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Cooking and gardening with Sam

One of my favorite flowers for hummingbirds is called firecracker salvia.  I can never seem to find it in the local nurseries when I am looking for it. So I have been growing it from seeds from my original plants.

Toward the end of the season, I let the seedheads dry out on the plant and then cut the flower stalks and put them into a labeled bag, which I store over the winter.

I leave about half of my seeds on their flowers to feed the birds in the winter, but the other half I save in paper bags – use paper, not plastic. Sometimes plastic will sweat, and the seeds will mold and will not be any good for planting. I keep the bag in a cool, dry place until time to sow.

Some people keep seeds from pumpkins at Halloween. When the kids are scooping out the guts, I take a handful of seeds and put them on a paper towel. After the seeds are completely dry, you can put the towel away with the rest of your seeds for spring. You start the seeds in cups and then replant in the garden.

Please label, label and label if you save lots of seeds from flowers and veggies and make packets well ahead of time, so you can label everything right away. This will save a lot of time and heartache when you start to plant. There have been too many times when I have said to myself, ‘I will write it down later,’ and then I’m scratching my head in the spring, trying to figure out which variety is which. How many of you try to look at seeds and say, ‘Wonder what this on will turn out to be? Looks like…’ but then it turns out to be something else?

After the pods on my milkweed plants open, I take the seeds and shake them into envelopes that I have labeled with the year the seeds were collected. I take these seed envelope to my local seed swap in Florence at the fairground once a year, early spring. I have been once, but it was a lot of people and seeds there that day. Some seeds were molded – you have to watch and look at all seeds in the packages. When I lived in Memphis, they had a large seed fair in Germantown, and you had every seed you could think of and more. In the fall of the year they did the same with bulbs. You could get a beautiful garden if you got there early enough to get the cream of the crop – hundreds of people would turn out to get bulbs and cuttings of other plants.

I wish we could start a Franklin County Fair so we could get what is native and would grow and bloom.  What a great idea – let’s start one. Now is the time to start.

Happy gardening,