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Chive Seeds

Tis the season for gardening and any prepper can tell you that the more food you can grow on your own, the better.

I have a huge clump of chives in my back yard. They come back every year and spread from their roots so I had no idea they had seeds or that I could harvest the seeds to share.

To start, you need to find a clump of chives that has flowered. Select flowers that have mostly dried out.

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The tips of the flowers should be white and thin like tissue paper. The next thing I do is separate the flower blooms from the stem, to make them easier to sort.

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The dry flowers I set aside for processing and the not so dry flowers I either let air dry for a few days or compost if they are not even close to being ready.

When you pull apart the flower, inside you will find a dark green to black ball, this is where you will find the seeds. Cut this apart, it should divide into three parts, leaving you with some sacks covered in a thin green film.

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In each of these sacks is two chive seeds, gently remove the green film to reveal two small black seeds. Set the seeds aside to dry (I put mine on a paper plate away from any breeze) and then store. Chive seeds can be finicky and may only last a year even under optimal storage, so be sure to share with your friends.

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Newsprint and the Prepper

I use newsprint for  a lot of projects around the house. We get two sets of advertisements and local news once a week and it adds up to a lot of paper. Over the summer I use this paper to start fires but here are three things I do with it in the other seasons.

1.) Shred: I save my flyers for about a month and then spend an hour shredding them (by hand). I keep my shreds in a tupper bin until the summer time when I make them into paper bricks for the fire. I got my paper brick maker from Lehmans (www.lehmans.com) . This is an easy and free way to have heat and cooking material.

2.) Spread: Once spring comes and I re-dig my garden beds, I spread newsprint on the bottom. This keeps the weeds to a minimum by suffocating them. By the time the papers disintegrate, the weeds have been killed. I usually do a layer about 3 sheets of newsprint thick.

3.)Seed: I use newsprint to make little pots for starting my seeds. There are little gadgets you can get to help you do this but I personally just do it by hand, making a circle about the size of half a toilet paper roll. They stand up fairly easy in my mini greenhouse and the roots have no trouble pushing their way through the wet paper. You can take the whole pot and put it in the ground as is.

 

Starting Seeds

Starting seeds doesn’t have to be rocket science. You don’t need green houses and heat lamps. Kindergarten children plant beans in their classrooms to learn about spring time.

All you need is a cup, some paper towels or napkins, some water and a window sill.

I use clear plastic party cups to start my seeds. I stuff a little bit of brown paper towel in the bottom and then add water. I let the paper towel absorb as much water as it can, then pour any extra out. I put two or three seeds in each cup then set the cup in a warm, sunny window sill. After a couple days to a week, the seeds should start showing some signs of life. If they haven’t, don’t give up, recently my cantaloupes took almost three weeks to start sprouting. Keep your paper towels moist (but don’t drown your little roots) and wait. Once your plant has developed a good size tap root (the biggest root in the middle that the other roots sprout from), carefully pull the plants out of the cups and put into some good quality potting soil until it’s warm enough to plant outside.

This is how we start the majority of our seeds. Currently we’ve got every window sill full of beans, peas, carrots, peppers, chilies, butternut squash, sunflowers, radishes, cucumbers and countless herbs. This is also great for any little helpers you might have hanging around (children, grandkids?), they usually get very excited to see their little projects grow.