How to Save Seeds
Save seeds from the best-looking vegetable plants in your garden. Choose from the functional workhorse collection of five or six species. Start with a few self–pollinating plant varieties like beans, peas, tomatoes and lettuce. For beans and peas, let the pods stay on the vine until they are leathery and you can hear the seeds rattling inside. Pick them and let the beans dry indoors for a week or so. For tomatoes, save only seeds from heirloom varieties and not hybrids, whose offspring won’t taste the same as the parent plant. Pick the fruit ripe, scrape the seeds into a jar, add water and let them sit to ferment. The flesh and goo rise to the top, and the seeds sink to the bottom. After about a week, rinse the seeds and spread them out on a tea towel to dry. For lettuce, let a vigorous looking head bolt into bloom. Once you see the flowers turn into white fluff, like miniature dandelions, shake the stalks into a paper bag.
Store seeds in glass jars to protect them from insects and rodents. Label jars with the name, harvest date and place and any information you have about who and where the seeds came from.

When kept in a cool, dark place, seeds can last many years. The bigger the seed, the longer the life span. A bean can sprout after 20 years, or many more if it has been kept in a freezer.

Saving seeds isn’t just about stashing them in a vault for some distant future; it’s about preserving the know-how to grow and keep them alive season after season. If we want a resilient food supply in the face of climate change, we need seeds that are continuing to adapt.
Assorted vegetable seed mix of corn, snap bean, pea, pinto dry bean, broccoli, winter squash.
Flora non grata
On a recent visit to New Orleans for an arborist conference, I snuck away to take in some of the local sites. A friend told me about enjoying the ‘swamp tour’ so that’s where I headed next. Boating thorough the water, seeing alligators and cypress trees, we came upon a beautiful floating flower. My guide pulled it out of the water and described how it is the one of the world’s worst invasive species. He deemed it the vegetable personification of evil and said it is hated by everyone. What? I had no idea.

The water hyacinth is regarded as one of the world’s worst invasive species. It owes it success to the human desire for beautiful possessions. A native of the Amazon, the plant was transplanted around the tropical world because of its remarkable lavender and pink flowers. It arrived in Louisiana in 1884 during the World’s Fair, a gift from a group of Japanese visitors. The impact was instantaneous and soon it spread across the south, clogging waterways to the point that they became impenetrable. Nothing seemed to be able to stop it’s rampant growth.

The water hyacinth floats thanks to its bulbous, spongy stems, which retain large quantities of air. It has large shiny thick leaves which form a stratum of vegetable matter on the surface of the water going down as far as three feet deep. Water hyacinth reproduces primarily by way of runners or stolons, which eventually form daughter plants. Each plant additionally can produce thousands of seeds each year, and these seeds can remain viable for more than 28 years. In some areas, water hyacinths were found to grow between 7 and 16 feet a day. Today it is present in fifty countries on five continents.

In 1910, congress considered importing hippopotamuses to America from Africa to control water hyacinth. The rotund beasts’ advocates claimed they would not only eat the hyacinths but also provide the country with meat. A roast hippo would become as natural as a pork chop or chicken soup. The idea failed to pass in committee by one vote. If one committee member who cast the decisive no vote had voted yes, there might be hippos in the Unites States today, but I have no doubt they would still be swimming in rivers and swamps infested by the water hyacinth.
Blankets of water hyacinth vegetation can be so thick and extensive, that is impenetrable for boats.
You would never imagine that a monster of this magnitude could hide behind such a delicate and lovely flower.
Volunteers work to get rid of water hyacinth in New Orleans.
Hamline Church Dining Hall's State Fair Ham Loaf
1 1/2 lbs ground ham
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
3 cups dry bread crumbs
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp allspice
2 cups milk
3 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup vinegar
1/4 cup prepared mustard
Combine all ingredients except sauce. Pack mixture into a 9x5x3 inch pan. Combine sauce ingredients and spoon half over loaf. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Pour a little sauce over ham loaf when serving if you wish.
Thanks for Reading
and Happy Planting!
Faith Appelquist
President & Founder