Harvesting the Seeds of Next Year
As summer transitions into fall, heat gives way to frost (yep I had a deep 25F one), green gives way to brown, and blooms give way to seeds. As such, the seed harvest is underway and I am the only entrant in a slow race against the changing of the seasons.
There is much to do with the land as the seasons change beyond harvesting seeds like cleaning and repairing tools, organizing the chaos that became of the work spaces after the speed of spring and summer, saving every last bloom to hang and dry, digging for fall planted bulbs and seeds, preparing tender perennials to survive the coming winter, and working on all the human-based building projects to provide the spaces that I need to work with the land. And as the fruits ripen and the grasses die back, all that work begins now. As green gives way to gold, all that work begins now. As the frosts creep back into the morns, all that work begins now.
My favorite part of that work, the part that makes me feel the most rooted, the most connected to this place, this valley, this mountain range, this forest and field, is harvesting seeds.
Seeds are a little packet of future life that is gifted upon the land by the plants that live now. I am bestowed with both the duty and the joy of saving them, caring for them, and then planting them. My method of saving seeds works as a metaphor for how I approach tending, growing, and farming the land.
It is purposefully 'messy and lazy'!
As I collect both grown and wild seeds, I'm purposefully not carefully collecting every single seed. If you watch the birds in deep winter congregating around the few grass stalks that stick above the snow, or clinging to the tall stalks of Mullein, or scratching under bare branches, you will notice that I am not the only one that needs these seeds. I leave many for the birds, squirrels, and other tiny beings that survive winter upon these seeds. Thus from a modern perspective, I am lazy because I leave many seeds behind and I am messy because I let many fall through the grasses and I leave many weeds standing.
This is my small way to rebel against the modern ideal of productivity, efficiency, and labor while rejuvenating and healing my relationality to the land and those I share it with.
Because the seeds of next year grow abundant for all, not just me or you, but we!
Where to find it all?
Look for the return of the Microgreens this winter!
Plus lots of Everlasting Florals
and, of course, lots and lots of Seed Packets ❤️
A Return to My Normal
As the autumn chill creeps in and my day job with the forest service comes to an end, I return to the familiar pace of fall farm work. Outside of the few larger projects that are key to complete before the snows arrive and the ground freezes, I look forward to days in the warm sun and chill air collecting seeds, prepping beds for next year, and newly winterizing the chickens behind their electric fence.
This fall and winter will be full of the usual planning and preparation as well as a lot of learning all about marketing and business stuff, as being a good grower or gardener is all about raising good plants but being a good farmer is about selling them and running a business. So, it's back to school for me!
And I make no promises, but I plan to return the farm to a full wholesale and market schedule next year. A lot of things have to happen over the winter to make that possible but having the year off from full-time growing and business management has given me time to imagine, dream, plan, and decide. Now I have to act, learn, and do. A lot. So I'll let you read on and I'll get back to the 'doing'!
Just a few of the flowers I'm saving seeds for this fall! Saving seeds using landrace principles means letting the plants with the most vigorous growth set seed and collect only that. Thus the entire ecology, weather system, geography, and pest pressure selects for the best traits resulting in plants grown for here (NW MT) and not there (usually the SE, Midwest, or Cali)
The Dahlias thrived in the Dragon Dome greenhouse and I got a few nice blooms before the epic level of grasshoppers and earwigs found them and began munching on everything! Next year, the plan is to keep them safe in the high tunnel with netting at all openings to keep out those pesky pests □ Cause we want more of these beauties to enjoy!
Luckily, there is also just time enough to get to collecting all the wonderful wild and farm-grown herbs for infused oils and salves. It's my magical time when I get to collect the plants for what I've been telling them about all year (yep, I let them know what they'll be used for so they can look forward to helping soothe people's pains and problems). It's pretty easy to make oils, even from fresh herbs, but a lot of the specialness is about your intention and timing. Just as in any aspect of farming, context is key and the details matter (spoken in Virgo season by someone with three planets in Virgo □) All these details and intentions will come together over the winter with an expanded range of herbal oils, salves, and balms to be released next spring!
The kitties also enjoy me being home more often as they aren't used to me being away from home so much (which also means they got limited outdoor time as they need to be supervised □). They get to help me collect seeds, plants, and catch a few grasshoppers (and lots of gophers!) from time to time. Plus with the nights being cooler (and thus the cabin) they get more snuggly cuddly whether its with each other, me, or the clean laundry.
What's available this week?
Where to find it all?
Find the Salad Mix at the Amish Farm to Market Store in Libby!
I'm Farmer Megan with a life full of cackles, clucks, quacks, weeds, crazy kitten, and one tiny, senior, blind dog.