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I’ve been preparing seed packets for our Gardener’s Fest on Sunday Sept 19 from 1 to 3PM.  Thus far, I have 100 seed packets (Luffa, cantaloupe, cucumber, tomato, common milkweed, and okra). I’ll also bring three very small jujube trees; some butternut squash transplants and some blackberry transplants.  All this seed packaging activity reminded me how important seed saving is and why I encourage it.

SEED SAVING -- AN IMPORTANT ROLE FOR THE GARDENER

#1 Reason:  To preserve genetic diversity

Seeds have become the domain of just a few big companies. These companies focus their attention on just a few varieties of each crop. It is cost-efficient for them to focus on selling the most popular and they can more easily control their patents on a few varieties as opposed to the plethora of choices offered by nature .  As farmers and gardeners stop saving seeds, we lose more and more varieties.

Losing seed diversity makes us all more vulnerable. While we love all of our open-pollinated and heirloom varieties for many reasons, like flavor, beauty, and frost resistance, just to name a few, we might also really need a variety’s particular traits someday.  For example, if a variety develops a vulnerability to a blight, there are fewer and potentially no other varieties of that plant in existence to cross pollinate with. 

A few years ago, Texas A&M was doing experiments with cross-pollinating of varieties of corn with Teosinte, the original plant from which all modern corn comes.  Why?  Because this ancient mother of all corn is highly disease resistant.  If people had not been wise enough along the way to save seeds from Teosinte, this would not have been possible. As a food, Teosinte has little value to the modern human.  It only has 8 to 12 kernels per ear.  They are very hard. The ancient ones of Guatemala where Teosinte originated,  pounded these kernels into meal which then was made into bread.  A friend of mine who was working on these experiments gave me some Teosinte seed.  I still have some saved.  We grew it in the garden for a few years.  We’ll plant some again in 2022.

Planting seeds from Plants Grown in Your Local Area are the Best!

These plants have adapted to your local climate and weather conditions and generally have a much better chance for being healthy than those from commercial seeds.  By the way, save the seeds from your largest and healthiest plants as not all plants (and thus their seeds) are created equal.

 

Saving seeds is a good way to connect with your Loved ones.
If your parents or grandparents are avid gardeners, ask them to save seeds from plants they have grown.  Growing plants from these seeds is a wonderful way to feel continuity with them for generations.

Continue your education about Seed Saving on the Internet as it abounds with related information.

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Be sure and mark your Calendar for this Sunday, September 19th!  From 1 to 3PM Loving Garland Green is having a garden fest at the Garland Community Garden.  Bring your seeds and plants to share along with your best garden story.  We are located at the junction of Brand and Naaman School Road in Garland 75040.



SO, WHAT’S LEFT TO PLANT FOR A FALL GARDEN IN NORTH TEXAS?

Green Bush Beans:  Plant by September 15. - 45 days to maturity {Harvesting around Halloween]

Lima Bush Beans:  Plant by September 15. -65-75 days to maturity. [About Thanksgiving]

Beets:  Plant by October 1 -  50-60 days to maturity {About Dec 1]

Broccoli:  Plant by September 30 - 60 days to maturity

Brussels Sprouts :  Plant by September 30 - 60 to 100 days to maturity

Cabbage:  Plant by September 30 - 60 to 90 days to maturity

Carrots: Plant by September 30 - 70-80 days to maturity

Cauliflower:  Plant by September 20 - 70 - 90 days to maturity

Chard Swiss:  Plant by September 15 - 45 -65 days to maturity

Collards:  Plant by September 22 - 60 to 80 days to maturity {transplants are available at nurseries now]

Kale:  Plant by September 22 - 50  to 80 days to maturity

Kohlrabi:  Plant by September 20 - 65 to 75 days to maturity

Lettuce:  Plant by September 30 - 40 to 60 days to maturity

Mustard:  Plant by September 30 - 30 to 40 days to maturity

Onion Plants:  Plant by September 15 - 80 to 120 days to maturity

Onion Seeds:  Plant by September 22 - 80 to 120 days to maturity

Parsley:  Plant by October 8 - 70 to 80 days to maturity

Peas English:  Plant by November 3 -  65-90 days to maturity

Radish:  Plant by Plant by November 17 - 25 -40 days to maturity

Spinach:  Plant by November 3 -40   to  60 days to maturity

Turnip:  Plant by November 3 - 30 to 60 days to maturity

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NOTE: Your fall garden in North Texas can have even more edibles, but these should be planted in August and  definitely before the end of the first week in September:  Winter Squash (such as Butternut and Acorn Squash);  pole beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, okra, Irish potato, pumpkin, tomato.  You can still try your luck with most of these if they are healthy transplants but seeds are not recommended.

 

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Things are coming together as we approach the Sunday September 19th Event at the Garland Community Garden 1-3PM

I'm relieved for the rain to keep me out of the garden this morning but I've been working at my computer on some descriptions for the plants I'll be donating to our plant/seed exchange.  We will have many pots of Lemon Balm.  We have lemon balm all over the garden.  It grows well in North Texas and seems to thrive on neglect.

It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic). Even before the Middle Ages, lemon balm was steeped in wine to lift the spirits, help heal wounds, and treat venomous insect bites and stings. Today, lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to promote relaxation. It is also used in creams to treat cold sores (oral herpes).

Native to Europe, lemon balm is grown all over the world.  The plant grows up to 2 feet high, sometimes higher if not maintained. In the spring and summer, clusters of small, light-yellow flowers grow where the leaves meet the stem. If not carefully controlled, lemon balm can quickly become invasive in the garden. Often, people mistakenly think that lemon balm is invasive due to its roots, like its cousins peppermint and spearmint, but in fact it’s the seeds of the lemon balm plant that cause this herb to suddenly take over a garden. Removing the flowers of the plant as soon as they appear will make your lemon balm far less invasive.

