Do you save seeds of heritage varieties?
Well, you should try! It's very easy and you will benefit with plants that genetically adapt to your soil and location (climate). Most gardening centers grow plants with seed that is not native to your location.
|In this newsletter you will learn how to save seeds and start your own seedlings next year.|
|Select the best fruit and harvest the seed
First, you need to make sure that you are growing Heritage Varieties and not Hybrids - Hybrid varieties interpollinate. That means that the seed in the fruit may give you a completely different plant next year, perhaps one that grows no fruit at all!
Second, you will still want to keep different varieties at some distance from each other to prevent interpollination and keep each variety true to its kind.
I only grow one variety of non-bell sweet peppers and 4 varieties of tomato. The tomato plants are either spaced 100 yards apart, or they are so different (cherry vs. paste) that no cross pollination is expected.
Pick a nice looking fruit. Cut in half and drop the seed in a glass of water.
Sometimes good seed falls to the bottom immediately. Sometimes it takes a few days to separate. I don't save seed that floats.
|Sometimes I clean the seed by changing the water in the glass a few times over a few days. When I'm satisfied, I drop the seed on a paper towel and let it dry out.|
|Seed selection and safe keeping over the winter
Not all seed is equal - some are larger and some are smaller - it seems obvious that smaller seed will not grow a strong and healthy plant! Therefore I only save the larger seeds.
I keep the dry seed in plastic containers - as I'm still using an old camera to take my pictures, I have a supply of film containers.
Just keep the seed dry and it will re-germinate for many years. It is always best to use the seed the following year, but I have used seed that is several years old.
|Share your seed
Once you are satisfied with the quality of your plants and keep saving seeds for several years, the time comes to start sharing seeds.
Become a member of Seed Savers Exchange. www.seedsavers.org/membership.asp
By becoming a member ($35 per year membership fee) you can order seed from 700 plus sources. Unfortunately there are only 35 seed savers in Wisconsin and 33 in Illinois ... but none in Kenosha and Racine Counties.
We need to change that and have more local gardeners listed in Seed Savers Yearbooks to make seed available to other local gardeners.
Please call Seed Savers, become a "non-listed" member (support this no-profit organization) and eventually join me in offering seed as a listed member. Call (563) 382-5990
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Looking forward to meet you at the Kenosha HarborMarket this Saturday, or some day.
Your friend will be under the white tent,