Sunday, March 7, 2010

7 February 1956 “Spring has Sprung, well Peeked It’s Head Out At Least, And Planting Seeds the 1950’s Way.”

womanbikeposter2 This morning Hubby, Gussie and I hopped on our vintage bikes and rode to the ocean. We are lucky in that, though we do not live ON the water, we are biking distance away. Part of the trip involves our riding down this lovely mown path, large enough for us to ride two abreast if we choose. It is so fun to go bumping over the grass with our white-wall tires flashing in the warm sunshine. In the summer, the shrubbery grows over 15’ on either side and is filled with wild roses and honeysuckle. I always feel myself in a Merchant Ivory Film when we pass through there.
This path then crosses the raid road tracks and goes down to the Canal (which was once a brackish stream that was dug out in the 1930’s to allow ships to pass through thus connecting the Cape with two bridges and turning us into an island).
There is a lovely two lane paved path that follows the canal along and is only open to foot and bike/roller-skate traffic. As it was a sunny Sunday, the thoroughfare was rather busy. But, we didn’t mind. The sun was out, the air warm and sweet and you could just feel Spring waiting in the corners and crevices of everything. There a bit of crocus or daffodil peeking through. There, the bugs on the trees straining to be set free. This mingled with the salty air of the ocean and three happy bikers was an intoxicating mix.

So, we biked along. At one point to get to the beach, you ride around the little harbor here and see all the boats laid up in their winter coats, waiting for their release to the water. A graceful boat, like a swan, looks Ridiculous out of water. Its streamlined wonder and cutting dashing appearance becomes ludicrous when its great bottom is left, knotted with barnacles, on stands.

After the harbor we pass the little fish market where I buy our seafood (it is VERY fresh since it is literally on the water, and then the pretty three story Coast Guard station. The Fried Seafood Shack and the nicer Seafood Restaurant.Then, down another little dirt path (again very Merchant Ivory, especially when you are wearing a skirt and hose and jaunty scarf as I was). And then the beach and the immense stones of the break wall. We parked our bikes along the Beach signs and moved out onto the warm rocks to what the water ripple by.

Oh, so warm and lovely. Closing your eyes and feeling the ocean breeze, the heat from the rocks, the gulls. Hubby turned to me and said, “You know, this is what people pay to come here on holiday to do. Ride your bike to the beach and lounge, stay in a little old rustic cottage.And we get to enjoy it whenever we like.” I smiled and agreed. It is nice to appreciate what one has; to feel blessed and to be happy where you are and in the moment.

Once we returned, we sat on the little terrace and watched the dogs rolls and romp in the grass. Hubby hacked a bit at our mounds of Forsythia (they are going to be dug up and recieve a new home in the front garden). Of course, the warm air and exercise has me so excited for the gardening season. I love gardening. I think I inherited the love for it from my Paternal grandparents, they had amazing gardens, acres of them, and could get a anything to grow. My Grandfather loved exotic plants and was always trying something new. chineselatern1 I remember the rows of drying ‘Chinese paper lanterns’ in the big outbuilding they used for their garden equipment/potting shed. illustrationchineselantern My Grandmother is still alive and gardening every year, though she is 98 this year!

I bought my first seeds the other day. I am trying to buy only old or heritage seeds, nothing that is an insane hybrid or anything that was genetically made. I love the history of some of the heritage seeds and plants and to know you are growing and keeping on the earth such old tested plants. I am going to be putting some Heritage and fun seeds in the new SEED section of the store on the site, if you want to check those out as well. I love this bean, which I freely admit I am buying because of the name and because it is from the 1880s. It is called the “lazy Housewife” because it was the first string-less bean.