 

RECIPE:  Lemon Balm Pesto

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup lemon balm leaves firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 TB lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fresh chives
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1.              Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

2.              Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.              Store in an airtight container for up to one week in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.

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The first of August, or perhaps last week of July, I posted an article on regrowing Romaine Lettuce and promised you an update.  Here it is.

Now I remember.  It had been a few years since I had done this, but the second week of August I cut off the top of some Romaine Lettuce and stuck it into water to grow.  It grew great the first two weeks.  Then, I put it in soil and gradually it began to get spindly and finally during the first week of September, it bit the dust.  Perhaps the solution is to eat the leaves when it is only about five inches tall and call it "gourmet baby lettuce."

Now it looks like the one I started a week later in August is headed down the same path.  I may try it again, but this time leave it in the water.  Several years ago I tried this with celery and it grew so well that I transplanted it into the Garden where it grew really well and I harvested off it for over two months.

GROWING POTATOES

I have successfully grown sweet potatoes for several years.  I decided to try my luck at growing potatoes that unlike sweet potatoes, belong to the nightshade family. [Many folks don't know this but the leaves of the sweet potato can be eaten as a fresh or cooked green but don't try this with other potatoes as they are member of the nightshade family!]

I followed the rules and ordered seed potatoes from a seed catalog.  No only were they late in coming (took a month), they were rotten!  So I went to the grocery store and bought  1.5 pounds of small red potatoes and  1.5 pounds of Irish Gold potatoes.  

I planted them about 10 days ago which is past the last date for planting potatoes in our area for a fall garden a that date is usually not past August 1.  Five days after planting the red potatoes germinated.  The small Irish Gold potatoes have get to germinate. [Note: one of the reasons to order seed potatoes is that you can be guaranteed they haven't been treated with anti-sprouting chemicals which some  of those found in grocery stores have been. 

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The first of August, or perhaps last week of July, I posted an article on regrowing Romaine Lettuce and promised you an update.  Here it is.

Now I remember.  It had been a few years since I had done this, but the second week of August I cut off the top of some Romaine Lettuce and stuck it into water to grow.  It grew great the first two weeks.  Then, I put it in soil and gradually it began to get spindly and finally during the first week of September, it bit the dust.  Perhaps the solution is to eat the leaves when it is only about five inches tall and call it "gourmet baby lettuce."

Now it looks like the one I started a week later in August is headed down the same path.  I may try it again, but this time leave it in the water.  Several years ago I tried this with celery and it grew so well that I transplanted it into the Garden where it grew really well and I harvested off it for over two months.

GROWING POTATOES

I have successfully grown sweet potatoes for several years.  I decided to try my luck at growing potatoes that unlike sweet potatoes, belong to the nightshade family. [Many folks don't know this but the leaves of the sweet potato can be eaten as a fresh or cooked green but don't try this with other potatoes as they are member of the nightshade family!]

I followed the rules and ordered seed potatoes from a seed catalog.  No only were they late in coming (took a month), they were rotten!  So I went to the grocery store and bought  1.5 pounds of small red potatoes and  1.5 pounds of Irish Gold potatoes.

I planted them about 10 days ago.  Five days after planting the red potatoes germinated.  The small Irish Gold potatoes have get to germinate. [Note: one of the reasons to order seed potatoes is that you can be guaranteed they haven't been treated with anti-sprouting chemicals which some  of those found in grocery stores have been.

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GETTING READY FOR SECOND BIG GARLAND COMMUNITY GARDEN EVENT OF 2021

On April 24 we celebrated our 7-year anniversary.  Sunday September 19th from 1 to 3 PM we will be celebrating our 2021 spring and summer gardens by sharing seeds and plants and swapping garden stories.

We are also planting a fall/winter garden in two raised beds.  One bed will be planted with winter greens seeds and the other one with root vegetable seed.  Our guests who want to participate will be invited to plant the seeds which Loving Garland Green will furnish--especially fun for children.  After planting the seeds, you can visit the garden often to watch them grow.  It's more fun than you may think.  The produce from these two beds will be devoted entirely to the Good Samaritans of Garland.

The Garland Community Garden is a little different from other community gardens. Our mission is to raise public awareness of the fun and healthy aspects of growing some of the food you eat.  Our garden is not designed for mass production. There is no uniformity to the garden whatsoever.  Our beds have come into being in the same organic fashion as the plants that grow in them.  We are here to have fun and inspire others.

This morning I am making the signs for these to beds.  I'll share them with you.  Hope to see you September 19th!  Bring seeds from plants. you've grown this year and plants to share as well if you have them.  I'm digging up some blackberries from my yard today.  Also I'll have a few small jujube trees as well as Okra and Luffa seeds to share. 

I'm really interested to see how the Komatsuna spinach grows.  I know from experience that Mustard grows like a weed in our area.  But a little bit of it goes a L-----ong  way.  In fact, I'll just go out on a limb and say that I don't like it.  But the Komatsuna sounds promising--provided that it grows like mustard and tastes like a tangy spinach.

 

FALL/WINTER GREENS


 

ROOT VEGETABLES

Root vegetables were very important to people of the world before refrigeration because they kept so well.  After harvesting they were stored in underground cellars, appropriately called "root cellars."  In addition fo the following root vegetables we already have sweet potatoes, baby red potatoes and Irish gold baby potatoes growing at the garden.  In addition to winter greens, other winter crops include varieties of winter squash such as Acorn squash and Butter nut Squash.  We have an entire large bed of Butternut squash in the garden that had already sprouted and should be producing by Thanksgiving. Broccoli and cabbage are two other popular plants for fall/winter gardens.