Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

December 11, 2008

Seed savers 2008

Ever kept your own seeds? I haven't. Until this year that is. I'm not keeping a lot of them, certainly not from everything that I grew, but this will definitely be the first year that I have made a conscious effort to have kept some of them.

There's some concern out there that this may be the year that we start to see some shortages in seeds at least on a consumer level. Sharon Astyk wrote a good piece on it this morning that is well worth the read. Shortage possibilities have not been my catalyst in wanting to start seed saving as much as it has just been an added benefit, but I do remember this years nurseries and the shortages of starts that I was so shocked to see and honestly I wouldn't be surprised to see some shortages affecting select areas.

One of the more interesting seeds that I am saving this year are my tomatoes. The seeds aren't necessarily so interesting as is the way you get them out of that gelatinous muck that they come in. What I did, was to process some of the end of season tomatoes and just squeezed that seed gel out into a separate container. I did this for each species of seed that I wanted to keep, pictured are the brandywine, hamson and cherry and made sure to label them immediately, it's amazing how much the seeds look alike out of the tomato.

After you get them out of the tomato and into their separate containers, you just cover with some plastic wrap, poke a hole in the top and let them sit for a week. It will get a little funky, possibly even moldy, but that's OK.
What's happening now is that they are fermenting. Just like making pickles softens cucumbers, so to does fermenting the tomato seeds. It breaks down the gel around them, and it can them be removed easily. I put mine into a strainer and ran cool water over them while stirring with my finger. The gel easily washed away leaving me some clean seed.
I didn't get a picture of it, but what I did next was to place the seeds between two paper towels, spread them out, and press down to get as much water as possible away. I then scraped them onto another couple of paper towels and pressed again. I left this together to dry for a couple of days and then scraped off into small containers and am storing them in my refrigerator. It's important to get as much water off of the seeds as soon as you wash them so that they don't decide to germinate while they dry. You probably also want to dry them in a cool place rather than a warm one.

In addition to the tomatoes seen here, I am also saving seed from San Marzano's, radishes, parsley, cilantro (coriander) and carrots that I can think of. It's not big stuff, but it's a start. As with all things like this, you can't just jump right in and be an expert. It takes steps and experience and that's what I'm working toward. What kind of seeds are you saving? Any secrets to share.
All the best...


molly said...

Hi P

I save all my seeds for the next years crops and to share with friends.

If ppl are to rely on shop purchased I have a feeling the likes of Monsanto etc will eventually turn all shop sold seed into suicide seed...not the way I want to see things go, so I save..and save...and save lol

Garden4Life said...

I had read the same post as you and it confirmed the actions I had already started to take as far as seed saving. I like the other comment made by Molly had started mostly because of Monsanto. (That is a huge story that has personally affected me)

I was going through my seed catalogs last night, noting vegetable plants that produced high yields and shorter growing seasons. I'm wanting to be a part of the solution to help others by growing and saving seeds for those who may need it. If we start out early in the season, we may be able to produce quite a bit of seeds before the serious needs start to hit.

My other thing to note also... Last year the veggie plant selection that was available to the general public at nurseries, Wal-Mart, Home Depot etc. was pitiful. Not much to choose from. I bet there is going to be a run on plants this year and there may be hardly any to get. This would be a REAL good time to learn to start seeds indoors. There are only a few weeks left to get your research in before starting.

Di Hickman said...

Not only is there less seed produced but I think Sharon is right, more people struggling in the economy and more people out of work means more people will be planting veggie gardens = less seed to go around.

I too saved my tomato seeds. And I saved some grape seeds.

Also something to note is to check the viability of the seed if you plan on seed swapping.

Sadge said...

I've been saving my paste tomato seeds for so many years I think it should qualify as my own heirloom by now. At least I know they're completely adapted to my hot short season. I don't even bother with the fermenting step - I just goosh the seeds and gel out and smear it on a sheet of paper. When completely dry (the gel kinda glues the seeds to the paper), I fold it up and stick paper and all in an envelope until Spring.

Sandy said...

I've never saved seeds before but tried to save some this fall. I saved some butterneck squash and sugar pie pumpkin. Unfortunately, I didn't let them dry out enough and now they are moldy. I'll try again next year with a variety of seeds.

ilex said...

This year I let my mixed Asian greens go to seed and I collected many, many seeds from them. I also have more anise hyssop seeds than I know what to do with- but many of them will go to the community garden in 2009; that plant is a fabulous deterrent against cabbage moths.

Beyond that, I buy my seeds from Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa. I will no doubt become an obsessive seed saver when I can plant in the ground, and plant types much further apart. Right now, I'm certain that any fruiting plant would hybridize because I have to plant everything so close together on my deck.

han_ysic said...

I save as much seed as I can. Some I keep to plant the following year and excess I give to the local seedsavers netwrok to distribute. I also find that more falls around than I collect, at the moment I have lettuces and brocoletti seedlings growing themselves, as well as cherry tomatoes which grow like weeds and chives and other onion varieties.
The easiest ones to start with are ones in pods or cases, such as beans. I also find onions and leeks easy to save seed for just pick the seed heads as soon as seeds start to pop out and store in a paper bag. A week or two later, more seed than I could ever grow! It's quite addictive once you get started.
The seedsavers handbook by michel and jude fanton from Australia is a brilliant guide not just to seed saving but also growing veges. Highly reccomend.