Sunday, October 4, 2015

A look back to plan for next year

Gardening journals

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Early fall is a great time to look back over your gardening season to develop your plan for next year.  If I don't jot down notes now, I begin questioning myself come seed ordering and planting time about what did well, how many did I plant last year, how many do I need next year.  Now is the time to capture all the info you need for next year's garden!

Jot down in a notebook what you learned and want to remember for next year’s garden:
*Which veggies did best for you that you definitely want to include in your garden for next year.
*Which ones did not do well (I find myself in the next season remembering the name of a veggie, but not sure if it was one that did well or poorly).
*Lay out the timing of what you want to plant by month (did you get the spring greens in too late and they bolted or the zucchini too early and the vine borer got to it).
*The number of plants you want to grow for each variety (did you get swamped by too many peppers and not have enough cucumbers?).
*Compare notes with neighbors and friends on what varieties worked well for them and jot them down as some to try next year.
*Ask at the farmers market which varieties were their favorites this season.

I keep notes in a planner so I can review what varieties did best each month.  For those that did really well in the garden, I have saved seeds and labelled them.  Seed saving-fun, easy and a cost saver  I keep them in ziplocks in our refrigerator crisper drawer.  You may think you will remember next year, but you may not so, to be safe, label the baggie with the variety, date, where it did well (in the ground, pot, shade, sun), and when it produced.

You can also make a list of what you want to learn more about over the winter to be better prepared for spring gardening.  Did your peppers leaves turn yellow, your tomatoes not produce as much as you expected, your lettuce bolted early, what is the best fertilizing routine for the veggies you grow?

You can research over the dreary winter days and dream of the warm, green, growing days to come.  As you are planning for next year, consider a four season garden for year round harvesting.  You can garden year round in small space 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Time to plant garlic! With growing tips......

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Garlic is rich in lore.  It has been reputed to repel vampires, clear the blood, cure baldness, aid digestion over the ages.  Garlic has been around for thousands of years.  It originated in Asia, was cultivated in Egypt and has been a Mediterranean staple for centuries.

Today’s studies have shown is garlic antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral. And, it tastes great!  Garlic is high in vitamin C, B6, calcium, manganese, selenium and more.  For more nutritional info, garlic nutritional value  

It is easy to grow and has little pest issues.  All you do is throw them in the ground in the fall in October in our Zone 6 garden and by early summer, they are ready to harvest.  Loosening the soil and adding compost prior to planting can boost the garlic bulb size.  I have planted Elephant garlic straight into my mulched flower beds and had great luck.  Their flower in spring is quite striking as well.

The clove puts out roots in the fall.  Depending on how warm the winter is, there can be green shoots showing through the cold months.  Garlic will be some of the first to start growing.  The stems resemble onion greens.  The garlic flower, or scape, has a cute little curl in it.  It grows on hard neck varieties.  They are great in salads.  There is debate among garlic growers if removing the scape will also increase the bulb size.  Either way, you can't lose by harvesting them.

You should choose the biggest cloves to plant.  The bigger the clove, the bigger the harvest!  Cloves as a root vegetable like loose soil, compost and steady fertilizer.  Like carrots, radishes and beets, you can add sand to give a looser soil structure in your garlic bed.  Simply tilling in compost should provide the soil texture that garlic loves.  Compost and mulch well in the fall before cold weather sets in.

Plant the cloves root side down, 1-2” deep, and 4-6” apart.  For planting by the cycle of the moon, garlic should be planted during the waning cycle of the moon.  For our Zone 6 garden, this is September 9-23 and October 9-22.  After the greens sprout to 6”, add compost or fertilizer as a side dressing.  Garlic does not need a lot of nitrogen so compost is a good choice.

Garlic is ready to harvest then the tops begin to die off.  Dig up one or two when about half of the leaves have died.  If the bulb is still small, wait a couple more weeks before harvesting.   Typically garlic harvest is mid-summer.

Garlic ready to harvest

Be careful when you go to harvest.  If you cut the bulb, it will not keep and needs to eaten soon.  The garlic should be left in dry shade for 2-3 weeks or brought inside and stored in a cool, dry location with good air circulation.  They can be hung or placed in a perforated bin to dry and store.  

