter and cook for a couple minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss until covered. If you look at the Allrecipes recipe you will notice that I only chance the brown sugar out for maple sugar. Really maple sugar is so much better.

Daphne's Squash Casserole

  • 1 egg
  • 1 c squash puree
  • 1/2 c soy milk
  • 1/4c maple syrup
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c butter melted
  • 1/4 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/8 t salt

Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately then mix together. Cook 1 hour at 350. Have you noticed a trend to liking maple syrup. I also use it when I cook squash to eat plain. Some add brown sugar and butter to the squash but I add maple syrup and butter. Yummy.

For the squash puree I put some squash halved in the oven at 350-375F. I wanted very thick puree so I didn't put any water in the pan and kept the squash upright.

This made five cups of very very thick puree. I'll double the casserole recipe when I bring it as it will actually fit a good sized casserole pan then. Usually I put it in a small one since I'm the only one eating it.

My Grandma's Cranberry Ice

  • 12 oz cranberries
  • water
  • juice from one lemon
  • gelatin
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • salt to taste

Pick over the berries and put in a saucepan. Just cover with water and boil until soft. While it is boiling soften the gelatin in 3/4 c of cold water. When the berries are done put through a sieve or food mill. Add the sugar and lemon juice and simmer until dissolved. Take off the heat and add the dissolved gelatin. Freeze.

Hope you all have a happy Turkey Day if this is when you celebrate! And join in on Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard with Robin.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Weird Weather

This fall has had some extremely unusual weather here at the dandelion patch. Usually our ground gets and stays frozen for the winter around the middle of November. This year the ground is still unfrozen. I don't remember a Thanksgiving that I could harvest fresh dill unless it was covered. I can this year. I went out and harvested some for Dill and Maple Sugar Carrots for tomorrow.

Carrot leaves

On Monday I woke up to only our second freeze of the year. The frost was so beautiful. But as soon as the sun touched it, it was gone. So I could only photograph the plants still in the shade. By afternoon the ground was unthawed again.


I meant to write this post on Monday, but that didn't happen and then Tuesday didn't happen. Sometimes it is hard to find a minute free to blog.


We might get one more freeze in November. Tonight. Or we might not. As usual the weather men disagree and one says it will be 26F tonight. Another says only 31F. Then they all agree it will be warm and sunny on Friday and Saturday, so the freeze won't stick. It looks like the ground won't freeze solid until sometime in December. Though I have to say I'm wondering if winter won't ever come.

And in other news, I had a cold over the last week so my husband for the first time every helped me play bag lady. We collected leaves from our neighborhood curbs. I filled up two of the bins. Some are still in the bags, but as the leaves below compress I'll add in more leaves to the bins.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Harvest Monday - November 21, 2011

Last week was the week of little harvests, while this was the week of big harvests. Part of the issue is that I decided to weigh the beans and some of the squash that hasn't been weighed yet. So now all the dried beans are accounted for.

Butternut and Black Futsu Squash

And the squash is mostly counted. I have two I'm not sure that will ripen or not and two I'm pretty sure have no chance at all.

Then there were the carrots. I took all the carrots out of the main bed that were even close to big enough. I still have the circle garden area that gets some real sun in the fall and are much much bigger. If I need them, I'll use them for Thanksgiving. Otherwise I'll use these. Either way the circle garden bed that is surrounded by brick path will keep warmer as we go into winter than the main beds. The main beds just get no sun at all right now. The sun is behind the houses.

In this garden I don't get many deformed carrots so these always make me smile. They are very silly looking carrots.

And last but not least. This week I finally finished up the Asian greens, so picked some more. The white stemmed bok choy was starting to bolt so I picked all that had little flowers starting to form. I'll eat that first. The green stemmed and the tatsoi don't bolt as quickly. The tatsoi won't bolt at all this fall and will keep better during the winter than the bok choy. So that will be the last picked. Fun Jen doesn't keep well either, but I'm just picking it as needed for salads. I haven't wanted many recently. I've been eating soup every day, but very few salads.

  • Beans 4.06 lbs
  • Carrots 4.33 lbs
  • Cucurbits 9.42 lbs
  • Greens 2.34 lbs
  • Weekly Total 20.15 lbs
  • Weekly Spent $0
  • Yearly Total 565.62 lbs
  • Veggie Garden was worth $1260.23
  • Fruit 1.87 lbs

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to show off, add your name and link to Mr Linky below.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Seed Progress

I've been working to get the seeds all sorted out. I've been using Excel. I made a list of everyone's order and added them all up. Once I knew how many seeds people wanted I put them all into little labeled bags. For the record, so far there are 31 people requesting seeds and 110 little filled bags. Last year it was much smaller. It seems to grow every year. At some point I won't be able to do it anymore, but so far so good.

After I had the seeds in bags. I made up a mailer for everyone. Those that wanted beans got padded envelopes. Those that didn't got cards. In years past I might have written a little note inside wishing them well with their garden, but this year there are just so many and so little time. I'm sure you will know all the seeds are from me. The labels on the seeds clearly mark it as coming from Daphne's Dandelions.

