For many gardeners, the garden truly starts in January when the very first seed catalog arrives inside the mailbox. While the cold wind howls outside, we retire to a cozy chair and leaf through the catalog, carefully notating which varieties of lettuce and tomatoes to try and wishing we had the space to plant each and every and each flower so artfully displayed on its pages.
But have you ever wondered in which your great-grandparents acquired the seeds for their gardens, prior to there had been seed catalogs and fancy garden centers?
They saved seeds for the following year from their own gardens!
Saving seeds from your own flowers or vegetables is a wonderful method to completely encounter the cycle of plant growth. It’s also much less pricey than buying seeds every spring, and seeds saved from your plants will probably be properly suited to the peculiarities of the very own garden’s growing circumstances.
Conserve seeds only from vigorous, healthy plants. Some plant ailments may be harbored inside the seed in which it’ll then be passed on towards the next generation of plants. So don’t save seeds from a plant that’s certainly diseased or has struggled all season. Collect seeds from the plants which have the characteristics you want, like height, hardiness, early or late ripening, flavor or vigor.
Plants which might be not hybrids are referred to as open pollinated. Many seed catalogs will determine which of their seeds are hybrids or open pollinated. In the event you intend to conserve your own seed, always begin with open pollinated seeds. A few of these may also be identified as heirloom seeds. These heirloom varieties have already been passed down for generations, usually saved inside of one particular family for numerous years prior to becoming accessible for the basic public.
It is not recommended to conserve seeds from hybrid plants. Hybrids are the result of crossing two genetically different parent plants, both of which have already been severely inbred to concentrate the desirable characteristics. The very first generation, referred to as an F1 hybrid, is superior towards the parents. But succeeding generations of plants grown from seed saved from an F1 plant have a tendency to randomly revert towards the characteristics of the original inbred ancestor plants.
Cross pollination is yet another concern for the seed-saving gardener. Cross pollination often outcomes in seeds which possess a various genetic makeup than that of the parent plant. Pumpkins, squash and little gourds may cross pollinate with each other, resulting in seeds which will develop to generate rather picturesque fruit. Sweet corn will cross pollinate with field corn or popcorn, as well as your 6-inch marigolds will cross along with your neighbor’s 18-inch pompon marigolds. Nevertheless, crossing will only take place within a species. Cucumbers will not cross with squash, and cosmos won’t cross with pansies.
To avoid cross pollination, maintain two varieties from the exact same species separated by as significantly space as you possibly can. Some species, for example corn, are wind-pollinated as well as the pollen can travel excellent distances. These plants must be pollinated by hand and kept isolated from other varieties of their species. This can be carried out with corn, as an example, by tying a tiny paper bag above selected ears before the silk emerges, then when the silk has appeared it really is hand pollinated with pollen from exactly the same plant or its healthful neighbors.
Seeds should be collected on a dry, sunny day. Frost doesn’t harm most seed so long as the seed remains dry. Vegetables like cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes ought to be allowed to turn out to be slightly overripe before their seeds are collected. Flower seeds and vegetable seed like lettuce ought to be collected right after the seedheads have turn out to be dry, but don’t wait also lengthy, as numerous will shatter, meaning they’ll be dropped from the seedpod or seedhead if they continue to be on the plant as well long.
Cucumber, squash and tomato seeds want an extra step prior to they may be prepared for storage. Initial the seeds need to be separated from the pulp, then dried. Scoop the seeds from these vegetables, pulp and all. Spot the entire mess inside a container of water and give it a good stir, then let it settle a bit. The pulp will rise towards the top while the seeds will sink towards the bottom. Carefully pour off the pulp, and repeat the method until a lot of the pulp has been poured off. Then strain out the seeds and set them on newspapers to dry.
Seeds really should go into storage as dry as you possibly can. Give all seed a post-harvest drying period of a minimum of a week, just to become positive they’re dry. Spread them out on a paper plate or newspapers in a warm location out of the sun while they dry.
It’s very essential to help keep the seed dry during storage. Store your dry seeds in tightly sealed jars, metal film containers, or old vitamin bottles. To save space, smaller quantities of numerous varieties of seeds may be stored in separate envelopes within a jar. A cool, but never freezing, garage, closed-off spare area or cool basement can all be excellent locations for storing seeds. Or merely keep your sealed jars of seeds inside the refrigerator. Temperatures in between 32 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit are excellent.
Try out saving some vegetable or flower seeds from your garden this year and develop them subsequent season. This endless cycle can permit you to realize the limitless joy of gardening via every one of the seasons and every one of the stages of a plant’s life.
Make sure you label your jars and envelopes so when spring comes close to once more you’ll know which flower seeds and vegetable seeds you are planting, and include the date the seeds were collected. Some seeds will remain viable for a number of years, but most will grow best if planted right away the following spring.
The author writes about various gardening topics and has a great vegetable seed selection in this engaging online store. You may also find a fantastic variety of flower and herb seed varieties and lots of information about gardening.
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