"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Friday, April 2, 2010

Seed and Seedlings

We collected a bit of seed off wild asparagus a few weeks ago that we found along a river bank. Each asparagus "berry" contains six little seeds that germinate quite readily. They can be gathered off the ferny female plants in the fall or early spring and will store for many years. Also planted were the rest of my 2007 seed that was obtained from the ancestors of my own unruly plants, they had excellent germination. It will take a few years for the plants to become established well enough to produce large spears but time passes quickly when one is patient.

We have been planting apple, pear, apricot, plum, walnut, cherry, chestnut, currant, jostaberry, gooseberry, and raspberries. I must have planted over a hundred of these little starts in our woods and field this past week, all of which were grown from seeds and rooted cuttings started last year. I am hoping that some of the trees grown from seed in previous years will start to bear fruit this summer.

A few one year old apple and pear trees in transit to a new home.

Pots of Josta berries waiting to be planted in perminant locations.

Black raspberries will root anywhere that the stem touches the ground, these ones were tip rooted last fall.

The onion seedlings are only a week or two away from being transplanted...they can't wait to be free of their confines. There are also a few leeks and chives in this bunch but the majority are Yellow of Parma and Jaune Paille des Vertus onions. Both are excellent for storage.

We purchased a few dozen ramps a while back and are happy to see that they have been growing quickly...I'm glad they like the cold as it has been pretty nasty out of late.

57 comments:

karenandjeff said...

Look at all of those onion seedlings! Oh my goodness. Some day I hope we can come look at your garden. It must be amazing.

Geno said...

It is so exciting to see such bounty soon to be transplanted! And grown by you from seed as well. That is something we greatly aspire to. We are still dealing with snow on the ground here although we might be moving to Sandpoint in two to four weeks. Maybe we will be at your pace by next spring eh?

Ayak said...

It's all looking really good Mr H. I feel quite excited for you..it must be wonderful to see all these things growing from seeds.

Amy said...

I planted Jostaberries last spring that I think will produce this summer. I hope they do as I've never had a Jostaberry and I'm looking forward to trying them.

Heiko said...

I keep learning new things from you. I have never heard of ramps, or Jostaberry for that matter. The latter sounds like something I should try. I thought I was doing well with planting at least 2 new trees a year. No room for that many! I do encourage voluteer seedlings though: almond, lemon, chestnut, bay.

Good luck with all the seedlings

LynnS said...

Everything looks great, Mike!!! I am so happy to see just how many flats of onions you have going. Now I don't feel I'm the only one with flat upon flat of onion seedlings. I have company! :-)

So you planted ramps in the garden area? We planted ours in 3 diff. places in the woods and didn't put any in a garden plot figuring they'd get too much sunlight. Since you have dappled shade from your tree canopy, it will be interesting to watch how they progress....yours will probably outgrow ours in no time since your soil is looser in the raised bed areas.

How much snow did you get? Hope it warms up nicely for you soon!

Ribbit said...

All of those transplants look fantastic! Great job.

Mrs. Mac said...

Wild asparagus .. now that sounds worth the wait for the plants to mature. Your garden is an inspiration to so many of your readers ... including me:)

Mr. H. said...

Karen and Jeff - You will have to wind your way down the pass and stop by for a visit sometime.:) I have a feeling you two will also have a pretty amazing garden this year.

Geno - Sandpoint is a lovely town. We pass through there quite often on our way to Bonner's Ferry and into the hills to hike the many mountain lakes and pick huckleberries.

Ayak - Thanks, I always like to see all of the new seedlings emerge and grow, especially those of the fruit trees.

Amy - I hope yours do produce, they are delicious berries and much bigger than currants. It's really easy to propagate new ones from cuttings too.

Heiko - I'm not sure if jostaberries would grow in your area or not, they like the shade and cool weather, they will do well any where that a currant thrives.

An almond tree, now that is something I would like to try.

Yes, the mulch pile can be an amazing source of seedlings...we almost always save a squash or tomato out of there just for the fun of it...apple trees too.

