Monday, August 31, 2015

Are you saving seeds?

Maybe this post should start with a warning..... once you start saving seeds its very hard to stop.  I cannot walk past a seed head without wondering if I should save the seeds.  This includes public gardens, and other people's gardens.  At this time of year my garden is full of brassica flowers, which are gradually turning into seed pods, and I know in a few weeks I will be starting to harvest the seeds.  If you want to save seeds, you need to start thinking about it when the flowers start to appear.  Don't rip out your plants right away, you could be missing out on free seeds!  Here's why and how to save and store seeds.

Why save seeds from your garden?

  • Seeds that you save are free, you don't have to buy seeds or seedlings
  • You start to develop strains that are adapted to your climate and conditions
  • You have something to swap with other seed-savers - more free seeds
  • You remain in control of your food supply, not relying on seed companies

eight acres: are you saving seeds?
poor mans beans seeds


How to save seeds?
Every plant is different, but basically, let the plant flower, and wait and see how the seeds formed.  You need to be patient and curious.  Eventually you will see seed pods, and when they are dry you can harvest the seeds.  If they are inside the fruit (like tomatoes or pumpkins) you need to separate the seeds and let them dry out.  If you really want to get technical, you can isolate different varieties from each other, but if you just want to give it a try, just let the seeds form and observe what happens.

eight acres: are you saving seeds?
a bee pollinating a brassica flower


How to store seeds?
I read somewhere that you should save a third of your seeds, give away a third, and put a third straight back on the soil.  I forget where I read that, but I think its good advice.  I let some of the seed fall directly on the garden, where it usually re-appears the next year when the time is right.  I save as much as I can in small jars, and I giveaway seed when I have more than I can use.  I like to share it around and encourage other people to save seed too.


Most of my garden is now self-seeded or grown from saved seeds, that means I don't have to pay for seeds or seedlings, and everything sprouts when its ready, I don't have to figure out the right time to plant.  I didn't take a class or read a book to learn how to save seeds, I just let the flowers develop into seeds and watched nature do the work for me.  Its not difficult, it just takes time.

Do you save seeds?  Any tips to share?

4 comments:

  1. There are people in the US who want to make sharing seeds illegal without government permission and special testing and packaging. Sounds like the seed companies bought off the right politicians. It is still legal in my state but what am I saying, I would do it anyway. http://green-mom.com/has-seed-sharing-been-made-illegal-in-the-united-states/#.VeR88pclmzk
    I save my seeds in paper or large sealed containers as after all the seed is a living plant and shouldn't be sealed tightly or vacuum packed. Some of my best tomatoes have volunteered in the garden or chicken lot and get moved into the current tomato patch. I had one plant this year that had both round and roma fruit on the same plant, I thought I was seeing things.

    ReplyDelete
  2. i love seeing if my plants produce seeds, i throw most of them back into the garden so i get more up next year; i collected seeds from my neighbour in past years & recently found some freesias flowering that were from his seeds, they are of unusual colouring so probably a mix but still very beautiful!
    though i do need to start collecting some seeds, so, like you, i can give some away too. also have some in storage just in case some don't come up. my broccoli from last year all came up too, though they don't have the large compact heads of their parents they are still a joy to find.
    thanx for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  3. I’m impressed, I have to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you. you might have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the problem is something that not sufficient people are speaking intelligently about. I am very joyful that I stumbled across this in my seek for something referring to this.
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    ReplyDelete
  4. I've only just got into saving seeds but I love it. Jars of seed everywhere and I'm trying to keep strains pure when I want as well. It's a really fun bit of the hobby I think.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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