Tag Archives: Home and Garden

Harvest those Seeds!

9 Sep
Small tomatoes in Korea

Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that most Farmers are forbidden by law to harvest their own seeds?  That’s right, friends – the seed manufacturing companies passed legislation that makes seed harvesting a crime… for Farmers.  Just think of all of those seeds going to waste… season after season, crop after crop.  It saddens me…  But, this is not A Sad One’s Blog, oh no, my friends, and I am not a Farmer!  People of Earth – I say harvest those seeds (especially yummy, yummy tomatoes)!  Here’s how:

1.I know it’s going to hurt your soul, but this works best if you use your best tomato from your best plant.  We’re an instant gratification kind of a culture, but just think – sparing one tomato today will yield delicious (and free!) tomato plants for next season!  You can eat the second best tomato.  Just save the seeds from your best one (pulp, goo, and all), spread them in a single layer in a glass bowl or dish out of direct sunlight, put just a splash of water in it, and leave it there for a week.

2. Once a day or so, swish your bowl of seeds around a bit (at the same time you’re rinsing your sprouts, perhaps… hmmm), making sure not to let the seeds dry out completely.  Don’t worry about stuff growing in the water; that’s what’s supposed to happen.

3. After a few days, you’ll notice some of the seeds floating on the top.  Skim these seeds off & trash them.  Rinse the rest of the seeds, then leave them out, this time letting them get completely dry (this should take 2 or 3 more days).  Some people recommend drying your seeds out on a paper towel.  If you like your tomato seeds to have tiny bits of paper towel stuck to them, by all means go for it.  If you prefer, say, avoiding things like tree killing paper towels that stick to tomato seeds, then a dry glass bowl or piece of (both recycled AND recyclable) aluminum foil should do nicely.

4. When you’re sure your seeds are dry, toss them in an airtight glass jar (yes, I suppose a resealable plastic bag would work, but since the only things more terrible than tree killing paper towels are resealable plastic bags, I may judge you for it).   Store these bad boys in a cool, dry place until next February, when I’m quite sure you’ll be planting your seeds indoors so they can get a head start on the growing season!   })i({

Off Grid: Step One

23 Aug

Going off-grid takes a lot of planning.  I’ve got a file in my brain filled with all the things we’re going to need to acquire at some point:  solar panels, a grain mill, back-up generators, a well and water purification system, a sewing machine that actually works, various and sundry animals, and of course, the biggie: LAND.

Obviously we won’t buy land in DC, first because even if we saved up for a decade or two we’d still have the equivalent of a roll of quarters when compared to DC real estate prices.  Secondly, settling somewhere that’s in the top five list of “places most likely to be destroyed in the event of the End of the World” goes against every rule ever written in the Zombie Plan Handbook, which, I have learned, is an integral component of the off-grid lifestyle.

So it seems like Step One should be “buy land,” but it’s not.  Step One isn’t even “save money to buy land.”  Step One, at least for us, is to get out of our current living situation.  You may remember that our friendly neighborhood landlord has decided he’s moving into our basement in a few months; if that’s not motivation to get out of our townhouse, I don’t know what is.  The plan is to find something a little more size appropriate for just two people, thus *hopefully* saving ourselves some money, but mostly forcing us to spend a little more time considering how we use our resources.  Going off-grid is as much about using resources wisely as it is about being self-reliant, and plus, I can’t think of any good reason to have to clean four whole bathrooms when there are only two people living here!

Anyway, step one of Step One (sheesh, I wish I knew how many steps there were… this is getting tedious!) is the ever popular lifestyle choice known as DOWNSIZING.  Step one of step one of Step One (stay with me here, folks, I’m pretty sure this is the last time) is this:

Cleaning out the Bonus Room, a.k.a. the place we put stuff we don’t want to think about.  Having a ton of space is a luxury, especially if you’re sentimental, because you don’t have to make tough decisions about what’s worth keeping & what you should toss.  Anyway, these are the “Before” pictures of the Bonus Room.  I’ve given myself until October 1st to complete this project, & I’ll be posting updates as I go.  Here’s hoping that posting pictures of my messy, messy house will motivate me!  })i({