Lynn - I'm not sure that I have ever cooked a meal without an onion, we have to have lots right.:) We put our ramps in four different locations to see how they will do, although there is not much difference between the woods and our garden anyway. I do want to put them in the woods once I get a few going over the next couple years though....fingers crossed that they do well.

It sort of snowed for about 10 whole minutes, but the mountains on the other side of the lake are white with it this morning.

Ribitt - Thanks, now I just have to keep them alive, and that's the hard part....wish me luck.:)

Mr. H. said...

Mrs. Mac - My problem with asparagus is that I am always moving the plants around so we never have much of a crop. I need to find a permanent home for them this year, one of my goals is to get a decent bed of them going for once. The wild asparagus that we found is not much different than the plants we grow in the garden...

kitsapFG said...

The tree starts are amazing. I would dearly love to get an orchard established but I am completely out of areas on the property that get enough sun. I would have to take out some of our woodlot on the south and west side of the property and my husband will hear nothing about that idea. I either wait until we move to another property (not really likely) or am an old widow before I can act on my orchard desire! :)

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

it all looks so gorgeous.... very healthy and happy!

randi said...

Jeezz Mike, I see you're lazing around again! All my 'M&M' seedlings are going gangbusters so I think of you guys while bumping up. We've had a bit of freakishly warm weather and the snow has totally melted and you can walk around without sinking in so I can actually get stuff done. Things are popping like crazy. How much do I love SPRING!!!

randi said...

oh yeah, that's some serious 'onion-ing' going on there...good job!

miss m said...

Must look into this wild asparagus. It's lovely !

Robbyn said...

Isn't this stage the most exciting? All those hopefuls getting tucked into their new homes...LOVE it! What a bounty of new starts you have going :)

Diane@Peaceful Acres said...

Wo Mr H, you put me to shame! What will you do with ALL those onions!!!? I'll have to pot up some blackberries this fall...I never thought of that. Everything really looks just lovely. Don't you just love the color of spring green?!!

Happy Resurrection Day!!!

granny said...

Hi Mr H..all your seedlings are looking great!
I really envy all those onion seedlings!! Im still having trouble getting ANY to germinate! I bought new seed last week,and I now check daily to see if any thing is happening...so far,nothing! This is the 3rd lot of seed Ive sown!I ended up buying afew seedlings,as I was worried I would end up onionless this season,lol.But I will not give up!

Ruralrose said...

I am so proud to know you are in the world. What a wonderful, valuable life you lead. Thanks for the info on the asparagus, gonna go out right now and plant those little red berries. We are going to try apricots, peaches and nectarines this year, fingers crossed. Am looking at getting a paw paw, do you have any experience with this one? Peace

daylesford organics said...

Fascinating as always to visit your space and see what's going on in the opposite season. Today we finished harvesting all of our onions and you are about to plant yours out. Enjoy!

Mr. H. said...

Kitsap - It is tough to grow fruit trees and a wooded area. We do have a variety of dwarf and semi-dwarf trees close by the garden but the ones I have been planting of late are standard ones that I propagated from trees growing out in the woods. Some of these parent trees reach 40-50' in height and can compete for sunlight with the regular coniferous trees. It will be interesting to see how the ones I am planting turn out...it might take them many years to produce anything.

Dirty Girl - Thanks, I hope they stay that way.:)

Randi - I'm happy to hear that the weather has warmed for you and hope it stays that way so you can get an early start. With no snow we have been very fortunate this spring so far in that we have not had a "mucky" season to deal with...I'm so glad. And yes, we do like our onions...they keep the worms away.:)

Miss M - Wild asparagus can be a tough one to find depending upon where you live but it is pretty easy to grow from seed.

Robbyn - It is exciting, but not nearly so much as when the plants actually survive long enough to start producing. Then you know you have done it right.

Happy Resurrection day Diane - We do seem to go through a couple onions every day so we tend to grow a lot. I have been trying to grow a few more than we need in the hopes that there will be enough of good quality for storage purposes.

