Saving Seed

Ms. TurkeyThe room where I sleep is a scene of disorder and mayhem. That’s nothing new, I suppose, but it smells like a shed, too. I blame the weather! First of all, I have no nice, dry, mouse-proof shed in which to store my crop of Indian corn, so when the sky clouded up last week I had my kids help me stack all the totes of corn inside the house at the foot of the bed. Then last Saturday was all about seed saving; I butchered 10 Galeaux d’Esyines pumpkins and scooped out the seeds, washed them free of their sticky entrails and spread them on a cardboard panel to dry- in my room. Two chilacayotes went under the knife too, followed by two Calabasas de Castilla. Then I switched over to peppers and cleaned some Padron, Friarelli, Goat Horn, and Carmagnola peppers for seed. It was cold outside where I was working so I built a fire, and I plugged in the radio so I could listen to “This American Life” as I worked. As I cleaned the peppers I put the seeds into dishes to dry. But even before I was done, and even with the flames and the smoke and NPR droning away, little birds started to swoop down and raid my seed dishes. So the pepper seeds went into my room too. I’m happy that I’ve got so much seed set aside for next year, and I’m confident it will dry out well and that the spicy, funky smell will moderate over time. I can always build a fire in my wood stove and warm up the room if the process appears to be taking too long. Not everybody is happy with the situation, though. My daughter thinks that it’s embarrassing to be related to someone who lives like a peasant, and my dog, who usually shares my values, is annoyed that I moved the fleece she sleeps on by the door to a less convenient location. seed saving in the houseThere’s more seed to clean too- Cayenne, Aji Rocoto, and Principe Borghese tomatoes, for example, so the situation will only get worse before it gets better. But once the seed is dry I’ll put it in envelopes and file it away. And once I have the time- probably after Thanksgiving- Kira and Adam are going to help me shell and grind the corn so we can have some fresh cornmeal to sell at our wintertime Ladybug Truck Farm deliveries. Adam and Kira have a bicycle powered corn meal grinder and an old fashioned hand cranked machine that shells corn. That’ll be fun, and once we’re done the house will smell like corn bread baking and my room can go back to looking like something Martha Stewart, my daughter, and my dog can all be proud of.

copyright 2011 Andy Griffin text and photos


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1 Response to “Saving Seed”

  1. 1 Mark Covello

    Rosalie asked me to let you know that we would like to continue our pacheco pick ups next season. Can you please direct me to the information about securing our spot there?

    Thank you.

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