Green thumbs: Save your money by keeping your seeds

Seed saving is exactly that. Gathering seed saves money for the next planting season and saves genetic strains which might have evolved centuries past in family gardens.

But it takes preparation and decent timing.

“Seed saving has always been a frequent way to save seeds which were adapted to local climates or that had local historic value,” said John Porter, an educator with University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension. “The clinic has become far more popular with the growth of home food gardening and attention in heirlooms during the past couple of decades.”

Gardeners can save seeds from just about anything that produces seeds or fruit, Porter said. Open- or self-pollinated plants such as beans, lettuce, peppers, eggplants and tomatoes are among the very best, because their offspring will be the most dependable.

Annuals are most commonly used because they are reliable about creating seeds. “Not all perennials produce seeds, and sometimes they want treatments to break their dormancy,” Porter said.

Hybrids are the plant byproducts of two unique varieties and unite the qualities of both. Hybrids are appreciated for their disease resistance but aren’t stable enough for seed saving. Their offspring may exhibit the combined traits of centuries.

Heirlooms, meanwhile, are open-pollinated types that have a family or local history or who have been in existence for 50 or more years, ” said Weston Miller, a horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. “As a rule, heirlooms are open-pollinated, otherwise they would not be easy to save,” he said.

Plan ahead. Determine which open-pollinated edibles you want in your garden or in your dining table and learn their growing cycles. Ascertain as they develop which are the healthiest and save them as the mother plants. Allow people to ripen beyond their normal harvest interval.

“It is very important to wait long enough for the seed and fruit of the plant to grow,” Porter said, “but harvest early enough that rotting is not an issue. The seeds won’t automatically rot once the fruit does, but nobody likes digging through rotten produce to harvest seeds{}”

Lettuce and bean seeds can be removed from the plants as soon as they are hard and dry, Miller said. “Do not harvest seeds once the plants are wet from precipitation,” he said.

Store seeds in tightly sealed glass containers in a cool, dark place.

“Make certain that you label seeds together with the sort of date and seed,” Miller said. “A little packet of silica desiccant or powered milk in the jar can help eliminate moisture and keep the seeds dry.

“The freezer or refrigerator is also a fantastic location for storing seeds which you accumulate and also seeds that you purchase. Put modest seeds and label them. Place the envelopes in sealed freezer bags{}”

Seed saving demands energy and time but the effort is well worth it, Porter said.

“Seed saving not only preserves a plant variety for the future, but also the history of the variety,” he said. “Saving seeds from plants that perform well in your backyard is also a fundamental kind of plant choice which over time develops a breed of plant that’s adapted to thrive in the neighborhood climate.”

Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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