Monday, October 31, 2011

Seed swap perils

I host and attend a variety of seed/plant swaps during the year. It's a great way to share seed, learn things and meet people. I just attended a great swap hosted by Phoenix region people from Dave's Garden (an online gardening forum). I brought tons of seeds (because as you all know by now, I'm a seed hoarder) but most of what was at the swap was plants. I don't mean a giant pile of aloe vera pups and a few spindly leftovers from experiments that didn't quite work out. These were beautiful, top-notch plants people were sharing. I came home with an amaryllis, an 18" lime basil plant, two big tomato plants (it's 90˚ here, we're good to grow tomatoes for awhile yet), rain lily bulbs, a bulb of heirloom garlic, broccoli starts, some uncommon hot pepper seeds, and a few small pots.

At the fall seed swap I hosted one of the things I brought home were some kale seeds that a woman had saved from her garden. For some reason, amongst my hundreds of varieties of seed, I never seem to have any kale. I was pretty stoked. I got everything planted and that kale shot up so fast it seemed like it was out of the ground the moment it got wet. Pretty unusual in my experience with kale. Here's a picture of the kale bed I shot today:

What's that you say observant reader? That's not kale? You are correct. That is a bed full of mustard. Which grows like a weed out here. In fact wild mustard is one of our rampant spring 'weeds'. The woman who donated the saved seed, inadvertently saved mustard-- one of two crops (turnips being the other) that have been retired from Rachel's Tiny Farm due to household-wide disdain for eating them.

Now this is obviously not a big deal, I'll just take out entire plants to eat instead of only the outside leaves and we'll get through it quickly enough and replant with kale. If the worst thing that happens to you from going to a seed swap is a bed full of unwanted mustard, what have you got to lose? Seed swaps are a great thing to have in a community... and may I recommend the book Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth for the generous seed savers amongst you. ;)


Justin said...


I did that to myself this year. An unlabeled plastic baggy I THOUGHT was pumkin ended up being SQUASH! Woops... Its ok though, lots of butternut squash soup this month... those vines are prolific... But still, I was going for Big Max!

Garden Girl said...

I love butternut squash soup, being vegetarian it's what I'm having for Thanksgiving this year.

greenworld said...

Its ok, this happens all of the time. My wife thought she had tomatoes and it was squash instead. Same issue as previously. Not a big deal:)

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