Monthly Archives: July 2011

scavenging seeds

seeds

I love seeds.

The more I have, the better I feel.

I collected seeds from my Grandma’s Lilac tree, just to have a piece of history. In the photo above, the Lilac seeds are second from the left. Next in line, third in, are seeds from her Clematis. I’ve never tried to grow either one of these, but I’m sure going to try. My sister let me swipe the seeds from her Lovage plant, which were actually about six feet in the air on really tall stalks. These are on the far right in the photo. Last but not least, the seeds on the far left are taken out of a bundle of sweetgrass, given to me by a CSA farmer when she was showing me her medicinal garden.

Seeds are so important. They carry the genetic blueprint to the next generation, and¬†provide us with the means to feed ourselves and our families. Not that all of us are growing all the food we need to survive nowadays. We’ve come a long way from the days of the early homesteading pioneers. I think seeds are just as important, though, and the preservation of unique and rare varieties will only happen so long as people are actually growing them. It’s a bit of a paradox: if we want to preserve heritage breeds, we need to eat them. And save a few seeds for next year.

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Here are a few ways that you can be a seed scavenger:

– when you eat a pepper or tomato or any other fruit veggie, save some of the seeds to grow your own

– if you have herbs in your garden, let a few go to seed and save some seeds for next year

– you can also do the same with flowers!

– when you’re out, keep your eyes open around flowers or other plants that you like, and if you see a seed pod, bring it back with you if you can.

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calendula salve

There is a lot of Calendula planted in my garden. I love the beautiful orange daisy-like flower, for decoration and for its usefulness. It’s edible; you can sprinkle petals on salads or cook them with rice to colour the rice like you might use saffron. (Some have actually called it ‘poor man’s saffron’ for this reason.)

Yesterday, though, I picked the flowers I had on hand and am currently in the process of creating a calendula oil to use in making salve.

Here’s what I’ve done so far:

calendula flowers

Picked the flowers.

calendula petals

About a quarter cup, if you smoosh it down. Looks like it took 7 flowers.

petals in mason jar

Petals in a glass jar.

oil in jar with calendula

Half a cup of olive oil added to calendula petals.

stir oil and calendula

Stirring it up.

label and date

Label and date.

oil and calendula in a jar on a windowsill

Now it’s in a sunny window, where it will stay for a week or two until the oil has absorbed the colour and nutrition from the calendula petals.

After the oil is strained, it will be used to make a salve for dry skin.