Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Seed Saving

Poppy Seeds
It hardly seems like fall but it is already time to think about next year! Many of your flowers are beginning to set seed already. A cheap and easy way to get a jump on next year is to begin collecting seeds. For a lot of plants it is really not that hard and you can let nature do a lot of the work. Just don't wait too long! Typically the key is to make sure you allow the seeds to become mature on the plant before you pick them. If you are too early they will not be viable, if you are too late they will blow away! Typically I judge this by touching them. If they crumble in your hand at the slightest pressure they are ready. Old herb jars work great for keeping them till next year. Don't forget to label with the date and variety. Seeds that I typically collect include:cosmos, marigold, poppies, cleome, bachelor button and morning glory. What seeds do you collect?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meeting the Enemy

For the second time this year I have lost more chickens to a predator. It is with unbelievable disappointment that we no longer have hens laying eggs. Despite being an urban dweller, we must still deal with these seemingly uncivil things. I remember on numerous occasions my father waking up in the night to shoot stray dogs, coyotes or what ever it was that was preying in our yard. At least on the farm we had 20-30 hens. When you only have 5, the loss of the two that were laying is almost devastating. This spring it was a fox, now we have met a mink. Yes, a mink. I have never seen one myself but this unlikely urban dweller seems to have found me. They are the size and shape of a ferret leading me to wonder how on earth I am going to secure a coop that will keep out something that can squeeze through a two inch hole. He will undoubtedly be back as he didn't get to make off with his loot because my husband interrupted him. He would of met his demise then but alas it is a little against the law to discharge a weapon within city limits. So we will have to move on to more creative methods as we morn the loss of not only some beautiful hens, but out favorite treat of fresh eggs.