Seed saving is a process that allows gardeners to keep their own seeds from one season to the next. By doing this, gardeners can ensure that they have a supply of seeds that are well-suited to their growing conditions.
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Seed Saving from Your Own Garden
Benefits of Seed Saving
Seed saving is an age-old practice that has been used by farmers and gardeners for generations. It is a simple process that allows you to save the seeds from your favorite plants so that you can grow them again next year.
Seed saving is a great way to become more self-sufficient and it is also a great way to preserve rare or heirloom varieties of plants.
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Start With Open-Pollinated Seeds
Open-pollinated types are like dog breeds. The species will tend to remain their own distinctive type because of their matings.
With the right amount of care and planning, the seeds you produce will be true to type, preserving their original qualities generation after generation, as long as they are not cross-pollinated with other varieties of the same species.
Start With Easy Crops
Some plants, such as beans, peas, lettuce, and tomatoes, have especially handy seed savers. These can be perennial, and self-pollinating, and usually require only a few other plants to ensure enough seeds.
Grow Enough Plants
Some plants, such as those that produce wildflowers, are easy to reproduce; others take just a single plant to reproduce. When a seed crop is reproducing in too small a population of plants, the species may become smaller and feeble over time, and some genetic diversity may be lost.
Know How To Harvest Seeds
Garden crops can be classified as either dry-fruited or wet-fruited. For each type of dry fruit, collecting seeds is as easy as going out in the garden, hand-picking some more mature seedpods, and bringing them into the house for further drying and cleaning. Fruits from wet-fruited plants must be harvested as the seeds ripen.
The harvested fruits are either crushed or cut open, and the seeds are extracted from the flesh and pulp before the seeds are dried.
Seeds are happiest when they are stored in a cool, dark, and dry place. A dark closet in a cooler part of the house or a dry, cool basement is a good space to store seeds for a year or two.
Once properly dried, seeds can also be sealed in airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for several years. The seeds of some crops are naturally long-lived.
Tomato seeds and beans can be left for many years in adequate storage conditions, while onion and carrot seeds are notoriously short-lived.
Don’t forget to label your seeds with the crop type, variety name, and any useful notes about your seed source, when you harvested the seeds, and how many plants you harvested from.