As to the blackberries, just stick the tips in the ground or hold them down with a rock when they are long enough. In the spring or a couple months after you tip them simply cut the stock a few inches from where they are hopefully rooted and they will be ready to transplant.

Granny - Onions can be a tough one to germinate. If you planted them directly into the garden it might take them a few weeks depending upon the soil temperature before they do anything. I hope that yours turn out. I did have to replant some of mine this year because I ended up with a bad pack of seeds, they were boretanna onions and only a few grew.

Ruralrose - Thank you, I'm glad that you are here as well.:) Good luck with the asparagus I think you will find they are quite easy to start, mine took about 10 days to germinate. I have always wanted to grow a paw paw tree and always watch the local nurseries for one...no luck so far. I may have to purchase one via the mail some day soon. I really hate mail order trees though, they never do very well for us.

Daylesford organics - It is interesting how we are almost exactly on opposite ends of the growing spectrum. I wish I could see your onion fields.

Silke said...

Oh, how wonderful this season of first growth! I think it's my favorite, except maybe the harvest season. Happy Easter to you, Mrs. H. and your family!! :) Silke

Sunny said...

Wow... Everything looks great Mr H! Hopefully our temps get back to the 60s again soon : )

Mr. H. said...

Silke - I hope you had an excellent Easter as well. Time is going by quickly, I can't believe we are already into April. Next stop summer.:)

Sunny - We do have interesting weather in the spring don't we. One minute it is snowing out the next it is 60°, sometimes within the same hour.:) In looking at the weather forecast I think we might be in for more of the same this week...

vrtlarica said...

Wild asparagus - my favorite! I will start asparagus (not the wild ones) from seeds this year. I can wait 3 years for first harvest, no problem!
Next time I find asparagus in the wild, I will make sure to check for those seeds.

It’s wonderful to see all your baby trees. I can’t believe you grow them from seed - that is amazing! I hope that you will get your fruit harvest this year! All trees that we have are grafted on another tree roots, not grown from seeds.

Mr. H. said...

Vrtlarcia - We do have quite a few 6 and 7 year old semi dwarf grafted trees as well. The little seeded ones are for the wooded areas of our property as they will hopefully grow really tall and can compete with the other trees for sunlight. That is the plan anyway.:)

Good luck with the asparagus.

johnnydesoto said...

Your onions look great. My onions look about the same, maybe a little less thrifty, especially where I sowed the seed too thick. The ones I started in the garden beds under row cover are a few weeks behind. It will be interesting to see the difference come August.

You got those Ramps to germinate: good for you! Did they take long? Mine have yet to jump up and they show no signs of germination, but they haven't had much heat. I split the package into two, one half sowed in a pot outside and the rest saved for a fall sowing in moist shady spot.

I don't know what possessed me but I'm expanding the garden to about double (about 2500 sq ft. no where near the size of yours I imagine but plenty for one person). Garlic is up and doing nicely and I saw the first spear of Asparagus over the weekend.

Its been in the 70's here for about a week after the wettest March on record in the Mid- Atlantic. In NJ we broke a 98 year old record with 9.26", and its been the wettest 12 months since 1895. The old timers tell me they have never seen water laying in some of the spungs that have appeared. Thought I would hear more peepers by now but maybe the nights are too cool yet. Peaches are near full bloom and the apples are sporting pink. Spring has it all over the Fall for color in my book :)

Stefaneener said...

Mmmmmm, onions.
They all look terrific.

Mr. H. said...

Johnny,

I took your advice and went after the ramps but ended up purchasing bulbs from Ramp Farm Specialties in W. Virginia instead of seed -

http://www.rampfarm.com/index.htm

They are doing great.:) I am very interested in hearing how long it takes your seeds to germinate and how well they do from seed as I hope to grow some that way in the future.

