Organic Gardening; Heirloom Seeds V/S Hybrids

 

It’s spring, even though it’s still pretty cold in some parts of our country. Here in southern Nevada it’s definitely time to plant some seeds. If I decide to plant my vegetables from seed, are all seeds equal? Will I get similar results? What is a hybrid? And what is a heirloom?

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

If you buy vegetables at the grocery store they are usually hybrids. A hybrid is a cross bred vegetable, that is modified to grow a big crop, be resistent towards diseases, and yield a harvest that is as tolerant as possible. Fruit and vegetables sold at the store often have to withstand extensive travel to get there, and of course most consumers like them to last as long as possible before they go bad. They can be modified with help of humans, or naturally in nature. (Genetically Modified Organisms are always created in a lab, and that is not the same thing as a hybrid.)

A heirloom vegetable on the other hand comes from someone that saved a seed from their favorite vegetable, and planted it again. It’s not unusual that heirloom seeds are hundreds of years old. Most gardeners would agree that they are non-hybrids, and open pollinated. If you save a seed from a heirloom vegetable, and plant it next year, and save a seed from that vegetable to plant the year after that…..and so on, you are always going to get what you first started out with. That is not the case with hybrids. If you ever tasted a heirloom vegetable, you never want to eat a hybrid again. They taste a million times more, and comes in varieties most people are unable to imagine. For me the choice is simple, if I take the time to grow my own vegetables (which I love to do,) it’s definitely going to be both organic and heirloom varieties. If I like them, I save the seeds for future use. It’s a great idea to build a seed bank of your own. Have you ever tried saving seeds? It’s pretty cool!

I planted some cherry tomatoes with the kiddos at work today. I’m pretty sure it was the first time they planted something from a seed. I can’t wait to see how they react to the process of seeing their seeds turn into a delicious harvest. I’m going to have them help me take care of the plants every day.

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. – Lindley Karstens

The seeds we planted today are going to be part of a container garden. It’s the beginning of my favorite season! Extra exciting this year since I am in a new area, and gardening is likely going to be pretty experimental this first season. Do you have exciting garden plans? Tell me in a comment!

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share – Gardening Dreams

LSU Purple Fig

Can I offer you some hot coffee today? I’m definitely having another cup! It’s raining outside my window, and the air is fresh. It’s a welcome rain. We’ve had temperatures in the low 70’s this week. A sharp contrast from all the snow we had last week.

Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of traveling.

– Margaret Lee Runbeck

I have to say this – I feel great! I had a full night’s sleep, and I just feel good. I have been focusing on visualizing my goal of a homestead, and at the same time living in the moment here in the city. I feel that I’ve come to a good place.

corn

There is no way that I could have the huge garden I had last year, but I can have a small container garden. I have been growing microgreens inside for a while, and within the next couple weeks I’m going to plant cherry tomatoes outside. Since the space is very limited (in our backyard, ten minutes from Las Vegas strip,) I have to choose carefully, and not overdo it. (I often tend to do that, because I enjoy gardening so much. I have no problem caring for a 1-2 acres garden by myself.)

squash

I am planning to add some kitchen herbs later this spring. For fun I’m going to have some organic dwarf fruit trees, in containers. I actually ordered some this morning; pineapple, fig, and pomegranate. Pineapple is a wild card, I’ve never grown that! I eat a lot of pineapple in my fruit salad for breakfast, and thought it would be fun to try. This way I keep my homesteading dream alive, and enjoy some gardening, while my daughter attends a good school in the city. ..and hey, I can plant the trees on my property later on. That makes it extra fun, and worthwhile to take care of them. It’s not only my dream, my daughter loves growing fruit and vegetables as well.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. – Audrey Hepburn

Both my daughter and I are very visual, and we’ve started to look at different housing alternatives for our future homestead. Mostly just for fun, but also to know a little bit about how much cash I should have saved up before going into the project full-time. Our property is a few hours away, and there’s nothing on it right now. The whole project is still years into the future, at least 2-3 years, maybe more. I actually don’t feel a rush to get there, I want it to succeed long-term, more than getting there fast. I love the job I have now, and I enjoy exploring Nevada and surrounding states on my free time. For the longest time the big change of moving from the countryside to the city, pushed me slightly of balance, but I can feel zen returning to my life. It’s a good feeling.

