Blog entry by Joanne Ranck-Dirks
As summer comes to an end and fall begins, the Heirloom Seed Project volunteers are gathering a bountiful harvest of heirloom vegetables. From numerous Landis Valley gardens we have gathered ten different varieties of tomatoes, half a dozen different kinds of beans, as well as peas, peppers, kale, cabbage, cucumbers, watermelons, squash and corn.
From these vegetables we are now harvesting seeds. After slicing open the vegetables to remove the seeds, the chopped up tomatoes and peppers go home with volunteers and into the soup pot. There are as many variations of tomato soup and sauce as volunteers. Trays of drying seeds fill the Seed House and there will still be beans to shell for several weeks.
We worked for this harvest! We pulled weeds even when it was hot, gave the tomatoes and melons thick mulches of straw and trained the pole beans onto trellises. We chased the geese out of the garden even as the groundhogs nipped off peas and beans and the horse knocked down the fence to plunder the corn! So we shared our harvest grudgingly but there is still enough.
|HSP volunteers Mary Holovack (l) and Mickey Blefko (r)|
In several trial plots in the garden are varieties of heirloom vegetables that we haven’t grown before. With a vote of confidence from volunteers, we will add several to our selection of plants to sell at the Herb and Garden Faire next spring and package seed to sell in the Museum Store.
As shelves in the Seed House are lined with jars filled with the harvest of seeds from our summer’s work, a sense of great accomplishment and satisfaction is the reward for our labors. Soon it will be time to let the geese penned up in the horse pasture go free to glean the few green tomatoes left in the garden!