Friday, March 04, 2011

Seed Saving

For us in the southern hemisphere it's getting to be that time of year again.
I tend to use just heritage/heirloom seeds for the veggie garden. I, personally, think they taste good and also if you buy ones that did well in your area in 'ye olden days' then they are likely to still do really well! It's nice to save and share.
Year after year I save the seeds from things that have become favourites over summer. It's mainly tomatoes and chillis. But beans and peas are super easy.
With tomatoes I go for the plumpest ripest fruit then scoop out the seeds. Wash them thoroughly in a sieve then put them out on kitchen roll to dry. Remember to write what they are. Be patient and leave them until they are completely dry ~ you don't want them going mouldy. Also don't worry if they stick to the kitchen roll - you can just tear the seed off and plant it with the wee bit of paper.


Once they're dry I put mine in small brown envelopes ( wages envelopes because they definitely earn their keep!) Then just store. I have to put all my seeds in to water/rat/mice proof containers as 2 years ago my potting shed made a lovely winter home for all sorts of wee critters, and almost all my seeds were eaten.

For chillis just remove the seeds and let dry out - I don't wash these.
If super nippy ones put gloves on.


Peas and beans -  I just take some nice plump pods into the house and let them dry out. It can take a wee while so again, just be patient. You can also let them dry out on the plant.
Alderman peas and yard long beans.

Herbs are incredibly easy! Just let some of them go to flower, then seed, just where they are in the garden. I then shake the plant over where I want new ones to grow, and save the rest. I can't remember the last time I had to buy rocket, coriander or parsley seeds.

Happy seed saving!

this is On My Mind over at Rhonda's and also at the lovely 
Farm Friends Fridays.
Click on the links.

34 comments:

  1. HI Laura,
    I always leave my tomato seeds in a container, with a little bit of water for a few days to ferment before washing and drying them. It's to help remove the outer gel-like coating on the seed and improve germination. I guess it works as I have never had problems with the seeds, although the mixture does smell a bit icky!

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  2. that's a great idea, never thought of that!
    thanks :)

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  3. Hi Laura,

    I came over from Rhonda's blog. My wife and I want to learn seed saving. We have never attempted it but I want to attempt this year. Do take any precautions to prevent cross pollination between different pepper plants?

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  4. HI there, nope, we don't and our peppers and chillis are grown together in the same bed and so far we've had no problems, the seeds have germinated and they have been true to form.
    My initial seeds all came from a very good seed supplier, but I have no idea if this would make a difference a couple of years down the line.
    x

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  5. Lovely! Mr. J want to learn how to save seeds. We just planted a pepper seed from a pepper his uncle gave him, and it sprouted! I think that may inspire us to try to save more seeds in the future.

    I think this is an incredibly important skill that so few people know. Thank you for sharing what you know!

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  6. A timely post Laura - good to remember to save the seeds.

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  7. This is going to be my first year to really save seeds. I have in the past scattered seeds like you on some things and save peas and beans (easy). It will be fun I'm sure.

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  8. Great!! I must do this...thank you for your post. :-)

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  9. Hi Laura, I also have popped over from Rhonda's blog. I am going to begin saving seed from my vege patch this season, thank you for sharing your ideas!

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  10. I've never been one to save seeds because I can't seem to leave them long enough and they get moldy. I'm thinking I might have to try again this year because you make it seem so simple.

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  11. Ooo I love your little brown packets, the seeds I save get dumped all over the place, poor things. Hee hee, and then I wonder why other people's veggies grow better than mine!

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  12. AWESOME! Saving seeds is so important to keep the "old" varieties alive. We plan to do this ourselves.

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  13. Thank you for the great advice. B

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  14. We currently save seeds from our spring onions and snow peas, have planted from the same initial plants for 3 seasons now, and our tomatoes keep seeding themselves through our compost! Love your post.

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  15. This year, for the first time I'm doing the whole vegetable garden from seeds and all heirloom. I hope I'm successful!

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  16. I ferment my tomato seeds too. Can you grow anything in Winter there, Laura?