It sounds like you are going to have quite the garden to deal with this season, how fun...and challenging. Our garlic is just starting to poke out of the ground and the only asparagus I will see for a while are the ones I seeded...too darn cold. Snow, hail, rain...repeat. I have to say that I am glad that we are not getting all of that rain though...wow, 9.26 " in March is a lot of rain fall. I think our average is around 17 " for the whole year.

I agree, fall has nothing on spring when it comes to fresh new colors.

Mr. H. said...

Stefaneener,

Thanks, what would I do without lots of onions.:) Funny, but most people that I know, away from the blogging community, dislike onions....what's up with that, pretty crazy.

Dee Sewell said...

Wow, that's a lot of seedlings! I was interested to read about your collection of wild asparagus. I'll have to check and see if it grows here in Ireland.

Mr. H. said...

Dee,

I ran across this article the other day while reading about wild asparagus.

"Wild Asparagus grows on coastal dunes and cliffs of Britain and Western Europe including Ireland, the Channel Islands, Northern Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and north-west Germany."

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-chl/w-countryside_environment/w-nature/w-nature-strategy/w-wildlife-bap/w-nature-wildlife-bap-wild_asparagus.htm

Sylvie in Rappahannock said...

Mike... you never cease to amaze me. and leave me slightly flustered realizing all the things I do not do.

What gorgeous reminders to go out there and plant! (even though today we exceeded 90- F. Yuck!)

Mr. H. said...

Silke
&
Sunny - I responded to your comments the other day but they seem to have magically disappeared...just did not want you to think I took them off...hopefully once they have travelled around the the nether regions of blogger they will return in tact.:)

Sylvie - Oh, but I don't have bees in boxes.:) 90°, that's a bit too warm for me...I think we hit 45° and then it snowed a bit.

Chris said...

I would like to thank you for your inspiration, response and links to resources for me to get the low tunnels going last fall. You and many other bloggers (throwback at trapper creek, fast grow the weeds)are an inspiration and a wealth of knowledge. Little by little with all of your and many other blogs I owe tribute to this middle aged woman is finally creating the garden of many seasons and of her dreams

Mr. H. said...

Chris,

I am happy to hear that and have also learned many things from both fellow bloggers and commenters. It is nice that we are all able to share and learn from each other in this way. Thank you so much for your kind comments.:)

Mrs. T said...

I'm SO glad I found your blog through A Farmstead Pilgrimage! It's a gem of information...so much to browse through. Very interesting links, too. I'm just beginning the adventure of foraging for food and what you and your wife are doing is inspiring! (Just added you to my sidebar, so others can be blessed, too!

Mr. H. said...

Mrs. T,

Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. It's really quite amazing how many foods are available that we are not even aware of until we really start to take a closer look.:)

Mike

Mrs. T said...

Just dropping by again to say thank you for leaving your encouraging comments on my blog. I am honored by your visit ~smile~. Re: nettle...last year my local garden center was sold out by the time I asked about it, but I hope to find some soon. I read that nettle is quite invasive, so I'm going to try growing it in a pot. I look forward to reading about your experience with it. Bye for now...

Silke said...

Hi Mr. H.! So nice to see you on my blog. I hope you, Mrs. H., the grandson and Rowdy are doing well. I bet you are getting busy in your garden again! We've had the most wonderful weather here lately - not at all what we are used to in the spring (usually we have lots of storms) and everything is growing beautifully! :) Silke

Mr. H. said...

Silke,

Very busy in the garden but having a great time of it. I'm glad that your weather is cooperating, it sounds like the two of you are enjoying every minute of it.:)

GetSoiled said...

Hi Mr H! I see I am not the only one who hasn't been posting much as of late :)

Hope all is well with you guys!

I am absolutely intrigued by the black raspberries...they sound scrumptious!

I once read in an old gardening book that, at least in Florida, is a good idea for the home gardener to stick to mulberries and blackberries because birds are genetically programmed to taste the berries when they are red...but since these species won't be fully developed taste-wise the birds learn to leave them alone alltogheter. Neat, eh?

Mr. H. said...