Store bought garlic has been treated with chemicals to keep them from sprouting so they are not a great choice for growing your own.  A great option is to buy cloves from your local farmers market.  You know they grew well in your area.  Just separate out the bulb(s) into individual cloves and plant the biggest ones.  You can eat or preserve the smaller cloves.

Garlic can be mild or hot.  Elephant garlic is very mild and not really true garlic at all.  It is a type of leek.  It has a great garlic flavor and produces huge bulbs.  The ones I grew this year are from the previous year’s harvest.  I always keep the biggest cloves to replant in the fall.
Elephant garlic flower
You can tell the difference in the two by looking at the flowers.  Leeks and soft neck garlic have a onion type flower while garlic has a curly scape flower.
Hardneck garlic scapes
There is soft and hard necked garlic.  For storing, soft neck garlic is the ticket.  It is also the strongest flavored.  Hard necked is milder, easier to peel, more cold hardy and the first to mature. 

Everyone knows of garlic in sauces and on cheese bread.  A few years ago, we tried roasted garlic.  It dramatically mellows the flavor.  I just put a few heads in a small baking dish, add chicken stock to just about level to the cut heads, and let bake covered at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until soft.  It is a great spread on French bread!

If your garlic dries up over the winter, I grind it into garlic powder.  If you have great tasting garlic that doesn’t store well or you have a bountiful crop, another preservation option is pickled garlic.  Just peel (Quick tip-”peeling” garlic) and cover your fresh garlic cloves in organic apple cider vinegar.  You can add a couple of hot peppers if you want to add some extra zing!

Of course, you can also add garlic to the tomato sauce (Preserving the tomato harvest), pickles (Easy, homemade pickles) or peppers you are going to can.  You can flavor vinegars or oils by popping crushed garlic into them (Quick tip-make your own flavored oils).  Many options for utilizing your garlic harvest!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

October Garden Planner

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The October garden is very productive.  The summer vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, basil and cucumbers continue to produce at a reduced pace.  The cool season crops like lettuce, carrots, radishes, peas, cabbage, beets, broccoli and cauliflower are coming into maturity throughout October and into November.

Basil will turn black when it gets close to 35 degrees.  I pull all the leaves when it is forecasted to get close to freezing or any chance of frost.  You can chop basil, put in an ice cube tray and cover with water to then use any time your recipe calls for fresh basil.  It stores best when frozen in water.  I also dry some to add to my "Herbes de Provence" seasoning mix.  Make your own "Herbes de Provence"  You can also make into pesto and place in freezer bags with just enough for a meal.  Gives a whole new meaning to “fast food.”  Pesto is great over pasta, fish, or as a condiment on sandwiches.  Basil basics-harvesting, preserving, growing basil...

Other herbs will do just fine through frosts like parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives, savory, and sage.  It takes good snow cover to stop these herbs.  Many winters you can harvest these herbs the entire season for cooking.

I will wait until it gets down to 32 degrees before I strip off the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.  You can freeze or dry these veggies.  Tomatoes are a high acid fruit so you can also easily can sauce from them without using a pressure canner, a stockpot is all that is needed.   Preserving the tomato harvest  Be sure to follow any canning recipes exactly so your canned goods don’t spoil.

Make sure you pull the tomatoes from the vine before the vine dies.  Wondering what to do with the green tomatoes?  You have a couple of options.  You can make fried green tomatoes-yum!  Just use some fish fry seasoning; we like Andy’s Cajun Seasoning.  A late fall tradition-fried green tomatoes!  You can also wrap green tomatoes in newspaper and store in a cool, dark location and many will ripen.  Check about weekly to cull any that spoil.  They won’t taste as good as fresh off the vine, but are better than store bought.

October is garlic planting month for the Zone 6 garden!  Plant in the waning cycle of the moon.  Garlic loves loose, well-fertilized soil.  Loosen the soil down to about 6 inches, mix in a couple of inches of compost, and plant your garlic cloves about 2-3” deep.  Time to plant garlic! With growing tips......  Garlic leaves are one of the first greens you will see in spring.

Now is also a great time to divide any perennials you have, whether they be herbs, edibles or ornamentals.  This will give them all fall and winter to put down strong roots.  Perennial greens (like chard, sorrel, cultivated dandelions, salad burnet) are always the first up in the spring.

