Don’t onion seedlings make you think of tiny little alien tentacles or periscopes rising up from the soil?
p.s. If you sow too much, the sprouts are edible, too.Leave a comment
I want this book! We took a week off last month, staying at the home of an avid tomato gardener whose name I have not sought permission to reveal (and therefore will not). While there she introduced me to the Kokopelli Seed Foundation, a non-profit organization based in France who are working to actively address issues of food security and preserve biodiversity by producing organic open-pollinated seeds as well as educating and promoting these issues globally.
One of their projects is the book, “The Seeds of Kokopelli” by Dominique Guillet is a massive 440 page, hardcover tome introducing Kokopelli’s work and farms, as well as proper pollination, seed production and saving techniques for an assortment of vegetables. The bulk of the book functions as a food plant directory introducing thousands of open-pollinated and heirloom herb and vegetable varieties. My host had the French version of the book at her home
(“Les Semences de Kokopelli“) which proved to be a bit of a tease given that I could only gaze at the photos, picking up a line or two of French here and there. Even still, on quick glance the book introduced me to a few interesting varieties that I’ve got on my list for next year including:
What I saw has absolutely convinced me to order a English edition for myself. $46 (includes shipping to Canada) is an excellent price for such a massive encyclopedia of plants. The price including shipping to the US is a deal at $34-38.Leave a comment
Adorably teeny tiny Mexican Sour Gherkins (Melothria scabra) are starting to pop up all over the vines I’ve got growing at my community garden plot. The fruit in the picture is about half and inch or so and should be approximately 1-2″ when fully ripe however I am extremely impatient and picked a few for tasting. They taste very much like tiny, juicy cucumbers. Every description I have read says they have a surprisingly sour skin that makes them taste almost pre-pickled straight off the vine. Mine were very fresh flavored so I can only guess that the sourness will develop as the fruit matures.
The plant is a very ornamental and prolific vine with lots of pretty little leaves dotted by miniature yellow flowers. The tiny, ridiculously cute fruit are like Lilliputian watermelons, accounting for nicknames like “mouse melon” and Ã¢â‚¬Å“sandÃƒÂitaÃ¢â‚¬Â (Spanish for little watermelon).
I started mine this past spring from seeds purchased online via Seed Savers. I was a little bit concerned by the small size of the plants in comparison to other cucumbers at planting time but they took off immediately and quickly climbed up the trellis I made for my cucumbers using bamboo stakes and a plastic “chicken wire” leftover from another project. So far the plants are living up to their reputation as a pest and disease-resistant species — while some of the other curcubits are starting to show signs of powdery mildew the Mexican Sour Gherkins are entirely blemish and pest free. The plants are also much more drought tolerant than other cucumber-related plants making them a welcome addition to gardens like mine that can’t be tended to on a daily basis. I am not growing any on my rooftop garden this year but I would imagine that unlike many cucumber varieties that can be tricky in containers, their drought tolerant nature and small size would make this a good option in a medium-large sized container.
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Sure we’re already mid-way into the growing season but it’s not too late to plant seeds and it is certainly not too late to buy seeds with pretty packaging. I found these Asian seeds by Kitazawa Seed Co. at Soko Hardware in an Francisco’s Japantown and could not resist their understated but well-designed packages for my collection.
I plan to try out the watercress seeds immediately as an experiment and will use the daikon seeds in my sprouter. I already have my shiso crop in place for this year and being hardy self-seeders probably won’t need the seeds next year but I thought, What the hey, and bought them anyways.
Browsing through the website I can see that they have a huge selection of Asian veggies and herbs that I have never seen anywhere else. Check out ‘Tankuro’, a black seeded soybean, ‘Japanese Long Scarlet‘ an elongated, red radish, and ‘Kurogoma‘ black sesame seeds! Too late and too much for this year but possibles for next year’s experiments.Leave a comment
Aka The Great Yearly Event in Which I Grant Myself Permission to Pig Out on More Herbs Than You Can Shake a Stick At.
I went. I smelled. Money left my wallet. I went home with an allergy attack and a cart full of glorious, smellerific plants.
Here’s what everyone wants to see:
I also received a couple of basils and eggplants in trade. Now I just have to get these things planted!
Now I know why I neglected to write a yearly update after last year’s event… too many plants!Leave a comment