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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

GO Sunshine! -Autumn Planting & Collecting Seeds

One day it's 3 degrees above zero, pouring with rain and depressing as hell. Today it's 16 degrees below zero and sunny. Sunshine makes me happy. Except these Autumn crocus (Colchicum) haven't opened yet. This morning when I went outside wearing my down coat, toque, mittens and insulated boots I found them lying flat on the ground, I'm thinking their flowers won't be opening this year.

Now that Winter has arrived, I'm checking out the local ski & skate ski areas for snow reports. I'm not sad that gardening is over, I'm just moving on to winter life in northern BC.

My freezer and cold room are full of vegetables and strawberries from my garden. Mnnnn, what to make with frozen strawberries?

Things To Plant In Autumn

Three weeks ago I planted potatoes and peas following the advice of old timers. Usually I plant these in the spring. I know the potatoes will sprout next year but what about the peas? I've also planted garlic, plus there is the perennial plants- asparagus, strawberries, raspberries arugula, chives and other herbs just waiting for a tweet from mother nature to so they can start growing again next spring. I've also covered up the kale to keep the marauding, hares from eating it when it starts growing again next spring. I'm excited to see everything coming up next spring, especially the kale since I want to flower and go to seed!

Collecting Seeds

This year I collected seeds from the peas. It was easy since they mature quickly from an early spring planting. Beans were a bit harder since they are not planted till mid June. But I did manage to harvest a couple of mature pods although I had to finish drying them inside.

The carrots were a huge dissappointment. Because carrots are biennial I left some roots in the ground over winter. Unfortunately many of them were eaten by mice. However due to a stroke of genius I had planted carrots in more than one spot so the unscrupulous mice didn't find them all. Luckily because of an oversight during harvesting, 1 carrot planted in the other spot started growing the following spring. It put up an impressive flower stalk but even though it flowered massively the seeds did not mature. I even brought some of the flowers inside hoping they would dry and somehow turn into seed. Maybe summer in zone 3 is just not long enough to harvest carrot seeds?

This year I didn't leave any carrots in the garden. I harvested them all. I'm hoping at least one of them, a big one, survives winter in the cold room so I can replant it and maybe try collecting carrot seeds again next year.

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