Monday, September 7, 2009

Saving Seeds

It seems to me that once folks get comfortable with vegetable gardening, they start saving seeds. Or, at least they start thinking about saving seeds. A couple years ago, we were at that thinking stage. Last year, we actually did something about it and this year, I am feeling confident enough to talk about it.

For some reason I always thought of saving seeds as something tricky. An art form of sorts. Something only those super-dedicated old-time gardeners do. Well, it's not that tricky. And, after reading up on it a bit, we tried our hand at it.

I am pleased to say that this year our Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, watermelon, garlic, sunflowers and green bell peppers grew from seeds (or cloves) we saved. As we came to realize, there are certain fruits and vegetables that are good to start with when you want to save seeds (some are a little more difficult to save than others). All those we saved last year are from this group. The seeds are easy to find and dry, therefore easy to save. Saving seeds is proving to be especially fun when you get your hands on a new variety of something a friend has given you or something you picked up at the farmer's market.

This year, we are also saving the seeds from red bell peppers we got from the farmer's market and some yellow tomatoes a neighbor gifted us (she's been saving the seeds of these tomatoes for years and years).

You can keep them in envelopes you've labeled with the date and variety of seed. Depending on the seed, they may need a cold cycle (in the fridge, check the ISSI site below for specifics). Then, store them in a dry, dark place and next spring, you'll be ready to go.

For more information on saving seeds, check out these great sites...

International Seed Saving Institute This site gives a list of vegetables and the instructions on how to save their seeds.

Mother Earth News Check out this on line article which explains why we all should be saving seeds.

Seed Saver's Exchange This site/catalog is for you if you like the idea of saving seeds, but would prefer to buy them from folks who know what they are doing when it comes to heirloom seeds. Oh, and their catalog is amazing. Try not to drool all over it's pages.

So, do you save seeds? Are you going to try it? Do you want me to stop asking you questions? Pin It


  1. You are so silly! Never stop asking keeps our minds limber.

    I have not yet saved seeds..but I plan to. I feel like I have to get the gardening thing down a bit more first. Plus, not everything I planted is saving seeds would be useless. Next year I will be more mindful of what I plant...I have more knowledge now. Each year I learn something new...gardening is so amazing like that.

    Seed Saver's is one my my favorite're right, it IS so beautiful. What a treasure trove...

    Good idea to save seeds from something you find at the farmer's market...I could do that, too. Or even my local fruit stand...thanks for mentioning that!

  2. Don't stop asking questions :)

    Yes, I am saving lots of seed this year! I have 5 or 6 different varieties of tomatoes, a zucchini called ronde de nice, butternut squash, thelma sander's sweet potato squash, 4 or 5 different dried beans as well as my pole limas, parsley, dill, spinach, and I need to harvest some pimiento pepper seeds yet. It's fun thinking I won't have to spend 2 or 3 dollars on each packet of seeds next year! Each year I'm hoping to find more heirloom veggies to try saving, maybe eventually having a completely heirloom garden. Well, maybe not completely heirloom since we LOVE some things that only come in hybrids (Incredible sweet corn, to name one). Oh, and I have saved some flower seeds as well. Marigolds, sunflowers, statice, strawflower, maybe some others, I can't quite remember.

    Those yellow tomatoes look delicious. Do you happen to know that name of the variety?

  3. Zoe,
    I don't know the variety. If we grow them successfully next year, maybe I can send you some seeds via JJ. Remind me!

  4. I usually save my squash and marigold seeds....this year I am going to try to save some of the heirloom tomato seeds as well. But I'm sure that next spring even if I do save the tomato seeds I will plant both bought and saved seeds just to make sure I didn't mess anything up.... blame it on the self diagnosed OCD.... And I agree with everyone else.....if we don't ask questions how are we suppose to learn anything? :)

  5. I appreciate your visits over at "my place"...I've enjoyed getting to know you a bit through the blogger world! :) Have a wonderful week!

  6. I'm another one saving seed - so far I have next year's bush peas done, and am STILL processing my lemon basil seed lol. waiting on some tatsoi (an asian green), two different types of lettuce, my dill and caraway (saving for planting and cooking) and will do some tiny sweet yellow pear tomatoes today.

    Plants are my job, when I'm not having babies, as well as my passion, so I love seeds :)


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