It is still not too late in early October to transplant fall crops like cold hardy types of lettuce, cabbage, chard, pak choi, broccoli, kale, parsley or perennial herbs.  Some Meijer, Lowes, and Home Depot have 6 and 9 packs ready to plant if you didn’t start your own from seed.

Portable greenhouse, great for growing salad greens all winter
To extend the season, you can order a mini greenhouse to cover your pots or a part of the garden you have planted your cold hardy greens you want to harvest all winter.  You can also purchase row covers that cover plants and provides protection from frosts, but not hard freezes.  Preparing the garden for frost

Winter hardy kale, spinach, Austrian peas, carrots and winter onions don’t need to be covered and can be harvested all winter (as long as the ground isn’t too frozen) and into spring.  I grew Austrian peas last winter and they provided greens all winter long.  They have very pretty flowers, too.

I’ll put our portable, plastic mini greenhouse over the greens in my Earthboxes sometime this month.  One watchout with green houses-they get very, very hot in sunny weather so be sure to open them to allow circulation in fall and early winter.  They will need to be closed up when winter really sets in December sometime. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What's Happening in the Late September Garden

Holy basil, tomatoes, zinnias and marigolds

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The plants that like this kind of weather are tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, Egyptian walking onions, cucumbers, the Mediterranean herbs like basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, chives, savory, dill, tarragon parsley and thyme and all types of greens.  

Typically, we would be preserving lots of veggies for year round eating at this time of the year.   We had wonderful rain all summer.  Surprisingly, this did not bode well for the garden.  The fruiting veggies like peppers, squash, tomatoes, eggplant just did not do well in our garden this summer.  We had more disease and pest pressure than normal.  We usually have very little problems with pests.  Not so this year!  I have been using DE and Dipel powders (both all natural) regularly for the beetles and caterpillars on the broccoli, tomatillos, amaranth, and chard.

For the plants that survived and thrived, it would be a great idea to save their seeds for replanting in your garden next year.  These are the really hardy ones.  This is how farmers over thousands of years have done seed saving.  Save the seed from the plant that has the characteristics you want and are adapted specifically to your garden.

Italian Red Pear tomatoes in varying stages of ripeness
My hubby shared that one of the causes of low fruit output could be the rain washing away their flower's  pollen.  I think he is right!  The fruiting veggies need to be pollinated for a fruit to form.  Our tomatoes did reasonable, just not as good as last year.  I did have one tomato that did great this year!  It was one that I saved the seed from one I bought from Whole Foods because it looked so cool.  Not only was this plant prolific, it was also meaty and tasty!  In doing a search for a giant heirloom pear shaped tomato there are several it could be-Italian Red Pear, Riveria, Franchi Giant Pear or Cuor di Bue oxheart tomato.   It looks closest to the Italian Red Pear tomato.  Whatever it is, I have saved the seed from this plant for next year's garden!

Red October is doing quite well, too.  It is a great storage tomato.  You can have ripe tomatoes until December from the fruits you pick before frost.

Italian Red Pear on the vine
I had given a tomato plant from a set I had bought to a friend for her deck garden.  The plant itself is huge and providing tons of tomatoes being grown in a large pot.  It came in a pack for Cherokee Purple.  It was not a Cherokee Purple!  It is a medium sized chocolate tomato with metallic green stripes.  It tastes great, too.  When I searched on line for what it could be, it looks like it is a Pink Berkeley Tie Dye tomato.  Don't let the name fool ya!  This tomato is not a bit pink.  It is a deep burgundy color with dark green stripes.  I saved seed from it to grow next year.

Italian Red Pear on the fine
I have been putting about a quart of tomatoes away a week.  Sometimes more.  I just slice them and put them in freezer bags.  When it cools down outside, I will look at the frozen tomatoes I have left from last year and cook those into sauce.  You really want to clean out the freezer each year.  The veggies will still be edible, but some will loose flavor.

The squash and peppers really struggled.  Mainly from disease.  I replanted the zucchini 3 times before I had one that survived.  We just started getting fruits from it in the last couple of weeks.  I lost peppers for the first time to disease.  They would turn yellow, shrivel up and then die.  The peppers that weren't affected would really perk up any time we had a week or two without rain and develop many fruits.  There weren't many weeks, though, that we did not have rain......

