|Llyn, with a variety of bean seeds|
There are many good reasons to save your own seed:
- It will be more adapted to your local growing-conditions
- You can "select" for certain qualities/characteristics (early ripening, sweetness, cold-tolerance etc)
- The flowering plants provide food for pollinators
- You have better control over the quality of your seed
- You are not as dependent on supplies being available from outside sources
- It's fun!
|Chris, winnowing lettuce-seed.|
|Squash-blossom with bees.|
- Squash - with other squashes
- Cucumbers - with other varieties of cukes
- Melons - with other varieties of melons
- Peppers - with other peppers
- Lettuce - with other lettuce
- Broccoli/Cabbage/Kale/Cauliflower - with each other
- Chard/Beets - with each other
|Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes|
- Onion family (includes garlic, shallots, leeks)
Can my garden seed cross with "weed' seed? Yes! There are wild relatives of domestic vegetables that, if flowering at the same time, can 'cross' making your seed produce fruit that is woody, or bitter or has other undesirable characteristics. Learn to identify your local weeds (especially if there are big, open fields of them nearby). Consult expert sources to learn of techniques to avoid this problem (i.e. hand pollinating, bagging the flowers, timing your bloom to avoid the wild varieties' blooming. etc). Examples: Wild lettuce can cross with domestic lettuce; Queen Anne's Lace is a wild variety of carrot.
|Dustin saving sunflower seed|
This post just covers some of the most basic aspects of seed-saving. For more detailed info, read our posts below and/or consult other sources through books or the internet.
Please leave us comments about your own experiences of saving seed. It's great when we can all learn from each other!
Here are several posts we've written that include information on saving seed: (click on the bolded text.)
Tomato Seeds: Tomatoes are a good plant to start with if you're learning to save seed. As long as you know that the plant you're saving from is not hybrid (see above) you are bound to be successful!
Peas: are easy (if you can restrain yourself from picking every last ripe pea-pod <smile>). Be sure to follow the instructions in the post and, once the seed is fully ripened and dry, freeze the seed to prevent pea-weevil larvae from ruining your batch.
Potatoes: If you're already growing potatoes, saving seed is as simple as sorting out the smaller egg-sized ones and storing them till next season. You can also find seed-potatoes in the organic section of your grocer's in the spring.
Saving your own seed is only one of the many benefits of a sharing-type garden (one big garden, instead of many separate plots). To read about how a sharing garden works, and many of its other benefits, CLICK HERE).
|Ismael trimming dill seed-heads; lettuce going to seed in lower-left corner.|