We have been calling around to different tree services asking if they are interested in dumping off wood chips at our house for the Great Sheet Mulching 2007. Someone finally panned out! I came home last night to a big, beautiful pile of fresh wood chips. It’s steaming away outside our front door and I have to contain my excitement, else I would be outside as we speak in the dark and cold shoveling away. Just have to get through the rest of the week before we can dig in Saturday…

In the mean time, I am trying to keep busy with other projects inside. My latest venture to take over kitchen counter space has been seed-saving from our various runner bean outside. I let them all “mature”, i.e. neglected them, so they would develop fat seeds inside the pods. Over the next couple months I need to investigate local seed-sharing communities, or maybe start my own seed-swapping party in early Spring. I will never use all these beans seeds otherwise.

My favorite score from the seed-saving is with my scarlet runner beans. They are a great bean plant, with lovely red blossoms that ladybugs and bees seem to love. I personally favor the beans inside over the actual pod, but it is nice to have both options. The original seed packet contained about ten or so of the mammoth seeds. Now I have about 30 drying away on my counter for next season – enough to share with friends.

Off topic, but I cooked up some of the acorn squash from the Farmer’s Market tonight. The recipe was from Epicurious.com and it turned out pretty well. Here is the link to Autumn Minestrone – I would definitely make it again. It was quite easy and quick, but it was rather difficult peeling the skin of the acorn squash. Very hardy, especially when recovering from a cold. And of course I had to add some of the discarded acorn squash seeds to my collection drying in the kitchen.

Stay tuned for the recap on the Great Sheet Mulching 2007!

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Written by Renee Wilkinson