Today was one of our regular Southern Food Gardeners get togethers. I was determined to put my best foot forward and take some things to showcase my garden, which I could also share with others.
My garden is a rabble of nationalities combining anything that will grow at 43 degrees south, with Japanese mizuna alongside Italian parsley edged with a border of young Tasmanian pepperberries and Chilean guavas. As I wandered around during the previous week, standing and watering or weeding, I noticed that several of the vegetables that I had let go to seed months ago in fact had seeds approaching dry enough to collect. So, that was it, I would take a fine collection of seeds from the edible world, to share.
This morning, as I clipped twigs of kale pods, strings of rainbow chard clusters, umbels of parsnip seeds and literally tree branches of purple sprouting broccoli pods I was in heaven. The basket I took out to put them in was not big enough and soon I had 2 boxes and a huge plastic bag full of future food for all who wanted them.
I had intended to shake off all the seeds, winnow them and put them into lots of little, labeled bags but, for one thing, I am far too lazy and secondly I had an idea! These days everyone buys seeds in fancy packets with photos but many people have no idea what the seeds look like on the plants so I would take them unshelled; in the raw, so to speak.
When it was my turn to say my piece at the meeting, I told them that this seed experience was like the difference between buying salad greens in a plastic bag from a supermarket, compared to picking it leaf by leaf from your garden. Then I let them at it and I watched on, answering questions along the way.
The first person approached the sharing table with a coffee in one hand and attempted to wrestle a kale pod off a stem with one hand. Of course this did not work and the seeds spilled out of the pod as it sprung open. I wanted to help but another person went over and called out to me that this method did not work and that next time I should put them in bags for them.
Luckily all the naysayers soon dispersed, leaving my seed experience for others. Someone asked if I could come and help as they were new to seeds and were not sure what to do. It was then that we had a wonderful time, me snipping pods and twigs and umbels with my secateurs and placing them into paper bags that the members were busy writing on. We were really focused on the job and talked about sowing methods, varieties and recipes. We all had a ball.
For the first time in absolute years I felt I was connecting people to seeds and bringing a sense of understanding of the importance and relevance of seed saving to people, some of whom have never grown anything from seed before.
Hopefully, when we meet next, some will have these vegetables growing from the seeds from my garden, in their gardens…..