[Homestead] Seed Saving
genegerue at ruralize.com
Mon Dec 19 16:56:20 EST 2005
>I'm trying to warm thoughts, so I was wondering if any of you have any
>favorite reference books on seed saving, how to clean and store seeds
>properly after harvesting, etc.
Good for you. If you pursue experimenting with lots of various plants and
saving seeds from those that do best in your garden and that you like the
results from most, you will benefit not only from the pure fun of it but
also will become largely if not wholly independent from the big seed
companies, of which there are fewer each year, they offer fewer varieties
each year, and they keep raising the prices.
As you get into it, you will find challenges, and that is much of the fun
of gardening. For instance, I have grown garlic from saved bulbs for
decades but I have yet to feel that I have created ideal storage
conditions. And with garlic there is the tasty issue of eating the seed. So
grow lots more than you might want to eat.
As James noted, saving seeds is no great mystery. Seeds hate to die. In
general, notice plants that do well in your garden and that you like the
taste and keeping qualities of, let the seeds mature, dry them, keep them
dry, cool, and dark, and next year they will reproduce. If you are most
comfortable with more complete directions, then buy the book: Seed To Seed.
Here is my review of it on my web site and at Amazon.com:
SEED TO SEED, by Suzanne Ashworth
Sixty million American gardeners buy their seeds from mail order seed
companies. In the period 1984-1987, 54 of the 230 seed companies in the
U.S. and Canada went out of business, resulting in 943 non-hybrid varieties
becoming unavailable. One answer to the extinction of food crop varieties
is Seed Savers Exchange, the publisher of Seed to Seed. Begun in 1975, SSE
maintains more than 18,000 rare vegetable varieties at Heritage Farm in
Decorah, Iowa. (Call 319-382-5990 for catalog and membership information.)
Another answer is for individual gardeners to save their own seed from
non-hybrid varieties. Varieties that grow and taste exceptionally well in
specific areas can be planted year after year from home-grown seed. A
further advantage is protection from seed price increases. Ashworth
provides definitive information on seed gathering, processing and storage
techniques. Twenty family entries include taxonomy, pollination
characteristics and techniques, general production and processing
techniques. Each of the 160 species entries includes botanical
classification; pollination, crossing, and isolation; seed production,
harvest and processing; seed viability. Ample black-and-white photographs
complement the text. Hybrid seeds are in the control of large companies.
You can be in control of heirloom varieties that do best in your garden.
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