I want to try some new things, such as this amaranthreddseed I am going to let you read about it, here you go:

This heat-loving summer green is even more nutritious than spinach or beet greens! With its coleus appearance, it is showy enough for flowerbeds. With its heat tolerance, it will give you sweet and slightly tangy salad greens well into summer when your spring crops have been harvested or have bolted. Incredibly versatile, you can steam it like spinach, stir-fry it, or sautee it. Try mixing the leaves with spaghetti sauce, rice, meatloaf, or use it whenever your Chinese cookbook calls for spinach. Just like our Amaranth Burgundy. (in the flower section) you can also harvest the seeds to eat as a grain. The seeds have a huge 20% protein and rank 75 out of 100 as a complete protein, which is higher than milk, soybeans, or whole wheat. The foliage is very nutritious. High in vitamin A, C, iron, calcium and protein. Can be grown in full sun or partial shade.

How wonderful does that sound, plus it is pretty like coleus. I want to try to harvest the seed to grind to use like flour. Has anyone ever grown this one before?

Here are the seeds I started today.I really love the Botanical Interest seeds and was excited to see I can sell these in the Store on the website. They are great seeds and a great company too.(no I am not getting paid by them to say that, I just like their seeds, choice and company).tomatoace tomatoyellopear tomatoecherokeepurple tomatoegreen cucumberpickles cucumberslicing These are all Heritage and organic seeds. I really want to be able to plant all my veg next year from harvested seed from this year. It is going to be a sort of Garden Challenge.

I am using some leftover plastic domes seed starters I had before, but promised myself not to buy any new plastics. I began to wonder, how did they do this in the 1950’s? Yes, they had plastic, but not like they do now. I don’t think plastic seed starting trays came out until the late 70’s. So, how on earth did they start seeds indoors? And, before that, in the 1900’s how?

So, in my 50’s Gardening book (which will really help with the Gardening section on the site) it shows starting seeds in little wooden boxes. I think I shall try to make some myself. I have included the two sets of instructions they have. (Just click on the image to enlarge it) Neither address how to stop the water from leaking through, but I suppose you put it somewhere waterproof. Luckily for me, I found that wonderful metal kitchen cart when I went to the Estate sale of Ann’s that I wrote about last month.


It seems a very ‘green’ way to grow seedlings, I mean why more plastic, right? But, I have some leftover, so I will use those and the new wooden ones. I was also thinking, how adorable the wooden are and would look cute in the house, as opposed to the wretched plastic. It also really demonstrates how heat more than light are important to seedlings. Many people make the mistake of starting seedlings in direct light and they can dry out too soon or get burned. They don’t need that sun until they begin to photosynthesize (why plants are green). I like how they said to use old newspaper, if you haven’t any glass and the brown paper on the bottom to keep the soil in. This whole set up is all about using old wood leftover, brown paper and leftover newspaper. It also fits into the Use less Plastic discussion we have been having on the Forum.

I also noticed that you most likely didn’t just saunter into the garden store and ask for seed starting mix. You made it from your own soil. Interesting. Not sure if I will try that this year or not. If I do, I shall share the results with you here and on the Gardening page of the site.

You can also make grow pots out of old newspaper as well. Here is an easy tutorial from Youtube. ( I know they sell little wooden shapers to make your own newspaper pots, but why spend the money when you can just use a glass or tin can you have in the house, save the money for the seeds.)I also think, I will make some of these and put them in wooden boxes (no plastic) and then also plant up the wooden boxes as shown in my 50’s book (the above photo’s) and see which work best for next year.


Have any of you started your seeds indoors yet? I know there were some on the Forum that were surprised to know that you can plant a garden without any land, by using buckets. Check out the Victory Garden section of the WarTimeThrift page of the site. There is a video on how to use an old plastic bucket (use it up!) and grow tomatoes upside down hanging on hooks, even if you only have a deck or an outside wall you can do that! And I am going to be growing potatoes in buckets this year, as well!

I have just discovered I can put so many of the wonderful Heritage and organic seeds in the STORE on the site, so if you want to have a look around and the seeds I love and some of which I will be planting check it out HERE.

Until tomorrow, then, Happy Homemaking and Happy Gardening!

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