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Author Topic: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners  (Read 23746 times)


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Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners
« on: November 28, 2010, 06:29:04 PM »
Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners

Suzanne Ashworth  Author), Kent Whealy (Author)

I don't have any other seed saver books to compare this one to, but it is a great book.
It goes into how to save different seeds from the plant. How to store the seeds. The classification of the plant, and then how to plant the seeds.
Also goes into pollination, by insects, and by hand.
If your new at seed saving, and want to buy some insurance for your heirloom seeds in a time of survival, this book is a must. – ICON
« Last Edit: December 10, 2011, 11:17:00 PM by Yowbarb »


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Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 11:16:29 PM »
Seed saving discussion continues,
Barb Townsend
Topic Administrator

    Seed Saving Tips: Harvesting Heirloom Garden Seeds for Next Year
    Seed saving is a skill largely lost these days. With seed packages widely available, who needs to save seeds anymore?

    By Derek Markham      Wed Sep 16, 2009 16:55

Sowing vegetable seeds in the spring and then harvesting and eating the fruits of your labor is a wonderful experience, but also an act of faith. Will they sprout? How many will survive? Will they taste the same as I remember?

Seed saving is a skill largely lost these days. With seed packages widely available, who needs to save seeds anymore? You can simply buy more in the spring, right? The problem with many common garden seeds is their origin as a hybrid. And many of these hybrid varieties have been bred for size, or resistance to a particular disease, and not for that old-time flavor.

Luckily for us, dedicated seed savers have been keeping the old open pollinated varieties alive that our grandparents enjoyed, which means that you can now plant and harvest the exact same vegetables in your garden.

One way to virtually guarantee that the seeds you sow will be around for you year after year is to harvest and save the seeds from your heirloom vegetables for next year's planting. Seed saving isn't that hard to do, but there are some things to remember when starting out.

Heirloom Seed Saving Tips:

    Annual varieties are the easiest to gather. Annuals flower and go to seed in the same year. Biennials flower and go to seed the second year after planting. Biennials include things like chard, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, onions, parsley, parsnips, rutabaga, and turnips.

    Harvest seeds from the healthiest plants. The seeds from healthy plants will tend to be healthiest. Stunted or sickly plants should not be harvested for seeds.

    Gather seeds only from a representative fruit, not a tiny or discolored one. Pick ones from plants that produce the flavor and color you are trying to preserve.

    Choose mature, ripe fruits for seed harvesting. An unripe fruit may have immature seeds, which aren't going to be as viable.

    To be able to share your seeds, harvest more than you can use, saving some for a dry year, and some for trading or giving away.

    Don't mix varieties when harvesting, and label them clearly as you harvest them. Use masking tape on the fruit, or label each container.

    Clean the seeds well, rinsing off any vegetable matter and spreading to dry thoroughly on a towel, newspaper, or pie tin. Stir seeds daily so they can fully dry, or transfer to a brown paper bag to continue drying.

    Beans can be left on the vine to dry in their pods, either in the garden, or in a cool dry place inside.

    Saving tomato seeds is a special case, but still not difficult, just another step.

    Eggplants should be left on the plant until well past the ripe stage and should be dull, off-colored and slightly hard. Cut in half and remove the flesh from the seeded area.

    Cucumber seeds are covered with a bit of a mess, but should be left to fully ripen, and then cut in half. Scrape the seeds into a bowl and soak in water for a day or two, or rub them gently on a strainer. Rinse and dry as above.

    Winter squash and pumpkins can have prolific amounts of seeds inside, but due to the larger size, are cleaned fairly easily.

    Summer squash should be allowed to mature (a thicker skin than you would pick out to eat) and the seeds can then be scraped out and rinsed and dried.

    For seeds not produced in a fruit, like lettuce or spinach, leave the seed heads on the plant until dried, or cut when mature and bring inside to dry completely. Put the seed heads in a small paper bag and rub between your fingers to remove the seeds.

    When the seeds are fully dried, store them in small envelopes, prescription bottles, baby food jars, spice jars, or film canisters. Placing the small envelopes in a jar helps to ensure they stay dry. Be sure to label the container well with the variety and any other planting notes to yourself.

    Seeds should be stored in a cool, dry location. The seeds are best planted the next year, but some varieties stay fertile for up to five years.

    Finding a seed swap in early spring will enable you to share your favorite varieties with other gardeners, while coming home with new seeds will invigorate your garden


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Re: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2011, 11:21:26 PM »

Seed Saving Techniques

Latin Alert: This section may involve a bit more science and detail than many of you were bargaining for. But for those who want to save seeds for genetic purity, this information will be necessary.

Before I get into it, I’ll direct you to my source. Perhaps the penultimate guide to saving seeds is called Seed To Seed, by Suzanne Ashworth and Kent Whealy. And it’s way more scientific than I’ll be able to give you, for anyone craving a whole lot of Latin.

Saving seed isn’t always a simple task. Depending on the crop, the plant varieties must be separated, sometimes by miles. Since most of us don’t live on rolling farms, another way to prevent cross-pollination is to cage and hand-pollinate the plants. I’ll gradually add information about these options, as well as saving the seed of different vegetables. We’ll begin with beans, since that’s what this site is about, and because happily, they aren’t too difficult.

Technically (and Latin-ly), all of the beans featured on this site are part of the Leguminosea family. However, this is a large family, containing common beans, as well as teparies, garbanzos, lentils, peas, jicama (I had no idea!) and peanuts. So as we go, I’ll break this down into Genus and species. Most of them on this site fall into the Phaseolus genus. beans2

Common Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris)
Common beans, like cannelini, Hutterite soup beans, and the Rio Zape purple beans are known to the botanical community as Phaseolus vulgaris (vulgar as in plebeian, not as in needs-mouth-washed-out, I’m sure!)

According to Ashworth in Seed to Seed, bean flowers are “perfect and self-pollinating”. For this reason, they need less separation than other crops. Ashworth suggests that to save common bean seed, you must refrain from growing them side by side. She also suggests never growing two white-seeded varieties near each other because then it would be impossible to determine if crossing had occurred.


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Re: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2011, 11:23:04 PM »  About Becky, of Becky and the Beanstalk site 

About Seed Saving

History of Seed Saving

What is an Heirloom?

Seed Saving Techniques


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