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Growing from Scratch by Saving Seed

September 14, 2011

Zucchini blossom

The cool weather in Colorado has started to slow my garden’s production. I can finally keep up with the zucchini! See me smiling. 🙂 It is only a matter of time before frost graces garden, grass, and rooftops alike. It is time for seed collection.

With packets of seed ranging from $1.50 to over $2 a package, I save some of the seed from my current garden for next year’s produce.  Then I have cash to spend on new varieties of vegetables and flowers that I want to try.

I first started saving seed from marigolds. Simple! At the end of the season, I quit dead-heading (cutting off spent blossoms) and let the plant dry out right in the bed. When dry, cut off the dead flower, break open at the base, and shake those seeds into a paper envelope. Many flowers will re-seed themselves if you allow the dead blossom to fall to the ground.My seed beans drying

I also save vegetable seed. My ever faithful beans produce their own seed and I have tried squash and tomatoes with good success too. To save bean seed, let a portion of your plants produce what would be considered over-mature beans. In these pods you will have swollen seed and only a little pulp. Pick the beans, string them using embroidery floss and a needle, and hang to dry. After the pods are completely dry, just shell out the seeds, throw out any that are misshapen or show signs of decay ,and wait for spring.

Here are a few important guidelines for saving seed from your garden:

  • Always use unblemished and fully mature fruit.
  • DO NOT use a hybrid variety.
  • If you were not happy with the quality or production of the fruit/vegetable/flower, don’t waste your time saving its seed.
  • Always label your envelope with the name of plant, variety, and date collected.
  • Store in a cool, dry place.

Since Colorado is an arid region, I don’t battle with mildew and such. If you are from a humid area and save seed, feel free to add a comment about storage that would help others in those regions.

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