I have been able to freeze about a pint of sliced peppers every other week or so.  Early in the season, the Pimento was producing well so I was able to freeze a quart of this pepper.  I chop these peppers up as I use them in this salad we love.  We got the recipe from the Pasta House restaurant.  Here is a link to this dressing and others you can make from what you grow in your garden Homemade salad dressing recipes with garden herbs
I had planted a few seeds from sweet banana peppers I bought at the store.  There are two that I am saving seeds for next year's garden.  One was an orange banana pepper.  It was the only plant that actually made a sweet banana pepper plant.  The other is one that produced lots of miniature baby bell peppers.  It is covered right now with more baby sweets.  Pepper plants go until a freeze.  You can bring them in for the winter as they are perennials.

I tried growing from seed the small hot pepper plant that is ages old, Chiltepin.  It took 3 tries, but I now have several plants that are growing.  I have them in a pot and will bring them in to overwinter.  I like putting small hot peppers in my seasoned salt and wanted to grow my own.  They are covered with the tiny hot tots!

Cardinal basil-aren't the burgundy flowers gorgeous!
If you want to maximize your pepper harvest, pick them as soon as they get to full size versus letting them fully ripen to red, yellow, or orange on the plant.  This stimulates the plant to produce more.  If you let them ripen on the plant, the taste will be sweeter.  I compromise and take them off just when they start to turn.  They complete ripening on the counter in a few days.

My uncle gave me some hot pepper seeds from Guyana pepper plant.  I tried sprouting these 3 separate times, but none came up.  Guess they were just too old to still be viable.

The cucumber vines did well.  They are now about done.  Up until two weeks ago, I was getting about one cucumber per vine.  I had planted 4 vines so that was a perfect amount of cukes for us.

The pole green beans did well, too.  The bush beans did not.  I am still getting beans from the pole bean vines.  I planted purple and green Romano types.  The beans and flowers were very pretty.  The green Romano were stringless and the purple Romano type had a small string that was easy to remove before freezing.  I will definitely keep these (Romano and the purple Blauhilde) in my garden next year.  Will also interplant with Scarlett Runner beans, too, for their beautiful flowers.

Sprouting lettuce seed in Earthbox
I am still fertilizing monthly.  I use Espoma as it is all natural, organic.  This year I have also been doing a foliar spray with minerals once a month.  I add compost monthly as well.  Compost increases organic matter and supercharges the microbes in the soil.  The microbes help your plants roots to take up the nutrients they need.

The garlic and onions did well this year.  The Egyptian walking onions did great!  I hardened the garlic on our covered deck.  I put it in apple cider vinegar with peppers for keeping in the fridge.  We use garlic year round for cooking and on our garlic cheese bread.  Yum!
I had a bumper crop of basil this year.  The other herbs did well, too.  We have garlic and garden chives, rosemary, tarragon, bay, sage, parsley, mint, and stevia.  The mint, stevia, tarragon and sage did exceptionally well.  I keep peppermint in a pot so it doesn't take over the garden.  I have stevia in a container to bring in over the winter.  The parsley has really perked up over the last couple of weeks.  The dill went to seed early.

I had also reseeded the Earthbox last week end and there are little lettuce and spinach growing.  We will cover the Earthboxes with a small portable green house later this fall so we can have salads throughout the winter.

Sprouting spinach seed in self watering container
Make sure you save the seeds from your best and longest producers to plant in your garden next spring.  I also save seeds from organic produce I get from the store that is really good.  Last week end when we were at the grocery store, there were these beautiful burgundy and dark green striped tomatoes.  I bought the biggest, prettiest one they had.  We enjoyed the tomato and saved the seeds.    Next year, we'll be able to have them in our own garden!

This fall, we will have arugula, mustard greens, lettuce, chard, blood veined sorrel, garden sorrel, French and Italian dandelion, spinach, lettuce, purslane, corn salad, chives, parsley, arugula, and sprouting broccoli for salads.  Peppers and tomatoes will produce until the first freeze.  The Egyptian onions will produce all through winter.  The herbs will be available for harvesting until the snow covers them up.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Make your own teas!


