Now that the gardening season has ended and you've picked the season’s last vegetables, let some plants go to seed and harvest them for planting next year. “Saving seed can be really fun and is a great way to learn about plants,” Weston Miller, a horticulturist with Oregon State University Extension Service, said. “If you choose the right types of vegetables, you can keep them going year after year without buying them again.” The easiest crops for saving seed are annual plants that self-pollinate, such as lettuce, beans, peas, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes. Collect seed from the healthiest plants and allow them to dry. Store seeds in tightly sealed glass containers in a cool and dark location and label with the type and the date. The refrigerator or freezer is also a good place for storing seeds that you collect and also seeds that you buy. Put small seeds in envelopes and label them. Place the envelopes in sealable freezer bags.
Freezing maintains the natural color, fresh flavor, and high nutritive value of fresh foods. The objective is to bring foods to the frozen state quickly. When properly done, fruits and vegetables are more like fresh than when preserved by any other method. Best of all, freezing vegetables and fruit is fast and easy. You don’t need a lot of time or years of experience to preserve garden-fresh fruits and vegetables. Organized in a friendly, food-by-food format, readers will find “The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home” by Janet Chadwick an invaluable reference. Freezing, drying, canning, and storing instructions are available for each vegetable, fruit, and herb, and in many cases, several methods for freezing fruits and vegetables or canning food are described.
Merchantville has a Community Garden at the Community Center and from time to time, there are garden plots available. Merchantville's Community Garden is a single piece of land located behind the baseball field at the Community Center. It is gardened and maintained collectively by a group of residents and students. Our community gardens utilizes either individual plots on this public land to produce fruit, vegetables, and plants for food and food sharing. Please contact Kris Donohue at kdonohue202@gmail if you are interested in having a sunny plot in this garden next year.
Come and get em! Zucchini, hot peppers, cucumbers, beans, squash, kale, turnips and tomatoes are available for free at Eclipse Brewing. At Incredible Edible Merchantville we love connecting people through food and food sharing. Although we're just getting our feet wet, there are many businesses in our community who are already doing extraordinary things. For some it’s about creating a garden, for others supporting food waste and food injustice. For some it’s about teaching people to grow and cook and for others it’s about ensuring people have that space to grow. For us all it’s about making sure our whole community can get involved. Eclipse Brewing and Park Place Cafe & Restaurant are business leaders in planting crops for food sharing and connecting to nature through locally foraged foods.