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Saving seeds

One reader asked for my thoughts on saving seeds, and which seeds are the wisest to buy with this goal in mind. I don't know a lot about this topic, but will share what I have discovered so far! I have not saved many seeds for replanting, and those I have saved have not been very successful so far. I am sure that some of my readers know more about seed saving, and would love to read your thoughts.

Some seeds are easy to save. These include flowers like marigolds where the seeds are large and easily visible, pumpkins and squashes, and beans. I have successfully saved and germinated gem squash seeds. The seeds must be removed when the fruit is raw. Cooking will destroy the life in the seeds. You can lay seeds out in a dark place to dry and then store them in an envelope until the time comes to plant them. Be sure to avoid placing seeds into plastic bags as these retain moisture. Moisture can kill the seed. Bean seeds are very easy to save. Just leave them to dry on the plant and then store them in a dark, dry place. It is important to leave some space between varieties if you want the plants to be true to the original. Marigolds are supposed to be easy to save, but of those I planted only one germinated! I need to try again!

When saving seed, it is important to know that the original was not a hybrid seed. Hybrid seeds will not grow true to type when saved. You can buy from companies like the Diggers Club that specialise in non-hybrid seed. However, many seeds available at regular stores are also fine. It is just important to check before bothering to try to save them. Some vegetables are much better to grow as hybrids. For example, sweet corn hybrids are excellent and even the Diggers Club sells corn as hybrid seed. In this case, it is better to go for a far superior product even though you cannot save the seed.

Please let me know if you have any wisdom about saving seeds! We would like to develop greater knowledge and skill in this area. Seed saving is a wonderful way to be self-sufficient and make good use of what we have been given.

Anonymous –   – (April 15, 2010 at 7:28 PM)  

The seed savers' handbook for Australia and New Zealand / by Michel & Jude Fanton; Available to borrow through the state library. Quite detailed and they also have a web site good luck!

Sherrin  – (April 15, 2010 at 7:47 PM)  

Great! Thanks for the link!

Anna  – (April 16, 2010 at 3:07 AM)  

I found a video about keeping seeds a while ago and posted it today among the many other ones I found. I don't know if it would work, but it's another method to try! :) Thanks for your encouragement on my new garden, by the way. I'd love to be out there more this year but have a feeling I shouldn't worry too much since I have no idea what God will be bringing my way this summer (when it comes to energy and time that is).

Yvonne  – (April 17, 2010 at 11:49 PM)  

Hi Sherrin,
I saved seeds from a very productive yellow zucchini plant one year. My mum had given me the seedling and after plenty of harvest i let one zucchini mature into a huge thing and then after picking it kept it for 2-3 months before harvesting the seeds (as recommended in a book i was checking at the time, which also included methods of fertilising the flower so that it doesn't get contaminated with pollen from other varieties). I gained LOTS of seeds from that HUGE zucchini but to illustrate your point about hybrids the offspring of this productive yellow zucchini are either yellow or green, so i have a bunch of suprise seeds. I didn't know what sort seedling my mum had given me to start with.

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