Sunday, September 20, 2015

You can make your own teas from common herbs from your garden or spice up store bought teas.  A few common herbs used you may have growing in your garden for your own home grown tea-bergamot, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, sage, stevia for sweetening, thyme.

Bergamot, or bee balm, has a scent reminiscent of Italian bergamot orange.  You can dry or use fresh, steeped for 10 minutes by itself or add to store bought black tea to give it the same type of flavor as Earl Gray tea.  Bergamot was used as a tea substitute in the colonies after the Boston Team Party in 1773.  Its flowers are also a great bee attractor.  They are in the mint family so treat accordingly in the garden.  A pot may be the best option.

Chamomile is used in potpourri for its scent, in supplements, tonics and teas for its calming properties, in facial steams/hand soaks to soften and whiten skin.  Use the flowers fresh or dried for tea.

Lavender leaves or flowers can lend a floral note to teas.  Lavender tea is used to sooth nerves, headaches, and dizziness.  Its use as a potpourri is legendary.  It is also great to put in closets to not only provide great scent, but also protect clothes from moths.  It is also used as an antiseptic tonic for acne or to speed facial cell renewal.

Mint comes in many flavors-grapefruit, pear, pineapple, lemon, lime, and orange.  There is even a chocolate mint!  Mint will take over a garden if left to its own devices.  Either put a ring around it at least 3” deep to keep it from spreading underground, cull runners frequently or put in a pot.  Mint loses much of its flavor when dried so fresh is your best bet.  Bees love mint flowers!

Other herbs that impart a citrus note are pineapple sage, lemon balm, lemon verbena, and lemon grass.  Pineapple sage is used for depression and anxiety, to aid digestion, and is antiseptic and antifungal.  Lemon balm tea is commonly used for cold relief and to relieve tension and depression.  Fresh leaves have the best flavor.  Lemon verbena is also used for cold relief, upset stomach, and is mildly sedative.  It is a wonderful addition to potpourri and is grown as an annual.  Lemon grass is a tropical plant which any part of the stem can be used as a tea.  It is considered revitalizing and antiseptic.

I have not found a rosemary that survives the winter here in our Zone 6, but I keep trying.  There are 2 that should be hardy in my zone-ARP (down to Zone 5) and Barbeque (down to Zone 6).  I just love the scent of this herb and as an addition for cooking.  Rosemary is thought to aid in digestion and joint pain.  Use fresh or dried.
Stevia in a pot

Thyme is thought to be beneficial for hangovers, digestion, coughs and colds, along with being one of the staple culinary herbs.  Teas can be made with fresh or dried leaves.  English wild thyme is the strongest for medicinal qualities, but any can be used.  Thyme also comes in lemon, lime, and orange as well.

Stevia is a recent arrival to the US herb scene, but has come on strong in popularity.  It is a super sweet, super antioxidant, with zero carbs, and zero calories.  Stevia is native to tropical regions; it is well suited to container growing.  The trick with stevia is a little goes a long way.  Add too much and it goes from sweet tasting to bitter.

If you want real tea, you can grow tea plants in pots.  They are easy to grow.  Otherwise, there are great herbal options!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Use herbs for signature desserts and grown up beverages

Lavender ice cubes
Saturday, September 19, 2015

Herbs are not only great as seasoning, but also for teas, beverages and desserts.  

You can freeze different herbs or edible flowers in ice cubes for flavor, fun or decoration.  You can take herbs, put in sugar or salt, and grind.  Ta-da fragrant, decorative glass rim treatment.  Using herbs, flowers and fruit for flavored sugars and salts

You can make fruit or herb syrups when in season for year round use in drinks, ice cream toppings, drizzled in cakes, as a base for jellies, ice cream or sorbet, or fun drinks.  Syrups are easy to make.  Simmer the herb with just enough water to cover for 30 minutes, strain, and add 1 cup of sugar for every cup of herb liquid.

Liqueur infused sorbet and topping
You can also make a fruit herb liquor by combining the fruit or rind of 10 large pieces of fruit, two cups of sugar, 2 liters of vodka, and 1 cup of herbs.  Herbs that complement fruit flavors are mint or any herb with fruit/citrus flavors.  Allow the mixture to sit in a tightly covered jar at room temperature for 5 weeks, shaking every couple of days.  Strain out the solids and pour the remaining flavored liquid into sterile jars.

