saving seed

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by lazy gardener, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I thought this would be a good place to document the "how to", success, failure, and interesting hybridization from your seed saving attempts. I'll add to it as time and interest allows, but... feel free to add your own info.

    Storing seed: Be sure it is very dry. Label it. Store it in paper, or if completely dry, in an appropriate sized jar. I save all silicone packets (come in pill bottles, shoe boxes, some clothing pockets) and put those in every seed jar or envelope. Store seeds in cool dry place.

    Lettuce: Super easy. When the lettuce plant bolts, just let it go. It will grow about 3' tall, and put out a multi branched flower stalk with yellow flowers. It's best to wait till those flowers all mature, and put out what looks like short white dandelion fuzz. You can then pull the plant, and lay it where you want next year's crop to be, pull it and hang it to dry, then knock the seeds off. Last year, I just put all the dried heads in an old pillow case, and hung it for the winter. Stomped on it to release seeds in the spring, and simply broadcast the seeds and chaff. Lettuce usually breeds true.

    Beans: Super easy. Beans are self fertile. So, unless you have a hybrid, it should breed true. Leave some of the pods on your best plants until they are brittle and dry, or at least yellow and leathery. You can then pull the entire plant and hang it to finish drying or pull individual pods to finish drying inside. I usually pull pods and dry them inside to be sure they don't mold in the fall rains, or have issues with frequent freeze/thaw cycles. When the pods are brittle, you can then thresh the seeds. I usually don't have a lot, so simply crack the pods, and remove the seeds by hand. Keep them in a dry place till a seed smacked with a hammer shatters. Discard any seeds with mold, or with "pink eyes". Favorite variety is Fortex pole. Grows up to 10" long, before the seeds get big, stringless, good quality.

    Cucumber: Super easy. Be sure you have a heirloom or non hybrid cultivar. My all time favorite is Suyo Long. Burpless, produces a very tender cuke with small seed cavity. Still tender and good eating quality at 10 - 12" long. Needs to be trellised or it will not be straight. Let some fruits from your best plants mature until they are very big, yellow and a bit soft. I like to set them aside until they soften even more, then cut lengthwise and scoop the seeds out onto an old window screen. Rinse the goo off them. Dry in the sun for a few days. Discard any seeds that are not fertile or well developed. (they will be flat) I only grow one variety of cuke/season so the seeds will breed true.

    Dill: Super easy. Allow the seed heads to mature, and they will self sow, or you can harvest. Plant it once, have it forever. Attracts beneficial insects. I have found that Bouquet and Dukat do not breed true. Any seed saved will produce VERY TALL plants.

    Parsley: Biennial. Must survive the winter and will produce seed the following spring. Nice to have fresh green parsley in early spring. The flowering plant attracts lots of beneficial insects to the garden. Readily re-seeds so you can just let it do it's thing if you don't want to harvest the seed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2016
  2. Birdy Buddy

    Birdy Buddy Out Of The Brooder

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    I have been going to the local farmers market and buying heirloom tomatoes. I clean the seeds and let them dry on wax paper. I use wax paper bags to store seeds in a cool dry place in my kitchen. I save Italian parsley seeds, onion seeds, cilantro seeds and lots more. I hoard seeds. If I buy store bought I use them for years after. To test the germination rate, I sprout them on wet paper towel in a petri dish. I am still using seeds I bought more than 5 years ago if they make vigorous sprouts.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I have grown tomatoes from 9 year old seed without problem.
    I actually bought some of the "cherry" heirloom mixed packs at the grocery store several winters ago. while they didn't breed true, they bred "true enough" for my taste. I saved some of the seed from the "chocolate cherries". Have also had good luck saving and growing seed from red and orange peppers from grocery store.
     
  4. henless

    henless Chillin' With My Peeps

    I planted 3 heirloom okra plants last year in my small raised bed. I saved the seeds from the biggest one and planted them this year. I had enough seeds to plant two 10' rows. It was nice knowing that all my okra this year was "free". I will be saving more for next year.

    I'm hoping to be able to save even more seeds next year.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I find that saving seed is one of the super fun aspects of gardening.
     
  6. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I did that this year with okra as well. Even though a packet is only a buck, it was nice knowing that I had saved some from last year. Doing the same this year with my green beans and pumpkins.
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    No matter the price of seed, there is a certain satisfaction of being able to grow your own plants from your own seed that you harvested from your own garden.
     
  8. JerseyGiantChic

    JerseyGiantChic Out Of The Brooder

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    We are saving vegetable seeds for heirloom seed banks.
     
  9. dan26552

    dan26552 True BYC Addict

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    Definitely!
     
  10. dan26552

    dan26552 True BYC Addict

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    This year I've saved seeds from some F2 tomatoes I got at a farmers market in California last year, a 1/4 pound of pinkeye purple hull peas grown from seeds my grandma gave me, an ounce of holy basil seeds, some wild patunia seeds, seeds from some vulonteer squash, some F2 watermelon seeds, wild morning glory seeds and some wild ground cherry seeds.
     

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