To hell with pot roast – four words that I never imagined uttering in that order. I made pot roast and was going to blog about it, but – no more than 30 minutes ago – I had my hands plunged into what was left of my lemon basil plants in order to save seeds for the spring. I have not washed my hands and can still smell the fragrance of the plant. That’s when I realized that I had to stash the pot roast post and allow myself to wax lyrical about the wonder of seeds. Next week, pot roast. This week, seeds revisited.
Too bad Ohio, it’s too late. It may also be too late for my aunt and uncle in their rural MO retreat. Somehow, I suspect that the wood is chopped, stacked and being fed into the efficient stove that heats the entire house. Since warm air rises, always elect to sleep in the attic when visiting. It’s toasty up there!
Because we have not had a true, hard, frost yet, I was able to save seeds – even though we are well into November. I will have to remember that the next time someone asks me why I live in Oklahoma. I am sure that Karl has his snow tires on and has already adjusted to the harsh climes of the MN winter.
I have already posted on what needs to happen to tomato seeds in order to prep for for storage. Once fermented, washed and then dried, they look like the photo above and are ready for the winter. The jalapenos, however, can be removed from the membrane and stored. All seeds have developed over the ages to survive for a winter or two. The should be kept dry and humidity-free. A pack of silica gel does the job nicely, but I have even seen people recommend powdered milk as a way to absorb unwanted humidity. Believe it or not, they are hardy enough to survive sub-zero temperatures. Freezing will, in fact, prolong the life of the seeds to three plus years without any ill effects on germination.
These Chines Winter Melon seeds from my geriatric neighbor will see the winter out in an old plastic spice jar.
So, back to Lemon Basil. Basil seeds are tiny. These cucumber seeds came from a forgotten vegetable, found lurking at the bottom of the bed, hidden beneath the undergrowth. They are massive!
Basil seeds, on the other hand, are very small. Let the plant flower and then cut and dry the flowers.Crush the flowers with your hands and the seeds will fall out. Separate the seeds from the dry husks and store.
Did I mention that the seeds are small?
Meanwhile, out in the sun room, I have my light fixture for germination in the spring.
I can hardly wait!