Would you like a refill on that coffee? Or maybe some tea? How is your week so far?

Have a fabulous weekend!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

Update Saturday

When I went to bed last night the Carr Fire was 133,924 acres, and 39% contained. Slightly bigger than the day before, but the containment is also higher. There are still evacuations in order, but many people that were evacuated have been allowed to return to their homes. Especially in the city of Redding. There is a red flag warning because of the high winds, and dry conditions. The danger is by no means over, but the fire is still moving away from the city. Other surrounding communities are at risk. 

I’ve been thinking about the impact the Carr Fire have on our local wildlife. Several places that I love to hike at, have been completely burned down. I especially think of one place, where I used to go on a regular basis, to watch Ospreys. There’s several nests within a couple miles radius there, and it’s not unusual to see as many as 20 birds fishing in the Sacramento River. Since they are birds they can fly away from the fire, but I imagine that they would be greatly disturbed? Especially the birds with young ones in the nests. When it’s safe to do so I’m going to drive up there and check. There’s currently spot fires in that area, and I can not do it right now. Hopefully soon. 

My animals are doing good. The horses, especially Ghost (the young one,) are more attention seeking than usual. Despite his cautious nature, he is very social. He likes to spend a lot of time together. On his terms of course.. Before the fire I used to bring a book out in the pasture and sit there and read for an hour, or two most days. I don’t do that now, because of the smoke. The dry, dusty conditions we’re having, make them look dirtier than usual, even though I groom them every day. My dog Gretchen is playful, and happy. That makes me very happy, since she showed signs of great stress, when the fire raged closer to us.

The garden is doing wonderful, even though it could use more staking. My longest stakes are 7ft tall, and my tomato plants are currently 10+ft tall..it looks like a jungle. I get at least 5lbs of cherry tomatoes every day, and some cucumber, and yellow squash as well. My bell pepper should be coming along within the next few weeks. I’ve started a couple very interesting tomato varieties from seeds this week, for my fall garden. They will stay in a bright, warm room, next to the garage (used to be an art studio,) until the seedlings are ready to go in the ground. With some luck I timed it right, and they will be able to grow to full maturity, and be harvested before the cold weather sets in. I believe that I timed it right this year. I’m often a couple weeks too late, so I started three weeks earlier than I usually do, to give them enough time. Now it’s up to mother nature.

I propagated Valencia Oranges, and Cara Cara Oranges yesterday. The container garden gives me so much joy. I’m going to add a new variety of figs, from a nearby farm, next week. I need to go there and dig up the young trees myself, so I’ve been holding off a little, due to the air quality. The lady said that she had peach seedlings that I could have as well. Looking forward to go there. 

I’ve been contemplating what kind of green house I should put up for my container fruit trees, when it starts to get colder. Yesterday I decided that I’m going with a simple greenhouse kit, that I successfully used before. It is economic, and rather easy to assemble. I can do it myself. It’s not a permanent structure, so I don’t need a permit. It’s also easy to disassemble, if/when I want to move it. The frame is sturdy, and the covering is OK. You can purchase replacing covering if need be. I lived in a very windy area when I used it the last time, and the cover lasted two years before ripping. I added some extra stakes on the sides, and it held up good towards the wind. 

14289883_10207168567796885_56363751022889330_o

14434835_10207271432608441_7416359337779820680_o

I found a couple old photos of the greenhouse. It’s this exact model I’m thinking of getting for my container garden this fall. (Forgive the poor quality of the photos.)

A short post to let my friends, and family now that I’m doing good. My bags are still packed, and I am ready to go if the wind changes. However, I feel relatively safe now, since the fire have been steadily moving away from me, for several days. I’m actually going to school for 8 hours today. More about that later. I’m off to feed my animals, and water the garden, before heading to class. Have a wonderful Saturday!

Love,

Ms Zen