Tag Archives: saving seeds

Harvest For the Future

samples selected for seed saving


It seems wise – and maybe genetically prudent – that I should use the best samples from my harvest for saving seed. I try to find the most robust plant and its fruits for this task. The tomatoes that seem to resist cracking and disease and yet taste the best are selected. The least alien-shaped green peppers with the best taste are my “targets” for seed saving. Other qualifiers for my future harvests include:

• samples with the best color
• early fruits
• large fruits but not gigantic samples
• best taste trumps most other considerations

This is the first time in my gardening season that I think seriously about the next year. It’s just part of the cycle of the gardener’s life.

Anyone needing some information on saving seeds would do well to visit Seed Savers Exchange.

As a result of some friends on the Seed Savers Forum I am revising this post to add some information that I had forgotten and, in some cases, just didn’t know.

Dreyadin from the SSE Forum reminded me that it’s important to make an effort to keep the characteristics of a strain true to type. In other words, it would be counter productive to pick atypical samples such as those that may be very large, oddly-shaped, or extremely early or late. You more than likely originally picked seeds that produce fruits you like. There’s no reason to try to change them.

He further says, “Just keeping an eye out that you are selecting from healthy plants also is a factor.. in a situation where the plant may be effected one year, and if you have limited recourse.. there are a few methods to help try to decontaminate the seed.. but the result is usually a serious decrease in percentage of viable seeds left over.” Also, ” (It’s) always good to make sure you really clean equipment between batches just in case. Better safe than sorry.”

Finally, Dreyadin brings up a point that my photo seems to contradict. He says, “Just in the case of some peppers you use at the green stage.. you want those to fully ripen before collecting seed from them.” The photo does not completely represent vegetables selected for seed saving. My pole beans and green peppers are way too green for this purpose. Also, the two smaller yellow crook-neck squash are for eating while the larger almost-a-gourd one has mature seeds. I just thought the pole beans looked nicer in the photo than the brown ones I have been using for seed saving.

I use a fermentation process to rid my tomato seeds of pathogens. Dreyadin points to some more drastic means of doing this. He says, “The other methods to try to get rid of some of the more harsh pathogens are hot water treatment… bleach treatment.. and TSP (trisodium phosphate) treatment to name a few. They are all harsh.. the hot water one is the least toxic.. but regardless.. big loss in viability. Those are used in attempts to try to get rid of some of the diseases that get past the gel.. but Tobacco Mosiac Virus.. yer pretty much screwed as it gets right into the embryo.”

Again, thanks Dreyadin.

The revision also begs an additional photo…

Kentucky Wonder pole beans ready for saving

Posted in plant diseases, seeds, tomatoes Also tagged , , , |

“Huge Pumpkins up to 70″ Around!”

My seeds from Seed Savers Exchange


Last year’s successes have emboldened me enough to expand the garden. For the first time I’ve saved some seeds from last year to plant this year. Jesse brought some seeds from Brooklyn at Christmas that I’m anxious to plant and today I got some pumpkin seeds that will give me “huge pumpkins, up to 70″ around!”

I’ve taken a different approach to seed selection. Last year I picked up seeds on sale from Ace and Home Depot. This year I’ve done that again but I’ve also investigated some of the seed companies that specialize in heirloom and rare varieties. I have also taken a look at some of the companies that sell primarily to commercial producers. Those companies that maintain their own test lots and labs and trial grounds and whose germination rates exceed federal standards are the places I want to shop for seeds. Although there are others, I’ve taken a close look at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Territorial Seed Company, Stokes Seeds Ltd. and Parks Seed Company which has a wonderful Gardeners Handbook.

This year my favorite resource for seeds is the Seed Savers Exchange. This is a non-profit organization that saves and shares heirloom seeds. It is the largest non-governmental seed bank in the United States. They have 23 acres of certified organic preservation gardens. Their site itself contains a wealth of information on all aspects of gardening as well as seed saving and trading. Even their seed packets have instructions for seed saving . The Seed Savers Exchange is the source of the seeds photographed above.

Let me know if you’ve come upon a favorite seed source.

And yes, I know I already used this photo.

Posted in Jesse's Brooklyn garden, planting, pumpkins, seeds, tomatoes, Uncategorized Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |