Letter Re: Transitioning From Cool Weather Crops

Good Morning Captain Rawles,
With the weather warming dramatically in the south, the winter grown crops are fading due to the heat and longer days.
Our high temps are in the 80s and our lows are in the mid-70s now.  As folks notice that their turnips, mustard greens, broccoli, and collard greens start to get tough leaves that are not good to eat, they rush to pull them up and plant something else.  This is a mistake, if you are looking for seed security.  We have just finished harvesting our seed for this fall from these plants.  We have saved turnip, mustard, collard, broccoli, radish, and sage seeds.  As all of these plants age, they will put out flowers on top.  The flowers will be replaced by seed pods. These pods will fill out slowly and start to turn a light tan.  Check them daily at this point.  Once they start to turn brown and the pods start to crack open easily when you squeeze them, they are ready to harvest. I cut them from their stalks with some hand clippers and put them in a 10 quart bucket.  Then I use my hand to crunch them inside the bucket by squeezing with my hand.  I then briskly shake the bucket from side to side or up and down.  All the seeds will go to the bottom, and the husks will move to the top.  Then the husks are easily picked out with your fingers.  If you want to get the seeds really free of husks, you can pour them from one bucket to another in front of small fan.  Once the seeds are separated, be sure to put them in a sealable container with a small quantity of diatomaceous earth and label them.  Be certain that the seeds are dry and stay dry or else they will sprout or rot making them useless.  You make think reading this, “I don’t want to mess with that, I’ll buy mine”. However, in today’s world we’ve experienced seed shortages in our area. 

In the coming expected collapse, there may be no stores open. Also, these seeds mentioned above sell for several dollars per ounce.  They will make a very valuable barter item in desperate times. I know that some of you may not like eating these type of plants. However, in my region during the Great Depression, some folks survived the winter eating these types of greens and cornbread they made from the ground corn seeds they had saved. They are high in vitamins and there are many different ways to fix them. A well known chef on the internet has a recipe for “greens” that starts out with a half pound of bacon. I would tell my children growing up that the difference between something you would not eat or would eat was 72 hours. Regards, – M.E.R.

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