Updated: Jul 9
Growing your vegetables is fun and satisfying, yet if you harvest seeds as a small step to self-sufficiency, it is incredibly rewarding.
Today we live through frightening times on planet earth; there is much talk about food shortages and other disruptions, so I believe the more we can do for ourselves, the better we will be, and so will our planet.
Even if you grow micro herbs is a tiny step to growing food for yourself, and who knows what might come next. This website is dedicated to nature, conservation and building a better planet. Please subscribe to the blog if you are interested in learning more.
Tomatoes, peppers, beans, and peas are all ideal seeds to save. They have self-pollinating blooms and seeds that don't need special treatment for storing.
Seeds from biennial crops like carrots and beets are more difficult to store since they require two growing seasons to set seed.
Instead of hybrids, choose open-pollinated kinds. These plants produce similar fruit and seeds that will grow other similar plants. Open-pollinated types may be "heirlooms."
These varieties may have been passed down over the years, or they may be more recent selections.
Here are a few tips on growing food at home.
Harvesting the seeds
Pick fleshy veggies that are fully ripe, such as tomatoes, squash, and melons. Scoop out the seeds and lay them in a well-ventilated area to dry. Leave beans and peas on the vine until the pods are dry and cracked. Corn kernels should also be allowed to dry on the stem until they dent. When the fruit or vegetable is fully grown, firm, and "meaty," other seed types can be harvested.
Remember to save seeds from your garden's most strong plants rather than the first few mature specimens you come across. By picking seeds from only the healthiest plants, you will be able to select for and build a sub-variety of these crops uniquely adapted to the climate and soil in your garden over time. Did you know you can grow an Avocado tree from a seed?
Drying seeds in the open
The first method of seed drying does not necessitate using any specific instruments or equipment. Crack the seed pods or fruits open and gather the seeds once the plant's seed pods or fruits have been harvested. If the seeds came from a "wet" fruit or vegetables like cucumber, tomato, pepper, or squash, follow these methods to remove the "slime." You could skip this step if the seeds came from a "dry" seed pod or capsule, such as zinnia, marigold, parsley, or cosmos plant.
Spread the seeds out on a coffee filter, wax paper, or a fine window screen set on a flat surface in a dry, cold room once freed from their pods or fruits. If the seeds are damp, don't use paper towels or newspapers. They'll stick to it and be difficult to get rid of later.
Spread the seeds evenly around the area, ensuring they don't contact. Allow approximately a week to ten days for the seeds to rest before gently stirring them with your finger or a tiny spoon. Allow another two to three weeks for drying. They should be dry enough to put away at this time.
Paper bag to dry seeds
Gardeners should remember how handy a simple brown paper lunch bag can be when learning to dry seeds. This method works best with dry seed pods and capsules; however, it should not be used to save seeds from moist fruits like tomatoes, squash, peppers, melons, and the like. It comes in handy for flower seeds and dry vegetable and herb seeds on stalks, such as those from lettuce, carrot, spinach, and dill plants.
Harvest the entire flower head or stem as soon as the blossoms are spent for this seed-drying procedure. Place the flower stalk, top end first, in a brown paper bag, allowing the cut stem end to protrude from the bag's opening. Place the open paper bag with the stem end sticking up on a table or tray in a dry, cool place. You can also lay the bag on its side if it is top-heavy. Allow two to three weeks for the stem to die and become brown in the bag completely.
Reach into the bag and remove the seeds from the dead flower head or seed capsule with your fingers once the stem is brown and dried. You may need to crack the seed pod open for some seeds. The seeds will fall out and settle at the bottom of the bag. Remove any non-seed debris, such as plant stalks, dried petals, and chaff.
Allow the open bags to sit in the room for another two to three weeks after the seeds have been collected in the bottom of the bag, shaking them occasionally to stir up the seeds. Your seeds are now ready for storage after that time has passed.
Storage of Seeds
Remember to label and preserve your free bounty as soon as possible after being harvested. You might think you'll remember the names of each seed clan, but save yourself the hassle; besides, it's nice to have packages of labelled seeds. Seeds like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower seed are very similar, so it is worth labelling your seeds.
Envelopes are ideal for storing tiny amounts of most seed types since they can be easily sealed and labelled. You can keep the seeds in glass jars for more significant volumes if you have the room.
The label should have:
Each type of vegetable
variety of vegetable
where and when the original plant/seed was purchased
And the month and year of harvest
I use seed raising mix and egg cartons to germinate the seeds. Once they are seedlings, I then plant them into my containers.
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