Reader’s Question: What advice do you have for folks wanting to get started in saving their own seeds?
Kathie’s Answer: I think its easy to start seed saving with beans and peas. Let those pods dry on the vine, remove the dried seeds from the pods and put the seeds into a paper or cloth envelope. If the seeds aren’t completely dry, let them dry on a towl in a single layer for a few days. The great thing about starting with beans and peas isn’t that they don’t generally cross-pollinate. I don’t have a large garden and I live with a mile of several other home gardens which means I can’t save seeds that cross-pollinate all that often, sadly.
Monica’s Answer: I don’t really have any great advice for seed saving other than these few things that have helped me along the way: 1. Look on line or in books for specific seed storage. Some seeds can be in envelopes and some need a bit more special or specific storage conditions. Some even need little “dehumidifiers” . (you can get those from your medicine bottles) 2. Find some way to keep all your seeds together. A box, a container etc. That way you know where they are next year when you need them. Goodness knows I have stumbled I seeds in drawers AND boxes AND containers.. .all in the same growing season. Decide on a place for your seed storage spot and stick with it. (This helps whether you save or buy seeds) 3. Mark all your seed packages!! At times I have marked mine with something like “calendula”- 2005. A year or so later when I was ready to use them again I had no memory of where I got them originally or what type they were. I now keep a log of where I purchase seeds from and then I can just mark the seed package or piece of paper inserted into the storage jar with something like these examples: Green Beans: Emerite Filet 75 seeds. 2009 – Cowpeas: Ozark Razorback 350 seeds 2009 – Cowpeas: Burkina Faso 75 seeds 2009 If I need to replace them for some reason I can go back to my log book/page and see who I originally purchased them from because I know exactly what kind and variety they are. I can also make comments about each variety in my log book and not have to try and cram it on the seed package. The way I do it above also allows me to order them alphabetically —the flat packages anyway. That way when I want to see what type of tomatoes I have I don’t have to search through a big stack of seed packages. I just look under tomatoes and all my packages are there with their names on them. 4. I also learned that savings seeds was much easier than I thought and it gave me a feeling of being very self sufficient. I have to admit though…those darn glossy pictured seed catalogs just SCREAM at me to buy more more more
Kim’s Answer: Here are a few quick tips from a novice seedsaver. Start with the easy ones like squash. Use the seeds from your very best produce. Remember to mark and date all your seeds very clearly. Store in a cool dark place where they won’t get moisture into them…I use my garage. Involve your kids if you have any, they find the whole process fascinating!
Alan’s Answer: I’m not a seed saver for the most part. It is too much work. I want to be but never quite get there. I have saved squash seeds in the past, usually as a first attempt to become a seed saver. The results have been mixed. Some of the seeds have produced really great squash. Others, crossing with cucumbers or some other member of the family (like cantaloupe or watermelon) have produced interesting but less than edible results. I think seed saving is really an important skill. Picking which seeds to save is key. Good research is the first step