It is almost October and what is left in the garden is either waiting to be composted or over-mature. So it is time to save any seeds that we want for next year. We had a terribly wet season here on Big Ugly and much of our garden simply rotted from the continued rain. However, one of the sweet pepper varieties in my garden did very well. They weren’t the big sweet bell peppers we see in the market, they were long and thin like banana peppers, but ripened to a beautiful red. When I tried one, I expected it to be hot, but it was incredibly sweet. Also it had not succumbed to the blight that had taken so much else in the garden. So I saved the seeds from several of the pods and let them air dry on a saucer over the stove. Some of the pumpkins also did well despite the mildew and mold. The flesh of the pumpkins was somewhat stringy, but they did well and made a very good pumpkin casserole with a crunchy rolled oat and brown sugar topping. I saved those seeds also.
How seeds are saved and new plants started is almost a lost art these days. But A Celebration of Heirloom Vegetables by Roger Yepsen is a great help in learning what to do to successfully save seeds from one year to the next. It is a beautiful book, as well. This book is well suited as a coffee table book. The illustrations are strikingly artistic and the text easy on the eyes. The book is arranged simply in alphabetic order by common names of the vegetables. There is a short section on starting and growing the plants and a section on saving the seeds and starting the plants for next year. Some plants have to be isolated in order to save seeds because they tend to cross pollinate and the seed may not give the desired variety. Other plants self-pollinate and don’t have that problem. Yepsen goes over all this for each vegetable in a concise manner.
Another feature of this lovely book is that it describes many heirloom varieties which have been dropped by the big seed companies. References to places to obtain heirloom varieties is compiled in the index. Enjoy this marvelous read!