GetSoiled,

How does that song go..."I ain't got no time.":) life does have a way of interrupting ones blogging.

We have so very many birds but none that ever bother our plants...I'm lucky I guess. The strangest birds are having babies in our barn this spring, I think they are Catbirds but am not sure...they have the weirdest variety of sounds and make our garden sound like some sort of primeval jungle...

inadvertent farmer said...

There is nothing that says spring like seedlings...how fun! Kim

johnnydesoto said...

Hey Mr H.

Here's some of my onion starts. The ones I started in the beds under row cover are still behind but will be halfway caught up in a week or two. Now that I've built the cold frames I don't think I'll got that direction again, even though I've had some nice onion crops that way.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/10593595@N00/4526790538/sizes/l/

Hopefully I can get them in this weekend. Ramp seeds still haven't germinated, and I don't expect they will. Guess I need to so some research as the package directions don't seem to work. I suspect they need to freeze to scarify. Glad I saved some to sow in the fall.

Mr. H. said...

Kim,

Yes, it is like a fresh start on a clean slate every spring and I do enjoy watching it develope.

Mr. H. said...

Johnnydesoto,

Your onions look to have had wonderful germination in the picture...what kind are they? I just got all of mine into the ground.

I love the new cold frames, it looks like they will work out really well for you. Too bad about the ramp seeds, I had the same problem with a flat of leeks this year...nothing germinated, so I sowed some different leek seed and they did just fine.

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

I'm very jealous of your asparagus collecting! I wish I could find them growing wild around here... great post.

Mr. H. said...

Thanks Dirty Girl,

We are lucky in that there is an abundance of asparagus in our neck of the woods.:)

johnnydesoto said...

"Your onions look to have had wonderful germination in the picture...what kind are they?"

Somehow my reply is floating around in the ether so I'll try again...

They are are Cortland and "Dakota Tears". I had the same trouble with shallot seed..very poor germination. Bleu de solaize Leek had fair to good germination for me. I had to do a second seeding to get a decent number of plants.

I have some saved leek seed that I have been trying to replenish last 2 years. My leeks and onions have been poor last couple of years due to weather and, I think, running out of rotation space (big reason why I expanded). It's amazing that this leek (siegfried) still germinates after 3 or 4 years of just sitting on a shelf in the umbrels. Germination is poor but there are enough to replenish my supply.

I had gotten away from leeks and shallots because they are so attractive to onion maggot (especially shallots), but I'm going to try AG-15 row cover and see if that solves the problem. I use a lot of chicken manure also and I think it attracts the maggot. It's been reported that apple maggot flies feed on bird droppings before they mature and lay their eggs. I'm making an assumption that onion maggot has a similar biology.

stephanie said...

Here from Thy Hand...though I've seen your comments on mavis' blog, too...I've never clicked over and wow! I will learn much, here.

Mr. H. said...

Stephanie,

Thank you, I am so happy you stopped by. Thanks for visiting our little blog.:)

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I am speechless. That is really a lot of onion seedlings. I have always dream of having asparagus plant but since I don't have space to grow them and before they are ready, I will move elsewhere. It still remained a dream.

Mr. H. said...

Malay-Kadazan girl - It is amazing how many onions we go through in a year, it seems as though we use a couple every day. Hope you will someday have an asparagus bed of your own, we are very fortunate in that they grow wild around here.

Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre said...

We are looking for wild asparagus seeds in exchange of Cashmeriana (Kashmir Medicinal seeds.If anybody have it please send us.
More details: http://jkmpic.blogspot.com

Casey said...

I found pawpaw at ponderay nursery in sandpoint, I am kicking myself I dont know where i would squeeze it in our already crowded suburban lot. (we have 8 fruit trees going now and they are getting bigger.)

I also saw honeyberry, interested in that too. from japan.

Mr. H. said...

Casey - Wow, a Pawpaw...that is a tree we have been thinking about adding for quite some time. How exciting for you. I'm sure you will find some where to fit it in. I think you will really like that honeyberry bush too, first berries of the season.:)

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