Seedpods, Fruit, and a Shaker Peg Rail

I've been on a seed saving spree. (Say that five times fast!) I've always tried to save some seed from our annual flowers, but this year I'm really enjoying finding new seeds to save. If I can put a dent in our yearly seed budget, that would be delightful! And of course it is a more sustainable practice than buying every year, and it has the benefit of a zero carbon footprint. 

Today I cut, dried, and saved Love-in-a-Mist (or Nigella). (I must say something about these photos. I used, as always, my phone (iPhone 6). I zoomed in quite a lot. Please please please forgive all the detail of my very dirty, work-hardened hands. Please concentrate on the seedpods, not my yucky fingers. Next time I will figure out a way to photograph with a piece of construction paper behind the desired item.)

a slightly squashed seed pod

a slightly squashed seed pod

From the top looking in, you can see the seeds. Isn't this seedpod lovely?

From the top looking in, you can see the seeds. Isn't this seedpod lovely?

With the top pulled off

With the top pulled off

The seeds inside

The seeds inside

Here's a California Poppy. Not quite so lovely. But then this is a hardscrabble flower, meant to survive severe drought and still bloom. It can't afford to have a nice balloon shape. It makes me think of the word 'sere.' 

Here's one still closed, not dry enough to pop open yet

Here's one still closed, not dry enough to pop open yet

and here's one sprung open, the seeds all in a row

and here's one sprung open, the seeds all in a row

I also collected quite a few nasturtium seeds. I use nasturtium everywhere in both the flower and vegetable beds, as it attracts beneficial insects (and hummingbirds) and repels the ones I don't want anywhere near my delicious veg. Saving these seeds will help me an awful lot in future.

They tend to grow in a group of three

They tend to grow in a group of three

These will dry and harden further, then they'll be ready to plant. 

These will dry and harden further, then they'll be ready to plant. 

And this year we finally have enough Forget-me-Nots to collect some seed. These seeds are the annoying kind that inspired the inventor of Velcro.

sticky, but beautiful

sticky, but beautiful

Today (and this whole week) has been enormously hot, so the routine has been: go out to the garden for an hour, then come inside and drink a gallon of hibiscus iced tea, then go outside for an hour, then come inside and have a little lie-down under a fan. I have to say the fruit just loves the heat and is bursting out everywhere. The plums are just a couple of days from eating, as are the peaches, and the tomatoes are clustered all along the stems of the plants.

This is a Santa Rosa plum we planted a year ago, last Spring. We have three plums on the tree this year, which I call a success. They are gorgeous and I can't wait to eat them.

This is a Santa Rosa plum we planted a year ago, last Spring. We have three plums on the tree this year, which I call a success. They are gorgeous and I can't wait to eat them.

The peaches are numerous and glorious. We have dreams of frozen peaches for smoothies, peaches for pie, peaches to eat out-of-hand, and of course peach jam. About three times a day we go out and squeeze them, or see if they come off easily in our hand. That will be our cue to start eating. We must stay ahead of the squirrels and birds, though we have so many, we can share.

The peaches are numerous and glorious. We have dreams of frozen peaches for smoothies, peaches for pie, peaches to eat out-of-hand, and of course peach jam. About three times a day we go out and squeeze them, or see if they come off easily in our hand. That will be our cue to start eating. We must stay ahead of the squirrels and birds, though we have so many, we can share.

Tomatoes. Can't wait.

We have slicers, paste, and cherry tomatoes all rivaling to be the first ones ready to eat. I'm trying new things with growing tomatoes this year, and I'll write about that in a different post. So far, I really like where things are headed.

We have slicers, paste, and cherry tomatoes all rivaling to be the first ones ready to eat. I'm trying new things with growing tomatoes this year, and I'll write about that in a different post. So far, I really like where things are headed.

Something else hot weather brings out, and they're not as welcome as the fruit, are flies. Gosh they are annoying. But today I noticed flies pollinating both a yarrow and the cilantro, so they're not all bad.

And oh my goodness the cilantro is just a hotbed of activity, I noticed 8 different kinds of pollinators on it at one time today. This is absolutely one of those crops you should let bolt and go to seed. Pollinators really seem to love this kind of flower - an umbel - and cilantro is another one of those flowers that attracts the good guys and repels the bad guys. 

Our garlic harvest was so robust this year that I asked my father to make us another hanging rail for the braids. We have four pegs on our canning shelf, and those are occupied by two garlic braids, a mesh bag of shallots, and a mesh bag of fingerling potatoes. I had six more braids of garlic, and we really don't want to try to fit everything on those four pegs because we need to increase the airflow around the produce if we want it to last longer. So Dad made us a Shaker Peg Rail, and it looks nice in a dark corner by the piano.

Two more pictures to share. I bought a Humboldt Lily at the Watershed Nursery back on Mother's Day, and it's blooming. Spectacular. Why didn't I get more of these?

This is California's drought-tolerant answer to the Leopard Lily

This is California's drought-tolerant answer to the Leopard Lily

And I just love the way this Scabiosa atropurpurea 'Scarlet' (pincushion flower) looks as it builds up to bloom.

Isn't that something?

Isn't that something?

Hope you're all having a marvelous weekend!