Thursday, July 15, 2010

Always offering seeds

My eldest blowing the chaff off from the China Choy brassica seeds. You have to be careful if you want to have this kind of fun as we all got chaffy. Most of it can be removed by hand or using usual winnowing techniques.

I just arrived yesterday from a vacation on the East coast to find my garden bursting with spent flowers and seed. My experimental cross (fingers crossed that they really crossed) between a blush savoy and a red cabbage are ready as are Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata) and China Choy (Brassica rapa), along with many others which will be added to the my give away list on the right side bar when they become available.

If you would like some, please email the address under my profile. You don't need to send me a SASE, or trade. I just like to share but please only ask for what you will grow.


thyme2garden said...

That's a sweet picture of your daughter. Thanks for your generous offer of sharing seeds!

Anonymous said...

How do you go about saving your brassica seeds? I've read before that you have to grow them in isolation cadges if you want to save seed so I keep shying away from even trying, but i'd love to hear any tips on how you do it! Lots of my pak choi and purple sprouting has gone to seed but I had thought it wasn't worth trying to save... any thoughts?
~Nellie x (I really love reading the blog by the way!)

Ottawa Gardener said...

Nellie: You only need to use isolation cages if you are growing more than one type of the same Genus species such as two types of Brassica oleracea which may include broccoli, cabbage etc... that are flowering at the same time. If your purple sprouting (broccoli?) is of a different species than your pak choi than you can safely save both with little fear of a wide cross. This is unlikely but kind of cool if it did happen.

The other issue is that you need more than one, really more than 20 individuals to get good genetic vigour from them as they are outbreeders. However, I have known people to save seed from something like cabbage from as little as 3 individuals just keep in mind that you are narrowing the genetic variation and you wouldn't want to do that for more than a generation.

My kale and mustard grow side by side, self seeding in the garden. They are different species so I don't get any mustard-kale.

For more information on how to save the seed, either have a look at the tutorial on or you can see my post on saving small bunches of brassica seeds.

Thanks for the question!


Anonymous said...

Oooo :S I didn't realise that! Seems I have even more to learn than i first thought!! Where would I find info on whether my brassicas are of a different genus do you think? Can you recommend any good books? I'm now off to look at your link to your earlier post! Thanks for the info! :)
Nellie x

Ottawa Gardener said...

I like Breed your own vegetables by Deppe and Seed to Seed by Ashcroft but just to find out the Genus species, look up your seed variety and sites often list what they are. You may need to look up more than one to confirm as they aren't all accurate.

Good luck!

Christina said...

I love the photo!

last winter, you graciously sent some tigerella tomatoes and lovage to me. The lovage didnt do well, because I think I planted it in too dense shade (wasnt thinking about my huge tree leafing out)...the tomato plants are gorgeous! I have more tomatoes on them than any other variety. None are ripe yet, but I was wondering, will the stripes turn color or should I just check for softness?Thanks again!

Ottawa Gardener said...

When ripe, they are red with yellow stripes. I always check for softness and experiment though just to get the perfect taste.

Is your lovage plant still alive? I found one that I planted in dense shade struggled for a couple of years as a very small, bug eaten plant but when I transplanted it into a sunnier location, it exploded into growth!

Stefaneener said...

Actually, I would rather have your threshing tips. I can't seem to get them to break down hard enough to get to the chaff-blowing stages

Ottawa Gardener said...

For brassica seed heads? Normally, I don't need to process tonnes so here's what I do (I'm going to post about this process when I tell you about my cabbage crossing experiment which I am very excited about!):

I snip off the dry stems of brassica pods when they are at the brittle stage. Then, wearing, gloves, I hold the stem more or less upside over a large bowl and strip from bottom to top. The dry pods should come off easily. Then, I crush the pods with my hands in the bowl with a sort of grinding motion.

Almost all the seeds fall to the bottom of the bowl so the chaff can be easily removed.

Salt Spring Seeds has some good tips including a threshing box.

Hope that helps.