I expect a few more requests over the next week or so, but not a lot. I tend to get the majority of requests within a couple of days of the post. Though some will trickle in even in December (though I mostly won't be here in December so don't expect any fast response). December really is the time to think about seeds. I've already gotten my Pinetree catalog. I can't wait for the Fedco one to come in. I usually order most of my seed from them as they are a very nice not for profit coop. They specialize in seed for New England. I know the seed they sell me will grow here.

Anyway back to my seeds. I think I did OK getting them right, but I think someone might have gotten some Paris Island seed instead of something else. I should have double checked them before sealing up those envelopes. I'll get the majority of them mailed out sometime next week. I want to do them all at once so I won't have to go to the post office too many times. Right now the Tarbais beans won't be out of the freezer until Monday so probably I'll go on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard

I think my time canning this fall is already over so I'm going to share a recipe for Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard.

So many have been asking what I do with my dried beans. In the days that I could eat tomatoes and peppers I would make a lot of Mexican or Tex Mex dishes. Things like burritos, huevos rancheros, black bean soup, or chili. But for now I'm not eating those solanums, so I've been making soup. My favorite of the non-tomato based soups is ham and bean soup. Now I rarely measure things out for soups but I'll try to give you an estimate of how this one was made.

Daphne's Ham and Beans Soup

  • 1 cup dried beans of your choice.
  • 4 cups chicken of vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • T oil
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup wine or water
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cubed ham
  • salt to taste

First I pick out my beans. You can use any type of beans for this recipe, but creamier beans would be best. Tiger's Eye beans would be my pick, but lacking those I went for some Ottawa Cranberry beans. If you don't have any interesting beans from the garden, your typical white bean is just fine. The Ottawa Cranberry beans have such history for me. They were first given to me by the Ottawa Gardener (I named them after her as they were of an unknown type of cranberry bean). I've sent them to dozens of people over the years for them to try out. Then I accidentally ate my seed beans. I had a few sad small beans, but they wouldn't have produced well the first year. So Granny came to my rescue and sent them back to me last spring so I could plant them again. I love having some history in my soup bowl.

Soak the beans in water overnight. In the morning drain off the liquid and rinse. Add the beans, broth, and bay leaves to a pot and simmer for an hour.

While the pot is starting to simmer. Chop up your onions, carrots, and celery. As you can see mine are pretty colorful, which will make the soup reddish. The carrots are Purple Haze; the celery is Redventure; and the onions are Copra and Redwing.

A colorful miropoix

Saute the onions until about half translucent then add in the carrots and celery. Saute until the onions are translucent. Deglaze the pan with some white wine or water. I use wine if I have it around and not if I don't. Then toss it into the beans. The beans do not have to be done with their hour yet. In fact it is good if they aren't as the flavors will meld better.

After the hour check if the beans beans are mostly soft and add the ham and parsley. If your beans still aren't soft yet, continue cooking until they are. The older the beans are the more dried out they get and the longer they take to cook. I don't add the ham or salt at the start. Beans can get tough if they are cooked in salt, which is why it is best to use a salt free broth. I make my own and never add anything except chicken. (Though this recipe has no acidic ingredients, beans can also get tough if cooked in acids, so save the tomatoes or lime juice until after they are soft.) Cook for an hour longer until all the flavors are melded.

This recipe can be changed around. Use vegetable broth and no ham for a vegan soup. Or use beef broth and beef for a beef soup. Sometimes I use less onion and sometimes more. If you want to make it a very very rich soup, you can add some cream. Personally I like to eat it with a bit of Greek yogurt. Mmmmmm.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Seeds, Sex, and an Offer

Lettuce seed on the stem

Every year I try to save seeds. Mostly I save seeds that are easy to save. To know which ones they are you have to know a bit about the plants. Plants tend to come in two types. Inbreeders and outbreeders.

Lettuce seed getting separated

Outbreeders (like brasscas, corn, and onions) don't like to breed with plants too closely related to them. They like to be heterozygus, which means they like to be promiscuous. They don't want to breed with themselves and they don't want to breed with a plant like them. They like a wild sex life. I think all wind pollinated plants (corn, spinach, and any of the grasses come to mind) are outbreeders. The wind can carry pollen for long distances. It is a great way to mix up the gene pool. Other outbreeders are insect pollinated. You may not get your pollen out as far as with the wind, but those bees do get around.

Outbreeders have something called inbreeding depression. If they inbreed too much the seed will become less and less viable over the years. So if you save seed from brassicas, and you don't have enough plants for them to cross, you might not get viable seed. The first year might be just fine if you only have a few plants, but as you collect in future years, you might not even get any seed. I've heard from 40-100 plants or more are necessary to maintain a diverse enough gene pool for the outbreeders.

Since letting that many go to seed is often hard. And isolating that many plants is also hard. I save seed from inbreeders. This means I don't have to maintain quite as large of a gene pool. It is good to collect from more than one plant, but you don't have to. Inbreeders have sex two ways. They use insect pollination and they can self pollinate. If they can pollinate by insects and you (or your neighbors) are growing more than one variety, you have to isolate it in some way. I've done this in the past. But this year I just used the ones that self pollinate.