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  17. This is something I've not done much, thanks for the tips Laura.

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  18. think I definitely need to try fermenting my tomato seeds. Shall pick out a nice tom to try it.
    Rhonda, we can grow all the usual brassicas and I grow peas and beans. We're in a slight valley so do get maybe one or 2 light frosts. I was actually thinking about letting the garden rest after this lot is finished. I'm going to Scotland for a few weeks and thought I'd just start again when I get back.

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  19. Fascinating...here in the Northern Hemisphere I'm straining my eyes in the hope of new croci popping through. I will use hints for the fall/Oct...thanks so much!

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  20. I like the name of your blog :)

    Thank you for the seed saving information. It is nice when people share how to do things like that!

    Have a great day!
    Mindee

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  21. oh, how wonderful. tickled that I stopped by and can't wait to look around more!

    http://bettermebetterworld.blogspot.com/

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  22. I tried this last year, and i was hoping that it worked out really well, but it didn't work out that way. For this year i'm gonna try again....

    Thanks
    Leontien

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  23. I save seeds, and pilfer seeds, from plants that I like or ones that do well. I am not as good about it as you are, however! Mine usually are harvested from flowers when they dry. Often I just fold a piece of paper around them, noting what the plant was and/or where I found it.
    This morning I had a bit of disaster. We are just getting ready to plant our seeds indoors. I prepared two trays last night, soaking the seed starter mix. My seeds were in their packets, both my hand-made ones and store-bought ones, next to the tray, waiting to be planted. Evidently one tray had too much water and I didn't catch it until this morning, when I came down to find sodden seed packets. Well, they do say that soaked seeds germinate faster! The problem was I had too many seeds and the tiny ones were really hard to plant - they wanted to clump together and stick to my fingers! Oh well - most are planted! I left the others to dry, again. Don't know if they'll germinate at some later date or not.
    I also agree with you, the heirloom plants seems to be much better than carefully bred, engineered varieties!

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  24. I love the hint about the brown wage envelopes! I never thought of using those!...Thanks...:)JP

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  25. Visiting you from Verde Farm -- this is great information! I'm thinking of purchasing some heirloom seeds this year and giving the seed saving a try. Thank you! :)

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  26. Thanks for the tips Laura! I am attempting a garden this year, and want to save all the seeds that I can.

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  27. Anonymous1:22 am

    Happy Birthday Laura,

    Hope you and Lloyd have a fab time catching Roxy Music in Auckland. I remember catching them in Edinburgh yonks back.
    I remember you telling us that Lloyd wanted to build a recording studio in your Wool Shed, look forward to hearing the Darroch Cottage sounds!

    love Kirsten

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  28. Just found you from Verde Farm. It's different thinking about it being fall with you when the daffodils are just coming up here. Enjoyed your blog.

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  29. hi there, i am beginning the long list on verde farm and so you are the first! i attended an heirloom seed class a few weeks ago. for tomatoes, she said to be sure to get the seeds from the first tomatoes of the season. thank you for sharing how to dry, etc.!

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  30. Hi Laura! Your lovely tomato seeds that you sent are now starting to fruit. It's so wonderful to see all the different varieties - the yellow one has just blown me away, I've never seen anything like it before.

    Thank you so much for sharing them. I'll be harvesting the seeds too - no more Warehouse/Palmers tomato seedlings for me!

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  31. Great post Laura! Wonderful advice and I am going to take it. I’ve seen folks not let the seeds dry and mold--not good. Great info! Cute brown envelopes too. Would love to see your potting shed.
    Amy :)

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  32. One of the fun things we most enjoy about saving our seeds year over year, is sharing them with neighbors and friends, especially those gardening friends/bloggers on the internet. We do it each year. ;)

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  33. leigh ferguson11:31 am

    been dying for you to give me seed info Laura....brilliant! xxx

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I love it when you leave me comments, it lets me know there are folk out there reading my ramblings! Thank you, I appreciate them loads and loads
Laura x