Sunflowervillager's Blog

Growing into community

Planting Basil March 30, 2013

Filed under: food/agri/garden,subsidiarity,sustainability — Saera @ 4:23 pm
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A couple weeks ago, my coworker Chris and I talked gardening, and he offered me some basil seeds he’d saved from last year. I accepted them with delight and today I finally set out to plant them.  Some of the seeds were still in the dried, tiny flowers which were still attached to the stalk. Others had fallen off, loose inside the plastic baggie. I did a little reading online about basil seeds. There are usually only two to a pod. When going to save the seed, it’s best to wait till the flowers and stalks have turned brown so the seeds are matured. Then you can pick the stalks and let them continue drying in a paper bag. To loosen the seeds, you simply rub the flowers. The flowers and other chaff comes loose and the seeds come out. They are small and black or dark brown, very easy to pick out fr\om the chaff. (Chaff, if you didn’t grow up in a bible-crazy family like me, means the loose bits of plant that fall away when you separate it from the seed or grain). The chaff is tan to light green and smells great. I used a plate-bowl to hold my work on my lap, with the seeds on the part near my knees and the chaff towards my belly. The seed pretty easily fell towards the seed-pile and I herded the chaff toward the chaff pile. I found it easiest to sort through a few flowers at a time, which cuts down on the chaff versus trying to do a whole stalk at once. I got most of the seeds separated my first time through, with minimal chaff in the seed pile. Then I sorted through the chaff pile. I didn’t miss much. I probably only got 12-16 more seeds after going through the chaff again. I planted 4 seeds to a one inch slot in my planting trays and have plenty left over for planting later.

While it’s still lovely and sunny, I’m off to plant more flowers: sunflowers and morning glories. But tonight I’ll add a couple photos of the seed sifting. Soon I want to write a bit about seed-saving and it’s relation to the Sunflower Village Initiative. Hold me to it.

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Making Applesauce & Cookies November 13, 2012

Filed under: food/agri/garden — Saera @ 8:02 pm
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Last night I made applesauce chocolate chip cookies. I made the applesauce myself. It was easy, and really didn’t take long! I used apples that I picked with Malcolm and his kids at an orchard about half an hour away a few weeks ago. Don’t let anyone tell you applesauce is hard or time consuming to make. I just washed, peeled, cored, chopped 4 apples and put 4 Tablespoons of water in a medium saucepan.(I probably should have put in 3 like the cookie recipe suggested because it came out a bit runny.) Covered the pot and let it simmer, stirring very occasionally. Whenever I stirred, I mashed up the apples a bit with a wooden spoon. I also added cinnamon and a dash of cloves. I like Kaela’s suggestion to add a tiny bit of nutmeg, so I’ll do that next time. I only needed 3/4 a cup for the cookies, so I had plenty left over for a warm, cozy, healthy snack. I made delicious cookies too. Daniel says they might be the best I’ve made. I think it’s because the food was so local and because I made my own applesauce. One more step to food self reliance! (You can do it too!)