Whether or not you are adept at gardening, you may have considered seed saving at some point. As a practice, there are numerous reasons and benefits from saving up seeds, including:
– Organic, GMO-free crops
– Saving money by producing your own seeds
– Self-sufficient, autonomous “off the grid“ lifestyle
– Barter and trading possibilities
– Substantial contribution to the area’s ecosystem, wildlife and biodiversity
– Establishing heirloom varieties
– Strong sense of accomplishment and relief
– Hobby and business potential
– Kinship and affinity with fellow seed savers
– Knowledge and mastery over a fascinating domain
– Doing nature’s work, perpetuating the miracle of life and the science behind it.
As you can see, it brings a lot of flexibility and possibilities into your horticultural activities.
Before we dive into specific examples, there are a couple of aspects to be aware of:
Each type of plant may require a different treatment altogether, as well as appropriate seed preservation techniques. For consistent results, your best bet is to go for open-pollinated or heirloom plants. You may have to adapt to certain conditions in order to ensure the satisfactory state and consistency of your crops. Educate yourself before committing. Consult with a seed life expectancy chart in order to set a strategy and guide your approach.
Identify your gastronomical and culinary preferences, tolerances, business practices and so forth. Also, take into account geological and meteorological aspects like soil properties, type, fertility index, landscape, humidity, rain levels, wind, and sun exposure. The environment and choice of plants have to be propitiously in sync to obtain lush and flourishing crops that provide rich harvests.
And with that being said, here are the 5 easiest plants for seed saving:
These are ripe for seed harvesting once the pods dry up while turning brown. Spread them out evenly to facilitate their complete drying before proceeding to store them. Should frost or flooding be of concern, pull the plants and hang them upside down in a spacious and airy room, safe from exposure to scorching sunlight.
Beans are similar to peas in a number of regards. You can just leave the pods on the plant to dry and harvest upon the change in color. For consumption, you’d usually pick them young and tender but this time around for seed saving, they need to mature and form lumpy bumps. They’re easy pickings and a cinch to process.
Tomato seed harvesting overlaps with the processing and consumption of a ripe tomato. After cutting and scooping, place them in a jar filled with water. The jar is to be labeled with the variety and date then placed into a warm environment to ferment. Daily stirring is required for 3-4 days. The unfit seeds will rise to the surface while the good ones sink to the bottom. Extract the bad seeds, drain the liquid and rinse the healthy seeds. Spread them evenly to dry up until they can be easily snapped in two, in which case they are ready to be stored.
These can also be easily separated from their seeds once the time is ripe. The best part about pepper seeds is that they do not need fermentation or being treated like the other vegetables, just lay them out to dry in a warm place and return in a couple of days.
Once the lettuce bolts and sprouts the flowers, it gets pollinated and the flowers close again in a bud-like shape. The seeds become visible and ready for picking. Grab hold, pluck and pull them off apart one from another. Leave them to dry out and store away when the time comes.
It’s also important to note that you need to keep your storing place cool and dry, with multiple recipients for each type of seed. They can be enclosed in large glass jars or barrels made of airy reed, wood or other materials that won’t retain moisture, adhere to or contaminate the seeds. Even though some planted seeds will germinate after having been stored for a span of four or more years, as a good practice you should use them within a year.
Make sure to protect your investment from pests and nature’s elements. Enclosure, irrigation and shelter are sound strategies against the critter raiding parties that are eying your crops.
For your garden to prosper and for the results to be as healthy as possible, it’s in your best interest to go down the natural and organic route when it comes to pesticides and fertilizers. Decide between a glass or cellophane greenhouse, or simply out in the open if the climate is mild and the area free of pests.
The crop and seed harvest will reflect your investment, quality and-quantity-wise, time, resources and energy invested into it. And as with anything in life, hard work pays off so make sure you maintain a healthy garden and the fruit it bears will keep you and your family fed for many seasons to come.