WHY IT’S GOOD TO SAVE SEEDS:
The business of saving garden seeds is beneficial on several fronts. Economically saving plant seed to replant your garden the following year is obviously a savings. When gardeners share seeds it often allows others to acquire plants that are no longer available in the mainstream plant trade. This might be Grandmother’s coveted meaty red tomatoes. Seed saving is also lots of fun, and very satisfying giving a sense of self sufficiency.
Gardeners who save and share seeds from plants are benefiting our world food supply one garden at a time. Unfortunately many crops have become hybridized to the point of extinction. A few main hybrids are quickly replacing the thousands of hybrids that were once grown. It is the genetics from the multi hybrids that the new hybrids depend on, and loosing this huge genetic pool could prove disastrous. For a healthy planet we need plant diversity.
YES, YOU SHOULD BE PARTICULAR ABOUT THE SEEDS YOU SAVE:
Saving gardening seeds is not just about saving any and all seeds. The idea is to improve your plant stock. When you save the seed from some of your biggest, healthiest and best plants to sow the following year, you are improving the chances that their positive traits will be passed on. Each year you do this the chances are improved.
SAVING VEGETABLE SEEDS:
The easiest vegetable seeds to save are peppers. Simply remove and dry the seeds from the pepper. Beans are also easy, you can just dry the seeds in the pod. For garlic replant the individual cloves in the fall and for potatoes choose the nicest tubers from the best plants when you harvest and store over winter for planting in the spring.
Leave carrots and beets in the ground so they go to seed. The fleshy seeds of eggplants, tomatoes, melons, (yes, these two are fruit) cucumber and squash need to be soaked in water in an airtight jar until they sink to the bottom. Their surrounding pulp will float to the top. Pour through a sieve and dry the seeds.
SAVING FLOWER SEEDS:
You can also save seeds from flowers. Wild flowers, poppies, rudbeckia, daylilies, snapdragons, tansy, salvia, sunflowers and california poppies are just a few.
Once the seed pods have dried on the flower stems, it is easy to just snip these off and save the seeds inside. Most important is to make sure the pods are completely dry and the seeds have fully ripened before you remove them from the plant.
A great source of heirloom garden seeds is through a seed saver exchange or seedy Saturday. These are organizations where seed savers get together and share their seeds, helping to maintain a diverse genetic pool . An added bonus to the organic gardener is that the seeds saved from your own garden will be free from synthetic chemicals.
When storing your seeds it is imperative that they are completely dry. Any moisture at all will destroy your success. Place your dried seeds in a sealed paper envelope or jar with a tight lid and be sure to label and date. Store them in a cool dry place.
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