If you are building a new home or simply want to update your current home, start outside with curb appeal. Read more »
Here comes the bride — and the groom, the bridesmaids, and the groomsmen – plan ahead, practice a little, and then enjoy bring... Read more »
When you’re filling out your wish-list of wedding gifts, don’t forget to include supplies for the garden shed. With the right... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear2™ Pruner, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear2™ Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techn... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear2™ Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented-pending tec... Read more »
Making your own wedding invites and thank you cards is a delightful task when you a few versatile tools and simple techniques... Read more »
Nothing adds a special touch to a wedding like a handmade item. Read more »
Create a beautiful setting for your post-wedding brunch. Using these Fiskars tools will make the project even easier. Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Our unique Tag Maker with Built-in Eyelet Setter features an innovative design that makes it easy to create tags perfect for gi... Read more »
Choose our low-maintenance Photo Bypass Paper Trimmer to trim large quantities of photos with speed and precision. An easy-to-u... Read more »
Give your small outdoor space a mini makeover using a few simple tools to complete these fabulous projects. Read more »
Window treatments can turn a room from drab to fab, but if you’re on a budget sometimes hand-me-down curtains will have to do,... Read more »
If you’re not ready to fully embrace the trend for bold 70’s prints in your clothing, why not reflect it with a gloriously lou... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through fabric, our RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears feature... Read more »
Our Classic Stick Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade is ideal for crisp, controlled cuts on a wide variety of materials. A symmet... Read more »
Make clean up time a fun game for the kids! It becomes really easy for toddlers and preschoolers to match their toys to their... Read more »
Funny Face Magnet Gift Wrap is simple to make and quite literally gives each gift magnetic personality. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The most common complaint I hear when traveling is about soil quality for growing veggies. It may be too sandy, full of clay... Read more »
Creating a customized look is easier than you think - even when it comes to sewing up larger items such as this duvet cover an... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
With our understanding of genetics we can breed plants that thrive in difficult climates, create grains that resist disease and produce huge yields, and grow identical, tough-skinned fruits and vegetables that withstand mechanical processing, international travel and last a long time on grocer’s shelves. But is that what you really want?
There’s a price to eating tomatoes in January and Brussels sprouts in June. The down side to our “improvements” is a bland, mechanical sameness to the look and taste of those fruits and vegetables; questionable contents and nutrition in those modified grains. And don’t get me started on all those food miles. Of even great concern with these genetically modified organisms are the potential health risks that we’re just now learning more about. Sadly, it seems to be the way of the future as we develop an even greater and disturbing dependence on the agribusinesses that produce them.
For growers, the seeds can’t be saved from current crops. These hybridized wonders must be purchased over and over again every year; they don’t reproduce naturally. Heirloom plants, on the other hand, have unique flavors and appearance that you just don’t get in hybridized products. Just ask anyone who’s tasted an Anna Russian or Cherokee Purple tomato to compare it to typical store-bought hothouse variety!
More importantly, heirloom plants help preserve the earth’s biodiversity; Mother Nature’s way of not putting all her eggs in one basket. Growing and saving heirloom seeds helps insure the world’s wonderful variations of plants will continue for future generations along with sustaining the diverse network of wildlife that depends on these species; many of which are rapidly vanishing forever. Habitat destruction, climate change and our own failure to recognize and act on the importance of perpetuating these dying varieties are some of the greatest culprits to their demise.
Saving the seeds of heirloom plants is not complicated, but you may need to do a little extra planning to these seeds varieties are protected and not cross-pollinated during the growing season. Unlike hybrids, heirloom plants are open-pollinated. They will “breed true” from seed and be exactly like their parents. However, birds, insects and the wind carry pollen from blossom to blossom indiscriminately, so genes from one variety can cross with another. You can lose the traits you originally wanted. Unless you’re growing species that don’t cross-pollinate, like tomatoes or beans, you must isolate different varieties of the same plant to keep the seeds pure. There are several ways to isolate plants.
Plant cross-pollinating varieties of peppers, cucumbers, eggplant and melons at least 10 feet apart, or in different areas of your yard. Odds are the same insect won’t visit the same area of the garden on the same day. Or make an insect barrier from sheer, tightly spun fabric like floating row cover. Cut a piece large enough to cover the flowers before they open. Protect the stem with a strip of cotton, then wrap the edges of the fabric around the stem and secure with a twist tie. Finally, grow a wide variety of plants like sunflowers, corn and lettuce that mature at different times.
To collect heirloom seeds, leave fruit or flowers on the plant so the seeds mature. Some seedpods, like peas or beans, dry on the vine and feel papery and stiff when they’re ready. Gather on a dry, sunny day; rain or dew could promote mold in storage later.
To clean the seeds, remove them from the pods and pour between large mouth jars in the gentle breeze of a small fan. The heavier seeds fall while the lighter chaff is blown away. Spread the seeds on newspaper and let them dry for one or two weeks.
Seeds from fleshy fruits like tomatoes need to be separated from the pulp. First, scoop the seeds, pulp and juice into a jar or plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Shake the mix daily over four days. Then carefully add a generous amount of water to flush the pulp and juice out of the container while being careful to allow the healthy seeds to sink to the bottom of the container. Once the residue has been flushed, dump the remaining seeds into a strainer for a final rinse and place them on a coffee filter where they will dry out of the next few days. Store seeds in small envelope. Label with the plant name and harvest date. Place envelopes in an airtight container such as a Mason jar and store in a cool, dark place. Your refrigerator is an ideal location for this.
Finally, always hold some seed back when you sow next year’s garden. You never know about the weather. And if you suffer a drought, floods or other disaster, you won’t lose your heirloom collection. If you’d like to buy heirloom seeds to grow and save for future generations, Seed Savers Exchange is a great resource. Learn more at www.seedsavers.org.