Beans to be shelled

I have saved seed from beans, peas, tomatoes, and lettuce this year. All self pollinate. All have a possibility that they can cross. Tomatoes usually don't. Most modern tomatoes have short styles, but if the style sticks out past the anther cone then they can cross. With beans and peas whether they cross or not is dependent on where you live. Some insects can get into flowers and pollinate them, but if the insects aren't in your neighborhood you are safe (BTW runner beans are an exception, their flowers are open and can cross readily). Lettuce is almost always self pollinated before the flower opens. I saved both white and black seeded lettuce. The black seeded trait is dominant. So if I had any black seeds in my white seeded varieties, I would know that crossing occurred. It didn't.

Now for the offer. Some people trade seeds every year, but I much prefer just to give them away. Some years I ask for things. Like last year I asked people to send me seeds to trial for dried pole beans if they had ones they liked. But there is no quid pro quo here. And this year I have nothing I can think of that I want to trial. So as long as I don't run out if you ask for them I'll mail them to you. I'll mail the smaller seeds worldwide, but the larger seeds are more expensive to ship so I only mail them to the US or Canada. I tend to put in enough so you can try them, but not enough so you can grow a whole garden's worth of them.

So if you are interested, don't make a comment here. Email me at Include the following things:

  • your name
  • your address
  • which seeds you want

I'll mail them all at once, and a few varieties of bean seeds haven't been frozen (to kill pests) yet so it might be a week or two.

Please note that I'm not taking any more requests.

Pole Beans

I've been offering Cherokee Trail of Tears bean for a few years now. The Cherokees carried this bean on their long march that the bean was named for. Personally I first got this bean from the Ottawa Gardener and have grown it every year since. This bean has world domination on its mind when it grows. It can probably grow 12' high with ease if given something that high to grow on. This summer it was one of the more productive beans at 0.37 pounds per sqft of garden space. The bean is a fairly early bean and can produce every year here even in a bad year.

The Ottawa Cranberry bean was also given to me by the Ottawa Gardener. It is also a very productive bean at 0.33 lbs/sqft. It however stays in bounds. It will grow to 6' but not much more. It is a fairly early bean.

The Tarbais Alaric bean came to me through the Seed Savers Exchange yearbook. It is the classic French bean. It is usually picked as a shelling bean. Sadly the productivity I can't tell. I have in my hand 0.37 lbs/sqft, but some were given away as shelling beans and not dried beans and those are not in the total. So this was my most prolific bean. Like Trail of Tears the vines could grow very tall if given a chance. However it is a later bean than the proceeding beans. By August 5th only two pods had set so far. It really ramped up later on though. Since it is usually picked as a shelling bean, the lateness wouldn't be an issue for eating. But it might not be long enough to save seed every year.

Mexican Pinto was offered through the SSE yearbook by SSE (SSE BEAN 1025). They keep a large variety of seed in storage and occasionally grow it out. This was seven year old seed. They asked that anyone that grew it offer it up. So I'm doing that. The vines were fairly in control. So maybe 6'-7' tall at the most. About half the plants died early on. It was still fairly productive at 0.30 lbs/sqft even with the missing plants.

Rattlesnake was given to me by Mike H. Early on it looked like it would produce well. But what happened was that it produced one quick flush than stopped. So it was early enough but only came in at 0.28 lbs/sqft. Which isn't bad. And all the beans were early which is good in a bad year. The vines got to the top of the trellis, but didn't start taking over its neighbors. So it plays well with others.

Turkey Craw came to me from Michelle. It is a really beautiful bean. It is however later than most of the other beans I grew. Not late enough to keep it from producing though as I got 0.33 lbs/sqft. The vines were the most aggressive in the garden. They will take over their neighbors. So be warned.

Apache Red came from the SSE Yearbook. It is a very vigorous vine and the pods set very late. I could see this not producing in my area in bad years. I don't have the yield figures because not all the beans have been removed from their pods. I still have a bag left to do. I find the beans a little ugly. They are not in the least a smooth color. They have a lot of bumps and ridges and a lot of not bred out weirdness to them. I would love to know their history.


Market Miracle (70) is a tomato that seems to be able to handle some adversity. I gave a plant to a friend who put it in a spot with about 5 hours of sunlight a day. It still produced about 20 tomatoes. I've found it produces better in shade than other tomatoes I've grown. It makes 6-8oz perfectly round red tomatoes. The tomatoes do have a tendency to fall of the vine prematurely.

Cherokee Purple (80) is a delicious tomato. Black, round, beefsteak type.

Not quite ripe Amish on left, Heinz on right

Amish Paste (75) is a very good tasting paste tomato, but is one of the few pastes that is good raw. It is heart shaped and red.

Heinz 2653 (68) is a very early determinant paste type with an elongated shape. It produces a lot over a 2-3 week period then it succumbs to disease.


Redsails and Paris Island

I have three types of lettuce seed to offer. I have Red Sails, a red leaf lettuce. Paris Island is the typical romaine. And Little Gem is a mini romaine.


I have a few other seeds left that don't fit a category:

  • Caribe cilantro - slow bolter
  • Borage
  • Ground Control Marigold (2010 seed)