Seed Keepers

vegetablegardenerbeans - image from http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/5634/growing-beans-to-save-for-seedWe seem to becoming the keeper of Newstead’s gardening history.

A few weeks ago I was given some beans. The late Ray Petersen had grown these beans – Kola is the variety – for many years. He always grew the beans from seeds from Grandma Petersen who lived at Strangways, so the story goes, and they are described as “not stringy”. And now we have them. Along with the Newstead tomato from David Clarke, also deceased.

The Newstead Tomatoes are growing well and because they are a late variety we hope the season will be long enough for both tasty fruit and viable seed. We have some growing in raised beds that can be protected from frosts by poly or shadecloth. Others under the apple trees. And our fingers crossed.

The Kola beans (they look like Redland Pioneer bush beans in color, but have the shape of Blue Lake climbers – will be interesting to see how they grow) will have to wait til next spring and after those frosts.  Because beans are self pollinating, we can be pretty sure that their progeny and the ongoing seeds we save will be as close to Ray’s original ones as possible. It’s a responsibility being a heritage seedkeeper, but also worthy, exciting and fruitful. Do you have family heirlooms in your garden?

DSC_0315The March Notes are now posted, so have a forage through your seed collection, sharpen the secateurs and enjoy autumn in the garden – just about my favorite time to be scratching about in the outdoors – and one of the busiest and rewarding gardening times in the year. And don’t forget Saturday’s Produce Exchange and our Fundraising Dinner!

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