Archive for April, 2011

Saving Seeds

Although spring has technically only been here for a little more than a month, I can tell that our pleasant days and cool nights are quickly fading. Our cool weather greens can tell too. We’ve had what might end up being the hottest April on record in Austin, although it appears that May is going to start off rather cool (and we might actually get rain too!). Still, it’s too late to save our lettuce, spinach, and arugula, all of which have flowered and/or gone to seed. We decided we’d try to save some of these seeds, so we spent the afternoon clipping arugula pods and pulling off spinach seeds. I have to admit we don’t really know what we’re doing, so it’s possible that these seeds won’t actually sprout this fall, but we’ll see.

Arugula seed pod

Arugula seeds and pod

Spinach seeds

Spinach seeds on the stem. Google tells me these are female seeds.

Spinach and arugula seeds

Spinach on the left, arugula on the right.

 

Butterball in the garden

Obligatory garden cat picture

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Earth Week :: The Digital Farm Collective

Earth Week is a good time to reflect on all that Mother Nature gives us, and, as small-time backyard gardeners, we’re thankful for the few things we can grow each season. Learning how to take care of plants, watching things grow and flourish, and sharing time together outside are all things I’m thankful for. Plus, spending time outside means less time sitting around watching TV, although I’m still a sucker for some 30 Rock and Friday Night Lights.

This week at work, our “Green Team” brought in a speaker named Matthew Moore who started a project called the Digital Farm Collective. Matt is a fourth generation farmer in Arizona who also loves art. He’s working on an online archive to compile footage of every cultivated plant in the world. Pretty awesome, right? Using art to inspire social change, he asks farmers to pass on their knowledge through time-lapse photography of a plant from seed to harvest. His videos were featured at Sundance in 2010 and in the produce departments of some grocery stores. Here’s one of the “lifecycles” videos he shared with us. There are plenty more on his blog.

Matt asks people if they would change their eating behaviors if they knew one head of broccoli took 105 days to harvest or squash took 55 days. Would we waste less or appreciate farmers more or understand better where our food comes from? I think so.

Matt also left some seed packets for everyone to take home. These are probably the coolest seed packets I’ve seen with photography of the plant through it’s lifecycle. I took a squash packet, so I’m looking forward to getting the seeds planted soon.  

Lifecycles Seed Packet

Strawberries and Tomatoes

The spring garden is in full swing, and we’re loving this beautiful Austin weather right now. The cats have to be picked up and escorted into the house at night because they are too stubborn to come in. I don’t blame them.

I’m trying to blog from the WordPress app on my phone for the first time, so I’ll make this post short with some pictures!

The strawberries are coming up one at a time, and we share them, so it’s just a bite here and there right now. Five tomato plants grew out of nowhere among the strawberries, so now I’m wondering if they’re companions? We had to pluck them all out, which was sad to do, but Blair saved one in a pot to see how it does. (We already had six other tomato plants in the ground…yes, way more than two people can eat. Good thing we have friends.)

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We also noticed our first tomatoes on the vine this week!! These are Cherokee Purple tomatoes, which are delicious heirlooms if you haven’t tried them before.

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And Blair finally pulled up the first carrot that he’d been eying for weeks.

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More updates and pictures to come!