November 2, 2012

Gardening is School - promise!

I know it is only November, but my mind thinks about just a few things.  Food, gardening, and family.  I am simple like that.  :)

I was posting on my personal blog and thought that this was also applicable to us homeschoolers because we all like to teach our children.  I find that for our family, most of our best learning happens outdoors.  The garden is a great teaching tool.  So...this post seemed like it was applicable to both blogs.  Forgive me if you disagree.

Saving seed to plant the next year is very important to me.

 
 
A couple of the reasons why:
  • What if there were some reason you were either unable to afford, or unable to access new seed the next year?  Saving seed will open the door to perpetual seed that you never have to order again.
  • Knowing how to do things (almost everything) is really important to me.  I like to know how it is done, so I try really hard to learn about it.  Seed saving is no different.
  • The Lord has commanded us to grow a garden.  Sometimes that can get pricey, but to cut costs down, I can save seed.
  • Shipping is free!
  • I personally find that seed that is saved is so much more delicious than the kinds that you find in the store, and the seed you buy in a package.  Heritage/Heirloom plants, to me, are so yummy.
  • My kids will be able to grow their favorite things year after year from seed they have helped harvest and save from their very own garden.
So, how do you go about saving your seed?
 
Well first you need a garden. 
 
I thought I would give you a couple fun links to planning a garden.  As always, I have a tonne of stuff pinned as well if you want to check that out.  (Garden board, OR Seeds/Plants board)
 
This link is 6 steps of planning a garden.  I especially like #5 where it gives some of my favorite places to buy seeds.  If you want my personal favorite list, here is a link to mine.  This is a great place to get your kids involved.  One year I had my boys sit down with all my catalogues and plan their own garden.  I gave them a "budget" and they drew up plans and kept their ideal garden in that budget.  It was a great learning experience for them.
 
After you plan what to plant, having a journal or plan to record what you did is a good idea.  This link is a great little starter book.  If you want to buy a premade book, this book I reviewed is also amazing.  This is great if you nature journal too.  My boys all keep a record of their findings each time we plant a garden.  It is interesting to read about what they think is important.
 
Once you have your journal, I would make some permanent seed labels.  You are saving seed so you will be planting these forever.  There are so many different kinds out there, but these are super simple and relatively inexpensive.  Arts and Crafts anyone?!
 
Sometime in March you will get your seeds in the mail.  (if you are a keener like me and ordered by February)  When you get them there are some things that we like to do. 
 
I LOVE to plan out when I am starting each seed.  I love to see the little tiny green shoots popping out and know that soon I will be able to plant them outside.  This year I am super excited though because I get to use my very own greenhouse!!!  This new house we bought has one and can I just tell you, that was a sale clincher for sure!  This chart is a really handy reference if you don't know where to start on each type of seed.
 
My boys also love to make seed bombs.  We haven't been brave enough to bomb places that we don't own yet, but we do bomb our own stuff.  These ones are super simple and work great.
 
Of course you are going to have some wicked awesome plants come up after all that.  NOW WHAT?!
 
Here is a great reference from seed savers to tell you how to save seed off every plant you just planted.  If you prefer an interactive version, here is the same one, but with a drop down list.  I have each of my kids responsible for a certain plant in the garden.  This is great because they weed it for me!  They also are responsible for saving seed each year.  They research it, and make sure they are doing the right thing to save seed.  Of course, with younger children they need help, but it can still be fun for them to be involved.
 
What do you do with your seeds after you saved them?  Seeds prefer to have paper surrounding them.  Don't use a plastic bag (increases moisture), don't can them (again with the moisture, or if you dry packed them...no moisture), place them in paper.  When you buy seed they come in handy little paper packages.  This is because optimal temperature/moisture content happens in paper.  There are so many different ways to have paper packages, but if you want to make them pretty, here are a few links to printables.
 
I am so excited to have spring come to start my garden.  I know, I just finished a growing season here, but gardening is so much fun.  Eating what you have produced, working hard to make it, seeing all the little plants you planted grow and thrive...nothing like it in my book.  (well, children are topping that, but you get the idea)
 
Just for fun, this little clip is really cute. 

 
 


Jaime blogs at Welcome to the Madness where the name is an apt description of her life.  Especially now! 

4 comments - Add a comment below -:

Dana ♥ said...

Each year I hope for my huge garden of veggies and so far each year I am limited by $$. I think I'll start this winter and take care of a few things if I can swing it. Saving seeds = awesome! Thanks!

JRoberts said...

Dana, I think one of the best things about seed saving is the crazy amount of seeds you get. Eg: 3 tiny tomatoes gave me over 300 seeds to save!! Definatly a money saver that is for sure! Good luck. As always, you can email me...I would love to help.

Mandy said...

I've just started learning about seed saving this year with the Utah Seed Exchange.(http://utahseed.blogspot.com/) It's been really neat to learn about it and save seeds, as well as teach my family too. Thanks for your great ideas too!

JRoberts said...

Mandy,

Tessa is an amazing person. You will learn so much from her. I was blessed to finally meet her in person this year and she is amazing.

I haven't been able to meet Caleb in person, but his books and blogs and FB are inspiring. You will love them both!

Have fun gardening and saving seed!