You can add many herbs to flavor wine-angelica leaves, bergamot leaves and flowers, borage leaves and flowers, clary sage leaves, lemon balm leaves, lemon verbena leaves, all kinds of mint leaves, rosemary leaves, salad burnet leaves, sweet woodruff leaves.

Mint julep,
made famous as the drink of choice at the Kentucky Derby
Mint julep is a well known drink with the mint herb used, along with lemon juice, sugar, club soda, sugar, and whiskey with a mint garnish.

Other famous herbal drinks include May wine, Benedictine wine tonic and Chartreuse.

German May wine is a sweet white wine traditionally flavored with a small amount of sweet woodruff, 3 grams worth.  

Benedictine wine tonic is a top secret blend of 27 plants and herbs, made at the Benedictine monks Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England.  It contains coriander, thyme, tea, orange peel, juniper, saffron, and honey for sweetening. The original recipe originated in France around 1510 and is still top secret today.  It was lost for centuries until old manuscripts were found that contained the recipe.  The recipe is kept at 3 different locations around the world, just to be on the safe side.  

Chartreuse is also a secret French liqueur developed by monks back in 1740.  It is said to be wine with 130 herbs, flowers and other secret ingredients.  The monks were expelled from France, the rights to the Chartreuse name and distillery were bought by a company, but they could not recreate the elixir.  The assests were bought cheaply and given to the monks, who were allowed to return.  Only 2 monks know and make the recipe at one time to preserve the secret.

Try adding your own special blend of herbs and spices to different syrups, liquors and wines to produce your secret, signature drinks, toppings, dressings and desserts!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Seed saving-fun, easy and a cost saver

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Seed saving has been going on for thousands of years.  Seed saving is easy.  Always save the seed from the best vegetable you grew! Or the tastiest you buy at the farmers market or store.  

Pick the fruit or plant that has the characteristics you want to grow next year.  The one that was the biggest or had the best taste or produced the most or produced the longest or gave you harvests the earliest or was the most drought or pest resistant.  
Lettuce flower buds
One caveat, you cannot get true to parent plants from hybrids.  If they grow, they will often be totally different than the parent or could get weaker with each generation.  You need “open pollinated” or heirloom vegetables for the seed to produce a baby like the parent.

I love these small sweet peppers I get from the grocery store so I saved the seeds over the winter and planted out a couple of each color.  I only had one plant that came up true to the parent.  This is the one I am saving seed from this year.  

There was also another pepper plant that produced prolifically small bell peppers.  I am also going to save the seed from this plant because it produced so much that I want to grow them again next year.

It doesn't cost a thing to save seeds from store bought veggies or fruits you like and you can end up with some great plants for your garden!
For garlic, you save the best, biggest cloves.  You divide up the garlic head into individual cloves and plant them in the fall when it cools off.  Typically, end of September or beginning of October.  Most store garlic has been treated to prevent them from sprouting so you may or may not have luck using the ones from the grocery store.  Your farmers market is a great place to get garlic well suited for your area.
In our garden, seeds can be saved now from tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, cilantro, dill, celery, borage, salad burnet, garlic, Egyptian walking onions (bulblets), basil.

For peppers, squash and tomatoes, just scoop out the seeds, lay them on a paper towel on a plate and let them dry.  Some suggest for tomato seed to put them in water and let them ferment a bit.  The ones that sink are the ones you want to keep for planting, not the ones that float.
Lettuce flower seeds

Many greens, like chard, parsley, lettuce, broccoli, will shoot a large stalk up then flower.  This is called "bolting."  The easiest thing to do is to let the seeds form, cut the stalk, then put the stalks with seed heads attached into a paper bag.  Let them dry thoroughly, then shake the seeds out.  Some may require that you roll the seed heads between your fingers to free the seed.  

You can actually resow seeds from cool season crops like lettuce, cilantro, parsley, chard, chives and get a second fall/winter harvest!
I put my dried seeds in labelled ziplock bags and store them in the crisper.  The seeds last for years this way!