Winter is upon us and there is a lot of activity in the seed world… It has certainly been a strange year so far in the Blue Mountains to the west of Sydney – regarding the climate – and there have been many unpredictable local weather events and temperature variations from normal. But the plants keep growing and we keep saving the seeds!
The agenda covered a wide range of subjects but the main discussion started today with a mention of a new planting plot arrangement with the Mid Blue Mountains Community Gardens. The plan is to use available space to create and maintain a few beds that are specifically for seed saving purposes. This will include some perennials such as the large slow growing Globe artichokes, a herb selection and also a more rapidly turned over annual or biennial bed for edible vegetables.
It is important to have growing space available for our seed bank output and to allow for the ongoing maintenance of selected and interesting plants.
This is tied in to our medium to longer term plans for the Seedsavers group and led to a further productive discussion of how we might better reach out and integrate our activities better with other gardening community groups located or operating in the Blue Mountains and surrounds.
Several of our regulars were away on work duties today and could not attend but those that were there had a lot of good ideas to offer and discuss. While this discussion was proceeding the process of packing and sorting seeds progressed. The database we are now using for cataloging the seed packets is working well and we are continuing to ‘tweak’ it as we move on…
We then moved on to our usual individual introductions and everyone got the chance to bring up any personally interesting topics and talk about any plant growing and seed saving activities.
Of particluar interest was the mention of commercial growing of Maca in Southern China. We can grow Maca quite successfully at our elevations in the local climate.
Today there were a lot of items for swapping between members. We had a good range of flowering plant cuttings and some unusual plant items and seedlings.
Including… some nice healthy seedlings of Inga edulis – Ice cream bean tree – Although not ideal for growing in the cool mountains they will survive OK and even fruit if grown in a large pot.
It is getting toward the end of the Garlic planting season and and we had a lot of ‘leftovers’ that are urgently needing to be put in the ground. We have an ideal climate for most types of Garlic but it’s important to try a few groups and varieties in your own local environment and garden to see which grows best for you.
Today we had a nice selection of hardnecks and soft necks to swap around – Red Tochliavri, Flinders Island purple turban, Japanese Red, Rojo De Castro creole, Purple Glamour turban and a Rocambole.
They are all about to to start sprouting – or in some cases actually sprouting. It’s still ok to plant them in the ground at this stage and even the small ones will grow into big healthy bulbs if they get good soil, sun, water and a little bit of ‘love’.
More alliums such as Onions, shallots and leeks were also on the swap agenda today. Some nice healthy ‘tree onions’ seedlings were on offer along with good seed for Giant Carentan leeks and some small golden shallots.
It’s also peak Broad Bean planting and growing season right now and we swapped a few varieties – in particular Peruvian Emerald, Early White and Robinhood three excellent ‘small pod’ style plants. ‘Small pods’ only have about 2-4 beans in each pod and are quite small plants that get to about 1m high at max – But they usually have an excellent flavour and don’t take up too much space in the home garden.
There was also a great selection of beans and ‘leafy green’ seeds. It’s time to start thinking about what to grow in the rapidly approaching spring.
From Mid winter onwards is the time to get things started inside in seed trays and pots ready for planting out as soon as the days start to lengthen or the weather and soil warms up enough. Planning ahead can help you keep that early spring ‘lean’ period a bit more productive.
There were lots of seeds sorted and packed and entered into the groups seed bank today.
All up another fun meeting talking about seeds! Thanks to all those who turned up today. Hope to see you there at our next meeting in Spring! (September 13)