Since most garden chores are coming to an end at this time of the season, unless you’re into fall/winter planting, or getting your garden ready for a cover crop, there is still saffron to tend to. Yesterday, before the rain arrived, I surf-grubbed my saffron patch to aerate the soil and broadcasted an organic fertilizer 5-10-10 in anticipation of the corms sprouting and the flowers to appear – for more details on growing saffron in Connecticut, ready my article on the fall issue of Edible Nutmeg.
If you’re not presently growing this spice, do yourself a favor and buy a dozen corms to get started. The White Flower Farm, Fedco and other fine retailers have it in stock, but don’t wait too long because they run out, or ship you an inferior product. Another idea is to wait a little longer and purchase corms when they go on sale. At times you can save up to 75% of the original price when they begin to sprout, although at that stage the quality is marginal.
I hope you’ve harvested seeds from your favorite heirloom plant and have stored them in a cool, dry area. This year I collected seeds from about 12 organic/heirloom vegetables, 6 types of tomatoes, in which 2 were on grafted rootstock; hot, red and yellow peppers; Chioggia beets; kohlrabi; Turkish eggplants; banana melons; onions; garlic (bulbils and seeds); carrots; broccoli; Egyptian onions; Welch onions; beans; garlic chives and a bunch of endive, escarole and common lettuces. I have a new dynamite lettuces called Mastrinella given to me by a dear friend in Italy and Canasta, another non-bolting type, which I have sown and will be protected with row covers until late November, the rest will be transplanted into the cold frame to keep us from buying lettuce all winter long.
This Saturday I will start my workshop and the topic is COLLECTING VIABLE ORGANIC SEEDS.
Nick Mancini The Organic Italian