Seed saving


This topic contains 12 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  charles 2 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #21828

    Jane Wilding
    Member

    Hi all,
    I’ve recently joined the site and am finding it very interesting. I’d like to encourage all gardeners to save their own seed – I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now and I’m building up the number of varieties that I save myself – it’s not hard and it means that you end up with locally adapted varieties and of course don’t have to buy new seed every year. There’s a lot of good advice on the Real Seeds site, where they advocate saving seed instead of buying from them every year! In addition to this, I imagine most gardeners are now familiar with the threat of the new EU seed law (www.permaculture.co.uk/…/eu-seed-law-update-why-grow-heritage-seed and many other sites) and we can counter this by keeping the varieties we like, setting up local seed groups, swapping with other gardeners and supporting small seed companies (and not buying F1 varieties which are either sterile or do not breed true).
    Sorry for the long post! Keep up all the interesting topics and happy gardening.
    Jane

    #24634

    charles
    Moderator

     Hi Jane, thanks for this post and keep up the good seed saving.

    I save broad beans, peas, some tomato, lettuce and a few oriental leaves. I do like some F1 hybrids!

    What other vegetables have you saved successfully? Are you using a big area for it? – for example some say that you need a few plants of each to ensure genetic variation, say twelve beetroot.
    Are you managing to save squash even with different varieties?

    (makes a change for me to ask questions here!)

    #24635

    Jane Wilding
    Member

    I try to save all sorts of brassicas, spinach, lettuce, parsley and parsnips (both germinate well if just left to it to seed themselves), onions, various flowers, runner beans if they survive… this year I’m letting some long beetroot go to seed and perpetual spinach, if it ever will! Sometimes it all goes wrong, I’m still a bit haphazard. I don’t use much space because I haven’t so far kept several plants of each variety seeding for the genetic variation, generally I just leave one or two (and work round them while they seed), I’m not very scientific and haven’t been doing it long enough to notice whether or not they’re degrading in quality.
    I haven’t grown squashes although for some reason I always save the seed from bought ones! It’s very wet here with a short growing season (Scotland) but this year coming I’ll have the use of a polytunnel – hooray! – so that will extend my range hugely. I’ve been researching more about seed saving because of the EU business (Real Seeds has lots of good info) and I’m planning to be a bit more careful and systematic – maybe grow a bed of ‘seeders’ every year, select really good plants and take note of what happens. Do you think if I grow seeders in the polytunnel for protection from the wet, I’ll end up with delicate strains?

    #24636

    peat
    Participant

    Hi
    If you want to save brassica seeds only save one variety a year. Their seeds stay viable for quite a few years so that saving one variety each year means that you can stop cross pollination.
    Pete

    #24637

    Rhys
    Participant

    Jane

    I’ve been saving tomato seeds for up to three years (depending on strain) and I’ve found that, by preparing seed from the biggest, most luscious fruit (usually around end August) that the next year’s plant is, if anything, more vigorous than the previous one.

    This may be that I am, in effect, selecting out strains that grow well outdoors in SE England (which may be a harsher selection than growing in greenhouses).

    It has worked very well for Shirley (3 seasons) and Alicante (2 seasons) and I’ve saved a whole variety this year (including Maskotka, Black Cherry, Black Krim/Russian, Bush Beefsteak, a very big Beefsteak of unclear origin, Ailsa Craig, Sub Arctic Plenty).

    I’ve also used my own garlic bulbs to replant this year – we will see how well they do (original stocks purchased commercially).

    As for campaigning against the EU regulations, there’s actually a pan-European group organised from Austria online to address concerns etc to the lawmakers. I signed their petition and get regular updates. It does help if you can understand German though!

    #41838

    Karen
    Participant

    Hi Charles,

    I was sorting out some pea seeds that am saving for next year and noticed that many of them have very minute holes in them. Do you too have this problem? I was able to leave the pea pods on the plant till it was fully dried out. I suspect that there were possibly worms in these peas.

    If there is only 1 or 2 minute holes in these seeds, do you reckon they are still viable and be able to germinate?

    cheers!

    #41848

    charles
    Moderator

    Two v small holes, probably yes and I am unsure what causes that, I have a few.
    Larger holes not, they are pea moth larva and best composted.
    Try germinating a few now of the ones you are unsure of.

    #41849

    Karen
    Participant

    Ok thanks Charles… will do as suggested… have sorted out and discarded out the seeds with large burrow holes… was wondering about the really very tiny holes… able to see only 1 or 2 very tiny holes and a few that are perfect without any holes.

    #41860

    charles
    Moderator

    Those are the ones I would try germinating a few, now Karen

    #41863

    RandA
    Participant

    I have two chilli plants growing in the onion bed that I covered with compost in the winter, they are flowering despite the rain and wind and we don’t yet know what we are going to get. I do not save carrots and parsnips as we have wild versions of both growing all around us and they may cross so I get fresh ones every year. I do save lettuce tomatoes chilli peppers, beans and all the winter salads ( land cress chervil Greek cress frilly mustards etc. good luck

    #41864

    charles
    Moderator

    Alison that is interesting.
    Chilli’s of different varieties can cross, see this
    So if your two are different varieties, you may create a new variety.

    #41908

    Karen
    Participant

    Heya Charles,

    Just wanted to inform you that the peas germinated! Will use them as pea shoots 🙂

    Am delighted!

    #41920

    charles
    Moderator

    Great well done

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